Election fever as some call it is beginning to infect government and the media here in New Brunswick.
I read the paper and listen to some of what is on the news wondering if I should care. I am a Local Service District chairperson which means I sit and wait for the Minister of Local Government to need my advice. I also sit on the Regional Services Commission 11 Board representing my LSD and with six others representing the remainder of the 25 or so LSD's in the region. I don't feel at all political but I suppose to others I must seem to be. What I am learning about municipal politics is that most people don't care unless something is going to affect them directly. Often in the form of increased taxation or environmental issues. There are a few who also care if they think their right to do whatever they want on their own property is threatened. I spent many years in the first camp--hoping someone else was minding the store while I lived my life.
Now that I am involved on a minor level I find myself avoiding any connection to an established political party. For quite awhile now these parties try to put their stamp on the province while the opposition complains about everything they do. The names of the parties don't matter one whit since they all do the same thing. I think I could appreciate the government in power more if they handed out less plum positions to friends and admitted that some of their ideas are not as good as they first thought and get on with governing in the interests of all the citizens. I could appreciate the opposition if they would compliment at least three out of five of the government's initiatives so when they criticize the two or three they don't think will work I would listen. It seems to be so much nattering and not much progress.
Municipal governments appear to be trying to be congenial to one another. I did read an article that said even this level of government has been subjected for too long to competing for stuff. This has caused the province to have too many air ports, too many hospitals and likely too many arenas. I threw in the last one since the overabundance of dollars going towards arenas concerns me.
The RSC model is supposed to encourage more cooperation at the municipal level. I did hear one RSC group bemoaning the lack of trust among the members. That does not bode well for their future if they are letting past competitions effect future efforts to collaborate. All elected officials are supposed to work for their constituents but NB is so small that when a leaf falls in Bathurst you can feel the wind in Saint John. Maybe everyone who is elected should represent everyone who lives here.
And my last thought about this is how few women are involved at all levels. We are always bemoaning that fact yet a gender balance might make it easier for the men to be less competitive and for the women who are involved to speak up for a more collaborative system province wide.