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Off The Page: Talking municipal elections with Vancouver Island seniors

“When I see seniors going into schools to vote, that is an exercise in democracy”

For the next few weeks on Off The Page, we are doing something a little bit different from our usual format. With the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 15, we wanted to take a look at what you - our listeners and readers of the Comox Valley Record have to say, particularly on what you care about in this election.

What is important to you? Are you planning on voting? Why or why not?

With the goal of finding out these answers, we’ve gathered different groups of people together to ask what’s on their minds as they prepare to cast their votes.

In this episode, we’re talking with two seniors - Betty Donaldson and Tony Reynolds.

Q: Within those past 15 years, how closely have you been involved or really kept an eye on municipal politics?

Donaldson: It’s been interesting to see how much governance we have in the Comox Valley; it’s amazing, really for the number of people we have including the federal government. So the municipal government has become more and more important because of course we have an election coming up, but more and more, I have realized that especially as a retiree, how important it is to have a good municipal government.

Q: For those who maybe choose not to (vote), particularly on the municipal level, what would you say to that?

Donaldson: I have a low tolerance for people who don’t vote. I don’t see how they can call themselves Canadian citizens, peace order, and good government where the was the man, when I was growing up, let’s not lose that.

However, we do know that seniors tend to be the larger voting demographic. I’d love to see more intergenerational conversations about voting. It brings tears to my eyes. When I see seniors going into schools to vote, that is an exercise in democracy.

Q: What are some of the issues that you find that are really relevant for you in this upcoming election?

Reynolds: There are two issues in particular … One is the whole question of adequate planning in terms of the services and infrastructure that we have in. In our villages and towns, we’ve seen a huge amount of growth in Comox in the last two or three years.

I think we should be very careful about what we approve in terms of significant new residential development because otherwise, we’re going to end up with this Valley being a suburb of Vancouver and that’s not why we’re here. I’m not against growth. I’m all for growth, but we need to do it in a more thoughtful and realistic way. The second thing I am very keen on is I believe that the whole climate crisis question can be much more creatively addressed at the local level.

For the rest of the interview, listen above or search for Off The Page wherever you download podcasts.

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Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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