5. Prioritization of Equity and Proven Ability for Community Consultation
Representation of Women, Diversity and Vulnerable Populations in Governance
According to our current analysis, there are four women who are running in the upcoming election who have a reasonable chance at winning based on past voting records, campaign finances and resources, name recognition and other electability factors. That is to say – we predict that a maximum of four out of the thirteen new Council seats could be women. The front runners of this election thus far are majority white males, many of whom are highly competent individuals but who may be lacking in specific perspectives when it comes to representing the voice of other demographics. Research shows that governments comprised of diverse populations – in gender, race, and privilege – result in risk averse decision making, improved social governance and higher citizen engagement (Herrit, 2006). Our endorsements reflect candidates who are grounded in knowledge of the individual privilege they bring to the governance table, and the varying states of privilege and challenges that make up the Edmontonian experience. This includes but is not limited to privilege of gender, race, class, economic and social standing.
Over the past ten years, the nonprofit industry has been become a vital piece of Edmonton’s social service scene, providing support to Edmonton’s most disadvantaged. As both the province and federal government have continued to download essential services to both the City and the nonprofit sector, there has been a clear institutional deprioritization of disparity management. The City of Edmonton, while making headway on its 10 –Year Plan to End Homelessness, has and will be burdened this upcoming term with a further crumbling of our social infrastructure due to grand slashes in provincial and federal funding available to essential nonprofit services. The new City Council must have a vision to revamp the state of Edmonton’s support networks. We believe our endorsed candidates have the proven dedication to work with vulnerable populations to increase the quality of life of all residents of Edmonton.
Community Consultation and Engagement
This last year at City Council has seen some large scale controversial decisions passed – including but not limited to the new Arena and the Northeast Lands developments. In both instances, extensive (and expensive) public and community consultations were conducted however the results of these consultations did not manifest in how councilors voted. Edmonton as witnessed the repeated wasting of tax payer dollars and citizens time on consultations and public meetings that seems to have little impact on Council’s voting record.
Recently, two ActivatED organizers attended a public meeting on the rezoning of the area south of the new arena site. They were appalled to see such poor advertising of the meeting and consequently, incredibly poor public turnout. The City, in describing their plans for the rezoned areas, deliberately and deceptively cloaked their plan for chain retail and nightclub construction in the area with ‘hopeful’ plans for the local businesses, arts centres, and farmers’ markets. ActivatED is appalled that the City labeled this meeting as ‘public consultation’ and is alarmed by the City’s nonchalant attitudes towards being accountable to the public. Candidates endorsed by ActivatED have proven ability and dedication to true community consultation, and are all individuals who have deep roots in the communities they are seeking to represent.
Check out ActivatED’s organizer, Aliza Dadani, speaking to CBC about the City’s performance at the Arena rezoning public meeting: