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Good opportunity to get involved

People can make a difference in their communities. They can even get directly involved by participating in municipal politics.

That's the message a university professor will present to eager citizens in a series of workshops across the province in coming months.

Jack Novack, professor and program director of public sector programs at Dalhousie University, says in addition to helping voters, the sessions are for those considering running for their local council. Municipal election across the province will be held this October.

He'll be in Pictou County Wednesday, 6 p.m., at the NSCC Pictou Campus in Stellarton. A Truro session is being held June 23 at the NSCC Truro campus, and one is planned for Amherst, June 15, at the Cumberland campus.

Those who want to participate can contact Shelby Lang at 902-494-7459 or visit www.ns-municipal-elections.ca.

Municipal politics has had a lacklustre following in recent years - oddly enough, since it has such a direct impact. Those members on town and county councils are making decisions about how to spend tax money and about changes to the community that affect day-to-day life.

Yet voter turnout for the last set of elections was just around 42 per cent. As for candidates, in many cases there is no race: some of those running - mayors included - get in by acclamation.

Consider some ongoing issues: in Pictou County, for example, plans for a governance study fell by the wayside due to uneven support from various councils. A grassroots group has since been pushing to see that it is addressed by candidates during the upcoming elections.

Novack would like to see people have a more thoughtful appraisal of what municipal politics is all about and see it not merely as something that serves them, but a democratic body they can be a part of. He also says most can find a time in their life when they can contribute to their community in such a way.

There's never been a better time to find out how that can happen.

 

Organizations: Dalhousie University, Cumberland

Geographic location: Pictou County, Stellarton, Amherst

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