Municipal elections time looms

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The first contestants enter race for mayoral battle in Cornwall

They’re off and running. The first would-be mayors have put their names forward for the upcoming municipal elections.

Elections in all municipalities, including P.E.I.’s “Big Four” communities — Charlottetown, Summerside, Cornwall and Stratford — will be held this Nov. 3. And two people who want to lead Cornwall town council made their bids official last week.

Deputy Mayor Corey Frizzell and Coun. Marlene Hunt are seeking to take over from Mayor Glen (Barney) Fullerton who has indicated he will not be seeking another term.

Ms. Hunt told The Guardian her platform supports public transit, environmental initiatives and walking and biking trails.

For his part, Mr. Frizzell said he is also supportive of environmental sustainability but that doesn’t go as far as paying for an underused bus system. He also indicated safety is a key component of his platform.

So it appears Cornwall has a choice. And there is still some time for others to join that race. Stratford had a similar choice the last time around, when its incumbent mayor stepped aside and rookie David Dunphy was voted in.

Voters in Charlottetown and Summerside, meanwhile, have not had much of a race in recent elections.

Mayor Clifford Lee is wrapping up his third term leading the capital city, while Mayor Basil Stewart has been at the helm of the Good Ship Summerside since 1985.

Both men were in three-way races in 2010 and won with more votes than their opponents combined.

The incumbents’ big wins could indicate the cities’ residents are happy, overall, with the way their councils are being run. It could mean that, even if they’re not happy, citizens didn’t see anyone else on the ballot who could do a better job.

Voter turnout at P.E.I.’s municipal elections comes nowhere near to the enthusiasm for marking an X evident at the provincial and federal voting days. In 2010, about 58 per cent of eligible voters took the time to cast their ballots.

Municipal election campaigns don’t feature TV attack ads or nominating conventions attracting hundreds of the party faithful. They don’t feature political parties at all. But the issues these men and women are entrusted with are important.

It’s encouraging to see Cornwall begin the process this early; we expect to see more citizens in the Big Four and elsewhere stand for election.

 

Welcome to P.E.I., Brooklyn

 

A hearty round of applause goes out to four P.E.I. groups which have pooled their resources to ensure Brooklyn Mavis gets her trip to P.E.I. after all. Many will recall how the 15-year-old Mission, B.C., teen was left behind while her classmates made a school exchange trip to P.E.I. in mid-May. Brooklyn has autism and epilepsy, which apparently identified her as a problem for trip organizers. Sadly, the blame was placed on Brooklyn and her mother with demands for an apology for going public. In the end, Brooklyn said she didn’t want to make the trip east. It was inconvenient to accommodate Brooklyn here so she became expendable. Brooklyn was left home in tears. It was inexcusable.

But happily, generous and concerned Islanders have come to the rescue. The Autism Society of P.E.I., Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club, the City of Charlottetown and the Stars for Life Foundation have stepped forward to ensure P.E.I. continues a proud tradition of being welcoming and inclusive to all people and not let this unfortunate blip brand the province unfairly. They have reached out to Brooklyn’s family about an all-expenses paid trip to P.E.I. next month. Let’s hope this mid-summer holiday makes amends for the unfortunate mistakes made earlier this year.

Organizations: Cornwall town council, Good Ship Summerside, Autism Society Parkdale Sherwood Lions Club Life Foundation

Geographic location: P.E.I., Cornwall, Charlottetown Summerside Brooklyn

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