Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Leslie Bedard

Leslie Bedard was born in Saskatchewan and moved to Alberta when she was twelve. Later on, she worked for the Edmonton John Howard Society after attending Grant MacEwan College. She moved to Calgary in 1997 and pursued a B.A. in English and a B.Ed at the University of Calgary. She has taught in several high schools in the city, and is now pursuing a Masters in Counseling Psychology.

Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
Bedard cited her main reason for running in Ward 4 because she lives in the ward. She believes that she is a strong candidate because she “can work together and bring something to the discussion.”
“I just think there’s a lot of people in this because people are angry,” says Bedard. “It’s not a job we should be doing out of anger.”
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
“I hope that Calgary maintains its small town feeling,” Bedard said.
Bedard believes that the sense of community and friendliness is important to Calgary while trying to maintaining and growing itself as a business hub. 
Beyond that, Bedard hopes that people will start to carry Calgary through all sorts of growth regardless of whether or not the oil industry will continue to define Calgary’s economy. 
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
Bedard does not think social media is crucial in an election campaign, but it will aid a candidate. She believes that the Obama campaign was a different franchise and is not comparable to a civic setting. 
She does that social media can provide conversation that you would normally miss, but it is not enough to shift who the regular voting demographics. 
“We will see younger voters more engaged,” Bedard says. 
What was one thing the city did right this term?
One of the highlights that Bedard thought city council did right was “stepping up and willing to help get Calgary festival friendly.”
She felt that during a time when festivals were feeling threatened by various factors, the city made the right call to intervene and help out.
She also noted that moving forward with events like the Bow River Flow was important for the city. Festivals like these are free and help families enjoy their weekend. It also adds to Calgary’s identity and encourages people to come and visit the city. 
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
While Bedard has given it some thought on the constitutional question, her first instinct is in favour of such a move. However, she adds that it is something that she will look into further since she does not have a lot of information on the issue. 
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
Bedard believes that taking the bus is important, and acknowledges that she is lucky to live only two blocks away from a transit stop.
“I would take the bus at least once a week. Once a week is cheating, I would take it everyday,” Bedard asserted. “If you can take it one day a week, you can take it everyday of the week.”
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
“It’s implied in my platform that we need to be wiling to work with family and individuals left on the fringes,” Bedard said when asked about whether or not Aboriginal issues were in her platform.
While there were no specifics about Aboriginal issues, Bedard said she would try to include anyone in ways that they are not included in the city. 
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
Bedard believes that CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw are reactionary measures. However, Bedard suggests that cameras might make it easier to catch people and has helped in solving crime.
“Most crimes are not stopped by the fear of being filmed,” Bedard warned. 
She suggests that while bylaws might help, it is a sign that people need to “get back to the basics” and “remember manners,” something that city council cannot change in people. 

This is cross-posted with CalgaryPoliitcs.com

Continue reading

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 4 Interview with Jane Morgan

Jane Morgan was born in Drumheller, Alberta, and currently lives in Highland Park. She has worked in a variety of jobs including insurance and telecommunications. Since 2004, she has owned her own book-keeping and consulting company. She has been active with the Wildrose Alliance, and acted as executive director in 2009. 
Why are running for alderman in Ward 4?
Morgan wants to restore accountability and the lost confidence people have in city hall. She says that being fiscally responsible is one of her top priorities if elected. She also described how she has been through good times and bad with Calgary, and it was time for her to give back to the community. 
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
“Technology will continue to grow in leaps and bounds,” says Morgan. “What I like to see are more unique ideas of how you work, such as telecommunicating, and work centered somewhere else.”
Morgan’s own employees work from home, and believes that this could be a growing in trend for Calgary in years to come. 
Morgan also believes that growth will be key to Calgary’s future. 
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
While Morgan believes that social media is a component to an election campaign right now, “it’s not necessarily crucial.” For her, it is all about getting out to the doors and meeting people, and that is how someone like Obama in 2008 ran his campaign.
Morgan also sees social media as a good inner campaign tool.
“It compliments a campaign because it’s a way to reach out to your organizers and getting them involved,” describes Morgan.
What was one thing the city did right this term?
Economic development was front and centre for Morgan. According to her, the city “showed positive results over the last three years nationally and globally,” even when we were in the midst of an economic recession.
“I believe [economic development] is a crucial element in maintaining city growth,” says Morgan. 
Should municipalities be granted constitutional powers?
In answering this question, Morgan questioned about why taxes were transferred from the cities to the provinces or to the federal government. The problem with this transfer according to Morgan is that “you have to ask for the money back to provide for the basic services for the city.”
Morgan believes that there should be greater autonomy, but it takes time and a shift in thinking if we are ever going to gain constitutional powers.
“The government closest to the people should have the greatest responsibility,” asserts Morgan. 
Almost all candidates have preached the importance of transportation. Would you take the bus to work at least once a week if elected? If not, why would you not take it if you are recommending Calgarians should take it?
“I’d be willing to do it once a week,” says Morgan.
If she does take transit to work, Morgan said it would be “an excellent and clear personal observation on what’s working and what’s not.” It would also provide her an opportunity to talk to people who take transit on a regularly basis.
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
Morgan says that she does not specifically address Aboriginals, and that a number of issues are not ethnic specific. 
She said that figures of poverty and homelessness are higher amongst Aboriginal people are higher, and that it is important to give people a hand up, which in turn helps the entire community. Morgan said she was in favour of halfway homes or methadone clinics if they do make improvements to their lives.
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
“I’m not opposed to the cameras in downtown if they are only observing the pubic,” says Morgan. 
Morgan pointed out that she was not sure just how much the city should be putting police service into monitoring instead of other activities. The purpose of these cameras she pointed out was to identify witnesses and crimes.
“If people are charged appropriately under the law, I’m OK with it,” Morgan responded.

