Editor, The News:
On Oct. 31, I challenged myself to try to get interested in municipal politics.
We hear a lot of information about provincial and federal politics, but not enough information about Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows municipal politics. Because, let’s face it, to many people, politics is boring.
To me, it was that way of thinking until I had to take a mandatory politics course for my program at Douglas College. My instructor got us to think about two sides to a political story, and with using critical thinking skills, we realized what people are really saying. I challenged this thinking by trying it out on this election.
In class, we were to write a letter to a politician about an issue, and if we received a response back, then we had to share it with the rest of the class and use our critical thinking to realize what the politician was saying.
I decided to write to all 28 council Maple Ridge council candidates and the two mayoral candidates, asking all of them the same question: How are you going to appeal to the young voters like myself and why should I vote for you?
The response was amazing, and I thank everyone for that. So far I received 21 responses from council candidates and a response from Mayor Ernie Daykin.
While I will not share what the responses were, I will say that almost all of their messages were the same. We need to get young voters out there and vote.
Even if you are not completely interested in provincial and federal politics, the least people can do is vote for the change they want to see in this community.
This assignment changed my opinion about politics of it being boring and perhaps with help, I too could help young voters realize the same thing. All it takes is an email.
I challenge every young voter to get learn what these candidates has to offer to our community and to get out and vote on Nov. 19.
Douglas College Student
Get out and vote
Editor, The News:
My family moved to Maple Ridge 18 months ago and as a mom of three young kids, I made the rounds of various play groups and activities offered in Maple Ridge.
I asked other moms: where do you buy your children’s clothing and shoes?
Where are the best deals for diapers, wipes and baby food? Are there indoor play areas that are open on a weekend?”
The answers are always: ‘You have to either cross the border, or go across the Golden Ears Bridge to Langley, or drive out to Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, or Coquitlam to do your shopping.’
Immediately, I realized that Maple Ridge was not on the list of places to spend money. Often, the advice was preceded by a comment akin to, ‘There’s no real shopping here in Maple Ridge. You have to drive out of Maple Ridge to be able to afford stuff and get a good selection.’
I combined the mommy advice with topics discussed in our local papers and have concluded that it is widely agreed that: families with school-age children are the largest and fastest growing demographic in Maple Ridge; hard working families are spending a good chunk of their dispensable household income outside of Maple Ridge.
The ripple effect of these dollars leaving Maple Ridge is detrimental to our taxes and to our sense of confidence that our community is able to support our wants and needs.
So this message is for all the hard working families who want more for Maple Ridge: I know we want more shopping, more amenities, and I also want more of what you want. Without a doubt, my demographic holds great power and potential to effect change in our municipality.
Personally, I am going to vote in favour of candidates who represent progressive, positive and thoughtful change that reflects the needs of my profile – we are a working class family who loves Maple Ridge’s greenspace, but we also need to stretch our dollars as far as we can. We feel it is possible to strike a respectful compromise between greenspace and development.
I would love Maple Ridge’s taxpayers benefit from keeping spending local.
I urge my neighbours to cast votes that reflect this desire for change; however, if you disagree with me, then I am capable of agreeing to disagree. Just, please, get out there and vote.