THUNDER BAY – EDITORIAL – It must be that maybe, just maybe, spring is in the air? For many people, spring is a time for clearing out the clutter, and making for a fresh start. For the fourth time in the past week, and tenth time in the past month, people are talking about making Thunder Bay a far better community. Now, this is not the usual talk. All of these people, none of whom are, as far as I know, connected are talking about the need to have new ideas, and fresh new faces at City Hall. Nor are any of these people attached to any of the usual groups who complain about City Hall, or what Councillors are doing.
These are people who are looking at where we are, where we are going, and seem to be feeling that there is a serious need for change. That kind of quiet discussion is unusual at this point in a civic mandate.
The last election was only six months ago.
Most of the incumbent Councillors were re-elected with fairly strong mandates.
If there was a loud voice for change, it came only at the top of City Hall and the election of Keith Hobbs as Mayor.
As Hobbs started his campaign for Mayor, few of the incumbents gave him any real chance of defeating who they saw as a very popular Mayor. The results in November were far different. If one were to view last November’s election as expressing a desire for change, perhaps right now what we are seeing are groups of people who are quietly talking with each other, and seeing Council as needing yet more change.
Perhaps widespread change.
Some of the discussion comes via young people in our community, some from seniors, and others from voices in Thunder Bay who are not the usual people who you might think.
Some of the change is likely to come from areas where people in the city feel that Council isn’t listening enough.
There doesn’t seem to be a commonality politically, people supporting all three federal and provincial parties are talking about the need for change.
From a point three and a half years from the next civic election, that such talk is already starting likely may not bode well for some incumbents. Already there is talk about replacing specific Councillors.
This could mark the start of something completely different for Thunder Bay.
If you look at the local political scene, over the past decade there are a number of long serving politicians. Now, to be blunt, the voters are always right, even when you don’t agree with the results. So those individuals who have been re-elected could simply decide to ignore the voices of change which are starting to bubble up and make their way into the community discussion. They were elected and in many cases as well-known individuals in our community with a track record on how they have served our community and region.
However, if the coffee shop talk leads to a growing desire for change, by the time civic voters are headed to the polls in three an a half years, that desire for change could bring forward a whole bunch of fresh faces and new ideas to city hall.
If you start seeing members of City Council start reaching out to our community and stepping up their communications over the coming years, you will likely know that they too are starting to hear the voices of change, and want to remain a part of the growing and emerging success in our region.
Perhaps the message right now might be for Councillors to consider that staying familiar and their usually safe paths, and working to keep Thunder Bay the way it is isn’t the best path forward for a city that is in major transition.
That of course is just my opinion, as always, your mileage may vary.