Al­berta NDP edges to­ward a bud­get-free elec­tion

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - 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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