Editorial — Group comes up with 'Unelection' idea for Langley Township council

A new group called “The Unelection Campaign” has the potential to change the makeup of Langley Township council. However, that all depends on whether the group can convince people who don’t usually vote to take part in this year’s election campaign — and that is a very tall order.

The executive committee of Unelection have, as individuals, all fought with council over specific issues. These range from development in Willoughby to the Coulter Berry building in Fort Langley and the proposed OCP for Brookswood-Fernridge.

There is no doubt that many people in the Township have concerns about these and other issues, and as the Unelection Campaign website notes, “we have the responsibility to un-elect council members when their actions and behaviour no longer reflect the values and wishes of the electorate.”

In the last municipal election in 2011, there was a hard-fought three-way race for mayor. There had been a lot of concerns about a variety of council decisions, and the atmosphere at council meetings was often very toxic. Many people, including those working at this newspaper, made a concerted efforts to boost voter turnout.

When voters finally cast ballots, the turnout at the polls was up by about 4,000. This was very positive, but the actual turnout rate was less than 26 per cent. All six councillors seeking re-election won  again,  with the mayor losing.

Despite all the infighting at council and a three-way race for mayor, 74 per cent of the eligible voters in Langley Township stayed home.

This year, there is no credible challenger to the mayor in sight. There are some solid new candidates for councillor, but it is quite likely all eight incumbents will run again.

The Unelection Campaign website is hoping to help educate voters. While it has a built-in bias against five of the nine members of the current council, rating their performance with “Fs,” more information about who’s running and what positions each candidate takes is always helpful.

Perhaps the most important point the organization makes is that voters do not have to select eight people when they vote for councillor. This often leads to incumbents getting in, simply because they are well-known.

It is perfectly sound to vote for one, two or three people for the councillor position. The Unelection Campaign says “When you’re ready to vote, vote only for the candidates you like.”

That’s sound advice.

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