When I included a set of leadership commitments as part of my platform framework, it was because I think what Edmontonians really need to know is who I am, and what you can expect from me as your Mayor.
I believe that the true mark of an elected leader you can trust is proven transparency and accountability. And that means being transparent with voters not only once in office, but throughout any campaign. It means letting voters know where you stand, what you stand for, and why.
I also believe that we need to keep partisanship out of municipal politics and stay focused on getting results for things that matter most to our residents. For this reason, I am making a no-candidate-slate pledge. And I’m calling on my fellow candidates to either make the same pledge, or to publicly name their election slate candidates as well as any formal or informal party alliances.
One of the things I love most about municipal politics is that it is non-partisan by design. There are no political parties imposing uniform approaches to important issues, no groupthink closing Council off to new and progressive ideas, no hidden agendas guiding policies and decision-making. There’s no “towing the party line” or “whipping the vote.” A cornerstone of our municipal government is its Weak Mayor System: one member, one vote. Our Mayor and Council composition is the way it is for a reason, and it needs to be respected and protected.
More than that, I fundamentally believe that we arrive at better solutions by drawing on a diverse range of experiences and perspectives. And, most importantly, I believe that it is the duty of any mayoral candidate to give you, the voter, the straight goods. No backroom deals, no smoke and mirrors, no undeclared allegiances or obligations. When I made a leadership commitment to transparency and accountability, I meant it. With me, what you see is what you get.
I’ll admit I became concerned when I heard about possible candidate election slates—that is, mayoral candidates combining forces, agendas, and fundraising efforts with a hand-picked group of Council candidates with the ultimate goal of advancing a shared agenda. It’s not that it’s uncommon for candidates to seek out other likeminded candidates. My concern is that, far as I can tell, any formal or informal alliances between candidates have never been disclosed to our voters.
Here’s the danger with this: undisclosed candidate slates effectively impose a covert party system on a governance model expressly designed to do the opposite, undermining the fundamentals of our municipal governance structure. While candidates appear to be running independently, they are in fact a collective of candidates with a shared, pre-meditated plan. What this means for our city, if they are successful, is that opposing views on Council are either stifled or eliminated completely. It means potential groupthink in approaches, philosophies, and foundational principles that does not necessarily reflect the diversity of people and views in our community. It means less room for a host of views from elected officials with alternative beliefs, who position themselves elsewhere on the political spectrum, who think differently—or who simply disagree.
What it boils down to, in my view, is a bait-and-switch. We might think we’re getting an independently elected range of Council members, but what we’re really getting is a uniform, and uniformly thinking, group of politicians who will band together to move the city in a specific, and possibly partisan, direction.
Our city is at a crossroads, and we cannot know what issues and challenges your new Mayor and Council will face over the next four years or how the decisions that are made could chart the course for the next forty years. We need a Mayor who will be straight with Edmontonians. One who is committed to building a team and building trust with all elected officials, whatever their commonalities or differences, whatever their political leanings. This is how we find the best solutions, and at times the best compromises, to serve our residents, our city, and our collective future. We need leaders who are as honest with voters as they are collaborative with their colleagues. The success of our Council depends on it.
I invite my fellow mayoral candidates to, at the very least, be up front with voters about any candidate slates they are organizing or participating in, and to be clear with Edmontonians about their agendas for our city. I’m a strong advocate for representative democracy—real representative democracy. That means fair and ethical elections, and transparency with voters.
For my part, I will not be involved in any candidate slate. I’m not afraid of differing opinions or experiences at the table; in fact, I welcome them. And I have a proven track record of bringing stakeholders and perspectives together to get the job done. I want to see a diverse, transparently elected council. Because that’s what leadership looks like.
I am Kim Krushell, and I am for Edmonton.