In Ward 6, our endorsement was a difficult choice between a number of different progressive candidates, including Candas Jane Dorsey. ActivatED wants to ensure that our respect for Candas Jane Dorsey is known – she has done incredible work in her community and in the core.
ActivatED does stand by our choice to endorse Heather MacKenzie in Ward 6 as the strongest progressive candidate using our six points of progressiveness, as well as criteria around the strength of her campaign and ability to be elected. Our beliefs around her abilities and values in our six criteria for “progressiveness” hold true and are articulated in our endorsement. For some specific examples – she committed to stopping closure of schools in order to maintain core communities, and recognizes this is impossible to continue if the city continues to grow outwards; she has implemented incredible policies around sexual and gender minorities, inclusion, and anti-bullying; she has supported the development of active transportation plans; and is committed to transparency and accountability.
We would like to emphasize that we evaluate not only on progressiveness, but on progressiveness and the strength of a candidate’s campaign. We do recognize that “The ability to get elected is not an indicator of progressive thinking” – that’s why we haven’t endorsed anyone in Wards 4 or 9, where none of the candidates meet our definition of progressive.
Heather MacKenzie has an extremely strong campaign, knows how to win an election, and has the proven experience and track record as an Edmonton Public School Board Trustee. In particular, she was the first candidate to announce in Ward 6, has been actively campaigning since the spring (which few candidates can boast anywhere in the city), has a full and dedicated campaign team and strategy, including sufficient funding and strong volunteer power. In addition, MacKenzie has backing and endorsements from many progressive Edmontonians (including Michael Phair, a previous city councillor; Hon. Douglas Roche, O.C., a former M.P., Senator, and Canadian Ambassador; Buk Arop, President of the South Sudan Development Foundation; and more) and has benefited from mentorship of some endorsers.
MacKenzie’s experience must not be discounted – she may be young and hence not had the time to build up decades and decades of community work, but she has shown that she has a true commitment to progressive values and has done incredible work as shown in her experience as an Edmonton Public School Board Trustee.
We would appreciate it if conjecture was not involved around our endorsements. Our endorsements have been based on our criteria as well as campaign strength and strategic choices. Many of our endorsements are not young, and have not been involved in the same things we have – we recognize that they are progressive and have experience in a variety of subjects and communities. We also suggest that endorsements aren’t merely “trying to borrow credibility” – they come from citizens that are particularly impressed with a candidate and their ability to be a councillor.
Note: While one of ActivatED’s organizers has been involved with Engineers Without Borders Canada, she and Heather MacKenzie were not involved at the same time, and there was no involvement through the organization. The endorsement was based on knowledge of Heather MacKenzie’s values, platform, and valuing her work as Trustee. It was not based on involvement with Engineers Without Borders.