I’m going to be honest. I’ve become more and more disaffected with the whole democratic process in the last decade or so. Mostly because I’ve focused my attention on federal and provincial politics, which for the most part, is party politics, a game that here in Canada, does not lead to great decision making, given that for most part, parties here do NOT seem to have any interest in collaborating and looking for compromise. On top of this, the electorate seems to be content with this arrangement, which leads to majority governments that govern ‘their way or the highway’.
I never really paid much attention to the municipal elections since moving into Edmonton proper. I didn’t think that the city government really mattered much. Now that I’ve bought a home, had kids, I am realizing how wrong I was.
Municipal elections are probably the most important and the one time that people can actually do the most for their day-to-day lives. This year, I’m engaging and dedicating a fair amount of time to finding out which candidates to vote for. In doing so, I’ve also had to think about what’s important to me and the city as a whole.
The first thing that is actually a little concerning for me is the fact that at least half of city council will be new councilors. This isn’t a bad thing, new ideas, new blood and all that is good, but that also means there’s a bunch of people that don’t really know how to get things done (or how to govern). So, to me, this means we need strong leadership from the Mayor, but in an overbearing ‘my way or the highway’ way.
As a city, I feel that the LRT expansion NEEDS to be a priority. Connecting the outskirts of the city with mass transit in my mind is CRUCIAL changing people’s attitudes about driving and living in the city’s interior. Having more LRT lines will not only reduce the road congestion, it will also help make living in established neighbourhoods more attractive and will help to make downtown more accessible as a whole.
I’m still thinking about other things that I feel are really major issues, but those are the two that are really sticking out in my head right now.