Star columnist Royson James took a break from bashing Toronto Mayor David Miller today.
In a thoughtful piece he suggests ways to create more excitement in municipal election races. (James' column can be found at www.thestar.ca.)
He's got some good ideas like expanding who can vote, promoting diversity etc. Other notions such as term limits and the creation of an independent election office are well intended but not practical.
Giving non-incumbents a chance is James' most significant point. Heh, I should know I'm an incumbent - sort of.
Here is my contribution. Why don't we send Toronto politicians and staff on fact finding trips to small municipalities to see how those guys manage elections. OK, they've got incumbents out in the 905 who have been around far too long but some, like mine, have already initiated reforms to "level the playing field."
Burlington, for example, eliminated Councillor references in Ward newsletters after March 31st. Politician's websites are cleaned up of that self promoting bombast early in election year as well.
Do municipalities do enough to promote the importance of voting?
James argues that Toronto doesn't.
However, a quick check of some small town and city websites shows me that info is easy to find. Newmarket, for one, encourages you to vote and tells you why it is important. (See www.town.newmarket.on.ca.)
On second thought maybe that fact finding trip can be simplified. Do it on the web. Toronto could learn a thing or two.