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万锦候选议员人满为患

Markham voters face challenges to weed out incompetence

随着一群候选人竞相角逐寥寥可数的几个令人垂涎的市议员席位,万锦市似乎变成了一个政治温床。但是候选人数量迅速增加是否能够重整市议会,从而更好地服务于万锦市居民?由于候选人的资历和业绩存在很大差距,选民必须先作大量功课,才能挑选出最能代表他们利益的候选人。

The city of Markham seems to have become a political hotbed as a flock of candidates are contending for the few coveted councillor seats. But will the rapid expansion of candidacy result in reshaping the council that can better serve the Markham residents? As large gaps exist in candidates’ qualifications and proven track records, Markham voters face touch challenges to weed out the incompetent candidates.

                      

现在似乎人人都想参加市政选举。今年万锦市的市政选举候选人数量就出现大幅增加,登记参选的候选人数量创下该市历史之最。民众对市政选举热情高涨,通常是源于市府管理不善,以及市府运作,包括万锦冰球场争端被曝光。偶然这会导致市议会发生彻底改变,市议员全部变成了新面孔。但更多时候这只会导致市议会出现大换血,那些最强、最睿智、最勤奋、最能代表选民利益、并且正直诚信的市议员将会在选举中获得连任,而其余市议员则会被淘汰。

It seems like everyone wants to run in municipal elections these days. The City of Markham has experienced a proliferation of election candidates this year. There are more registered candidates than ever in the municipality’s election history. Increased interest at the municipal level is often sparked by the exposure of mismanagement at the city, as what happened with the arena issue. Occasionally it can lead to a complete change of Council with all new council members. More often there's a big shake-up on Council, with the best, brightest, and most qualified councillors re-elected while the rest fall by the wayside.

人们进入政坛的原因各不相同。有些人本无意成为市议员,但却因为支持或反对某一个问题,进而认识到还有其他许多令他们感兴趣的问题。他们因此开始通过接触不同组织,参加市议会、委员会及公开会议积极投身社区,不断研究和理解相关问题,并参与各种代表团。在经过数年的努力后,很显然他们能给市议会带来更大改观。

 

People enter the political arena for very different reasons. Some have no intention of becoming a councillor but are drawn in by supporting or opposing a particular issue, only to realize there are many other issues they are interested in. They become actively involved in the community through different organizations, attend Council, committee and public meetings. They conduct research and understand the issues, and participate with deputations and delegations. After several years it becomes obvious they can make a far bigger difference on Council than in front of Council.

另一群候选人则是伪装者和机会主义者。他们甚至连议会会议厅什么样都不知道!一些地方市议员候选人甚至不了解可以追溯至1794年的万锦市最古老的地区之一,央街以东的康山地区属于万锦市。一些地区的候选人根本不清楚约克区议会(York Region Council)代表哪些市镇,他们说不出这些市镇的名字,也无法区分地区和市政问题,此外他们对地区的预算赤字和债务规模也一无所知。但尽管如此,他们仍然决定参选。

Another group of candidates are pretenders and opportunists. They have never even seen the inside of Council Chamber! Some local councillor candidates don't even know that one of the oldest parts of Markham dating back to 1794 -- Thornhill east of Yonge is part of Markham. Some regional candidates have no idea which municipalities are represented on York Region Council. They cannot name them,nor can they distinguish between regional and municipal issues. They even have no idea of the size of the Region’s budget deficit and debt. Nevertheless, they throw their name in the hat.

还有一些人则说服自己和他人相信他们可以通过自己的专业技能吸引选票,例如媒体主持人、医生和其他学术界专业人士等。其他一些候选人则指望通过选民对其已故亲人的模糊记忆吸引选票,而另一些人则希望通过特定主张获得选票。一些人从某一特定文化背景拉选票,而另一些缺乏官方语言沟通技能的候选人则只在他们各自社区圈内拉票。他们当中有许多人从未积极参与市政事务或社区服务,也不清楚主要的争议问题是什么,更不用说他们所持的立场了;此外,他们也不清楚需要了解哪些常识,掌握哪些管理技能,并缺乏所需的领导共识和商业悟性。

 

Some, such as media broadcasters, medical doctors, and those with academia credentials, convince themselves and others that they can attract votes through their professions alone. Others run on a family name counting on voters with faded memories of departed loved ones, whilst others are one issue candidates. Some hope to get the votes of particular cultural groups whilst others, lacking in official language communication skills are limited to running in enclaves of their own heritage. Many of them have never demonstrated active participation in municipal affairs or community service, have known little if anything of the major controversial issues, let alone take a position on them. They do not realize the breadth of common knowledge and lack managerial skills, consensus leadership, and business savvy required.

