KEEPING YOU INFORMED — ELECTION 2022
WHY THE MUSKOKA RATEPAYERS’ ASSOCIATION DOES NOT ENDORSE CANDIDATES FOR ELECTED OFFICE?
- The Muskoka Ratepayers’ Association (MRA) attends over 200 council and committee meetings during a typical four year election cycle. Our monthly Township Watch provide an objective synopsis of the key items discussed at each meeting. Any opinions/editorial comments are specifically highlighted and noted. In addition, we provide members with copies of our written communications to Township Staff and Council that provide the MRA’s feedback on issues that impact our members i.e. Annual Budgets, Official Plan updates, new or amended By-Laws etc. With the huge reduction in local press coverage the MRA also provides our members with an overview of District of Muskoka activities and other issues that the MRA believes are of importance to our membership.
- Every four years the MRA organizes a public All Candidates Meeting, usually in the Port Carling Community Centre, approximately a month before the Municipal Election. Every candidate is provided an opportunity to briefly outline their past experience, positions on key issues facing the township and what they hope to accomplish over the next four years. The audience is provided with an opportunity to mingle with the candidates and to submit written questions that our panel reviews and poses to the candidates. In addition, all candidates will be given a series of questions that solicit their position on a number of local issues. The verbatim responses to the questions are emailed to our membership and posted on our website in advance of the election.
- The MRA believes that voting decisions are the personal and private choice for each of our members. The MRA does our best to provide factual information that allows each member to make informed electoral decisions, based on objective information weighed by each member in conjunction with their own beliefs.
- The MRA tries to select a Board of Directors who have a wide range of interests and skills that reflect the overall best interests of our community at large. We are not a one issue or NIMBY organization. We believe all candidates for elected office need to fairly represent their constituents on every issue without expressing favouritism to any individual, organization or association.
- The MRA believes that candidates for elected office who are recruited, endorsed and often financially supported by any individual or group with issues and agendas to advance, could compromise their objectivity to their constituents. How does a councillor vote, if the position of an organization that supported them is at odds with the vast majority of their constituents?
- The track record of council members running for re-election is often well known, but new candidates could be gems or otherwise. The MRA believes this further complicates any objective endorsement of a candidate.
- Should an organization(s) endorse a slate of candidates, or even a slate of candidates for every position on a council, it could raise the obvious question; is this that “Organization’s Council” or a council that is working for the best interests of the community at large. An Organization’s Council in our opinion could be reluctant to consider positions at variance to the organization’s position. Council debate could be stifled and non-organization members in the community could be under-served and even discriminated against. This could become an elite minority ruling over the majority.
The MRA has debated this issue over many election cycles and we still believe, that in a true democracy our membership and the community at large is best served with factual unbiased information and each individual’s ability to weigh that information with their own political views to select their candidates. Having others conduct this process for you, defeats a major tenet of any democracy.
All Candidates Meeting
Saturday September 24th at 10am
Port Carling Community Centre.