On Nov. 11, White Rock citizens lined the streets, attended church service and were present at White Rock’s Memorial to honour our veterans and Canada’s youth who gave up their lives so Canadians would have the right to elect their governments.
Four days later, two-thirds of White Rock citizens chose to ignore the blood these soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen gave – and decided not to take advantage of their right to vote.
In many parts of the world, people walk for days to vote; some vote even though there is a threat of death if they do.
To those who chose not to vote, you had a chance to elect someone of your choosing, so please don’t complain about the elected government until the next election.
The federal election is taking place in 2015, so let’s honour the fallen Canadian youth, veterans and serving members of Canada’s Armed Forces by every citizen voting.
Bill Cameron, White Rock
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I was very glad to see so many others lined up with me to vote in the Surrey civic election today.
As I’m writing this, it’s only 6:30 p.m., so I don’t know who was elected, but for the eight council and six school board seats, I’m sure our preferences as voters will be reflected in the results.
However, I don’t think that’s true for the mayor’s position.
With seven people running for mayor in our current ‘first past the post’ system, it’s conceivable that someone who got just a bit over one-seventh of the votes could become mayor. Of course that’s not likely, but if only four were running, the mayor could be elected by the votes of just over 25 per cent of the voters.
This doesn’t feel democratic, no matter who eventually wins the position.
Please, city council, can we adopt a preferential ballot voting system for all mayoral elections? That way, we voters could specify our first, second and third choices for the position, and, if our first choice candidate has the least number of votes, then our second choice candidate would get our vote – and so on, until one candidate has a majority of the votes.
Sixty per cent of B.C. voters voted in support of this transferable-vote method for provincial elections in 2009; it’s used in Ireland, Scotland, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and Iceland. Let’s do it this way in Surrey, too, and then we’d know that our mayor would always be the preference of a majority of Surrey voters.
Geoff Dean, Surrey
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While it is gratifying to see the voter turnout increase from 29 per cent in 2011 to 34 per cent in 2014, we still have a long ways to go to ensuring more of us fully exercise our much cherished democratic right to chose our leaders.
Although the citizens of White Rock have plainly spoken and chosen their elected leaders of our community for the next four years, all of whom I congratulate, I would remind the mayor and the elected members of the closely aligned White Rock Coalition that even with only about a third of all eligible White Rock voters choosing to vote, the total number of votes given to Baldwin and the six Coalition candidates were less than the total number given to the 12 independent candidates.
As just one individual of that majority of “other” voters, I would remind you, on behalf of the majority, that as you unveil to us your vision of our city, your thoughts and actions should be tempered to duly consider the interests of the majority of voters who chose not to give you their support at the ballot box.
Dennis Lypka, White Rock
(Editor’s note: Candidate Lypka finished seventh, one spot and 132 votes shy of the last elected councillor.)
Thoughts of having our landline phone removed in favour of using our cellular phones exclusively have been forefront in our minds, following the aggressive telephone campaign launched by our civic election candidates during the course of the last few weeks.
We had no less than four phone calls in a single day from Surrey mayoral candidate Doug McCallum’s enthusiastic campaign team, who would call as late as 8:30 p.m. Although his group was the worst offender, the rest hounded us by phone until we finally turned it off.
During the course of this election, we have been bombarded with billboards, radio and TV ads, newspaper ads, Facebook, Twitter and every other means of electronic communication available to these folks – and they still insist on invading our privacy with calls of solicitation by landline phone.
It is time for the FCC to extend their restrictions on robocalls to include market research or polling, and calls on behalf of tax-exempt non-profit groups, which include the mindless and annoying political messages from our local candidates during municipal elections.
Gordon Brow, Surrey
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On Friday, I received nine automated phone calls from either 778-300-1866 or 778-764-0022.
The first time my phone rang was 6:17 a.m.!
Now, I know that some of the ‘races’ were supposed to have been very close, but this setup is more than ridiculous – so, I will not support people whose workers interrupt my life the way these calls did on Friday.
You lost my vote.
Colin Lain, Surrey
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This has to be the most intrusive election in memory.
For years, the electorate has been asking politicians to end telemarketing, but the telecom companies are among the top-10 political donators to our politicians.
This year, to add insult to injury, the politicians themselves are using telemarketing to annoy the hell out of us. The protectors have become the attackers.
So here is the remedy. Before the next election rolls around, someone find out the poli’s home phone numbers and we will phone them at home with mindless robo-calls to make them quit phoning us.
A Leger poll in March 2005 found that politicians were the least respected of all professions.
Who, then, do they think they are going to convince with these obnoxious phone calls?
Let’s stamp this out before it becomes another nail in the coffin of democracy.
R.K. Grace, Surrey