在许多候选人的心里,担任市议员仍是一份“兼职”工作。他们并没有认识到市议员需要参与委员会的大量工作,并且要参加各种会议和活动。和省府以及联邦政府不同的是,在市府并没有各政党研究人员组成的立场明确的支持团队,因此市议员必须在每个问题上独立确定自己的立场,如果他们站错边可能会令人尴尬,并因此流失选票。每个市议员配有一个行政助理,但他们还负责处理选民的要求和投诉。因此,市议员必须作自己的研究,或是依照市长手下工作人员的建议行事。

In the minds of many candidates, “sitting” on Council is still a “part-time” job. Little do they realise that there are a myriad of committees to sit on and meetings and functions to attend. Unlike the other two levels of provincial and federal government, there are no supporting teams of researchers from political parties with established positions ready to present. Councillors have to determine their own positions independently on every single issue and it can be embarrassing if they misunderstand and end up on the wrong side of a vote. Council members each have one executive assistant who also has to deal with constituents’ requests and complaints. Consequently councillors have to do their own research or depend on the recommendations of staff as directed by the mayor.

 

万锦市民应该得到最好的代言人。但挑选最佳候选人对选民来说是艰巨的任务。候选人越多,选民就越难做出决定。由于在此次选举中有太多候选人,选民将不得不在竞选初期就开始将其分类,尤其是那些地区候选人。他们必须继续保留有才华的现任者,并剔除不合格的就任者。他们必须从新的候选人中选出具有适当的资质,并且在参与地方问题方面有良好记录的候选人。评估候选人地方问题参与性的最简单方法之一,就是在谷歌上搜索他们的名字。虽然在网上并不可能找到所有的活动,但是有一些活动仍然有迹可循,如果一个候选人在许多活动中都会出现,而另一个却很少提及,那谁积极谁不积极可以一目了然。另一个方法是参加一或两次市议会会议,在会后与一些听众进行交谈,尤其是那些进了某项代表团的成员。

Markham residents deserve to be represented by the best. Voters have the difficult task of selecting the best candidates. The more candidates there are, the more difficult the decision becomes. For this election, as there are so many candidates, voters will have to start sorting through them early, especially the regional candidates. They must retain the capable incumbents and discard the inept ones. They have to select from the new candidates, those with appropriate credentials and a proven track record of participation in local issues. One of the easiest ways of assessing how active a candidate has been in local issues is to Google their name. Not all activities find their way online but some do. If one candidate has pages and pages of relevant references while another has very few, it's a good indication of who has been active and who hasn't. Another way is to attend a Council meeting or two, and talk to people who were in the audience after the meeting, especially those making deputations.

 

仔细看一看家里的选举明信片,看看某个候选人是致力于解决难题或富有争议的问题,还是都是类似支持一所大学,支持改善交通,支持建造更多的公园等寻常问题。在相关的网站上是提供了更多细节,还是只有一张照片加上和卡片上相同的信息? 与此同时还要看看网站上是否提供了太多细节,因为根本没有必要对万锦市府网站进行重写。如此行事的人判断力很差,因为他们无法区分哪些问题是争议的重点,哪些问题重要,以及哪些问题与竞选息息相关。此外,这些候选人是否谈论过自己及自己的信仰?他们是否说过自己诚实可信?他们是否说过自己信奉诚信、透明度和问责制?

Take a close look at the election postcards that are dropped off at home. Does the candidate tackle the difficult or controversial issues or only address all motherhood issues such as building a university, better transit, or more parks. Is more detail provided on a website or is there just a photo with the same information as the card? Is there too much detail on the website?There's no point in rewriting the City of Markham website. People who do that have very poor judgement because they cannot distinguish between what is at issue and what isn't, what is important and what isn't, what is relevant in an election and what isn't. Do the candidates talk about themselves?What they believe in?Do they avoid personal attributes? Do they say they are honest and truthful? Do they say they believe in integrity, transparency and accountability?  

 

那么,拥有更多候选人是好事么?难说。但有更多人有兴趣担任市议员,并且市议员候选人数量远远超过市长候选人数量无疑是很棒的事情,迄今为止万锦市市长候选人只有一人,选民因此别无选择。但是候选人太多,显然也需要选民作更多工作,他们必需通过列表将候选人分类,而更加困难的是要从中挑选出最佳并其胜算更大的候选人,因为选票会被太多候选人瓜分。但可以肯定的一件事是,我们现在都需要作足功课,以便能够尽早挑选出最佳候选人。

So, is it better to have more candidates to choose from? I'm not so sure. It's great that more people are interested in serving on Council, comparing to only one candidate for the mayor, leaving voters having no choices. But there is definitely more work for voters to sort through the lists and select the qualified candidates as the votesare split between too many candidates. One thing is for sure we all need to do our homework on the candidates this time around, so check them out good and early.

 

人们可以通过选举识别伪装者和机会主义者。错误的选择将意味着选民又会浪费四年时间,失去可以提高生活质量的机会。

Election is an exercise to identify the pretenders and opportunist. Making the wrong choice will mean another four years of wasted time and a lost opportunity to improve the Quality of life for the voters.

 

 

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