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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Election Time is Coming in Alberta

The local municipal and school board elections are coming this fall - all over Alberta.  These local elections are not partisan affairs.  Local candidates run in wards or in smaller communities to represent people at the most "retail" of any order of government.  School Board elections are pretty passive gentile and usually pretty pointless events, given the limited authority and influence the school boards have.

Since most of Albertans are urbanized living in over 600 communities all over the province, there are a lot of different kinds of candidates and some different issues in the municipal government races.  There are lots of growth pressures on some communities.  Others face decline and are threatened with extinction.  There are vastly difference community cultures in the south, central and northern towns.  There are different realities for communities inside or outside the Edmonton-Calgary corridor. Then there are the dramatic differences between Calgary and Edmonton municipal cultures.

This diversity and variety of perspectives at election time gives local communities a sense of exceptionalism.  They see themselves as unique.  And for the most part they are...just like every other community (sic).   Then go to Fort McMurray.  There you will see real uniqueness, real diversity and real pressures.

I think every Albertan needs to be aware and informed of the issues facing their communities as well as Fort McMurray in these forthcoming elections.  That is right.  Think of yourself as a citizen of your Alberta community AND as a non-permanent citizen of Fort McMurray at the same time.

What happens in Fort McMurray and the Athabasca Oil Sands Region generally will have dramatic impact on your community too.  The development growth of the oil sands puts enormous pressures on McMurray  housing, transportation including roads, rails, birdges and air services, hospitals, schools, recreation, social cohesion, social profit sector services, police, fire, ambulance, arts, culture, spiritual  needs and other quality of life elements.

The resolution of  these problems in the oil sands will make it more difficult for other communities in Alberta to compete for trades, attention and other resources to meet local needs.  However if Fort McMurray fails to have its growth challenges met, so will Albertans fail to optimize the benefits of the oil sands.  After all all Albertans are owners of the oil sands.  We need to start acting like owners.  Part of acting like an owner is to become aware adn supportive of getting the quality of life in fort McMurray right.  When that happens we all benefit,  If it does not happen we all suffer loss.

This blog will give you information on what is needed in Fort McMurray to ensure it succeeds as a community and who can - should - must step up and make it happen.  Time to act like an oil sands owner Albertans.  Time to get educated about the people, planet and prosperity implications of oil sands development on the Athabasca Oil Sands Region and ALL OF ALBERTA.