Debriefing or post-mortem?
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 26, 2013 06:00 am
Before delving into the text of this communiqué I wish to qualify the following remarks as personal observations that do not necessarily represent my fellow residents or the other members of the Erin Ridge Residents Action Committee (ERRAC).
With the 2013 municipal election now in the annals of history, I offer some comments on what I have witnessed and/or experienced over its course. Firstly, democracy may be defined as governance or rule “for the people and by the people” effected by their participation in the electoral process as exercised by the casting of individual and equal votes from which a majority decision is rendered. In a “perfect world,” of which ours most certainly is not, this ideology is pure and simple. In reality, elections, particularly at the local or municipal level, are too often decided by the “majority of a minority” which may or may not accurately reflect the true will of the people and/or serve their best interests. I suppose such is only fair since through the apathy on the part of the greater electorate, they have only themselves to blame. On the other hand, to claim that one has received a strong mandate from the electorate upon receiving just barely over one half of the votes cast by not even forty percent of eligible voters is hardly convincing evidence of that argument.
With the above being said, I nevertheless extend kudos to those individuals who allowed their names to stand for office. Although I did not support all of the successful candidates I do congratulate them and although it is not without considerable trepidation, must place my trust that they will fairly and properly represent my and our best interests. Based on my own experience I do not extend this trust either blindly or naively and I will endeavour to “hold their feet to the fire” both individually and collectively.
In the last few weeks, we the citizens of St. Albert have been barraged with platitudes and promises seeking to influence our decision at the ballot box. While this is typical of any election campaign, I am most concerned by some of the questionable if not downright distasteful aspects of this particular election. Rather than focusing on the numerous important issues including taxes, utilities, transit or traffic to name a few, far too much attention was given to peripheral matters be they genuine or otherwise. I suppose the titillating effect of these kinds of stories trump the things that really matter.
So here we are, with a new council, some incumbents and some "newbies," which in theory should be a positive outcome combining experiential knowledge with fresh ideas as long they are allowed to be brought to the fore and not stymied by long established forces from administration or within the council itself.
Tyranny and cronyism, which cater to the welfare of only a select few, are extremely detrimental to the community as a whole. Many extremely flattering self-portraits have been painted, not the least of which by the mayor.
We all must now demand that they materialize through meaningful actions resulting in real change rather than just empty words, designed to entice us but only to evaporate into the ether when all is said and done. Civic responsibility does not end with the closing of the polls rather it must continue in the form of constant oversight and vigilance on the part of everyone concerned.
Murray Lambert, St. Albert