Voting is the number one, bare minimum way to have your voice heard by government. (File photo)

Voting is the number one, bare minimum way to have your voice heard by government. (File photo)

Jocelyn’s Jottings: Want to make change? Here are some suggestions

As a citizen you have a voice, you just have to know who to talk to

Have you ever been unhappy with the government? Don’t like how things are going? Want something specific to change?

I don’t think storming the legislature or parliament will do you any good so here are some alternative suggestions.

First and foremost, participate in every election, municipal, school district, provincial, federal, byelections, all of them. And bring a friend.

Our party system and first-past-the-post elections here in Canada aren’t perfect, but your vote matters. In the 2020 provincial election the Liberal candidate for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky won by a measly 60 votes.

Province-wide, voter turnout was somewhere between 52 per cent and 55 per cent. Those uncast ballots could have made a big difference.

Want to do more? It depends what you want to get done as different levels of government handle different things, but a good place to air your grievances or share your ideas is with your representatives.

Talk to a city councillor, their contact information is available on the city’s website, if you are concerned about city issues such as bylaw enforcement, property taxes or sidewalks, among other things. Council is also able to make requests of the provincial government, like they did when requesting that Mt. Begbie be protected.

Worried about childcare, highways or health care? You should talk to your MLA. The MLA in Revelstoke Doug Clovechok.

He recently brought forward a petition from Revelstoke citizens requesting that Mt. Begbie be protected, a few months later the province issued a moratorium on recreational development in the area.

Not getting anywhere with him? Reach out to a neighbouring MLA who is a member of a different party or one who has spoken about your issue in the past. Find a list of the MLAs at leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members. You probably won’t be able to get through to a minister, but you might hear back from the critic.

Concerned about national parks, pipelines or criminal law among other things? You should reach out to the federal government, via your MP. Rob Morrison.

Warning, any change and/or discussion within government will take time. Meanwhile, look for people and organizations who would also be on board with your cause. They say that the squeaky wheel get’s the grease, but the government is a large vehicle with many wheels–the louder the squeaks are, the more likely they are to be heard.

Gather evidence that there is a large group asking for these changes, whether it be a petition, a letter writing campaign or other virtual means. Find experts that have evidence that support your cause. Find economists that can find how this change, though it might require investing in one area, would provide savings in another.

Another way to inform or recruit people is to amplify your voice. Take to social media. Stand on street corners, contact your media to do a story.

Things still moving too slowly? It might be time to disrupt the status quo. Plan a sit in. Plan a rally. Go on strike. We are privileged to live in a place where violence is not likely needed for our voices to be heard.

All of that still not working? It might be time to put your name on that ballot. Governance in Canada needs diversity.

Of course there is always the option of volunteering or working with organizations that address the issues, day-to-day, person-by-person, on the ground. You can change the world for one person and that is making a difference as well.


 

@JDoll_Revy
jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

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