The ‘Race’ is on!
They are off and running, recruiting candidates, door knocking and building signs. Some old and new candidates are promising change, while others are criticizing their own past decisions.
The ‘nudge campaigns’ are showing up earlier than normal in our municipal election; possibly because there are nine empty seats to fill, including the Mayor’s. While there is still time for more to step up, at last count there was an astonishing 20 names seeking the Mayor’s job alone. Such a high number running for Mayor is interesting, considering that position (like the rest of council) only gets one vote.
New faces are vying to fill all the vacant seats, or to unseat those who hope to stay. While it appears to be a union slate and a women’s alliance making up the bulk of candidates, it is enlightening to see there are some ‘stand alone’ candidates beating the streets on their own. Most new names are only known to a few, so there is a lot of campaigning left to do and little time for candidates to present their unique platforms. Polls regularly report on the most effective ‘nudge campaigns’ being promoted to grow candidate name recognition.
There also appears to be a second race underway. If you were paying attention during Stampede, you might have noticed that ‘Ottawa arrived in town’; not to attend the Stampede, but for noticeable federal election recruiting. There was a number of ‘not-so-hidden’ appearances, hand shaking and back slaps. This was great timing as the grills had already been fired up and crowds were gathered. While it is still speculation, there is talk that a federal election could get in front of our local election. Local federal candidates have been romanced or selected and money ‘enticements’ dropped across Canada. This tells us our attention to both elections is critical at such an important crossroads in time for Calgary and Alberta.
Our municipal race could also be one of our most important in a long time and will have the greatest impact on our day-to-day lives. We should be paying attention to what is happening municipally by electing candidates for the best outcome for all Calgarians. Municipally, the key issues so far at the doors and in polls are taxation, public safety, uncontrolled spending and overplanning.
While we are accustomed to Alberta being a ‘fly-over province’ we still need to be aware that this could also be our most important federal election.
As citizens, we must become highly engaged if we are to have a fighting chance to end being strangers in either election. Also of importance, we must pay attention to the speech of the candidates and their potential or proven quality of their political leadership. We have learned the hard way that we cannot have faith in a good outcome on either level without strong citizen involvement. If political leaders are unlikely to change how they govern then citizens must change their leaders.