GET OUT AND VOTE!

What you need to know about the upcoming municipal election

In the upcoming municipal election, we’ll be voting for a new city councillor for Edmonton’s core and a new mayor. Our city is growing not just in population size, but also in respect for the Indigenous communities who have made their homes here for thousands of years. Along with a new councillor, our ward has the new name of O-day’min.

Lorisia MacLeod, a member of the James Smith Cree Nation, librarian at The Alberta Library, and resident of Ward 6, said she believes that giving Indigenous names in place of ward numbers was an important and necessary change to show how Edmonton is growing.

“I also honestly feel like numbers don’t represent Edmonton or Edmontonians well but these names are connected to stories and histories—now that’s Edmonton,” MacLeod said. “We aren’t numbers; we are bold vibrant stories with deep roots and bright futures.”

MacLeod said she will be on the lookout for a candidate who puts their best foot forward when it comes to Indigenous issues and peoples.

“I am going to be looking for councillors who are in support of these names and are going out of their way to use and say them—even if they stumble a little at first,” MacLeod said. “I want to know that they are willing to put the time and effort into things that matter.”

Voting is necessary to the well-being of the city. The decisions city councillors make have a huge impact on our quality of life and on a wide range of locally controlled services and initiatives, such as drinking water, policing, emergency services, and property and business taxes.

Andy Gunn, an instructor of public administration who teaches local government at the University of Alberta, said that the role of city councillors is significant in providing policy direction to municipal administration—approximately 10,000 full-time staff in Edmonton—on these matters or “steering the ship,” while municipal administration is seen to be doing the detailed implementation work of “rowing the ship”.

“Causes that are unique to the city, particularly related to the quality of life, social agendas, wellness and community health, are most effectively addressed at the local level,” Gunn said. “This often works that receives little public recognition.”

There are limits to municipal power. While federal elections are administered by Elections Canada and the provincial elections are administered by Elections Alberta, local elections (which also includes school boards) occur through the provincial Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA).

Gunn said that municipalities are highly influential because approximately 81 percent of Canadians live in urban municipalities like Edmonton. Municipalities generate most of Canada’s GDP and are viewed as the source of many innovations. As city councillors do not align themselves with political parties’ platforms, they represent only the citizens’ interests.

Gunn added that Edmonton is a very ethnically diverse community and a worthwhile city councillor would be “increasingly aware of public support for dealing with community issues, supporting open opportunity to services by removing systemic biases, supporting new Canadians, and honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations in addition to the provision of the local services.”

WARD O-DAY’MIN MUNICIPAL ELECTION FORUM

Join the Downtown Edmonton and Oliver Community Leagues for an opportunity to meet and hear from the municipal candidates running for City Council in Ward O-day’min.

Wednesday, September 29th | 5PM-7PM
Matrix Hotel (10640 100 Ave NW)

For more information:
decl.org
@declorg
olivercommunity.com
@oclyeg