Wednesday, 28 September 2016 15:22

Interesting times with Swift Current election

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It’s not even October yet and the Swift Current civic elections have proven to be interesting on so many levels.


Those citizens who love Swift Current, have a specific beef or agenda for that matter, or who are just political junkies, can’t help but be fascinated with this civic election.
Even with the last minute withdrawing of retired law enforcement officer Randy Patey, voters will be staring at a civic election ballot which features three choices for mayor and a whopping 18 choices for city council. Two-thirds of the choices on the ballot will be rejected which should mean an extremely tight race — razor thin tight. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that there will be a recount needed.
In one respect, it’s refreshing to see many people wanting to serve their community, either because they want to see change or because they like what’s going on and want to contribute to its success. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Consider that Swift Current has a population of 17,500, while in the Saskatchewan capital, Regina has a population of 224,000 people. Their civic election has five people running for mayor and 45 total in 10 separate wards. In comparison, Swift Current’s line-up is quite impressive.
A mixture of new candidates and returnees, there is a lot to consider.
While there are 18 candidates, what is noticeable is the fact Pat Friesen is the only woman to run for council. Friesen made her debut on council after being elected last term.
On the other hand of the three candidates running for mayor, two are women including Kathy Fraser and Maria Lewans.
It’s a little surprising to see that contrast in male-female ratio considering 2011 Stats Canada numbers show there are actually 9,020 females versus 8,515 males. What does that tell you?
The other things is that while anecdotal, it’s a little disconcerting how the election has started off rather personal. There have been social media attacks made by and towards candidates already which have created some firestorms. While ‘car-crash’ fascinating, it serves no one to have these kind of attacks. It is a small city after all and there are six degrees of separation when doing business or with personal relationships. After this election there could be some obvious awkwardness.
In other words, debate the issues, but the name calling is juvenile. Period.
No, it’s not quite “the good, bad and ugly” or Trump/Clinton, but it should be somewhat cause for at least people to stop and pause when they decide who to mark as their choices.
On the bright side, Swift Current residents are fortunate there are this many people wanting to serve. A lot of communities are probably envious of this kind of civic pride.
Subsequently, the onus should be on the voter to be informed about what the candidates views are and what they bring to the table. Yes, that’s a familiar refrain prior to any election, but if ever there was a time this rings true: voting for one mayor and six councillors spots with a total of 21 candidates should be reason enough.
The City of Swift Current has set up a website forvoters who have questions (i.e. when and where to vote) at http://www.swiftcurrent.ca/government/election-2016 so there should be no reason to miss out.
It is prudent citizens find out where the candidates stand on issues. If voters see them on the street somewhere or candidates have means for which to directly contact them, ask questions etc. Candidates should have websites, use social media such as twitter or allow emails.
If voters have an issue they are concerned about, now is the time to ask. If they don’t and these issues surface uncontested in the future, voters have only themselves to blame.
It’s time to put up or shut up: whether it’s a candidate or potential voter. Good luck to both.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor