ActivatED ENDORSES: JIM GIBBON
Ward 5 Candidate Jim Gibbon offers admirable business acumen and experience, in addition to a deep-rooted passion for advocating for Edmonton’s marginalized populations. One of Gibbon’s catalysts for seeking elected office was when the City of Edmonton sought to build a second lake in Hawrelak Park that he believes could hamper the success of Edmonton’s renowned Heritage Day Festival. He witnessed firsthand the City’s disastrous navigation of the project complete with disgraceful consultation processes and wasteful spending – and he concluded that he would be remiss if he did not step forward to try and lead fundamental changes to the City’s decision making process.
A key objective that Gibbon highlights throughout his plans for the City is a committed effort to end child poverty. He describes many ways that the city could make simple shifts to decrease the costs for struggling families including removing the base cost for utilities so such families can pay simply for what they use. He believes that “handouts” aren’t the way to go, and that we should focus on creating a “safe, inclusive, diverse city that offers all people a chance to achieve their potential.” Gibbon also advocates for making Edmonton a more breast-feeding friendly city, which he views as having the potential to directly impact child poverty rates.
In the areas of development and sustainable transportation, Gibbon lays heavy blame on the city for creating unnecessary tensions in communities when new projects such as bike lanes and infill development initiatives are put in motion. He has seen time and time again, that infrastructure projects that do not prioritize community consultation before getting started result not only in perturbed citizens but poor decision making that does not in fact reflect the best interest of Edmontonians. Gibbon advocates to change the consultation process and to facilitate collaboration between government and people. One of Gibbon’s mottos is to “seek to hear before you seek to be heard” – a theme clearly prevalent in various aspects of his work.
In speaking to Gibbon about the Edmonton’s debt and infrastructure financing models, his experience, knowledge and incredible creativity shine through. While many candidates running in this election are quick to say that while they are not fond of the public private partnership model of funding, they see it to be the only real way forward – Gibbon stands his ground and not only expressed his vehement distaste for P3s but delightedly launches into the numerous options the City has for innovative funding opportunities. For example, he describes the City’s acquisition of the Blachford land as Edmonton having “won the lottery” because of the potential revenue that could be generated from this development. If elected, he would seek to set up an independent board to manage the development and ensure that the City acquire fair market value for the land. Generated revenues would be put into a fund to help finance future city projects.
Gibbon is deeply concerned about the downward trend of federal and provincial funding for important projects, and believes we need to assertively revisit the negotiating tables. By putting forth pragmatic business models that seek to meet Edmonton’s need, Gibbon seeks to plan for the future of our city as well as demonstrate to the federal and provincial governments that their investments would not be regrettable.
Gibbon is a big advocate for campaign finance reform as he recognizes the barriers that our current system places on individuals who are seeking elected office – in that an individual’s experience and policies don’t always speak as loudly as the amount of money a candidate is able to attract. Due to limited capacity of his campaign, Gibbon has stated that he will try his best to provide the public with a complete list of donors prior to the election. He has committed to releasing his total donation amount and a breakdown of his donor categories before October 21.
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*NOTE: ActivatED has previously endorsed Ward 5 candidate Michael Oshry. Our key reasons for switching our endorsements are twofold.
1) Upon reviewing the answers giving by candidates with regards to infrastructure financing models and debt management, we believe the new ActivatED endorsed candidate demonstrates superior knowledge and innovative drive to ensure fiscal responsibility. Additionally, our position on the Public Private Partnership funding model is better upheld by our revised endorsement.
2) We found there to be unfortunate but serious incidents of miscommunication regarding our evaluation of the candidate’s positions on equity and community consultation, an important piece in ActivatED’s evaluation criteria. ActivatED accepts responsibility for miscommunications on this front, and have since done our best to bring clarity to the situation. With complete information on this front, we are confident that we have placed our support behind the most forward-thinking and strategically strong candidate in the Ward 5 race.
For further questions or clarifications regarding our revised Ward 5 endorsement, please email firstname.lastname@example.org