July 19, 2018 | ° F

Democracy, choice, second ballot offers that

For months now we have been hearing a slew of key points and buzzwords from Empower Our Neighborhoods about the upcoming ballot question asking to divide the city into wards: "representation," "democracy," "will of the people," "empowerment," "diversity," and, of course, "change." These are things that all governments should embody.

But EON is trying to take the second ballot question to expand the council to seven members elected at-large — the one for which Unite New Brunswick gathered over 1,000 signatures — off of the ballot. It looks like change, according to them, is a one-way street.

The way to promote democracy is to allow the voters to choose. The second ballot question gives us an option rather than handcuffing us to only EON's option to change the city council.

It is hypocritical for EON to demand change but then deny the will of so many residents of New Brunswick just because it does not suit their agenda. Both UNB and EON recognize the crucial need to adapt our system of council to reflect the changes in our city. Yet this needs to be left to the voters and, as EON might suggest, the will of our community.

The 1,000-plus signatures collected by city residents and students such as myself are a strong indication that the residents want to be able to choose in November. Removing the second question would leave the voters of New Brunswick at a distinct and unfair disadvantage. Allow the residents of this city a real democratic "change" — let them choose the type of representation they want.

Jaimie Goldstein is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science. She is also an active member of Unite New Brunswick.



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