‘Why it takes a labour disruption for residents to finally make their voices heard when we had an election not even a year ago, is beyond me,’ says letter writer

Bradford Today
Letter to the Editor
September 22, 2023

BradfordToday received the following letter about voting in municipal elections and why they are important.

It was this time last year when the Bradford municipal election was in full swing, and candidates were working hard trying earn the support of respective voters.

It was also this time last year, where I submitted a letter to the editor, calling on the residents of Bradford to get out and vote for the candidates they felt would best represent our town. It was in that letter where I mentioned that months prior the Ontario provincial election only saw 33 per cent of voter turnout. It was after seeing that statistic, I wanted to see the Town of Bradford and its residents step up and make their voices heard.

To say I was disappointed in the voter turnout in our municipal election last year is an understatement. Approximately 9,200 residents voted in a population of 42,880 (2022 statistics). With some variables such as voting age taken into consideration, only 28 per cent of Bradford residents voted. It is of my opinion that municipal government is the most important form of government we have. It’s where we see the most immediate results of our tax dollars.

All this brings me to the current labour disruption with regards to the library. Now I have my own opinions on the matter which I will not get into, but I will say this. For the last few months, we have seen tensions come to a boiling point, from council, to the workers and the residents.

Why it takes a labour disruption for residents to finally make their voices heard when we had an election not even a year ago, is beyond me. Last year, I asked a few individuals which candidates they were interested in getting to know during the election. The typical response became, “I’m just going to vote for this candidate, because I don’t know the other ones.” What a lazy response.

Last year, I said the town did a horrible job in its preparation for the election. I also went after the Bradford Board of Trade for hosting a “Meet the Candidate” event which wasn’t even a debate.

Today I’m going after the residents. Remember, only 28 per cent voted last year. That means the rest of you didn’t even bother or could care less. I feel for the Library Workers and what they are going through. They deserve to collectively bargain for their contract. I also know, that the mantra of this council has been to look after the taxpaying residents, given the current climate of our Economy. But from a big picture perspective, if this library strike was meant to give the residents of this town a shake and realize what the power of a casted ballot can do, then maybe, we will see this kind of involvement and drive in the next municipal election.

Andrew Sibbald