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October 18, 2017
July 20, 2017

Edmonton Headlines: Thursday, July 20, 2017

Turning down money

Written by Jeff Samsonow

 

City Hall, image: Edmonton Elections

As the race to October starts to pick up momentum, it’s a good time to remember that most donations to city council candidates come from companies and people in the property development and real estate worlds. From Elise Stolte at the Edmonton Journal: “… before the 2013 election, roughly 60 per cent of donations to successful campaigns could be tied back to developers, either through a company or key officials. Unions gave seven per cent of the total raised.”

We can say that councillors won’t listen to those who pay them the most to run for office, but then we also didn’t have single tower application turned down for eight years (and then it only happened this year, months ahead of an election – yes, I’m full-out cynical on this one).

Andrew Knack, image: Twitter

This is in the news today because Andrew Knack says he won’t take any corporate or union donations in his run for re-election (he will still take money from people who work for the same organizations).

Cynical again: Knack is currently facing zero opponents, and incumbents rarely lose so he’s got a pretty safe space to declare such things. Less cynical: Knack has championed the idea of campaign finance reform at the municipal level, so he is coming to this honestly. And he’s likely going to be the only incumbent councillor to stay away from corporate and union donations. (Prove me wrong, other incumbents!)

Even less cynical: other people running for city council are also shunning corporate and union donations (the story mentions Payman Parseyan, Troy Pavlek and Keren Tang). Hopefully this becomes part of the debate as election day gets closer and candidates only taking personal donations get a second look from voters who are skeptical that councillors won’t remember who paid for all those lawn signs. (See what candidates raised last election in their disclosure forms.)

The one and only mayoral challenger also isn’t taking corporate donations, and he has a lot of other ideas for change.


Public vs. private

Edmonton Police invited a couple of representatives of Black Lives Matter-Edmonton (BLM-YEG) to a meeting to talk about the issue of racial profiling through street checks, or carding. (The whole story.) Those BLM-YEG reps declined the offer to meet in private and speak on behalf of all Black people in Edmonton and instead asked if more people could come and speak to their own experiences with carding. That was a no-go for police.

The latest review of street checks and carding data is on today’s Edmonton Police Commission agenda. That meeting is open to the public.

On a similar topic, a new seven-year study shows how deep these roots of racial profiling can go.


Around the city

Flood mitigation has to continue, even if neighbours aren’t always big fans of what’s going into their community (or what’s coming out).

There will be a new trial of an Edmonton man after the judge was found to have relied on sexual assault myths and stereotypes in acquitting him of assaulting his step-daughter. We’re going to keep seeing these kinds of appeals as Canada’s legal system catches up to where the world is going.

At their meeting here in Edmonton, Canada’s premiers want more information from the federal government, or more time to get new marijuana rules ready. They also seem open to the idea of pushing for a national pharmacare plan.

Edmonton’s K-Days really needs to get the anti-abortion booth out of the carnival. Unless there’s an abortion pill booth right next to it.


Public engagement

The Edmonton Police Commission has a meeting today, 12 – 1:30 p.m. You can see the agenda online. The meeting will also stream live from the River Valley Room.

There’s a public information session about future LRT connections between Bonnie Doon and Old Strathcona (and the downtown), at City Hall, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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