Chilliwack Votes – Will This New Group Matter?

Chilliwack, BC – So here we go again. Another election (Federal) and another community group taking to social media to try and actually care about this election. During last years municipal election, Valley Votes popped up on Facebook to attempt to rally the raging masses.

It Failed.

Not because they were disorganized.

It was because the general population was, and still is, disinterested, and arguably disenfranchised.

Chilliwack City Councilor Sam Waddington has launched Chilliwack Votes on Facebook , with a website still in development. Again the exercise is to rally the troops aka YOU!

So tell us what you think? Here is their media release for their launch:

I’d like to take a minute to introduce you to a non-partisan initiative currently coming together in Chilliwack – Hope under the name Chilliwack Votes. Initially conceived in June, it has come together over the past two months to help in organizing and facilitating political debate in the coming federal election. Chilliwack Votes is not seeking to endorse any party or candidate; rather, we hope to work with each constituent and candidate to preserve the integrity of our democratic process. This is premised on a campaign that both educates and engages citizens in Chilliwack – Hope, and this campaign is the challenge we are undertaking.

Our letter of introduction to the candidates is included below and should provide some good information. The CPC, NDP, LPC, and Green Party candidates have already responded. The Libertarian Party candidate is being made aware of our initiative, and hopefully any independents will be included as well.

We are contacting you today as you are a stated candidate in the next federal election for the newly minted riding of Chilliwack – Hope. Please take a minute to review and consider the following.

Recently a few Chilliwack residents formed a non-partisan group named Chilliwack Votes. Our mission is:

“To inspire and engage both constituents and candidates, in a dialogue that speaks to the issues of Chilliwack-Hope.”

We have a three tiered approach in order to achieve our goal of increasing local voter turnout from 50%, Chilliwack – Fraser Canyon’s turnout in the last federal election, to 60%, the last federal elections national average. Those tiers are as follows:

A number of residents are not sure what their vote means or how our government works in terms of divisions of power and responsibility. By providing education we believe more people will be comfortable voting and will understand what they are voting for. This will be taken on by providing some basic civics refreshers, and by presenting weekly “Did you Know” tips (i.e. Did you know that the municipality is responsible for hiring and paying RCMP but the federal government is in charge of the rules and policies governing the RCMP).

Information on the candidates, from the candidates.

Local issues.  By raising local issues and having you the candidate comment on these issues, we will be able to demonstrate how you believe federal policy impacts local interests

We intend on sharing the above information through the following platforms:

Web Site

Social Media

Print Media

Radio

All Candidates meeting(s)

ChiliwackVotes.ca will be our primary means of sharing information. In order to properly inform residents on who you are and your stance on local issues, we are requesting your assistance with the following:

  1. Candidate Profiles. The web site will include a profile on each candidate. The attached questionnaire will be used in order to complete these profiles and ensure that residents can compare apples to apples when researching who to vote for. Each candidate’s questionnaire will be the same.
  1. Local issues. Starting in August and leading up to the election you will be emailed “Questions of the Week.” We will provide you a minimum of 5 days to provide an answer of no more than 150 words. These answers will be on the web site as well as in some print media. Your first question can be found attached. Again, each candidate’s question will be the same.

All candidates meetings are another avenue that we will be requesting your support in attending. As mentioned our goal is to engage the community.  These meetings are a crucial part of a process where constituents can meet candidates, and candidates can speak to the community. We will be in touch to discuss dates, formats and moderators for these events.

Please let us know of your intentions to participate in this process as early as possible. We hope to have your profile and first question complete on or before Sunday July 19th. Feel free to contact us if you have any concerns regarding our content, or our process; we are happy to work with you to best fulfill our stated intent of engaging both community and candidate. Thank you for your time, and we look forward to working with you.”

We intend on introducing our first Q&A in the second week of August, following the launch of our website. Our ‘Did You Know’ component will be done as needed, but will supplement the Q&A with contextual information. We invite you to use the information we will be making available in your own election coverage. We would ask that you notify us of any coverage we are included in so, we may direct those following us to your coverage.

If there are any other questions you have about our goals or our process, please feel free to follow up and we’ll address what we can. We are consistently available at chilliwackvotes@gmail.com; however, each member of our committee has contact information below and can be contacted directly. We would ask that initial request for comment be done through Sam Waddington, or via e-mail.

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