I think elections should be treated like job interviews. If I were interviewing a candidate for a potential spot on my municipal council I would likely ask the following questions.
Please tell me about the moment when you decided to run for council?
So far, any regrets with throwing your name into the competition?
Let’s cover some broad themes.
1. Quality of life:
What will you do to keep this part of the world liveable?
How will you make this a place that can sustain jobs?
How can you make this a place that can support the needs of an aging community?
How will you balance the needs of tourists with the needs of seasonal residents?
If we have no say in how much we pay for policing will you at least advocate for the kind of policing we might want? Things like trail patrols and foot patrols?
Will you advocate for officers to get out from behind the tinted windows and walk through our communities, building trust and relationships?
(admittedly this is a leading question)
How will you communicate with your constituents?
How will you encourage more input and community engagement?
What do you think about social media? Do you think you should always be professional in what you publish – even when you’re not in a council meeting?
4. Municipal staff:
How will you ensure that you have a great team working to represent our community? How will you ensure that your municipal staff delivers exceptional customer service?
What are you doing to support the efforts of those who are working towards developing a biomass project in the area?
(again leading – but so important).
What will you do to ensure that we reduce duplication of services across the region? How can we ensure that we work well with Hastings County – but always in a way that meets our needs?
7. Animal welfare:
What are you willing to do to stop animals being chained outside? What are you willing to do to ensure that our cat population is controlled? How will you stop puppy mills and how can you help to stop the abuse caused by backyard breeders?
(the most leading but come on, have you been paying attention to this on-going crisis in the region?)
8. For the incumbents:
What is the most awesome thing that you achieved during your last term?
What is the biggest challenge for your municipality and what do you plan on doing about it?
10. Team work:
Give an example of how you work well as part of a team?
11. Reality checks:
Have you read the municipal asset management plan? Have you read the comprehensive zoning by-laws? How do you fact check?
12. My wants….
In Wollaston Township I want investment in roads crews to keep our roads safe so I can get to work.
I would like to see more kids walk to school. This means working harder on driving at the posted speeds which might mean some help from the police to deal with this on-going challenge. Sit on my porch for a few hours on a weekend and watch the vehicles fly by hitting awesome speeds in a 40kmh zone.
Would you be willing to turn off the street lights in the Hamlet at 11pm? I just don’t think we need lights on all night and no doubt it costs quite a bit.
Please do some work to ensure that our beautiful trails are shared between motorized and non-motorized users.
Please ensure that everyone will receive fair and courteous treatment from municipal representatives.
Get good at recognizing conflicts of interest and declare at the slightest hint of concern.
And hey, if you’re a candidate in Wollaston Township and you want to answer any of these questions I will publish your responses.