Friday, October 15, 2010

Edmonton civic election 2010 decision

I have thought long and hard about this election, researched candidates, read what they've said in media, vexed others' opinions through conversation and blogs.

There are a multitude of ongoing issues that I agree and disagree from every candidate I looked at. 

But there are two issues which, whether you agree or not with them ideologically, are in the spotlight because how much they impact business and people but more so because of HOW council's decision was made.  Those issues obviously being the City Centre Airport (CCA) and the sale of EPCOR.

Those two huge issues, which impact thousands of people, weren't around in the last election, so we didn't vote for a candidate based on it.  There was no plebiscite. 

Then in the last three years, our mayor and council voted to shutdown the airport and sell off EPCOR.

So electorally, and democratically, the people of Edmonton didn't have a say.  At all.  Developers and private interests did.

Sure it was late and they didn't have quite enough valid signatures, but the petition from EnVision Edmonton is valid in the sense that this is a large number of people who wanted a say, didn't get it, and council didn't want to listen.

Keelor Road got a plebiscite.

Moving large air traffic to the International Airport got a plebiscite.

But selling EPCOR?  No plebiscite.

Shutting down the City Centre Airport?  No plebiscite.

Now one can argue that the city is 'moving forward' with these decisions having been made as strong leadership.  But is the electorate being blinded by council's group-think.  Strong leadership also means listening to the people.

Some have argued that certain councillors say they do not regret the decision and will stand in the next election on their record.  Yeah, but you see, I didn't know where you stood three years ago on it, so guess what? Now I'm not voting for you.  But now, there's already been a decision.  I didn't have a say on it back then did I?

So for me, this election comes down to a fundamental philosophical aspect of our representative democracy here. 

Do you elect representatives to government based on their policy platform and when issues arise that are outside the scope of their platform and that impact thousands of people, simply trust them to vote accordingly, and when we disagree, vote them out, although the decision was already made?

On smaller issues, I don't see this as a problem.  But on issues that have such a lasting impact, shouldn't our representatives then default to perhaps conducting a poll in their district, have a town hall, or defer to holding a plebiscite next election.

So because I see the potential of future decisions being made and the input of the people being continually thwarted by this group-think autocratic mayor and council, I am voting accordingly in protest to their actions, sending them a message, and holding them accountable with the candidate I feel has the best chance of defeating them.  It also helps that I agree with them ideologically on several other issues obviously.

David Doward for Mayor

James Johnson for Ward 6

For Public School Trustee, I think instead of having retired administrators and bureaucrats, the board needs some young fresh people on it with new ideas about education.  I strongly support public education, so this is not an ideological thing for me. I mean, former city councillor Michael Phair is endorsing this guy, and I'm on the total opposite end of the political spectrum as Phair, but that doesn't matter here.  What matters is the kids.

Michael Janz for Ward F

So there you have it folks.

Don't forget to vote this Monday October 18th!  Click here to find your voting station.

1 comment:

Old and Confused said...

I attended the mayoralty forum at Eastglen and noted more than a little animosity towards the incumbent, particularly wrt the City Centre Airport (Blatchford Field) and Epcor. Few if any details of the Epcor sale are available, the incumbent simply stated that there were now 2 companies instead of one. The most interesting comment, which has gone unreported in the articles I've read, was from David Dorward who said that depending upon the details taxes could rise by up to 19% as a result .

At the Ward 4 aldermanic forum I attended the incumbent spent all his time telling everyone about the committees he worked on or chaired but said zero, zip about future directions. If you're happy with where we are and how we got here then vote for him was the message. The most interesting question, imo, was about the $200 million that the Feds offered for LRT expansion to one location. Council wanted to do something else. The unanswered question was did the city ever receive the $200 million and if they did, what did they do with it.

As with the incumbent mayor the incumbent alderman could best be described as condescending.

As one candidate put it it's time for a change.