BC government is one of those which are better known as trouble creators rather than solvers and fixers. Over the last almost three years since Christy Clark become premier of this province positive things are that rare that even “handful” is too much to be use. But finally they managed to come with something positive, financially responsible and let’s say in one with other democratic institutions in Canada and all over the world. This week BC government announced that municipal terms would be extended from current three year to four year term as of this November when we will elect new or re-elect old representatives.
Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes says she plans to introduce legislation that will add an extra year to the terms of municipalities, regional districts, park and school boards, as well as the Islands Trust.
“My experience as a municipal councillor convinced me that to succeed in today’s complex world, local governments need enough time to plan and complete projects that build strong, inclusive communities. I’m confident this change, supported by UBCM and the task force, will help local governments continue to make B.C.’s communities great places to live and work,” Oakes said in a news release.
Four or five year terms are regular part of political environment in larger part of the world and accepted as probably the best way how to organize governmental institutions. Often first term mayors and councillors will spend fist year in learning about their new environment, second year will be used for planning and in third some of those plans might be implemented. With this new proposed term length elected officials will get another year to work and implement their plans on behalf of those who elected them.
When it comes to financial element of electoral process visible less money will be used on elections and that money in third year of term could and should be used to help citizens in community. Also planning and implementation of election process will become far less stressful and more organized as four year term opens more time for planning and execution of democracy at its best and that is through election of people representatives.
On the other side as Mayor of Surrey Dianne Watts said in first comments on proposed changes will present a bit bigger challenge to small or smaller communities. Large municipalities as half a million populated Surrey and Vancouver will have a very positive impact when this proposal is implemented later this year and over the next few years. It’s gonna be pretty hard to convince people in smaller communities to run for longer terms but let’s be hopeful that they would choose community and to work a bit longer to improve lives of their voters.