October 29th, 2020

Ward system offers benefits


By Letter to the Editor on September 18, 2020.

I enjoyed reading and fully support your editorial of Sept. 2 regarding the ward system for Lethbridge council elections.

Would all the citizens of Lethbridge be happy being represented by eight councillors from one area? I do not believe they would. So why is the present city council so opposed to looking into the ward system? Taking this a bit further, would all the citizens of Alberta be happy if all 87 MLAs were elected from Edmonton? Would all the citizens of Canada be happy if all 338 MPs were elected from Quebec? Of course not!

All 63 rural municipal districts in Alberta have the ward system to ensure council representation is evenly distributed. The school boards of Alberta use the ward system. The Cities of Calgary and Edmonton have the ward system. A lot of cities across Canada (many of whom are smaller than Lethbridge) support the ward system. Why not the City of Lethbridge? After seeing the spending spree of recent years, I doubt it is money!

In the past 50 years I have voted in municipal, provincial and federal elections while residing in Manitoba, B.C. and Alberta. The 2017 Lethbridge municipal election was the first and only time I have not voted for a candidate in a specific ward, constituency or riding.

Hopefully this will become an issue in the upcoming election in 2021.

Frederick Lee

Lethbridge

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gs172

Yes ward systems have their advantages and their disadvantages as well. Do we have upwards 80 people running for office instead of the 20-30 we have now? Does it limit choice as well? During the last provincial election I’ll be honest I didn’t like any of the candidates in my riding, almost didn’t vote. When you can drive across Lethbridge in 10-15 minutes I don’t see the point.

biff

perhaps, and only perhaps, the ward system would benefit a little more were our councils really about representing the people of lethbridge. however, given how our history suggests that council mostly represents city admin. – basically, to legitimise admin’s directives – and that council represents special interests, and that council sees no issues with lining the same old pockets ad nauseam, and council does not see anything wrong with any of this and never orders much needed audits…well, a ward system will just us what we always get.

buckwheat

A ward system would “hopefully” bring about the necessary change. You have stated it mostly correctly Biff. With two to a ward more direct pressure could be applied to specific issues concerning your councillors ward. Emails and concerns sent to council at this point remain unanswered by most, replied to by a few. The few would be good ward councillors. The rest like the status quo. Hence, a ward system is a no no. I am surprised by the former Mayor Tarleck however, he had 15 or so years a a council member and Mayor and now that he has left the game he is promoting a ward system. Seems he let the horse of the barn and stayed with the “status quo” himself.

snowman

So with two councilors to a ward sounds ridiculous i would like to know what cities have two councilors to a ward. You should look at all ward boundries made up of population, so north side would have two south side would have two and south west side would have two also north west side would have two and they could vote as a whole or against each other.

buckwheat

So which is it snowman. First you say two to a ward is ridiculous and the put forth two a ward indicating four wards. What’s the difference other than the number of wards. Maybe the west side should have four, south two and north two. Mayor separate.

Citi Zen

One problem with the ward system is that if a councillor gets support from another on a resolution, he /she is expected to return that favor at some future date. Not a perfect system, too much opportunity for favoritism or corruption.

biff

good point. it is the type of scenario that plagues the usa system in the house and senate. corruption is a significant concern in politics. too few laws and even too little enforcement.

Fescue

I would worry about a councilor of a ward might work for the interests of a few at the expense of the interests of the city as a whole. A solution might be rotating one of two reps each year to another ward. This might help maintain a big picture, but allow citizens to lobby specific reps.



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