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“WARD SYSTEM” vs. “AT LARGE SYSTEM”. Time for that question, again.

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“At Large” versus “Ward” municipal governance.

A year from now, October 16, 2017 there will be a municipal election and the citizens of Red Deer will vote for (1) mayor, (8) city councillors, (7) public school trustees, and (5) separate school trustees.

Red Deer uses the “At Large” system for voting so you have the option of voting for all positions mayor, councillors and school trustees either public or separate. 16 spots or 14 spots respectively.

The last election in 2013 we had 5 people running for mayor, 30 people running for council, 14 people running for public school board and 7 people run for the separate school board, 56 people in total.

How many people can remember all the candidates, anyone? Let us make it easier. How many people can remember , everyone who won, anybody?

The huge advantage of the current “At Large” system falls to and gives advantage to the incumbents and then to the more wealthier campaigns,

It takes money to advertise to every household in the city, so naturally you will find that the wealthier candidates more often than not live in the wealthier neighbourhoods. It is less expensive and easier for the city staff and management to deal with councillors, at large, in bulk than it would be to deal with the ward system and on individual basis. There is I have been told less infighting among councillors, perhaps because they have more in common, under the at large system than under the ward system.

The advantage of the “Ward” system is that poorer neighbourhoods get equal representation. The citizens are closer to their elected officials and poorer candidates have smaller areas to cover. The city staff will have to refine their method of dealing with councillors in regards to neighbourhood issues.

There are pros and cons to both system, and we had a plebiscite on the issue during the 2013 municipal election. 71% voted to remain with the “At Large” system, feeling that Red Deer is still small enough to stay with this, the current system. The city council incumbents voted to budget $30,000 to inform the electorate of the issue, which was heavily in favor of the current system. They held an open house with a heavy leaning to the current system with just one local person, Larry Pimm, speaking a popular former councillor, known for and speaking for the “At Large” system.

I believe that by looking at the city today, the current system has systematically and historically failed one third of our city.

One third of our city lives north of the river and they are represented by 1 person out of 9 at city hall. Out of 7 indoor ice rinks and 4 aquatic centres in Red Deer, they have 1 north of the river and the latest buildings are being built or planned south of the river. When it comes to school boards, the city has, is building and planning 6 high schools, all on the south side and 5 high schools are unbelievably along 30 Avenue. So 1/3 of the population gets shafted and has been since merging with the city nearly 70 years ago.

Let us get back to voting. In 2013 we had 56 candidates for 21 spots and naturally most incumbents who ran won. How can anyone know and understand the positions of 56 candidates. Many would like one or 2 newcomers, vote for them and fill the rest with known incumbents. They are sabotaging the chances of newcomers by voting and electing their opposition.

I have been advocating for 4 wards within city limits. Each ward would have 25% of the population, give or take 5%. 100,000 residents would mean that each ward would have between 23,750 and 26,250 and the boundaries would change with the population growth.

Each ward would elect 2 councillors, perhaps the school boards would adopt the ward system, so the public school board could for example. have 2 trustees from each ward, and the mayor would be elected city wide.

Using the 2013 ballot, you would elect 1 mayor out of 5 candidates, you would elect 2 councillors out of 7 or 8 depending on the ward and the public school voters would elect 2 trustees out of 3 or 4 candidates, again, depending on the ward.

Perhaps under the ward system, with representation at the table, using my previous arguments, the residents living north of the river will actually get a new indoor ice rink, swimming pool and perhaps (dare I dream),their own high school. One can only dream.

The incumbents will say no to the ward system, stating the small size of Red Deer, omitting the fact that most incumbents are relying on their constituency of voters that are spread across the city and may not their constituency of voters may not be strong enough in only one ward.

Lately, there has been some voices out of city hall, demanding to be recognized as a big city and to be included in the “Big City Charter” and the extra money and power associated with it. Incidentally the cities covered by the big city charter currently use the ward system.

Should we hold another plebiscite, asking that our councillors represent their neighbours, should we ask that school board trustees represent the neighbourhood families, should we take the step to recognize that Red Deer is now a big city and not that small town anymore, and prepare for and govern like a big city.

2017 will see a few candidates run against the incumbent mayor but we may see in excess of 30 candidates run for city council and in excess of 20 candidates running for one of the 2 school boards’ trustee positions. Under the current system we will again see governing concentrating their attention in the same areas like downtown or the east hill. We will continue to ignore the needs of residents living in neighbourhoods like those north of the river.

“At Large” is an ideal that fails when reality is involved, the “Ward” system is a flawed ideal that may best represent our reality. What would do you think? It is your home. Thank you.

 

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Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemns MAiD in Parliament as targeting nation’s most vulnerable

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

‘I call upon with government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions’

Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis condemned the Trudeau government’s treatment of Canada’s most vulnerable, revealing that 36 Canadians are euthanized every day.  

On November 28, Dr. Leslyn Lewis, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Haldimand-Norfolk, Ontario, addressed Parliament on the dangers of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), the euphemistic name for Canada’s euthanasia regime.

“The poor, homeless, the abused, veterans, seniors, youth, adults suffering with disabilities, those suffering with depressions, and mental health conditions,” Lewis said. “These are among the most vulnerable in our society that are falling through the cracks of Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying regime.”  