This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com

Continue reading

Cats, Chopsticks, and Rainbows: Ward 8 Interview with Zak Pashak

Zak Pashak currently lives in Sunalta and has so for the last seven years. In 2003, he opened Broken City, which serves as a live music venue. He is also the founder of Sled Island music festival, which has been a success since its inception in 2007. Pashak has also been named by Alberta Venture as one of the 50 most influential Albertas in 2010.  
Why are running for alderman in Ward 8?
Pashak describes himself as an urbanist and believes that Ward 8 Is the best place to live. He owns a business in the ward and has hosted a music festival in and around the ward as well. Through all of this, Pashak believes he has dealt with a lot of people in the ward to give him the understanding and knowledge to serve in Ward 8. 
What does the city look like 100 years from now?
Pashak believes that there will be some “pretty significant changes” a hundred years from now. He sees a city that will be environmentally sustainable, efficient, and affordable.
“[Calgary will have] a strong small business scene with a lot of great and independent business,” says Pashak.
Is social media an important driving force, or is it still the voting demographic and the hot issues that dictate the election?
In Pashak’s opinion, social media is ubiquitous.
“I think that social media has become important in more than just politics,” Pashak says.
For the election, Pashak believes that social media like Twitter and Facebook do help in getting information and delivering counter points to arguments made about city issues. This to Pashak, allows for broader discussion on a variety of topics.
“It’s a way to cut through the mysterious about specific issues,” adds Pashak.
What was one thing the city did right this term?
“I like the office of sustainability,” Zak remarked. “There are serious and real efforts being made on the sustainability front.”
According to Pashak, he has seen the city respond positively to Calgarians’ want for a more sustainable city. 
“If everyone needs to drive, we are going to run into roadblocks,” Pashak asserted.
What does your platform include in terms of Aboriginal issues?
Vibrancy is key to Pashak. He does not believe that candidates need specific platforms for a specific ethnicity. 
“I think a stronger city benefits everyone in the city, whether they are Aboriginal or wealthy people in Mount Royal,” says Pashak. 
With CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw, do you believe the city has a place for dictating and monitoring the conduct of its citizens?
Zak believes that the city needs to “make sure citizens feel safe from the actions of other citizens.” 
“I think that you need to be respectful of people’s rights and liberties, and the city should not overstep them,” Pashak explained. “If it’s an ineffective policy, we shouldn’t implement it.”
Pashak also believes that city needs to address underlying issues that have caused the city to bring forth initiatives like CCTVs and the public behavior bylaw. 
“Realistically, if we want to address the problems of homelessness, the question is how do we give these people a hand up?” says Pashak. “One of the best ways to help with that is to have transitional housing.”
Pashak argues that people are going to return into society and that transitional housing can ensure these people can be reintegrated into society. 
Is increased funding for police service justified even though Canada has seen a drop in crime?
Pashak believes that is an important subject matter, and is concerned with the direction that council set in terms of police funding.
 Pashak believes there was a “managerial oversight from council by allowing the police to keep their budget.”
“If my team started a smear campaign against my department, I would look at cuts in that department,” Zak suggested. 
He believes that the police could have looked a variety of places to make cuts, and that it sounded like a threat when the police said they wanted to take police officers off the streets.
“Not allowing the new council to have a say in the police budget was a horrible example of management,” Pashak added. 
Let’s say there was a potential for a drug clinic or halfway house being built in a community in Ward 8. How would you handle this and would you try to push it to another location?
Pashak believes the city needs to make people feel proud of their city and to feel safe. 
“Politicians should not try to use fear to get into office,” Pashak says.
Had public consultation been done right for many of these sensitive issues, Pashak believes that communities would “realize that this is exactly what we need in the city.”
This is cross-posted with CalgaryPolitics.com
Continue reading

Pop The Stack: Who’s the Boss?

Congratulations to our new Governor General David Johnston. I hope you serve the office as well as Michaëlle Jean, I’m sure you will. As our new GG undoubtedly knows, he now has some reserve powers for extraordinary circumstances.  It seems that when our previous GG had cause to exercise these powers on that long morning […]

Continue reading

Time Heals All Wounds

Today, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney spoke in Windsor on the state of Canada’s economy and made his predictions for the future. The outlook seems that the economy will remain at a crawl, for the time being, with gradual growth.

Still recovering …

Continue reading