The municipal elections in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows were good for democracy.
Voter turnout was up in both cities, about two per cent in the latter and six per cent in the former.
Across the province, voter turnout was up four per cent.
So why the increases? What was happening this time that ignited voters who skipped the 2011 election?
For one, there were two exciting races here for mayor.
In Maple Ridge, political newcomer Nicole Read defeated two incumbents to become mayor.
In Pitt Meadows, John Becker, who failed in his bid to become mayor in 2011, was successful this time, edging Michael Hayes.
Each campaign was also highlighted by definitive issues, such as taxation in Pitt Meadows and sprawl in Maple Ridge.
Other issues, such as transparency, crime and homelessness, were also key.
Read was quick to credit social media for part of her success, although other candidates who used sites such as Facebook weren’t as successful.
Becker and his team’s approach also proved successful, as did the slate for school board.
Whatever the reason, more people participated in exercising their democratic right to vote.
We hope they continue to show an interest in municipal politics, and have a say in the policies that govern both cities.
Voters wanted change and they got it, in both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
All the candidates deserve our thanks for having the courage to stand for election.
We can only hope now that, for the next four years, those who were elected keep listening, that they focus on what they can agree on, not what they can’t.
And for those who weren’t elected, don’t go away.
Democracy works best when more people are involved, as we just saw.
– The News