Yes indeed, October 18th is our son Alistair’s 7th birthday!
But as everybody knows, it is also municipal election time.
Muni – Not Puny
Years ago, I used to almost hit the “snooze button” on municipal elections. They seemed very unsexy compared the flash and dazzle of provincial or federal party politics. Over the past few elections, however, I’ve grown to appreciate the importance of these closer-to-home votes.
The people we elect to represent our very communities have a direct impact on our daily lives. Our city council shapes our city in a very literal sense. The life we live today has been, in large part, shaped by the decisions of past city councils. There are many examples of how this has led to abysmal city planning, yet there are examples of how this has led to intelligent long term benefits for Edmontonians.
Although it might suffer from an identity crisis, municipal politics has much more tangible relevance to our lives than any other level. Perhaps this is, in part, a by-product of a slow but steady demographic shift that has made cities the centre of focus for a higher percentage of Canadians compared to years ago.
The refreshing thing about city elections is how the issues seem to stand out more when there are no party politics at play. Candidates are able to speak their mind more freely and the sheep mentality is less likely to take hold. In this sense, it is more democratic.
Race for Mayor
It will be a no-brainer for mayor in Edmonton. Mandel will not only win, but he should set a record in terms of margin. Sure the airport issue will steal some votes, but clearly Mandel deserves a third term and surely he is the most capable candidate. No offence to Dorward, but, seriously, should we elect a guy who has little idea on how to manage the myriad issues facing our city? He seems thoroughly decent, but thoroughly out of touch on many important issues. I respect his stance and his passion surrounding the airport fight but, as noted here, I don’t agree.
Calgary – A sign of things to come
VERY exciting to see Naheed Nenshi make a serious push for the mayor-chair. Although he is a first-time candidate, and anything but a wannabe career politician, he has come out of nowhere, and he “should” win.
Nenshi is whip-smart, dynamic and passionate. He is a Harvard educated professor who has a sincere and very effective communication style. He is backed by a cracker-jack team of Calgary organizers who are talented and progressive. Surely a sign of things to come in all of Alberta. Go purple-nation!
In terms of my own ward, I have been mostly impressed with Ben Henderson’s first term. Sure he didn’t return our call, not once, but twice, but…. he has been vocal, and has shown the long-term thinking that we desperately need.
I am most impressed with Hana Razga. Her platform is very similar to Henderson’s and you get the sense that she is not really interested in being a “politician”, but rather a committed, community-minded advocate. I get the sense however that Henderson will be a little more vocal, a little more effective when it comes down to the rough and tumble jostling that is required to win key decisions. In fairness to other candidates (Sheila McKay, Lori Jeffrey Heaney, and Duan Goodstriker) I have not had the time to investigate their platforms. (Glad to see more females running than males in ward 8 – nice change). This will likely be an easy win for Henderson.
I have not followed the trustee races that much, but I am hoping Sarah Hoffman wins the public spot and that Acheson wins for the Catholic system. Both seem genuinely committed to education, and also to maintaining schools in the core of the city – which for me is a massivley important issue for the long-term well-being of our whole city.
Speaking of school trustees, although not in my area, I’ve been very impressed with Michael Janz. His campaign has crushed all comers and he should enjoy a well deserved seat at the table come Tuesday morning.
I’d say best of luck to my Dad who is a school trustee in the Devon-Spruce Grove- Stoney Plain-Hinton-Westlock Catholic board, but he won’t need it as he has been acclaimed for the fourth time. I know first hand the class and integrity he has, and I can say wholehearltedy that they are lucky to have him as their rep! Biased opinion or not, he is the best man for the job. His dedication to education spans over 40 years, first as a teacher, then as a principal, and later as a director of adult education in rural communities. He has worked at all levels of education, and with all levels of government. He has been a credit to every community that he has lived in, and has dedicated countless hours of his time to help improve the education system from within. Go Joe! (oh yeah, you’ve already won).
Get out and vote! (And say Happy-B-Day to Ali-Joe as you do).