Municipal election supplement

By ├ćndrew Rininsland

<Municipal elections are less than a week away. The tri-annual opportunity for community democracy will take place October 15. Although less glamorous than federal and provincial politics, municipal politics have a tangible affect on issues that effect us daily, including affordable housing and transit. The Gauntlet interviewed the nine mayoral candidates who are vying for your vote. We asked every candidate the same questions about the big issues in this election. We assembled all of their responses, which were edited only for length.

Students are notorious for their blatant apathy towards politics and student journalists are equally notorious for writing about this apathy. Though it’s rehashing what’s already been written in the pages of this paper countless times, it needs reiteration: if you’re eligible and don’t vote on October 15, you’re an idiot, plain and simple.

This isn’t a question of personal decision and perceived sardonic helplessness. Many people who don’t vote claim they feel their one voice is insignificant when compared to the throng of contrary voices opposing theirs. However, excluding a Rousseauean withdrawal back into nature, the decisions made by politicians of any sort–many of whom are unrepentant assholes–can and absolutely will affect you in some capacity. Voting is the only way to keep said assholes accountable. By not voting, regardless of how unbelievably horrendous they are, you are essentially giving these politicians your tacit approval. They are your voice, like it or not. Do you agree with what you’re saying?

Students should be absolutely excited for the ability to participate in municipal politics. The only requirements are to be a citizen of Calgary and to have lived in Alberta for six months. While this discounts a large number of first-year residence students, it also means the bulk of second- and third-year rez kids are eligible. In our editorial this week, Gauntlet features editor Jon Roe argues the notoriously low turnout rate of municipal elections combined with the single issue of affordable housing could be enough to unelect a particular asshole named Dale Hodges, if only the rez population would band together and vote as a bloc. This logic doesn’t end there. Every vote in this election will be felt, no matter which way it goes in the end. The fact fellow U of C student Jeremy Zhao came third place in a recent, 800-person telephone poll should serve as a wake-up call to local politicians who figure that the 18-25 demographic cannot be mobilized.

If any group has right to be apathetic, it is most certainly not students. The list of issues candidates are facing this election applies entirely to students and also is more pertinent to them than probably anyone else. Affordable housing or the transit expansion alone are serious enough issues that students with any concern for their future should be out in droves; that both are key issues in the same election means those who don’t vote are not only ignorant, they’re also stabbing those that do in the back. As such, students whine about having no representation in politics, while simultaneously discarding the very system in which they’re wanting a bigger say. Let’s stop being hypocritical for once and be the change we wish to see in the world.


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