When talking about core services, we generally think about road maintenance, emergency services, garbage collection, and so on. I would like to address a different type of core service: the core services of an elected official.
When we elect representatives, we are empowering them to make decisions on our behalf. But those decisions cannot be made in a vacuum. I don’t believe that the current council has been acting on the priorities of regular Edmontonians. Think, for example, of the lack of grass cutting last year. Or consider that this past spring when, until the public spoke up, council was going to offer e-bike rebates that would have benefited only 83 people each year. Council was willing to move forward on this rebate program while they struggled with decisions about grass cutting and mosquito control that would have benefited every resident and visitor to our city. Or, consider the council meeting in June during which they repealed dozens of neighbourhood plans including ten in the Dene ward. I have spoken with some board members who were unaware that their neighbourhood plan was repealed.
We need a council that is regularly engaging with our communities via community leagues, businesses, social organizations, town halls and doorknocking. A lack of engagement is one of the most consistent frustrations that I’m hearing as I have conversations at the doors throughout our ward.
In addition to being engaged and responsive, we need a council that has collaborative and constructive working relationships not just on council and in the community, but with different levels of government. Council needs to be able to work with other levels of government, even if they disagree. When different governments are not on the same page, we need to work to find a way to get on the same page.
All too often, there is too much sniping at other government members and when we are doing that, we are not making progress. Again, governments can disagree, but they need to work together in order to make progress for residents and solve problems together.
Engagement, accountability, and good working relationships are core services that Edmontonians should expect from their elected officials. If elected, I would work at all of these so that I can best represent and advocate for you.