Countdown to Surrey Votes 2014: “The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.” ― Christopher Hitchens

I admit it, I’m more than a bit cynical when it comes to elections in general. Why? Because while countries overseas will riot,march by thousands in the streets and overthrow governments simply to have a free election and exercise the right to a free vote, here in Canada many can’t even be bothered to make time for that right.

It drives me nuts. It really does! People will make time to get a DVD from the Red Box, sit and get their nails done, watch a hockey game… all on voting day… but they ‘don’t have time to vote.’  Having a busy schedule was a reason cited on Stats Canada 2011 report. No kidding! Well guess what. If you are too busy to vote, I am too busy to listen to your whining about the results of the election. Don’t talk to me. Same goes for those of you who don’t like the choices and spoil your ballot, or again, refuse to vote. Guess what? Your non-vote just made someone else’s vote more powerful.

As long time readers know,I’ve been a Surrey resident for over a decade and have been blogging about life here for a good portion of that time. I’ve seen some good changes in some neighbourhoods and some not so good changes in others. I’ve been challenged on many stories by developers and others whose interest in the city is less altruistic and more profit driven. In a city with one of the largest land areas that is yet to be developed, there is a lot at stake here. We are on the cusp of transition on an unprecedented level, but with that transition comes challenges and issues,many of which have simply been moved from one area to another.

While Newton and Whalley, aka City Centre have gained much of the pre-election press- and deservedly so – what has emerged in media coverage by our local press in their neighbourhoods series, is that these two communities are not alone in feeling under-appreciated or neglected. The strategy of the city has been to focus on one town centre of a time, whereas a cohesive strategy of small gains in every town centre simultaneously is what residents are asking for, and deserve.

Unlike many pundits and commentators who have openly endorsed slates or recommended who they will vote for, other than the prior post on the under-recognized independents, I don’t feel it’s right to tell you who to vote for. In fact, I feel so strongly about this that although I was asked to join the Surrey Citizen Leaders group, I declined because I felt it was inappropriate given some members had already publicly endorsed mayoral candidates.

That might seem at odds with pushing for change on council, which I think is desperately needed. It’s been ruled by one slate for so long, the record of votes of each current council member is public, and at times has been at odds with the cities own policies.

I will tell you that my votes will go to candidates who have a proven community track record and who I feel will represent every area of Surrey with as much dedication and equality, in the areas of crime, development, ALR protection,sustainability and employment. There can be no favourites. Newton has suffered long enough. So has Whalley.

Many voters tend to be single issue voters – whichever candidates successfully address that issue is who they tend to vote for. It might crime, which is a very big reality in many areas, not just a perception as some incumbents continue to claim.  It might be sustainable development as clear-cuts devastate many neighbourhoods in favour of high density housing. It might be the inability to commute due to lack of or limited transit. It might be the slowing disappearing farmland, or food security.

Whatever your issues are, I strongly feel every resident in this city knows what hasn’t been working, and what has, along with who on the current council is engaged with residents from across the city, and who isn’t. That was starkly clear during this campaign when one Mayoral Candidate,Linda Hepner, failed to attend 4 separate resident hosted candidate events in different areas. Doug McCallum failed to attend one, held in Strawberry Hill by Newton residents.

I do not encourage people to vote by slates, in fact if I could, I would abolish the putting of slates besides candidates names on the ballot. Without that slate name, voters would be more likely to research and find out about the candidates than they do with it. Slates make it easy for lazy voters to vote, and allow candidates who shouldn’t be elected, to slide through based on connection.

There are several mayoral candidates and a large group of contenders for council:many have both a strong track record of service and engagement in the community along with business experience, some do not. But regardless of who you vote for, the entire community will  live with the consequences for the next 4 years since the term for service has been extended by one year. Look not at just your own neighbourhood,but what has happened to others, and in others. Next time, it could be yours.

Voters often forget about the school trustees as well, and if you are a parent with children in school, or soon to enter school, you need to do your research. There are vastly different groups of candidates running that are diametrically opposed in terms of inclusiveness and diversity-one candidate has still refused to answer my question asked on twitter,as to whether he supported or opposed the strict anti-homophobia policy the Surrey School board has instituted. This matters to me, that school is a safe place for every single student, free of bullying or discrimination. Ask questions. Be informed. This particular vote will impact your childrens school directly.

Take a half hour to do your research, mark the names down and make sure you have your identification when you go and vote.

We are at a crossroads in this city, and we need to get this right. Voting is the easiest way for you to directly impact what happens in the next 4 years, and I am hoping for a change that brings some sunshine to everyone living in Surrey, rich,poor or in between.

Here are some links to candidate and voting information:

City of Surrey candidate informationhttp://www.surrey.ca/election2014/candidates.aspx

Vancouver Sun candidate surveys ( not many participated!!http://www.vancouversun.com/news/municipal-election/candidatesurvey.html?appSession=017480892246981

Voting locations: http://www.surrey.ca/election2014/how-to-vote/where-to-vote.aspx

Good luck and hopefully by tomorrow night we are walking into a future that shines.

policy

 

24 thoughts on “Countdown to Surrey Votes 2014: “The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.” ― Christopher Hitchens

  1. Kevin

    We don’t live in a real democracy. We live in a plutocracy. No one running for office at any level says anything about the need for a complete overhaul of the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet. That’s the only thing that matters. As long as turning 100 dollars into 12o dollars is an hour of soul crushing work while turning 100 million dollars into 120 million is merely inevitable, we are doomed. Dealing with any other “problem” is merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
    I will not vote today

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      1. Laila

        No kidding. Not voting isn’t the solution, particularly at the municipal level where your vote has a direct impact on your immediate life. How everything is run, how neighbourhoods grow and flourish, or struggle and die has a lot to do with who is running the show, and how they direct policy, approve applications etc.

