As one term ends, another begins…
Over the past few months, I had the pleasure to speak with many of you as I knocked on several thousand doors in our ward during the recent election. I value the conversations we were able to have about our progress as a city over the last four years and about our collective vision for the future. I’m honoured to have the chance to serve another term and I’m looking forward to working with colleagues old and new around the council horseshoe.
While we haven’t always agreed, my colleagues on the outgoing council worked very well together to create a comprehensive strategic plan, build the city’s first multi-year budget, maintain residential property taxes rates aligned with inflation, invest in important services such as transit, housing, and infrastructure, while also tackling critical social issues such as poverty, the opioid crisis, and diversity and inclusion. What I’ve admired most about my colleagues is the level of debate they brought to our discussions on these important issues. It was refreshing to see how well prepared each councillor was for the discussions, bringing articulate, considered arguments to the horseshoe. Journalists often had difficulty predicting how a vote would end up because we allowed ourselves to be swayed by good arguments presented by other councillors. And this is exactly the way it should be.
City council functions differently than provincial and federal parliament insofar as city councils aren’t organized by political party. Occasionally, councils may divide themselves into voting ‘blocs’, which almost act like a partisan divide, but this never happened over the past term.
The new term of council will have some big issues to address right out of the gates. Developing our strategic plan, approving the 2019 budget, determining the future of rapid transit, and deciding whether to allow cannabis retailing in London, for example, will all have to be decided within the first couple months on the job. I’m hoping that the new council will approach the issues of the day with open minds, good debate, and a readiness to hear all perspectives.
As residents, you have a role to play, too. Stay involved. The discussions we had on the doorstep have helped me gauge the priorities for our ward, but democracy doesn’t end at the ballot box. Writing members of council, speaking at public meetings, and attending ward meetings are all important to helping us know what’s important to you. I look forward to hearing from you!
My family and I wish you all the best for the holidays! I hope you get the opportunity to celebrate the season with all those who are closest in your lives.
The online version of the Wortley Villager can be found here.