Editorial — Heightened interest

It appears there will be heightened interest in running for office in this fall’s municipal election.

As of June 30, The Times was aware of at least 15 candidates who have announced or are likely to run for Township council. This is a much higher number than is the case in most election years. The last time there was this much interest at the beginning of the summer season was in 1999.

That year, 43 per cent of the electorate came out to vote in November. This is more than twice the turnout than has been recorded in every election since that time.

There is also likely to be heightened interest in elections for the Langley Board of Education this fall, given some of the controversies swirling in the school district. It is also possible that there may be more candidates for Langley City council, although there has been minimal controversy there, as compared to Township council and the board of education.

It isn’t too early for Langley residents to take an interest in those who are putting their names forward. One candidate for Township council, Michelle Sparrow, is hosting an event at West Langley Community Hall on July 10, where residents can get a chance to talk with her and find out about some local issues. This is a great opportunity, and hopefully other candidates will take a similar approach.

The Times is looking at new ways in which it can give potential voters more information about those who are running. One of the factors that prevents some people from voting is their feeling that they don’t know enough about the candidates. This newspaper will do all it can to provide detailed information about candidates.

Municipal elections may well be overshadowed by a provincial election this fall. If the HST referendum passes, it is quite likely that Premier Christy Clark will ignore B.C.’s fixed election date law and call an election for September or October. If she does, almost all of the attention paid to the political scene by many media outlets, the Internet and the public will be focused on the provincial race.

The later that election date is, the more it will overshadow the municipal elections, which are set for Saturday, Nov. 19. However, The Times will devote as much space as possible to the municipal campaign, in both the newspaper and on the website, www.langleytimes.com.

This newspaper will do all it can to help encourage potential voters to show up at the polls on Nov. 19.

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