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Neil Godbout: Voter apathy? Not in Prince George!

The last time six people ran for mayor of Prince George was in 2011, three elections ago.

There has been plenty written over the past few years about voter apathy and a growing unwillingness for people to put their name forward to run for elected office.

Politicians have always had to put up with harassment from time to time but it does seem worse now than it was in years gone by.

Nevertheless, numerous candidates have stepped up to run for Prince George mayor, city council and school board.

The last time six people ran for mayor of Prince George was in 2011, three elections ago. In 2014 and 2018, just two people ran for mayor. There are 20 people running for the eight available spots at the city council table. Except for 2014, when 26 people ran for council, that’s the highest number of candidates since 2004.

It’s not the same elsewhere in the province. More than three dozen mayors in B.C. didn’t even have to run for re-election because no one challenged them, including Burnaby and Port Coquitlam.

In Valemount, they can’t even get enough people to run for village council.

Here in Prince George, there are plenty of options in terms of age, background, experience and perspective running for city council. Voter interest also seems to be high. Our election stories have been consistently popular on our website and they have also generated plenty of comments and letters to the editor.

Our dedicated page to the local election is up and running, a one-stop shop of candidate profiles and other election news. By the end of next week, we’ll have videos of the candidates each giving their short “elevator” speech – who they are and why they’re running. These videos are a partnership between the Citizen and our friends at the Prince George and District Community Arts Council and were filmed and produced in their digital studio.

We’ll also have full coverage of the various election forums coming up, including links to either watch live via Zoom or to see the video after the fact.

Lots of candidates, lots of choices, plenty of ways to get to know the candidates and the issues, and multiple opportunities to vote on and before Oct. 15.

Now’s your time to be heard, voters.

Editor-in-chief Neil Godbout