Monthly Archives: February 2014

A Rarity Indeed

Ever notice that months after an election, politicians tend to show their true colours. For most, the platforms they ran on quickly become a distant memory. Sure they will allude to one or two of their “goals” during their time in office, but overall their meaningless words during election season are just that . . . . meaningless.

Then there is the odd politician who goes into office and actually “lives” the promises he gave during an election campaign. Like him or not, Brent Rathgeber is one such politician. He was elected into office to represent his constituents and found that once there, his political values and ethics were being compromised. Voters know the rest of the story.

What does Brent Rathgeber have to do with St. Albert? Other than representing us federally, he has shown a nation what it means to stay true to the election platform he ran on. Residents are lucky to have voted such a man into office to represent them, as such integrity in a politician is a rare thing indeed.

On a local level residents once again struck gold when Councillor Sheena Hughes and Councillor Cam MacKay were elected into office. For those who have been following council meetings, been to various open houses, or have been following council members through various media forms, the one thing that sets these two apart is their consistency in following through with their platforms. Articulate, intelligent and responsive to the citizens of St. Albert, they have not wavered from their election promises.

Old politicians tend not to tolerate dissent or independent thinking, but serious politicians like Councillors Hughes and MacKay show that their independent thinking is what makes them appealing to people from all walks of life.

Already blazing their own paths of transparency and accountability will make the next few years interesting.

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The State of Eldorado

The State of Eldorado

Several of our earlier blogs introduced the reader as to how Mayor Crouse and Councillors Heron and Brodhead milk taxpayers’ to support ICLEI’s program. Savvy Albertans also know the ties the provincial government has to this U.N. branch. Is it any wonder then that this city would turn against citizens to push their “smart city” agenda of congesting people into less space through?

A few facts:

  • The City did not fight to keep the school reserves in Akinsdale, but is fighting to take away green space in Erin Ridge to have a school built.
  • Mr. Draper, by his own admission, did not seek out an extension with the province so an alternate viable site, such as the Badger lands, could be found. Is he not working for the residents of St. Albert who pay his salary, or is this an example of his inability to do so?
  • The Liberal Opposition stated that “last month, the government admitted it won’t be able to meet its target and build 50 new schools and modernize 70 more by 2016.If this is the case, then Mr. Draper should have no problem going back to the province and actually do his job. And given the province’s statement, M. St-Jean (Francophone school board trustee) should then have no issue with the extended time period it will take to build this school in Riverside or the Badger lands as the time line could realistically be the same.

Other considerations:

  • Will St. Albert property taxpayers see a reduction on the city’s part in order to accommodate the higher education taxes that will be foisted upon them through the P3 model? If the school is indeed built in Erin Ridge, will these residents’ taxes be adjusted to reflect the devaluation of their properties?
  • If the City can so easily rezone land, imagine what it can do to your neighbourhood.

St. Albert residents have repeatedly been privy to green space land grabs or attempted land grabs throughout Mayor Crouse’s time in office. The Arlington “project” in Akinsdale and the bike skills park in Grandin are the two recent notable ones. And now Eldorado Park in Erin Ridge. Of course the City will go through some motions to try and appease those affected, but when push really comes to shove, quality of life in the affected neighbourhood will be tossed; traffic congestions will get a band-aide solution; and the safety of residents will be ignored so that those supporting this costly endeavour can help propagate the joke of “botanical” St. Albert.

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If you have taken the time to read this, please support Erin Ridge residents by signing their petition. Details can be found at the top of this page.

Another Gaffe?

June 25th, 2013. A well known political figure steps out of his vehicle, approaches a group in public and emits obscenities in front of witnesses. Several months later he is once again caught saying things that no principled politician would be verbalizing in public. One has to wonder why a politician, who just recently won an election, is so insecure with individuals he works for and with.

Asking hard questions and expecting verifiable responses is the mark of a conscientious politician working for the people he represents. It is refreshing that present council does indeed have such individuals on board. It offers a small amount of hope that not all politicians are corrupt.

New perspectives and questions that have been evident in and out of council meetings over the past months should be positively received as they open up scenarios that may not have been previously considered. A sign of true leadership would welcome these as new solutions are sought.

But then true leadership is a rarity and over time many politicians succumb to Machiavellian inclinations where retaining authority and power at the cost of integrity becomes justifiable for them.  This seems to be the case with Mayor Crouse.

He can not circumvent his latest public faux pas. Too many can vouch for what transpired. And until he publically addresses it, it won’t fade from the spotlight. Residents are talking, bloggers are blogging, twitter is tweeting and talk forums are exploding. It may not be quite the Mayor Rob Ford fiasco, but for a small city of this size the Mayor’s conduct towards other council members, as well as the public does matter.

Maybe it is time to do the responsible thing and own the mistake. Even Mayor Rob Ford did. Maybe the stress of being in office for a third term is showing. Maybe it is time . . . . . . .