7,023 candidates stepped into the 2014 municipal government elections, rolling out their campaign strategies, policy platforms, signage (and that is a lot of signs!) and an even larger number of handshakes.

To everyone who decided to put their names forward, thank you for wanting to serve your communities.

For many, it had to have felt like a long distance run. Perhaps for some voters it also felt like a long distance run. We will await the final returns and look at what happened to voter turnout across Ontario and how alternative voting techniques may have had an influence.

For some candidates, the governing chapter of the journey begins the first week of December when members of council swear the Oath of Office. Contemplate the words, their meaning and your actions for the next four years.

Municipal governments are vitally important, perhaps the most important governing body when it comes to the daily lives of those living and working in your communities. Municipal councils do not have nearly the amount of authority that many citizens believe they hold, nor the financial resources. But that is an issue for another day.

What the people understand is that all three orders of government – federal, provincial and municipal are there to serve the people and the key to success is working together. This doesn’t mean total agreement on every matter. Respectful disagreement should not impede the ability to tackle the next items on anyone’s policy agenda. The same can be said about municipal councils and how they do business.

New councils will start their four year term in early December. There is much to know about municipal government. Council’s authority is directed by numerous laws and regulations, and often changing ones! Municipal staff is there to help. So too is AMO. You will hear more from us in the coming weeks about what we do, and what needs to be achieved. In the meantime, check out our councillor training programs – some are online and others are held across the province. Oh, and bookmark AMO’s website now.

Again, to all candidates, thank you for taking an interest in being a municipal government representative. It is also a time to thank municipal election staff officials who have an incredible responsibility to manage the election process. It is one of our treasured democratic processes. To all the new councils, AMO’s best wishes and watch how fast the next four years will go.

Pat Vanini
Executive Director, AMO