No election needed in Clarenville as mayor, entire council acclaimed – Newfoundland & Labrador

He’s keeping his seat, but the mayor of Clarenville says he’s disappointed that nobody ran against him or any of the six councillors who will now be sworn in by acclamation.

‘I would have thought we would have more interest.’
Frazer Russell

When voters across Newfoundland and Labrador go to the polls on Sept. 26 to vote in municipal elections, there will be no such activity in Clarenville.

That’s disappointing for Frazer Russell, despite the fact that he won’t have to campaign to get his job as mayor back.

“It’s a little bit of a disturbing trend that seems to be existing in our province for smaller towns, and I’m not sure really how to account for that to be honest with you,” he told CBC’s Central Morning Show.

“I would have thought we would have more interest, particularly among our young and female population.”

No women

It’s not uncommon to see council members win by acclamation in smaller communities in the province, but Russell said it’s a bit more concerning to have the entire council in a town of 6,300 people chosen that way.

Russell says everyone benefits when there’s healthy opposition during a municipal election campaign, especially for a town like Clarenville, which has 6,300 residents.

Even more worrisome is the fact that only one of the new people to serve on council — who also didn’t face a challenger since the previous councillor decided not to seek reelection — is brand new to the role.

Plus, Russell said, it’s disappointing that the two women that were elected for the first time in 2013 are not returning this year. That means there will be no women voting on decisions in the council chamber for the next four years. 

“They were outstanding councillors, however for various reasons they decided not to seek reelection,” Russell said.

“[It’s] somewhat of a setback because we thought we had made some progress in that area.”

Need to encourage new faces

Russell wants to think that voters must be relatively happy with the job the last council was doing or else there would have been more of an outcry for change.

However, he said one of his priorities over the next term will be working to encourage more young people, especially women, to get involved. He’s not sure exactly why there was so little interest but it might have to do with the nature of council duties.

“​It’s not exactly glamorous work,” he said. “And I’m finding with young people, younger families, they have interest with doing…

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