Our wonderful Edmonton mayor, Stephen Mandel, is a grandpa and retiring. I so get him.
Sure, most folks will think he has accomplished a great deal for our city, but I really think a significant thing he has done is make government appear to be a place where people who want to make our collective life together work for all of us, without sacrificing his mortal soul. He shared this with all his city councillors. Heck, my heart aches for the citizens of Toronto and Montreal. Mayor Mandel deserves the reward of quality grandpa-time – he earned it.
I believe we often get the government we deserve and that citizenship is first a responsibility. As a person who has voted in every election I was eligible for, I feel I can speak about the things that happen in government that I like and don’t like. Yes, I “held my nose” and voted PC provincially recently (a first time for everything). The experience that tipped the scale for me was hearing Alison Redford live and in person. Do I have some misgivings about that vote, oh yeah, but after collecting information about all the alternatives, I weighed my choices and exercised my franchise.
I am doing a small contract for the Community Standards Branch of the City of Edmonton in support of their comprehensive resource for Grade 6 called Make a Better City. If all the voters of Edmonton were exposed to these “lessons”, our city would be an even Better place to live. I am happy, and just a little proud, to help move the next generation of Edmontonians along the path of active democracy; an attitude of participation not “us against them”.
I will be using all the tools at my disposal to decide about my choice for councillor and mayor. This thing called the internet can make this easier. During the last year, I got to meet the Edmonton Journal photo-journalist, Ryan Jackson. He takes story-telling to a new level with his use of computers and images. Just for fun, go have coffee with the campaigning provincial partyleaders.
One lesson from the Plaka in Athens: democracy is best practiced in conversation.