‘Why aren’t people excited about the future of their city?’: Former mayor questions electoral disinterest

Click to play video: 'Lack of interest ahead of the Regina municipal election'
Lack of interest ahead of the Regina municipal election
WATCH ABOVE: The first mayoral poll by Mainstreet has indicated many Regina voters are likely unaware an election is happening. There are a number of theories as to why people aren't engaged – Oct 14, 2016

Running for public office is a stressful, and even though Ward Six councillor Wade Murray isn’t seeking reelection, he frustrated. He’s frustrated because of the apparent lack of interest in the upcoming municipal election.

He said that more people should care because the issues affect Regina residents every day.

“It’s our asphalt, it’s our concrete, it’s our sewer lines, it’s or water lines. When you flush the toilet, that’s municipal politics at work,” Murray said.

“Because that goes some place. It was to be treated to the highest quality and put back in the environment.”

According to a recent Mainstreet poll, only 13 per cent of people in Regina closely follow municipal politics.

READ MORE: New poll reveals Michael Fougere is in lead for Regina Mayor

Former mayor Pat Fiacco learned a thing or two about engaging citizens during his four terms as mayor and said this is some of the lowest public engagement he’s ever seen.

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“Do they feel it doesn’t matter to them? Do they feel no one is listening? I can tell you council will listen,” Fiacco said.

Fiacco added that it isn’t just up to voters to get involved. The candidates for mayor and council have their own questions to answer.

“What has happened here? Why is it like this? Why aren’t people excited about the future of their city?” Fiacco pondered.

“The decision we make in the next couple of weeks in the ballot box is going to have an effect on us for the next four years.”

Fiacco said that something has to “trigger” people that gets them out to the polls. If things are going smoothly, then people get complacent and aren’t as interested.

Murray shares Fiacco’s concern that voters won’t turn out to the polls, and echoed the importance of getting out and voting on Oct. 26.

“If we don’t do that, then we’re missing out on our opportunity, and if you don’t vote you can’t complain,” Murray quipped.

The pollsters at Mainstreet believe the lack of engagement comes from a one-sided mayoral race.

In their findings, Michael Fougere has 41 per cent of the decided vote. His closest rival, Tony Fiacco, has nine per cent of the decided vote.

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“I have to say may be one of the calm, or to use another word, boring elections that we’ve seen in the past year,” David Valentin, the Mainstreet Research executive vice-president, said.

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