“They are the ones who will be at risk when the MAiD laws in Canada are expanded in March 2024,” the pro-life MP added. “Last year, death by euthanasia increased by 30 percent from the year before. Every day in Canada, 36 people use MAiD to end their lives, which is the highest in the world.” 

“I call upon with government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions,” Lewis appealed.    

On March 9, 2024, MAiD is set to expand to include those suffering solely from mental illness. This is a result of the 2021 passage of Bill C-7, which also allowed the chronically ill – not just the terminally ill – to qualify for so-called doctor-assisted death.  

The mental illness expansion was originally set to take effect in March of this year. However, after massive pushback from pro-life groups, conservative politicians and others, the Liberals under Trudeau delayed the introduction of the full effect of Bill C-7 until 2024 via Bill C-39.

The expansion comes despite warnings from top Canadian psychiatrists that the country is “not ready” for the coming expansion of euthanasia to those who are mentally ill, saying expanding the procedure is not something “society should be doing” as it could lead to deaths under a “false pretense.” 

“Unfortunately, there is no reprieve in sight as think Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) becomes a national horror and the ‘professionals’ sharpen up their needles,” Ireland told LifeSiteNews. 

“We have reached the point where we must all protect each other from MAiD,” she noted. 

Euthanasia deaths have gone through the roof in Canada since it became legal in 2016. 

According to Health Canada, in 2022, 13,241 Canadians died by MAiD lethal injection, which is 4.1 percent of all deaths in the country for that year, and a 31.2 percent increase from 2021. 

The number of Canadians killed by lethal injection since 2016 now stands at 44,958.

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MNP steps in to help youth “Move Your Mood” at the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence

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Ribbon Cut at the Newly Named MNP Move Your Mood Studio in the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence

The ribbon has been officially cut, and a new name announced for the MNP Move Your Mood Studio inside the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence.

The MNP Move Your Mood Studio held its naming ceremony and ribbon cutting on Tuesday, November 21st. Move Your Mood, an Alberta Health Services program, occupies a portion of Floor 2 inside the new Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence on the main campus of Red Deer Polytechnic.

The new MNP Move Your Mood Studio has a large space for classes and physical activity, complete with a climbing wall, physical activity gaming wall, and kitchen.

A significant contribution was made on behalf of the partner group from MNP’s Central Alberta region. This contribution reflects their commitment to investing in the communities that they are a part of.

“On behalf of the Central Alberta partner group and our entire team across the region, we are elated to celebrate the MNP Move Your Mood Studio,” says Patrick Wigmore, Regional Managing Partner for MNP in Central Alberta. “At MNP we truly believe that making a positive difference in the communities where we live, work, and play is a fundamental part of who we are. Our partners throughout the region believe that pooling our efforts together to create a greater impact for organizations like Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre and in turn, Move Your Mood, will leave a lasting legacy of positive impacts in Central Alberta. The decision to support the CACAC was unanimous.”

Move Your Mood is a research-based program that promotes physical activity and healthy lifestyle practices to improve the mental and physical well-being of participants. The MYM program provides opportunities for participants to experience how to move their bodies, fuel their bodies, practice mindfulness, and build positive coping strategies.

“We would like to thank MNP for their generous donation to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence and helping make this dream come true for children and youth in our community. We are grateful and honoured to share the name of the MNP Move Your Mood Studio and look forward to the opportunities this space will provide our entire community in the future. The space will be up and running in the New Year.” – Denise Fredeen, Health Promotion Facilitator at Move Your Mood.

The MNP Move Your Mood Studio will be a shared space for all children and youth accessing services at the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence. The Studio will be a place where children and youth can learn positive coping strategies to improve their mental and physical wellness through interactive opportunities. There will be opportunities for them to play, practice mindfulness, be physically active, learn how to make healthy snacks and take part in creative activities.

The space will provide professionals in the building an opportunity to create positive connections and teach children and youth skills they can continue to be active and healthy for life. The space will also provide opportunities for prevention work with students in the community and a space for future training of RDP students and MYM Coaches.

To learn more about the MNP Move Your Mood Studio and its programming, please email
[email protected] or visit www.moveyourmood.ca.

About MNP: National in scope and local in focus, MNP is one of Canada’s leading professional services firms — proudly serving individuals, businesses, and organizations since 1958. Through the development of strong relationships, we provide client-focused accounting, consulting, tax, and digital services. Our clients benefit from personalized strategies with a local perspective to fuel success wherever business takes them. For more information, visit www.mnp.ca

About CACAC: The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre is a not-for-profit organization rooted in the protection and recovery of today’s most innocent and vulnerable – our children. The Centre is comprised of a collective that is driven by the courage to support children, youth, and their families affected by abuse, enabling them to build enduring strength and overcome adversity. We work in a collaborative partnership with the Alberta Children and Family Services, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Justice, Alberta Education, Red Deer Polytechnic, the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre and the RCMP. Together we harness our collective courage to provide children with
supported recovery. For more information on CACAC and the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence, please visit: centralalbertacac.ca

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