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Bruce Cameron, a Black press columnist who’s been a pollster and a strategist for more than 35 years, working for Gallup, Decima and Angus Reid before founding his own consultancy, Return on Insight, discusses the results of the B.C. municipal elections.
“There are a lot of factors that go into turnout, it’s difficult to say exactly in some instances,” Cameron told host Peter McCully. “The turnout is expected to go up when you have a very hotly contested mayoralty race. In races that I’ve worked on elsewhere in Alberta, in Edmonton and in Calgary, whenever there’s an open mayor’s seat, the turnout typically goes up, but there, the turnout rate for local elections is often around 30 per cent. Doesn’t even hit close to 40 per cent, which it has here.’
Typically, homeowners tend to vote in higher proportions than renters, they pay property tax and they may have been there longer as well, because often people will rent when they’re first coming into a community.
Cameron was asked what was the solution to increasing the turnout for local elections.
‘I really think though that the longterm one that’s not as sexy but that may yield positive results is to raise the awareness of the role of local government on a consistent basis in the schools and in public campaigns,” he said. “That would be maybe a group like Civic Info B.C. that collate and analyze election results. Doing public service announcements about the difference between local governments, what local governments do, and how you can get involved.’
A longtime Alberta and B.C. pollster and strategist, Cameron was asked about Alberta’s new leader and her route to the premier’s office.
‘The problem that Danielle Smith has is that she ran so far to the right to gain the leadership position that it’s going to be tough to tack back to the middle, to actually be elected by the majority of Albertans. Even though Alberta’s reputation is a very far-right province, in Calgary and Edmonton, the politics are quite mixed.
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