OUR VIEW: This byelection is an important one

Consider this a robo call.

A robo call that doesn’t tell you who to vote for, but one that simply urges you to vote on June 11.

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Byelections are often the orphaned children of politics. And a school board byelection is probably the loneliest of the lot.

Considering how incredibly important education is – not only to parents and students, but all of us. Considering that our school district is facing enormous issues – the most glaring one being the need for a new high school – this is a very important election.

While the province has in many ways put financial handcuffs on school districts, school trustees still have a huge amount of responsibility for local education. Take Tuesday night’s school district meeting where trustees considered shuffling school maintenance workers (janitors, as they used to be called) off of day shifts.This can have quite an impact in schools.One staffing move can have a ripple effect for good or bad.

School trustees who care about kids and education and bring skills and experience in all sorts of areas to the position are essential to a student population’s well-being.

And it’s not an easy job.

Emotions run high, and it’s hard to make decisions when you know that not only can’t you please everyone but that the best outcome you can hope for will be one your decision doesn’t hurt everybody.

Voters in this byelection are fortunate. They have a choice between two fine individuals.

Odds are probably on the labour council-backed candidate – but that could backfire.

The New West mayor and other labour-endorsed politicos have been part of a robo-call campaign urging residents to vote for the labour-endorsed candidate.

Folks are leery about having provincial party politics played out on local councils or boards. One only has to look at Burnaby to see what a one-party government has done to transparency and citizen involvement. And many feel that the mayor shouldn’t be trying to influence school board politics. Certainly, when he was a fellow candidate running on council, it was different. But now he’s in the mayor’s chair, and voters may balk at having him throw the weight of his office behind any candidate.

But we suspect the majority of voters will simply shrug and see it as politics as usual. And they could very well be correct.

No matter how you lean, if you lean at all, please learn about the candidates and make sure you do your democratic duty on June 11.

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