Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Edmonton Civic Elections

Edmonton's civic election, which is held every 3 years, takes place next Monday. Edmontonians vote for a mayor and 12 councillors, one per ward. I'm fairly certain that the election is FPTP. Elected councillors receive a salary, currently $79,787; the mayor gets $144,061. These salaries are augmented by health care, a vehicle allowance, and partial tax exemption. The small size of the council is admirably lean and efficient, and the salaries, while good enough to attract able candidates, are not excessive.

For some reason that I don't understand, the political parties have no involvement in civic politics. All candidates are non party-political. Campaigning is very low key, which makes it very difficult to work out what candidates stand for or believe in, except for their position one or two current high-profile issues, such as whether a new sports arena should be built downtown. The elephant in the room is homelessness, which only fails to be treated as a current crisis because it is chronic; I've not been able to discover how any of the candidates in our ward would deal with the issue.

I don't have a vote (which I resent), but Ian does. So far he has not received one candidate leaflet. No canvassers have come to the door. Most candidates seem to think the watchword for success is anodyne. The incumbent councillor in our ward is Ben Henderson; view the first interview with him on this page for a demonstration of how to spend an entire minute talking but saying absolutely nothing.

4 comments:

Jane said...

I'm surprised nobody picked me up on the error above when I said "next Monday" which should have read Monday week (or Monday after next, if you are Canadian).

Mark @ Israel said...

It's really something to wonder that those who voted in the Edmonton's civic election do not really know who they are voting for. It seems like those who were elected are not that qualified.

Jane said...

Actually Mark, I think many, maybe most, of the candidates are very well qualified, both in terms of their education, work experience and years of community involvement.

Jane said...

Today we got a leaflet from Ben Henderson. It surprises me it is so late, since early voting has been going on for a week, but it does say that he supports the city's ten year housing plan.