My Platform

My platform consists of seven major pillars.

  1. Hold the Line on Wasteful Spending
  2. Freeze on Tax and Fee Increases
  3. Make Us Festival City
  4. Language Support
  5. No Sanctuary City for Illegal Immigrants
  6. Sensible School Traffic Solutions
  7. Accountability, Transparency and Outreach

 

1. Hold the Line on Wasteful Spending

 

City Council has done a lot of spending over the last few years. We have gotten a new arena, approved new LRT expansions, and completed the Anthony Henday.

However, we have also spent large sums of money on things I don’t believe our city needed. Notably the $2 million dollars spent to rebrand Edmonton as Edmonton  (Source: Toronto Sun, July 7th, 2017) and the $7.5 million dollars spent on the bike grid voted unanimously by council ( Source: CBC News, Apr 5th, 2017).

Other potential projects have been pushed, like Ward 1 Coun. Andrew Knack’s proposed multi million dollar transportation hub (Source: Sun, Jan 27th, 2017 ) I find frivolous in light of feasibility reports.

In this time of economic pain in Edmonton, we should hold the line on spending and approve projects that are essential to the city.

 

2. Freeze on Tax and Fee Increases

 

By holding the line on wasteful spending, we can prevent Edmontonians from being further squeezed by tax and fee increases.

Over the last few years our festivals have seen civic fees increase as much as 78%, putting our status of being a “festival city” under threat. (Source: CBC New, Jun 20th, 2017)

While our council has pushed for a greener city, fares for public transit have continue to increase discouraging new riders. (Source: Edmonton Journal, Jan 20th, 2017)

And of course, we all have felt the pinch of continued property tax increases.

Edmontonians need a break, and if we can hold the line of spending we can freeze tax and fees. Then we can look at lowering them.

 

 

3. Make Us Festival City

 

For sometime, our city has been debating between returning to being the City of Champions, Festival City, or something else entirely. I want to clearly state that I believe we should commit to becoming a Festival City.

The number of festivals we have in the city is simply staggering and truly reflect the diversity and ingenuity of our city. It’s also worth noting that festivals have the additional benefit of bringing tourists into our city, as well as providing training and experience to our younger generation in the form of volunteer opportunities.

If made councilor, I’ll engage with our festivals and see what can be done to lower civic fees and provide them the support they need to truly prosper.

 

4. Language Support

 

Edmonton has a large number of resident’s whose mother tongue is not English, and at would be worth looking at investing support for them. (Source: Stats Canada, 2011 Census)

Right now, the current City of Edmonton website is only available in English. We could have the site and many civic documents online available in French, Canada’s other official language, and examine offering services in other languages as well.

This would provide real help to the legal immigrants and ethnic communities in our city while also provide a soft positive towards attracting foreign investment.

 

5. No To A Sanctuary City for Illegal Immigrants

 

Mayor Don Iveson has indicated his intentions to turn Edmonton into a Sanctuary City, and City Council has approved an examination of an “Access Without Fear” Policy. (Source: CBC News, Aug 21st, 2017)

The enactment of this policy would allow illegal immigrants access to Edmonton services without being questioned on their immigration status as well as hinder federal immigration enforcement agencies from performing their duties.

I am wholly against this.

Canada is one of the most welcoming countries to immigrants in the world, and I am fully in favor of legal immigration. However I would have to question why someone would immigrate to Canada illegally, as the wisdom of hindering federal law enforcement from enforcing the law of this country.

It’s also worth reminding the outgoing council and mayor that civic administrations are not supposed to be in charge of immigration, that is the duty of the federal government.

 

6. Sensible School Traffic Solutions

 

I support the move to enforce traffic speed limits around elementary schools. Most elementary schools are already away from major roadways allowing us to benefit from a significant increase of safety with a reasonable sacrifice on the part of drivers. It was shown that this move did drastically reduce the number of accidents involving elementary children. (Source: Metro, Oct 14th, 2016)

However, the city has now extended that policy to junior and high schools throughout the city, many of which are on major road ways. (Source: Global News, Sept 4th, 2017)

Let’s take a look at the hard numbers for this issue.

For ages 14-18, in the whole city of Edmonton, not strictly school zones, the number of pedestrians seriously injured in an automobile collision was as follows:

2016: 3 serious injuries, and 0 fatalities
2015: 3 serious injuries, and 0 fatalities
2014: 6 serious injuries, and 0 fatalities

Compare this with college and university aged pedestrians, between the ages of 19-24, in the whole city of Edmonton.

2016: 4 serious injuries, and 1 unfortunate fatality
2015: 6 serious injuries, and 1 unfortunate fatality
2014: 10 serious injuries, and 1 unfortunate fatality

(Sources: The 2016, 2015, and 2014 Motor Vehicle Collision Reports)

Before we consider 30 km/hr speed limits around our Universities and Colleges, I think we should revisit this issue for Junior and High Schools and consider sensible alternative solutions.

Incidentally, Craig Walbaum, the former Edmonton Director of Traffic Congestion, once observed that speed wasn’t really an issue in relation to collisions around our schools, and advised that the city should look into fencing to discourage jay walking and to make sure there was room available for students to be dropped off. (Source: Source: Jan 29th, 2014)

If elected, I will do just that.

 

7. Accountability, Transparency, and Outreach

 

Our Counc. Andrew Knack has had some admirable ideas in regards to increasing accountability and transparency.

In order to make it easier to vote, Counc. Knack has pushed the idea of implementing online voting. (Source: Metro, Feb 17th, 2015 ) While I admire his good intentions, there have been numerous hacking incidents throughout the world that have demonstrated the highest level of security is not fool proof.

I feel it’s better to promote our mail in ballot system and remind people to vote early. In fact I will cast my vote through a mail in ballot and encourage all my supporters to do the same. You can find all the information you need about voting through a mail in ballot on the city’s website here or by calling 780-442-VOTE.

Another initiative Counc. Knack has pushed is the idea of allowing people to call into city council meetings via Skype in order to share their views. (Source: Metro, May 25th, 2016 ) It’s an intriguing idea, and I am fully in favor or allowing any invited speaker to be able to share their thoughts through such a service. However, allowing the general public to voice their views in this way, without some form of vetting, I feel will result in our council meetings being victim to more than a few internet pranks.

Instead, I would push for the video and audio recordings of council to be made available to the general public on the city website as well as services such as YouTube and Vid.me. The council already streams the audio and video over the internet, so making the video and audio available for viewing after would be the next logical step.

Having an archive of past council audio and video recordings available would be a major boon to small blogs, citizen journalists, historians, and anyone who wants to learn about our city council.