Ward 9 voters and amalgamation

Doorstep debate as we canvas Ward 9 neighbourhoods includes the subject of amalgamation.

A question about the issue will be on the October 25 ballot. The question will not request a yes or no answer on amalgamation but will ask if voters support further debate about annexing Kitchener and Waterloo.

As I have already written in one of my Waterloo Region Record opinion columns (TheRecord.com) I’m against amalgamation because I’ve always been skeptical about larger, more autocratic forms of government that distance voters from elected representatives. At the same time, I support municipalities finding ways to share services, increase efficiency and save taxpayer dollars.

I find the debate about amalgamation somewhat ironic because it surfaces at the very time Kitchener council has decided to improve voter access to municipal decisions by increasing its membership from six to 10 councillors. Hopefully that overdue move will make councillors more accountable to voters.

I also worry we might have another depressingly low voter turnout this election. It dropped to 25 per cent in 2006 and, if that’s repeated and we have 51 per cent of voters of that total deciding we should discuss amalgamation, a very small number of residents will determine a very important decision.

It also worries me that non-elected business lobbyists are pushing hard for amalgamation.

Too bad they don’t invest similar energy into ways to improve voter turnout.

This entry was posted in Amalgamation, Voter Turnout. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ward 9 voters and amalgamation

  1. Darleen Witmer says:

    Could you please explain for a person not understanding political organization – why you think that amalgamation will distant the voters from elected representatives? Will not the additional councillors still not be the first contact point?
    Maybe if I understand the duties of the mayor, I can make a better decision. Will one mayor be next to impossible for one person to manage?
    I myself don’t mind two mayors if they are working jointly together, which I suspect that they should be in the regional government.
    It would possibly be quite a nightmare to attempt to create one city between Kitchener and Waterloo at this point, with all things now being separate – hydro, taxes, street planning, and even different bylaws. I would appreciate the services being co-owned and managed across the region, which should be cost effective, but leaving the people managing the same. I think that is the idea of regional government, but I have not seen too much evidence of cost savings – but you can correct me if I am out to lunch.
    If we vote to continue the debate – then what? Will the Regional government elected choose the direction, or will there be a separate vote for yay or nay ?

    As far as how to get the voters out to vote – what are the methods being used for the campaign to get some excitement going? Events at schools, universities, job sites? Social Media campaigns? Contests? Party in Victoria Park?

    How do we get voters out to vote?

  2. Darleen Witmer says:

    So .. if we are opposed to amalgamation – making Kitchener and Waterloo one city – we should vote NO to further debate?
    This will allow for the regional government to continue finding ways of efficiency with all entities remaining intact as is?

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