Saanich’s byelection will not take place until September so the question is what kind of candidates will offer their services.
Our constitution establishes a division of powers for federal and provincial governments. The mandate of local government is dictated by the Local Government Act and the Community Charter with no assigned roles to local councils for external affairs and world peace. Nor does it include control of shipping, approving pesticide or food security or even social welfare, childcare. Rightly or wrongly those are roles reserved to the province to provide for and particularly to pay for. It is fine to care about such things but that is not a task assigned to local officials nor to be added to our property tax burden.
Local council mandate is circumscribed and plebian ie: to provide roads, local parks, streetlights, water, sewer, emergency services. All of these cost money and require Council to manage budgets and make choices as to mix of operating and capital expenditures.
As we replace the esteemed Vic Derman who had passion for cycling and environmental issues; fellow councilors champion those causes possibly to detriment of other matters.
The GRCAC process is underway but preliminary results suggest a widespread concern by residents that Council is not spending enough time on matters that effect civic management and future of our community. Let us hope that we find some candidates whose personal mission to help Council to refocus on more critical matters of taxation, housing, planning processes and public service response.
However well intentioned we don’t need single-issue crusaders. Instead what is missing are pragmatic councilors who are focused on our needs for effective service delivery, the bottom line of tax burden and good accountable governance. Hopefully such candidates step forward.