Alberta NDP edges toward a budget-free election
Alberta could be looking at a provincial election sooner rather than later. Premier Rachel Notley has previously indicated she will set an election date between March 1 and May 31, in accordance with provincial law. But setting a date in the earlier portion of that time frame means she may send Albertans to the polls without her government presenting a new budget for the province. It’s an idea that offers up a variety of benefits for the ruling NDP government.City council members have now had time to digest the results of a new survey which suggests Calgarians aren’t entirely pleased with the job performance of their elected officials.The report published Monday from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy suggested just 37 per cent of Calgarians are satisfied with council’s general performance, though most individual councillors received good reviews.Notably the report saw some of council’s longest-serving members receive approval scores below 50 per cent, including Diane Colley-Urquhart (44 per cent), Druh Farrell (49 per cent) and Ray Jones (48 per cent).“Of course I’m concerned,” Coun. Druh Farrell said, when asked about the survey Monday.“I live in a ward that’s going through a significant amount of change,” Farrell said. “The decisions that I make are often controversial, but they represent a changing city.”The average score for city councillors was 60 per cent, according to the survey carried out by Forum Research between Nov. 14 and Dec. 13, immediately following the Olympic plebiscite.Some councillors who received above-average rankings appeared especially cheerful Monday.Coun. Sean Chu said he was “pleased” to have received 66 per cent.“Two-thirds of people in Ward 4 think that I’m doing a decent job, which is encouraging (and) which I will continue to do,” he said.Elected officials were more divided in their reaction to the poor score Calgarians gave to council’s performance as a body.Farrell echoed concerns raised by the report’s author, suggesting perceptions of council dysfunction could be contributing to the low score.“I’ve certainly seen councils work better in the past. We seem to be more fractured than (councils have) historically,” Farrell said. “I’ve always felt that if you sling mud, we all get dirty. It serves Calgarians when we attempt at least to work together.”Mayor Naheed Nenshi suggested it was important not to overstateOf course I’m concerned ... The decisions that I make are often controversial, but they represent a changing city.the problems faced by council and the city generally. “While there are challenges here, we’re not living at the end of the world,” he said.Nenshi received a satisfaction score of 56 per cent, on par with his approval ratings prior to the 2017 municipal election.“It’s always helpful to understand the pulse of what people are doing, and there’s a lot of data that can help us understand that,” Nenshi said.“Most people (are) very happy with their councillor, they’re very happy with the mayor — these are approval ratings that other politicians in other orders of government don’t get.”
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