Too many 'like-minded' candidates in St. Albert
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 06:00 am
My husband and I attended the forum for city council election on October 10, 2013. The forum was hosted by St. Albert Taxpayers Association. We wanted to hear the candidates and learn more about them before we vote on October 21, 2013.
After listening to the candidates’ opening statements and their responses to many questions it became apparent that there are eight to nine candidates running as a slate. They had the same opinions and same language that centred on cutting taxes and cutting non-core services. One candidate stated that if elected he would cut non-core services such as Econ and Business Development and he did not consider transit an essential service. It is often non-core services that improve the quality of life in any community and provide support services to its vulnerable people such as food bank and affordable housing for modest income families.
Some candidates presented a series of numbers all manipulated to their own perspective. Candidates presenting these numbers were looking at the issues through their own lens and I wonder if someone looking at the same issues with a different lens may come up with very different answers? In the views of the many candidates there is so much wrong with our city that it is in need of a major surgery. One candidate made her position quite clear that we should not assume that past councils were brilliant! They may not have been brilliant but the past and present councils must have done many things right for the City of St. Albert to be named the best small city to live in Canada.
One of the most important roles of council is to govern and to govern it must set out a vision for the City of St. Albert. On this count all candidates must be measured. These candidates fail as city builders with vision, as they are fixated on cutting taxes and cutting services. Taking care of taxes and fees and eliminating waste is a role of city governor but that is not the only issue. The issue for me is that after this election will our city remain a community that we have come to know with wonderful green spaces, leading environmental practices, services for vulnerable people and quality of life we all have come to enjoy?
Municipal government is the last order of government where independent thinking takes place. When you have a slate of individuals thinking the same way and speaking the same language they lose that independence and are compelled to implement the philosophy and policies of the group they represent. Local governments are still the forum where the business is carried out with free debates and respect for different opinions without succumbing to party politics and bickering. We must make every effort to preserve that.
For our city to grow and remain progressive and vibrant we need to acknowledge the past, work hard in the present and move forward with a bold vision.
Hansa Thaleshvar, St. Albert