It’s once again campaign time for municipal government and yesterday I submitted my nomination papers for a (hopefully) fourth term as one of your City Councillors. I would be privileged to be able to serve the City again.
I have to thank many of you for your continued support and kind words of encouragement to try on your behalf to speak about the issues that I believe are important for the city to grow and prosper. Many of you thought that I was going to run for Mayor and I have to say, that I did give that some serious thought. Then at the beginning of the summer, shortly after my Moose Jawg completed its 11th and another successful year, my career opened up to a new and exciting opportunity. About three weeks ago, I found out that that opportunity was going to happen and I start a new job next week. I am excited and very happy about this new journey for my career and because of this, my decision to run for City Councillor instead came to fruition. If I would have ran for Mayor, and had been elected, I could not have done both well. A choice had to be made.
I would be pleased and honoured to earn your vote on October 24 for your City Councillor again.
We are at a very interesting time for the City. The province is seeing some significant growth and many municipalities are experiencing housing booms, job increases and growth in many areas. Moose Jaw has the chance to be part of that greatness but I believe things need to be done differently and a bit better.
There are some who will argue that saying no to certain situations that have been brought forward at Council is being “regressive” and that asking important questions to get both sides of the story is not “moving forward”. My first comment is that many of these people believe that no means an outright opposition to the idea. They couldn’t be further from the truth in many cases. My further comment to that is, is there someone, anyone, who can remove that overused phrase from a politician’s vocabulary…please? In my opinion, saying we need to “move forward” is a way of hiding the bad decisions that have continued to take front and centre for years. It’s a smoke screen to make it sound like good sound, fiscally responsible decisions are being made.
Municipalities have this inherent need to band together and “follow the pack” and “complain” about how much more money they need for the basic priorities. Then, as in our case, make a decision to potentially buy property we have no business buying or floating the idea to residents that spending millions of dollars to upstart a recycling program under the City’s umbrella is “moving forward” and a “potential option, in principle”. I’ll always say that if we continue to make these kinds of decisions and neglect the basic priorities of our City, we are bound to have those decisions bite us in the butt sooner or later. To put it simply, for example, there are businesses out there who are in the business of recycling and there are real estate agents and the free market that should be deciding what to create and build in the downtown and properties to purchase. But the last time I checked there aren’t many in the business of maintaining roads and sidewalks and basic infrastructure. No, because that is your City’s priorities and it’s one that has been neglected for far too long. One only has to take a look at the level of water in the river this year and see that the continual pushing out of the budget for the CPR Dam fix is what gets us to the point we are at currently. Neglecting our basic infrastructure priorities will put us into reactive mode eventually.
The City has to get a handle on its spending. During this last budget cycle, Moose Jaw received unprecedented levels of provincial revenue sharing. You will also hear that funding being called the Municipal Operating Grant. This is mainly because municipalities have decided, basically over the last few years that it needed a new name, because “there isn’t enough money for all we need to do.” (See above paragraph 🙂 ) So now, you’ll hear municipalities talk about the Municipal Operating Grant or MOG (revenue sharing) AND the new Infrastructure Grant they are hopeful in receiving from the province. I don’t believe in always asking for more and more money. All levels of government have priorities and as elected officials we have a responsibility to focus on those priorities and make our citizens’ lives better. Whining for more money all the time is not becoming and I do struggle a bit with this towing of the line that we are pressured into following. Hence, my outspokenness in this area.
Moose Jaw needs leaders with guts. Guts to make a difference. The courage to bring some new ideas to the table and the initiative to implement them. With your vote on October 24, the tables have now turned back into the democratic process and into YOUR hands. Your new City Council is elected this time for four years (rather than the current three years). It’s your turn to make a difference and vote for those candidates and only those candidates who you believe will bring your issues to the table. And maybe those candidates will have the courage to go against political pressure and get back to basics. It’s always easier to go with the flow. Everyone needs an elected official that has the courage to say no sometimes.
It’s time that we focus on bringing careers here, infrastructure priorities and efficient spending initiatives across the City. Your municipal government should create a quiet environment in the background of our every day lives and make our City the most attractive place to work, live and play (how’s that for a cliche?) 🙂
You don’t have to vote for all six positions on Council. Vote for only the ones who you think will work for you and listen to you.
I’m looking forward to the next month. Please feel free to contact me at any time by email, through Twitter and Facebook and here, through my website.
Once again I want to say a big thank you to everyone for the continued support throughout the years. I hope to make you proud once again if re-elected on October 24.
Let’s make Moose Jaw THE City that leads the way, changes the way business is done and moves us into the times we are in. With your help, and your vote, I hope to do just that.
All questions and concerns are welcome. Talk soon!