Our View: Democracy in B.C. lives

Just as the fight against global terrorism hasn’t ended because Osama bin Laden was exterminated, the opportunities for democracy to work its magic haven’t ended with the close of another federal election.

With little chance to take a deep breath and reflect on the new political landscape here and in Ottawa, Capital Region residents must now turn their attention to a couple of other pressing matters that will affect them.

One is the harmonized sales tax. The B.C. government is out to seal the deal. It’s using key ministers to facilitate phone-in “town hall” meetings for residents around the province, as a way to hear suggestions and opinions about the oft-maligned HST, and give its own justification for keeping the consumption tax intact.

The meetings have proven popular so far, showing that people around the province are engaged in the information-gathering process – and in democracy.

Even people who chose not to vote Monday will be affected by the collective decision made by the public on the future of the HST.

The other democratic action available to us is completing the 2011 Canadian census.

While everyone must answer the basic short-form census, one third of us will have to choose whether to answer Statistics Canada’s lengthier National Household Survey.

Before you think about turfing the NHS forms, remember that detailed data paints an important social and demographic picture of communities for planners, from the municipal level on up to the feds. That information goes a long way toward determining where money needs to be spent, on health care and public works infrastructure, and community amenities such as libraries.

Census data also helps the academic world contribute valuable research on demographic and social trends in our cities and towns.

Whether or not you voted Monday, remember that your opinion and contributions matter to us all.