Democracy and particpation go hand in hand.
In the last municipal election voter turn out was at 37%, that means that 63% of our citizens choose not to vote. This stat is alarming to me, when more than half of citizens in any jurisdiction decide not to vote: when need to ask why is this happening? Why collectively do we feel so apathetic and disengaged from the political process? Have we come to a point in a our history where we feel hopeless with our political process? I believe that while there are issues with a political process, we can make a difference by getting involved. Being involved means being involved in both the democratic process and the community at large. It is perfectly acceptable to get angry about government procedure: we are fatigued by rhetoric, broken promises and dishonesty. However, from anger must come action; if all we create from our anger is opposition instead of proposition we too are failing the system. We all have busy lives: families, our occupations, and our 21st century life--distractions are abound. It is easy and understandable that as individuals we feel overwhelmed and powerless to make change. Respectfully, I view that perspective as a barrier to make change in our democratic process. We are at a place where we the people must challenge our anger into positive change. There is a shift that is happening with grass-roots community groups. At the community and municipal level we can be a bastion of ideas and change to better the lives of everyone. So, how do we create interest in the political process again? People, I feel are angry and annoyed with the process because they do not feel part of it. Yes, there are opportunities to be gain information on council process; however we all have busy lives. Sometimes, we may feel that it is a burden to go to where the decision-making is happening. Also, people may feel that the information is not accessible or not accessible in a manner they can easily access.
It is as it's a perfect storm of 'I said- they said', there are responsibilities on both sides to be acknowledged. That being said, I feel that as an elected official, this individual would have the innate responsibility to bring the democratic process to the people. We need to do a better job of delivering information to people. Knowledge is power though if one does not know how to access or utilize the knowledge it is useless. One way that government can do better is be more accountable and transparent. Currently, in our municipal votes are only recorded if council asks them to be. This has the potential to create a barrier to the electorate being abreast of what direction city council is going. I am committed to bringing democracy and the municipal back to the people. I believe that democracy works best when both the elected officials, citizens and bureaucrats are all engaged. As councillor for District Five I would :
-Request every vote in council be recorded for the public. I would motion that how each councillor voted by recorded and made public as well.
-A Strong informational presence: social media, e-newsletter, mailed newsletter
-Prompt replies to citizens. I am working for you and if I don't know an answer, I would work hard to find it for you.
-Monthly town hall meetings in District Five. These would be used to bring council to the people. I would provide copies of previous approved council minutes, upcoming agenda's if available and a forum for citizens to voice their concerns.
It is time for a change, for a new voice in Dartmouth Centre. We need a councillor who is open, progressive, tuned in and accountable. I love Dartmouth, I was born and raised here. I have a passion for Dartmouth, and for our Halifax Region. On October 20, 2012 Vote Bryn for District Five- Dartmouth Centre.