Quick. Who is your city councillor?
I’m guessing by the fact you’re reading a blog on Newstalk 770, the chances are you have the answer. However, you are in the minority – most Calgarians don’t know.
Voter turnout for municipal elections is traditionally low; we just don’t seem to care. And now a study out of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy backs up that theory.
Once you’re a municipal politician, you’ve found job security. Incumbents have a high re-election rate.
While I agree with the results, I’m not so sure I’d blame it all on the politicians. Municipal politics directly affect you and me; civic policies decide road construction, land use regulations, public transit decisions and, biggest of all, property tax rates. Yet in 2013, only around 22 percent of Calgarians bothered to vote.
Those politicians who stay in their job could argue voters are satisfied with how the city is run and maybe they’re right. I think the more accurate conclusion is in a time when we’re inundated with news of U.S. politics, federal politics, provincial politics; municipal politics don’t make it onto the radar. Until there is a scandal that grabs the headlines people will continue to give a pass to civic politics.