This week Jason Kenney faced some criticism as he announced he will not release a policy platform before the United Conservative Party leadership vote.
Kenney said he would consult with party members in the new party before determining what promises he would campaign on in the next provincial election. It’s a bold strategy in a leadership race, and time will tell if it’s successful for Kenney.
When someone is comparing candidates, policy is one of the most important factors considered. It is rare for a voter to support 100 per cent of what one candidate stands for. That is why voters often need to consider which policies they value the most.
In St. Albert, our civic election is heating up with more than a dozen candidates running for council and more who have yet to announce. Unfortunately some of the new candidates have released very little information on policy to date. We would implore these candidates to have a platform ready to go by nomination day, for the potential success of their campaigns and to help voters decide.
For new candidates, it’s especially important to differentiate yourself from the pack and let voters know where you stand. Voters will already be familiar with incumbent candidates and how they tend to vote, but they may not know much about someone who is running for the first time.
The city already has many hot button topics on the campaign trails – everything from a new branch library to transit – and there will surely be many more to come before voting day on Oct. 16. It certainly is important for candidates to listen to citizens on the campaign trail, but those candidates will encounter different opinions along the way. Representatives of local government need to have conviction on the important issues of the day and be able to justify their viewpoints. Providing a policy platform also lets voters know that you are informed on the important issues facing the city.
That’s not to say that potential council members shouldn’t listen to the public or change their position when new information comes to their attention. But we elect councillors to make the important decisions on our behalf. Popular opinion is just one of the things a politician must consider, however, difficult or unpopular decisions like raising taxes or cutting services are part of the job too.
For all those running for office: give voters something they can sink their teeth into. We already know you love your community; few run for office if they don’t. How do you think the city should be run? What are your priorities? What is your vision for the future of the community? What is your plan to improve the city?
If voters are going to make an informed decision, they need to know where a candidate stands. For voters on election day, knowledge is power.