By Tim Kalinowski on March 4, 2021.
While nominations for city council have been open for a month now, so far only one candidate has officially filed the necessary papers with the City of Lethbridge to be recognized as a nominee for the municipal election this fall.
Lethbridge Soup Kitchen executive director Bill Ginther, who also ran four years ago and came close to winning a council seat, is first out of the gate as a candidate.
“One of the things I thought is if you were serious about your intentions, you should make it known,” he said. “I am certainly not prepared to start putting lawn signs out or anything like that. I don’t know if that (early filing) has significance except to indicate I am serious about this run, and I am, of course, hoping for the support of people who know who I am, and what I represent.”
Ginther said there are a few key areas he wants to focus his candidacy on as the election ramps up.
“I think one of the big things for everybody is tax accountability,” he explained. “That we are very careful how we spend other people’s money. I think another is fairness in terms of treating people fairly, and listening to people’s concerns … A huge thing for us has been the issue for us (in Lethbridge) has been homelessness.
“The lack of housing has been huge. There has been a lot of discussion and a lot of talk, but in the past four years I have been at the soup kitchen I have not seen any marked change in availability of housing for the poor.
“That doesn’t necessarily just mean those who are homeless,” Ginther added, “but those who have a hard time being housed or affording housing. I think we need to step up and do a whole lot more than we have done for that.”
Ginther said the past four years many of these initiatives have stalled even as more serious social issues have arisen in the community like the opioid crisis.
“I think the (council) decision-making process needs some revamping,” he stated. “Vital issues seem to take a very long time. I realize decisions are not made off-the-cuff, and they shouldn’t be, but I think there are times when (council) tends not to make decisions– we defer them, and defer them for a variety of reasons. So I think we need to look much more closely at how efficient we are in what that represents.”
Ginther said he believes in accountability to the electorate, honesty, and integrity.
“To walk your talk is really important,” he stated.
Ginther said he and his wife Joan, who have been married 50 years and have four children and 12 grandchildren, learned the importance of integrity and strong values of service to others while doing mission work overseas and through working with the city’s poor.
“I think we want to make a difference in life,” he said. “I often joke we have reached our best before date, but not our expiry date. We are still feeling we have got some energy we would like to give.”
Those wishing to run for city council or school board have until Sept. 20 to file the necessary paperwork with the city. Those wanting more information on how to become a nominee can go to http://www.lethbridge.ca/City-Government/Elections/Pages/default.aspx
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