        Watch a local council meeting. If it’s not on air, it’s live streamed. See how fast those applications are approved, rarely with any opposition. In Surrey they can approve 8 different applications or motions in less than 5 mins.

        It’s fine to see the numbers on paper, however when you see what the impact is right in front of you, outside, in real time, it’s staggering.

        Indeed,voting at the municipal level is where your vote has the most power. Waste it, and you waste a chance to have your say.

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  2. Jack

    Laila, All points well taken but, what about the situation when there isn’t a candidate worth voting for. Sorry I am referring mainly to Provincial elections rather than Municipal but the same might just apply at the local level.

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        1. Laila

          It’s no secret,I’ve never been a Gregor fan. He lost me when he promised to eliminate homelessness – it was as if he hadn’t seen the downtown eastside. That isn’t something one mayor can do, it takes support of different levels of government. And the bike lanes. I’m all for biking as a form of transportation but seriously? It’s a nightmare in Vancouver.

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  3. nonconfidencevote

    Well stated Laila. I’m voting in Burnaby tomorrow for Sylvia Gung.
    She’s against election campaigning, hand holding and any other public displays of affection.
    She doesnt allow pictures of herself so ………..good luck finding a photo of her.
    As long as she doesnt take up the “free golf forever” in Burnaby(a la Derek Corrigan) ……if she becomes Mayor ……I’ll vote her in again!

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  4. misallocationofcapital

    But we’ve all been voting for countless years and look at the mess we’re in. The gold standard is quality of life, personal finances, solvency, living standards – and they’re falling decade by decade.

    Everyone wants only to “fill a position” but never question the existence of that position in the first place. When all candidates are virtually indistinguishable in their support for the system as it is, even voting out all incumbents regularly has never led to meaningful change…

    Perhaps more options: “none of the above” or, better yet, “eliminate the position”….?

    Until the positions to be elected – and the politicians who fill them – are either abolished or downsized in scope, funding and powers voting will never change anything.

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    1. Laila

      Look at the dismal turnouts at the municipal level for years,in many cases around the 25% -35% level. Not just recently, but in many cases for decades.

      And look what happens when voter turnout gets over 50%? It’s breaking news because it’s so damn rare.

      Not voting ISN’T the solution and it never will be. Not voting is part of why things never change! The 25% of registered voters who have turned out in Surrey in the past 9 years have been overwhelmingly in favour of the incumbents. Imagine what would happen if it was actually over 50%?

      Same goes for pretty much every community in the province.

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  5. Jean

    Yes we voted. I even got my non-political son to vote for the second time in his life. I had to tell him he has to vote because he owes me big-time for temporarily staying at my place. He also helped me plant signs for Grant Rice and I have him committed to pick up the few signs Grant could afford which was 7 of the 20 he had. Things really do have to change, buying elections is not at all democratic and I’m just hoping the impossible can be done between now and four years from now.

    When we voted I asked the lady taking the voting cards if there was a good turnout at my polling station and she said there were 1400 plus, twice the number they had expected.

    Kai Nagata and his Dogwood Initiative have asked people to let him know if we have voted which is explained on his blog…..

    Jean,

    We’re getting reports of busy polling stations in municipalities across the province. Once you’ve cast your ballot, please click here so we can tick your name off the list:

    YES, I’VE VOTED
    Unlike a political party, we can’t access the voter registry. Our teams have been working their tails off to increase turnout, but the only way we can know if you voted is if you let us know.

    Why is it so important to vote? Because foreign oil companies have no limits on what they spend in our elections. The only way to push back is to use the one thing they can’t buy: your vote.

    The ability of grassroots citizens to beat Big Oil was on full display in Richmond, California last week. Chevron blasted the city with millions of dollars of advertising, buying every billboard and burying welcome mats in glossy pamphlets featuring their grinning pro-oil candidates.

    Outspent 60 to 1, the progressive incumbents did the only thing they could: they rallied an army of citizen volunteers and they went and knocked on doors. Guess what? The people-powered campaign swept to victory – defeating Chevron in humiliating fashion.

    We can do it too.

    We can elect strong candidates who share our values and will fight for our home. We can elect mayors and councillors who will be a thorn in Kinder Morgan’s side for the next four years.

    But none of that will happen if people don’t vote.

    Please visit your local municipality or district website to find your nearest voting location.

    Here’s my challenge to you: find one person in your life that didn’t vote in the last municipal election. Text them, call them, drag them to the polls. When you’re done, go ahead and click this button:

    YES, I’VE VOTED
    Thanks again,

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  6. Les

    Of all the candidates running for Mayor in Surrey only three were given Press coverage and a chance to speak. Media did a great disservice not making people aware there are more than the “Big Three” and their well oiled election machines offering solutions to long standing problems that have not been addressed before this election. Have none of these incumbents though to increase RCMP before this election; four more years of no fore-thought. Congrats to Linda Hepner. First Public appearance from a Bar and seems to have had a few. Proud moment as my peers from outside Surrey pointed this out to me.

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  7. nonconfidencevote

    God help me.
    Another 4 years of Gregors’,” deer in the headlight stare” when asked the simplest of qustions from the media. Another 4 years of his stumbling, bumbling banter.
    On a side note.
    Less than 50% voter turnout in Vancouver but they still had to keep some of the polling stations open an extra 45 minutes to allow everyone to vote………….

    Like

    1. Laila

      I’m still here,as are many others Peter.Newton largely voted against Hepner. Time to decompress, reflect and begin planning for the future. I hear from many it’s beginning already 😉

      Like

      1. Peter

        We need more than talk. Years of Watts talking did nothing. We need to educate the Neo-Cons. They are convinced that we need another 4 years of Harper. God Help Us All. Where do I sign up?

        Like

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