As vaccination rates increase, we will see a return to some sense of normalcy and relief. Initial economic optimism will be likely and it’s reasonable to enjoy this respite, if we are lucky enough to benefit from it. But the pandemic exacerbated the opioid crisis, poverty, racism, gender inequality, mental illness, family violence, children falling through the cracks and caregiver burnout. Combined with the grief, loss and trauma so many are experiencing, and the strain on our public systems and economic resources, we will feel the ripple effects for a long time. This trauma is likely to manifest in ways we can’t always predict. Every section of this platform is informed implicitly or explicitly by our current state in the middle of a global pandemic and the long-term ramifications of this crisis.
I believe that power grows when we share it and that how we do the work together is reflected in our results. Making connections with others and learning from different experiences, isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s also strategic. The more perspectives we have on a problem, the better we can see and work towards the solutions. Proactive leaders anticipate change, seek out the many different interests involved, provide guidance with empathy and share the limitations and opportunities that come with each situation or decision. Change is not always easy or without conflict, but with a proactive and collaborative approach we can get better results, faster. Let’s shape the change together.
Building Edmonton for Today and Tomorrow
I want Edmonton to be a City where my kids have exciting opportunities and see hope for their future. Many of our biggest opportunities as a City are also some of our biggest challenges. Edmonton is changing and these changes are occurring in more disruptive ways and at a faster pace than in past generations. Economic uncertainty, technology change, a rapidly warming climate, changing demographics, the COVID-19 pandemic all contribute to the disruption we’re facing. We’re on the cusp of 1 million people and we’re outgrowing many of the tools, strategies and tactics of a small, big city.
The foundation for responding effectively to these challenges exists in living City policies, but implementation rests to a significant degree on the next Council. Budgetary decisions will be difficult over the next few years, but this also gives us the opportunity to take a closer look at how our budget reflects our values and the goals of our City Plan. Our economic, environmental and social well-being are all connected. Complete walkable communities, mitigation and adaptation to a rapidly warming climate, energy transition and emissions reduction, protecting our natural areas, creating the conditions for innovation and thriving independent local businesses, including the arts, all contribute to a thriving and resilient City. They are only possible if we work together across communities, with different sectors, and within the larger Edmonton Region.
Welcoming our Neighbours
Everyone deserves a home and community that is safe, accessible and affordable. As we combat Covid-19 and plan for our recovery, we need to prioritize the needs of those most disproportionately impacted.
Safety means being able to walk through your neighbourhood without harassment, violence, near-misses, conflicts, collisions or death. The feeling of safety isn’t measured by street checks, or traffic stops. Community members are the experts on their experience. Whether it's young people feeling targeted by fare enforcement officers, women in hijab attacked, a mom crossing a busy road with young children, or seniors trying not to slip on the ice, they are the experts about their experience. Crime prevention and community safety initiatives need to prioritize the needs and experiences of the most vulnerable in our communities and support everyone’s capacity to engage with others with compassion.
Creating a safer City means creating a more inclusive, empathetic, equitable and accessible City. Even if we aren’t the ones directly affected, it will be safer for all of us. Our wellbeing is directly tied to the wellbeing of others.
Places for People
Municipal government is often said to be the closest to people. Fundamentally the decisions made at the municipal level are about the places we call home. When I ask people what they love about their communities the list is almost always the same. They love that they know their neighbours. They love that they can walk down tree lined streets or are close to natural areas. And they love that they are close to school, or work, or a local coffee shop or restaurant.
As our City changes and our communities evolve, these are the priorities we need to hold on to. We don’t always realize it, but design decisions have a profound impact on how frequently we’ll see or talk to our neighbours and our feelings of safety. We have no excuses for designing any building, park, local street or major attraction without considering how it does, or does not, foster neighbourliness. How we allocate, protect and enhance natural areas and green space will become even more important as we increase population and density. And finally keeping those neighbourhood schools open and our local businesses thriving requires attracting people at all ages, and stages of life and having the housing diversity to keep them in our neighbourhoods throughout their lives.