To reach your city councillor (alderman) you can email or call them. If you can make it downtown, you might be able to catch them at City Hall. While this is the current norm, it is not acceptable to me. If I am elected, I will become the most accessible City Councillor in Edmonton.
Email and Phone Options
While these methods of communication should be widely used, it’s my understanding that many councillors do not promptly return emails or phone calls, if at all. Further, too often it is an assistant that corresponds with residents instead of the councillor. I believe that assistants should be used to gather information, but it always should be the councillor that reports directly back to resident. Further, residents should get more of a response than “next time phone 311.”
The Downtown Option
While it’s possible to visit with a councillor during office hours at City Hall, it’s not easy for all residents to do so, especially for seniors. Parking is difficult and if one conducts all of their other business in a suburban part of Edmonton then getting downtown, during business hours, is a challenge.
Meeting with your MP or MLA
Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assembly have offices in their constituencies for ease of access. It is not feasible to meet your MP in Ottawa, obviously, and so it makes sense for them to have Edmonton-based federal offices. The MLA situation is different: Edmonton is the provincial capital. We do not need to have MLA offices in Edmonton as constituents can visit the Legislative Assembly, locally – but it is nice to have politicians more accessible. I am in favour of any initiative that keeps politicians reachable and accountable to their electorate. This is the basis for my decision to set up an office in Ward 3 after the election. Sure, residents could also make an appointment to visit me at City Hall, but I want to do better than that. I want to come to them.
To be clear: I am not talking about a campaign office. It would be non-political. It would be an opportunity for you to easily meet your city councillor in your neighbourhood, between elections, versus going downtown to do so.
What I Will Do
A city councillor is required to be at City Hall during much of the work week for Council and committee meetings, and other obligations, but there are other times within a week when a councillor can make themselves available to residents. I would use this available time to meet with people in Ward 3. This is my intention:
- I will attempt to use community league buildings to host regular office hours in the neighbourhoods. Every week, I will be at a different Ward 3 community league in order to maximize my exposure to residents. I would rove around the Ward. Residents will be able to schedule appointments to meet directly with me.
- Use of community league buildings will hopefully re-engage citizens with the community league system, which needs a boost in the arm. If for some technical reason I cannot use City-owned properties to host office hours, I will rent space at my own expense. This proposal will not cost the City any money.
- To the extent possible, I will personally return all emails and phone calls that I receive. I will primarily use the help of assistants to research issues but not to communicate with residents. As an elected City Councillor, I will have conversations with the residents directly. I want to hear concerns and suggestions.
The easier it is for residents to communicate with councillors, the more grounded and accountable the councillor becomes. I have several innovative common-sense ideas and I believe that I will be welcomed by the citizens of Edmonton. I am always receptive to suggestions. In fact, the idea of having a permanent non-partisan office in Ward 3 came from one of my volunteers.
This is our opportunity for positive change. Do you want to volunteer? Can you donate?
Have you checked out my Facebook page?
North Side Journal