Pivotal election an understatement
Yes, this year’s municipal election is pivotal! We just celebrated 100 years where the original homesteaders and residents saw so much potential and opportunity … and then seized it to create the Red Deer we know today. As our population is about to reach 100,000, what does the next 100 years look like?
Will Red Deer continue to be a community where people feel they belong and are proud to call home? Will potential opportunities continue to be discovered for the benefit of residents and businesses alike? The tone to start off Red Deer’s next 100 years will be set by the results of the Oct. 21 election, starting with the mayor.
Much has been said about past council decisions over the years (100 years to be exact), but perhaps not enough is being said about potential council decisions over the next 100 years. Or more to the point: how to lead a council if 75 per cent of council adhere to the same mandate under the Red Deer First banner? How ‘collective’ or ‘representative’ of the community voice will the council agenda, proposed motions and decisions actually address? There has been lots of commentary on this subject as it relates to councillors, from Advocate editorials to letters to the editor. Yet, there has not been much discussion regarding the mayor under these circumstances.
I thought this significant enough that I posed the question at RDC mayoral forum. I found the answers to be telling of what the tone to start off the next 100 years might be like.
Cindy Jefferies’ answer demonstrated she had given this scenario some serious consideration. Her approach would start with the fundamentals of building good teams and understand that we are all there to serve the good of our community. The other point she made clear was that if we had a number of people who come from a similar perspective on council, we would need to do what we could to encourage them to broaden their viewpoints and bring different views to the table so that we are making the best decisions possible. In essence, in my opinion, she was demonstrating leadership though collaboration, encouragement and inclusiveness to have councilors voices heard, while also reminding councilors that they need to seek input and view points from all constituents across Red Deer … even those that differ from their own.
Tara Veer’s answer was that regardless of whomever the public puts there, whether it’s a slate or otherwise, she would be willing to work with whomever. Tara also stated that she thought the key is leadership ability and one who can win the respect and co-operation of their future colleagues. This seems more like leading a single-minded view rather than the diverse views of the entire community of Red Deer.
Pivotal is indeed an understatement!
And I hope that the original ‘pivotal’ letter submitted by Bruce Rowe, MLA Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills and Official Opposition Municipal Affairs critic, was done in the spirit of a public service announcement, either to his particular constituency or across the province as a whole, as opposed to a directed message to the citizens of Red Deer. If it were the latter, then that opens yet more questions to ponder for this election!