The Alberta Municipal General Elections are just around the corner! On Monday, October 16th, 2017 we decide province wide who will govern the programs and services that affect us the most. we will vote for our municipal Mayor, Ward Councillors and Public or Separate School Board Trustees.
You’re likely familiar with the Mayoral position, but the other two might escape you. A Ward Councillor is the elected official for a “ward” – a designated cluster of communities in the city based on current and projected populations. The ward boundaries change with each election to account for population changes. Not familiar with your ward? Look it up here. The School Trustees are the elected positions who make decisions on budgets and facilities in our school systems.
We’ve heard people say that Provincial and Federal politics are the most important. We don’t necessarily disagree – but when you think about the breadth of services available at the municipal level of government, it’s up there in the ranks of importance. We once heard it described as being responsible for issues “from poop to police”! Although comical, it couldn’t be more true, and most impactful to our daily lives.
Why vote? Aside from the obvious exercise of democratic rights, there are plenty of reasons to take the time to vote. Municipalities decide on waste collection, water treatment, pesticide use, land use, and transportation infrastructure – to name a few. These are decisions that directly impact our built and natural environments. We’re invested in positive environmental impact, and we want our government to support, prioritize, and reinforce positive action in this area.
We have a few thoughts on what we’re looking for in our prospective candidates:
- We are proud to share the City’s vision of a zero waste community. We’re looking for candidates who understand and support the green cart program, and recycling and compost bylaws for commercial and industrial sectors. We’re looking for candidates who support the City’s current work on climate change, and who will champion our adaptation, mitigation and resilience.
- We’re looking for campaign platforms that support multiple modes of transportation – like public transportation (LRT and BRT), bike lanes, bikeways and pathways and seek to better connect and create a network. Most of our Green Team depends on their bicycle or public transportation to get to and from our office and event sites for their shifts. Many event attendees also use these modes to visit their favourite festivals across the city. And, many events encourage their attendees to use more sustainable modes of transportation to enjoy the festivities.
- As both a small business and a living wage employer, we’re interested in candidates who support Calgary’s local economy and recognize the value of local employment opportunities and business diversification.
- We’re also big on community building. We’re keen on platforms that emphasize collaboration, citizen involvement, and building capacity in our voluntary organizations. By this, we also mean building up all community members regardless of race, religion, gender identity or ability. We support those who are underrepresented in the workforce, as well as casual and informal labourers. We’re looking for a candidate who will do the same.
- And, this almost goes without saying – we support Arts and Culture in Calgary. Not only for our livelihood, but for the livelihood of our city. We mean this in the sense of work, but also play. As people, we need creative outlets, inspiration and vibrancy injected into our everyday lives. This comes in the form of an on-street public art piece, a temporary installation, the ballet or orchestra, concerts and shows – and of course your favourite (green) festivals and events.
We hope you take the time to read up on your candidates and consider if their vision for Calgary is one that you share.
This coming Monday, October 16, be sure to get out to vote! Don’t be a waster!