Personal Best: Making the right vote

Pat Black urges other seniors to get out and vote on Nov. 19 in B.C. civic election.

The municipal elections are less than a month away and we in Vernon have a long list of candidates to choose from. Eighteen people are running for six council spaces and three for the mayor’s office. Coldstream has two candidates for mayor and 12 for six council spaces. It will be tough to pick the people who can do the best job, but that is our responsibility and right as taxpayers and we will have to do the best we can to choose the best there is.

Some seniors on the Political Action Committee of the Seniors Action Network have prepared a list of questions to go to each candidate to make them aware of seniors’ issues and to see how they respond to the situations and if they care enough to respond. The answers will be graded and a report made available to seniors.

To assess how knowledgeable the candidates are about city matters, the committee asked them about their awareness of the recently completed North Okanagan Regional Growth Strategy, the Age-Friendly Communities Initiative and the Vernon City Centre Downtown Neighbourhood Plan. Another question concerned the increasing growth in our senior and disabled populations and accessibility to services. Although health services come under provincial jurisdiction, our current council has gone on record supporting many health issues such as more beds at VJH and having more doctors move to our area so the question becomes does the candidate agree that municipal council should continue to support community health issues. The last question dealt with cuts by Interior Health for medical transportation to seniors with low incomes and how they would resolve this issue.

There are many concerns for all of us. We need to choose those people who have good minds and good hearts as well as a firm grasp of the financial situation and we all need to ask the right questions. There will be opportunities to ask those questions at all-candidates meetings, in the next few weeks so make sure you get to one. Check your newspaper for the dates, and the next one I know about is the Environmental All Candidates Forum on Oct. 27 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. at Schubert Centre.

One of the great gifts we have in this community is Community Kitchens, which has been cooking up good food at low cost for the last 20 years for anyone who wants to learn how to cook and eat healthy meals on a low income. Participants include young people, young parents, seniors, people with disabilities and anyone who wants better food at a better cost. The program teaches everything from preparing basic ingredients through measuring and completing a recipe and using readily available ingredients like fruit and vegetables in season from our own area. Community Kitchens has one for seniors as well as one for young mothers. Dates of upcoming Kitchens in Vernon are Nov. 3, 4 and Dec. 8, 9. To reserve a spot call Kris at 250-542-3089. For Kitchens in other communities call: Enderby, Sandy at 838-2288;  Armstrong, Lisa at 546-2555; Lumby, Joy at 547-2461; Cherryville, Kim at 547-2463.

If you have any comments or questions, contact me at 250-542-7928 or e-mail blackmail1@telus.net