November 1st, 2020

Under-representation on city council a historical problem


By Letter to the Editor on September 9, 2020.

Historian and counsellor Belinda Crowson notes that Lethbridge’s consideration of the ward system has been going on for more than a century. She says it began in December 1907 when William Henderson made the ward system a key plank in his campaign for a seat on Lehbridge’s first city council.

Henderson’s argument was that it would give fairer representation to the citizens of north Lethbridge but he failed to persuade the majority of council to support him. As a consequence, over the last 100 years north Lethbridge has been under-represented on city council and, in some instances, it has had no representation at all. I have endeavoured to obtain information from city hall with regard to the number of councils that had no representation from north Lethbridge but to date I have been unsuccessful.

However, the composition of the present city council demonstrates the problem. West Lethbridge, the largest of the three comunities in the city, elected the mayor and three councillors. South Lethbridge, with the second-largest population in the city, elected four councillors, while north Lethbridge, with a population only marginally smaller than south Lethbridge, elected only one councillor. It would seem that the problem William Hendeson foresaw in 1907 has been confirmed in 2020.

Robert Tarleck

Lethbridge

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HaroldP

Yes, former Mayor Bob Tarleck, you are absolutely correct. As it stands now, all Councillors are responsible for representation of the entire City, but without a Watd system, none are directly accountable! I know that is how they like it, but this is simply not good representation and not right.

snowman

Well former Mayor Tarleck we are reading the same type logic you presented with your spearhead petition for 4 year terms of office a big mistake,
Tell the people this city has a population of just over a 100,000 you quote City quadrants but do not state eligible voters do you include university and college voters. In comparison to Calgary our past Ward 4 now represented by Councilor Sean Chu he now represents over 80,000 eligible Voters. When we left it was 40,000 eligible voters. He represents his and all Calgary which is required, not just his ward. So how would you divide south and north west Lethbridge.What would each Councilor costs be, tell us.

Montreal13

This vote at council was for an examination of a ward system. Details would be forthcoming after study or during study. Voters would then be able to vote on this issue at next council election. I think it would be good for voter turn out.
A shake up would be good for democracy, among other things.
Ward system: good for responsiveness and accountability, candidate would be encouraged to campaign in and get to know residents in area,city isn’t big enough is a poor argument as wards are not based on size but on other factors such as geography etc. .
At council meeting those opposed were asked to put up their hands first.(5) I think acouple of councilors did the math and when they were asked a show of hands FOR the resolution, they safely put up theirs. I think they wanted to look good but were secretly relieved they had dodged that bullet of accountability. Would love to see how they would have voted if those FOR had been asked to show their hands first. hmm. Don’t think they don’t play these games,go to or see enough council meetings and you can actually see some counting their fingers ,so of speak.

Canadian Patriot

Regardless of which system were in place, city council does not represent the taxpayer. If they did, they would reduce spending and lower taxes. No, they are more concerned with virtue signalling and pandering to special interest groups than providing fiscally responsible service to the property owners in this city. The only accountability they are concerned about is making sure you pay your taxes.

Not An Oldman Yelling at the Clouds

You do understand what your property taxes pay for, right?

https://www.lethbridge.ca/City-Government/Financial-Documents/Documents/2019Expenses.pdf.

https://www.lethbridge.ca/City-Government/Financial-Documents/Documents/2019TaxDollars.pdf

And you know that if services are reduced the first ones to whine and cry are those who wanted lower taxes

Canadian Patriot

I know exactly what my taxes should pay for and what they shouldn’t pay for. I have read the cities financial reports. The only people that would be whining and crying are the ones that live in some utopian world where everything is provided for them at someone else’s expense.

buckwheat

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Tarleck

Mr. Tarleck had plenty of opportunity to address the inequity of representation.



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