The “flowers of democracy” sprung to life Monday (Sept. 18) at noon, with election signs dotting the roadways around town. One hard to miss sign is that of Cam MacKay. His overall campaign strategy appears cohesive, consisting of a 50-point plan with direct and concise platform planks listed on his billboards. However, upon closer scrutiny many of the statements, while appealing, just aren’t realistic. Take for instance his commitment to synchronize all of the lights on St. Albert Trail. If it were really that easy, why hasn’t it happened over the course of MacKay’s last two terms? The truth is, it’s just not that simple.
MacKay also commits to extending municipal services to condominiums. It’s an easy pitch to condo owners but sets a precedent fraught with far-reaching legal and economic implications. Were it to be implemented, residential owners and the business community would bear a significant tax increase in order to cover this shift in policy. Not a great start to reducing taxes.
What stands out most however, is the number of bullets in this 50-point plan that require collaboration and cooperation. MacKay plans to “collaborate with the local development community” and “work with the City of Edmonton.” He plans to create neighborhood community organizations and “collaborate with the business incubator and the Chamber of Commerce.” This seems overly simplistic on his part. In addition he will need to work with six other members of council and hundreds of city employees to accomplish any single item on his 50-point plan.
Inspector George Cuff, on behalf of Alberta Municipal affairs, calls the disharmony on council palpable in his municipal inspection report. Cuff explains that a councillor (later identified as MacKay) rejected out of hand Mayor Nolan Crouse’s attempts to set aside differences. MacKay’s attempt at “collaboration” was not attending eight council orientation and strategic planning meetings regarding priority setting and good governance which set the tone for Mr. MacKay’s version of “teamwork” for the next four years.
This election is as much about leadership and integrity as it is about a plan. St. Albert deserves a mayor with integrity that is going to represent us with dignity and with class. A leader who will respect fellow members of council and the administrative team that is so crucial to the success of our city. This election is more than platitudes, signs and platform planks. It’s about character and commitment to the values that have made us one of the top cities in Canada, and that’s what I will be looking for in my mayor and councillors on Oct. 16.
Rob Clarke, St. Albert