Right in the centre - Nominations closed


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

If the number of candidates for some positions is any indication, the demand for change is pretty high. There are way more candidates for council than there are seats in some communities.

In some places there are acclamations but in Neepawa there are enough candidates that the voters could replace the entire council. A number of towns and councils will see an election for sure.

There is a definite shift going in rural Manitoba and it is both welcomed and long overdue. Complacency is public enemy number one for progress and growth. It looks like complacency may be taking a back seat finally to a sense of purpose. We hear a lot of talk about and complaints about the need for change. In communities where there are elections, there are some younger people stepping forward.

I have been saying for years now that younger people need to step up into leadership roles for two good reasons. One is that older people sometimes retire or or just plain get tired. Sometimes they up and quit or even die off leaving a void. Without some younger people to take their place, communities lose stuff like organizations and institutions. Businesses, churches and organizations tend to wither if leadership doesn’t grow into place. The second reason young people need to get involved is that they will be paying for a council’s decisions, be they good or bad decisions, for a lot longer than the older generation. I am 70 and if you are 30, you are hopefully going to outlive me and be paying for your council’s decisions for a lot longer than I will likely be paying.

So now that nominations are closed, what are a person’s options. The most obvious is to pick a candidate and get behind them. Go door knocking with them. Help hand out leaflets. Donate some money as it costs money to run a campaign.

Aside from the election process, what else can be done? There are a lot of options and all are essential to a successful community. Gladstone is looking for help with the fall supper. So are most other communities. I bet there are lots of openings for people to clear tables or wash pots and pans.

There isn’t a church in the country that wouldn’t like to have more people involved. It has to be pretty discouraging for a church to look at the past 30 years and realize that attendance at funerals is a lot bigger than Sunday services. How come only dead people or grieving people need God?

There isn’t a hockey rink, curling rink, community hall or Legion that would turn down help is there?

We tend to focus on councillors, reeves and mayors as our leaders but there are far more leadership positions than that and never enough to fill the roles. 

It is a transition thing. Most councillors gained experience on a rink board or in a service club or chamber of commerce before they took the leap to politics. Don’t be complacent now that nominations have closed. There’s an election to run, there are other community jobs that are begging to be completed. What community can say they have enough of anything? We need more growth, more jobs, more housing, stronger churches, stronger service clubs. If you are of sound mind and body and are spending more than an hour a day in front of a TV or on Facebook, you are probably not contributing as much as you should be to life and community. Remember a lot more people rust out than burn out.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.