Why does a person run for municipal office?

The Samara Centre for Democracy is a non-partisan charity dedicated to strengthening Canada’s democracy. In 2020, it conducted its first Canadian Municipal Barometer survey, which was sent to mayors and councillors in the more than 400 municipalities across Canada.

Divided into five specific sections, the 26-page report uses plain language and well designed infographics.

In the section entitled “Where do local leaders come from?”, we learn that most local politicians surveyed suggest that their path to politics began, or was aided by, experience in community associations.

What motivates a person to enter local politics?

An overriding theme of responses was that politics was simply a way to give back to a community in which representatives were already heavily engaged. The majority of answers (58%) mention the importance of public service, community involvement, or making changes generally, on specific issues, or in leadership.

The next municipal election is in 2022. Let us raise our voices, let’s connect with each other and be instrumental in inspiring and encouraging progressive and civil society leaders from all walks of life to consider running for mayor or councillor.

Many respondents were recruited, or received encouragement to run. Overwhelmingly, local politicians themselves cite their interest in public service and the well-being of their communities as the key motivators for seeking office at the municipal level.

2020 Locally Grown: A survey of municipal politicians in Canada

Author: New Charlottetown Project

Barbara Dylla has lived in Charlottetown since 2017. The aim of this blog is to inspire and encourage Charlottetowners to become more active citizens, so that together we create a sense of the larger community we live in, and to let the Mayor and City Council know that our voices count in plans and projects that affect our city.

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