Appointments OK in short mandates only

To the Expositor:

Way to go councilllor Adam McDonald and Reeve Gerry Strong for wanting to uphold the democratic rights of Sandfield residents and hold a by-election for the vacant councillor’s seat.

Kudos to Ted Taylor for stepping up to accept the challenge of being on the Central Manitoulin council. The problem is, who is Mr. Taylor? What is his position on new ice resurfacers, drainage ditches, dumps, dogs and taxes? Without a democratic election, who would know? Mr. Taylor might turn out to be a great councillor, but without a proper mandate from the people of Sandfield he is just an illegitimate councillor. Sure, the Municipal Act allows appointments in a non-election year, but keep in mind that this rule was passed when terms were only two years in duration. Now they are four-year terms and we have three of those years remaining. This is a long time to go without a properly elected representative. A lot can happen in three years. We would not even consider appointing a new federal or provincial member of parliament for any term, let alone one for three years. Should municipal politics be any less important?

As tax paying residents with genuine interests in the municipality, we should have the right to hear the candidates and vote for the one that strikes a chord with our values. While it may have been quick, easy and cheap to appoint a councillor, since when has democracy ever been quick, easy and cheap? Democracy is laborious, expensive and hard work, but it usually gets things right in the end. Let’s give our new councillor a real mandate and a pat on the back by electing him or her. It just might save us in the long run.

Steve Doane
Sandfield