Plenty of ways to be heard

“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.”
—Aristotle
There are 10 municipalities in Rainy River District, as well as 10 First Nations. The population approximates 20,000 citizens, of which more than 5,000 are below the voting age.
More than 100 people are elected to councils in the district, which means one out of every 150 people is an elected official.
But there are other numbers. In Fort Frances alone, 69 people will be appointed to local community boards. Two also will sit on the local public school board while three will represent the town on the Catholic board.
In addition, other citizens will be elected or appointed to hospital boards, police boards, and the health unit board.
In Fort Frances, one out of every 75 adults is actively involved in governing and making decisions about the future of the community.
Similarly, right across Rainy River District, every municipality has volunteer citizens working on community boards and recommending policies, projects, and programs to elected officials that will benefit the citizens of their communities.
The members of boards and commissions may not always agree on policies or recommendations. Nor should they. Elected officials, too, may not always agree on policies, bylaws, or decisions made by their councils. Dissent is essential to democracy.
With so many volunteers sitting on boards and commissions, there is no reason why any citizen should feel shut out of the decision-making process of municipal government.
Eugene McCarthy, in a speech, stated, “As long as the differences and diversities of mankind exist, democracy must allow for compromise, for accommodations, and for the recognition of differences.”
As election day approaches, another deadline also looms—the one for applying to local boards in Fort Frances. Sixty-nine positions are open. It is another opportunity for citizens to participate in governing, being heard, and sharing in the decision-making process.

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