Municipal Elections PEI 2014
Candidate InformationBy becoming an elected official you can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of your municipality.
- What are the responsibilities of an elected official?
- Who can run for municipal office?
- What is the deadline for nominating candidates?
- How do I know who is running?
- How do I run for office in my municipality?
- How do I run for office if I am a federal public servant?
- How much do I get paid as an elected official?
- How to organize an election campaign?
- I have been elected, what do I do now?
What are the responsibilities of an elected official?
Responsibilities of an Elected Official Brochure
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Who can run for municipal office?
To be eligible to run for municipal office, you must be:
- 18 years of age or older,
- a resident of your municipality for no less than one year preceding the nomination date, and
- a Canadian citizen.
- Think about what it means to hold public office - Serving your community by holding public office is a serious commitment that will require time, energy, and effort. Before you decide to run for office, think carefully about how you can best contribute to your community. Attend a regular council meeting to learn about the issues currently facing your municipality, speak with current and former councillors about their experiences, and request a copy of the current budget and official plan if applicable.
- Consider whether or not you are eligible to run - To hold public office as a mayor, chairperson or councillor in Prince Edward Island you must be at least 18 years of age; be a Canadian citizen; and a resident of the municipality for one year preceding the date of the nomination.
- Get information regarding the nomination and filing process - If you decide you are interested in running for municipal office, contact the chief administrative officer for your municipality to inquire further. If you still require information or assistance, contact the province's Municipal Affairs branch at (902) 620-3558 or Elections PEI (toll-free) at (888) 234-Vote or (902) 3568-5895.
- What do you have to offer?
Ask yourself the following questions: Why do I want to run for municipal council? What changes would I like to see happen in my municipality? How am I going to represent residents in my municipality? The answers to these questions are what you have to offer voters in your municipality. You can guarantee that while you are canvassing, you are going to be asked how you feel about certain issues, what you have to offer residents, and why you make the best candidate. Being prepared for these questions will assist you in running a successful campaign.
- Your role on council
What are you going to bring to the municipal council table? Are you familiar with your role as an elected official? Are you prepared to handle complex issues? If so, be sure to explain these things in your canvassing. Let people know you are ready and willing to take on the responsibility that comes with being elected to represent the municipality.
- Purpose of a campaign
By running a campaign for election to municipal office, you will be able to clearly express what your views are on issues affecting the municipality as well as allowing residents to get to know you on a personal level.
- Create a campaign team
Having a campaign team in place is not necessary in order to run a successful campaign; however, having a few people dedicated to your campaign will greatly assist you in your efforts to be successful in your run for elected office. Some of these individuals could be responsible for your campaign finances, public relations or act as a campaign manager.
- Recognize your opponents and their platform
You should recognize your main opponents in the election and their main election platform ideas. This will allow you to possibly differentiate yourself from them if you have different views.
- Know your voters
By knowing your voters, you will better be able to discuss issues that are important to them. Since they are the people who will help you get elected, knowing who the voters are and what issues matter to them is very important.
- Get out the vote
You may have a lot of supporters for your candidacy in your municipality, but if they don't vote your chances of getting elected are reduced. Organize a group of drivers for election day and contact your supporters to see if they need any further information on the election or if they need transportation to the poll.
Fundraising is not required for a successful election campaign, but if you plan to do any advertising or have any special events, some funds will be required. If you do not have an election finance manager, this may be a good task for them to complete so you can focus on discussing important issues with voters.
- Review minutes of prior council meetings - This will allow you to jump right into discussions on current issues facing your municipality, and help you to determine the position of any returning council members on these issues;
- Attend the municipal orientation session for newly elected officials - Municipal Affairs is the liaison between the Province and your municipality, and will be hosting an orientation session for newly elected officials early in 2013 in collaboration with the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities. This session will provide a review of your responsibilities on council and the requirements of councils under the Municipalities Act. The session will also allow you to meet and network with other newly elected officials from other municipalities, who are likely facing the same issues you are facing in your new role;
- Review the Municipalities Act – This is the provincial legislation that regulates how municipalities are operated. While it is not crucial to know every part of this Act; a good understanding of this Act will be invaluable in your role as an elected official;
- Meet with the chief administrative officer - The chief administrative officer or administrator will be a valuable tool for you throughout your term as an elected official. Often, they have been in their position for a long period of time, and will be able to provide you with important information on all topics affecting the municipality. Meeting with them regularly during your term of office will assist you in becoming an effective elected official.
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What is the deadline for nominating candidates?
Not all municipalities have a nomination deadline. The deadline for those that fall under the Municipalities Act is October 20, 2014 but some municipalities have an earlier date. Contact yours to make sure.
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How do I know who is running?
If your municipality is a town or has a nomination day, you are encouraged to contact them to learn who has come forward as a candidate for office. Information on nominees for office in the town must be made available to the public no later than 4:00 p.m., two weeks before the first Monday of November, which is October 20, 2014.
For communities that do not have a nomination day, the candidates are nominated just prior to the general election and the public will not learn who the candidates are until the day of the election.
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How do I run for office in my municipality?
If you are up for the challenges and rewards that come with elected office, here are a few key things to consider and steps to take:
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How do I run for office if I am a federal public servant?
Before seeking nomination as, or being, a candidate in a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal election, federal public servants subject to the political activities provisions (Part 7) of the Public Service Employment Act are required to obtain permission from the Public Service Commission and, if applicable, a leave of absence without pay during the election period. To find out more about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding political activities visit the Public Service Commission of Canada.
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How much do I get paid as an elected official?
Wages or honoraria paid to elected officials will vary from municipality to municipality. There are a significant number of elected officials on Prince Edward Island that do not receive any financial compensation for the work that they do for their municipality. Thus, it is important to understand that you should not be solely interested in becoming an elected official for the monetary benefits. Speak to your municipal staff or current elected officials to find out what, if any, the remuneration would be if you were successful in getting elected. The level of remuneration (wages or honoraria) must be established through a municipal bylaw – a copy of this bylaw should be available through your municipality.
In 2011, of the 69 municipalities holding elections this fall, 27 (or 39%), provided some type of remuneration to their elected officials. Of these 27, 5 were Towns, and the average total remuneration paid to all of their elected officials was $21,843. The remaining 22 municipalities that paid some remuneration were Communities, and their average total remuneration paid to all of their elected officials was $6,613. Hence, on an individual councilor basis, the remuneration often amounts to very little in comparison to the significant time commitment that is needed from an elected official.
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How to organize an election campaign?
Now that you have made your decision to run for a position on Municipal Council, you will need to be organized and have a plan in order to have a successful election campaign.
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I have been elected, what do I do now?
Congratulations, you have been elected! You are now responsible for making decisions on behalf of residents and for bringing forward their views to Council. Everything may feel a bit overwhelming at the beginning of your term, but you can help mitigate these overwhelming feelings by being well prepared using a variety of means:
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