By Al Beeber on September 15, 2021.
Impassioned. Eloquent. Committed to Lethbridge. If that’s what it takes to get elected, every city council candidate who spoke at a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored meet and greet at the Lethbridge Public Library Tuesday will be a shoo-in at the ballot box in October.
The Chamber event, which attracted a relatively sparse audience to the theatre gallery, gave candidates a chance for five minutes to talk about their platforms then network with the public afterwards.
It was the first of three events being organized by the Chamber, the second being a federal candidates’ forum Thursday at the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association starting at 5 p.m. and the third a mayoral forum at the Yates Centre on Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Cyndi Vos, CEO of the Chamber, said the forum was a way to get candidates names out in the public. She said the focus on teamwork by candidates will perhaps push mayoral candidates to offer insight into what their idea of a team will look like.
“I think that the team effort municipally is what is extremely important because when the federal government has a package ready, we’re ready. If we’re not ready as a city, it doesn’t matter how much money gets thrown at us,” said Vos after candidates spoke.
She said it’s important to tie all three levels of government – municipal, provincial and federal – together “because there’s only so much a municipality has in their pot.”
One successful initiative was the recent funding for broadband infrastructure in the city, she said, citing the work of all three levels of government.
Also important to the Chamber, Vos said, is its policy on the economics of addiction.
Addiction, crime and the need to ensure safety for citizens and businesses were among the topics that candidates discussed passionately in their allotted time on Wednesday. Several candidates made clear those issues are big priorities in their campaigns while others spoke of the need to become more aware of the climate issue and to address mobility and housing issues.
Development was also a popular topic among candidates, as well as the need for city council to work as a team to move the city forward.
One candidate, who has yet to declare formally, Shelby MacLeod, also spoke after announcing her intention to run in the election.
Incumbent councillors, who have yet to announce their intentions, including Ryan Parker and Jeff Carlson watched the proceedings either in their entirety or for part of the proceedings.
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