Over the past couple of months, we have had a chance to meet and learn about many of the candidates that have put their names forward for the upcoming municipal election on October 22.  Through the more formal debates, meet and greets, and public events that have taken place, both incumbents and hopefuls have had the opportunity to get their platforms out in front of the voters in their respective communities.  The run up to the election over the next two weeks will no doubt see and hear the reasons why you should elect these individuals.  This is true for each municipality, including school boards and councils.

It is incumbent on each and every one of us, as voters, to get out and vote, but also, be informed what each of the candidates, will bring to the table.  After Election Day, those that are successful in their campaigns will be our representatives in our municipalities, for the next four years.  That it is why, it is so important that we know who we are electing and what they stand for.  For anyone that has been following the campaigns, it appears that there are two specific camps that candidates are aligning themselves with, whether it is at the municipal or school board level.  According to what we have seen to date, it looks like those that want change or those that wish to see things remain the same.

There is always need for change and development of new ideas, but change just for the sake of change, can sometimes be a step back.  That is why it is necessary to know who you are voting for and especially what their vision for the next four years is going to be.  These visions will shape the next term and for the most part, influence where our communities will be heading.  There is a tendency for incumbents to defend their past decisions and that same tendency on the part of challengers, to question them.  There certainly is a need for some of this back and forth debate, but if we want to grow as communities, my vote will be on those with vision and the ability to work together, for the benefit of our communities.

With this in mind, many of voters that we have met during the events for candidates continue to ask for advice and information, on the election.  One of the more frequent questions that continue to circulate and be asked is one concerning “How many candidates do I vote for?”  This brings up the topic surrounding strategic voting.   Strategic voting takes place when individual voters, only vote for a limited number of candidates and thereby concentrating votes on specific candidates.  This type of voting, in theory, increases the probability of specific candidates being elected.  Voters need to be reminded that in the case of the City of North Bay, you do not need to vote for all ten council positions available.  You can choose up to ten council candidates however; a concentrated vote on candidates that share your vision, remains a very viable option.

Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.