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Loud message sent by those who went to the polls

Posted on October 25, 2013 by Taber Times

It does not exactly take a political scientist to figure out how the municipal landscape has shifted after the polls closed on Monday night.

A new mayor in Henk DeVlieger has ascended to help lead the Town of Taber to hopefully greener pastures with four new councillors in tow, as every non-incumbent that threw their hat into the political ring had voters tipping their hats back to them in ushering them into council chambers.

As echoed by many of the political players on the Taber scene, perhaps it was simply a sign the electorate wanted a change.

Change can be a scary thing to those used to familiar faces like those of the previous council with veterans like Murray Rochelle, Louie Tams, Garth Bekkering and John Papp who either retired from politics on their own accord or who were ousted in a very close vote for the last two seats up for grabs in the final vote count.

But that comfort for the familiar was obviously outweighed by the thirst of something different for ideas in pushing Taber forward.

But now Monday night was only the first step on the long journey of four years if positive change is truly to be achieved.

Whether you are an incumbent left over from the 2010 election or one of the five new faces that will be filling the Town of Taber boardroom, simply change for the sake of change is not good enough.

Lofty promises and unclear innuendo about the views, positions, and platforms of many candidates seemed to pervade the local municipal election campaign in 2013, and as the dust settles from this changing of the municipal guard, hard questions will need to be asked of newly-elected representatives about where the quasi-fantasy world of political campaign promises ends and the fiscal reality of the Town of Taber begins.

Change — desirable and laudable under certain circumstances — can also lead to uncertainty and instability in communities used to a steady and experienced hand at the helm of government, even though that same steady hand is sometimes perceived to be uninspired or unwilling to listen to new ideas or new visions for the future. It is that same perception that is most pronounced in democratic elections, and one of the true beauties inherent in democracy.

At the dawning of this new electoral landscape for Taber, the proverbial jury will remain out for the immediate future, as to whether Taberites will be satisfied with the wholesale level of change they have chosen to select on Oct. 21. Gone are the wealth of experience offered by many of the veteran incumbents which have either stepped down from office have been defeated at the polls.

In their place, is a collection of new faces and personalities, each with their own set of experiences and bringing their own personal values to the role they have been elected to serve in. As in any unfamiliar situation, there are bound to be hiccups and stumbles along the way as new councillors acclimatize to new duties and responsibilities, and there is no doubt the learning curve will be a steep one for many. But passing unfair judgement before this new council has had a chance to come together as a cohesive unit and to work together for the betterment of the community would be a profound disservice to council, as well as a majority of the voters of Taber.

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