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Alberta Politics Daveberta Podcast

Episode 69: Biting the hand that isn’t feeding you

Dani Paradis and Chris Henderson join the Daveberta Podcast for a deep dive into municipal politics and a look ahead at the October 2021 elections in Edmonton. What issues will resonate with voters and what does a pandemic election campaign looks like? We cover a lot of ground, from Lucy the Elephant to equalization to centralization of 911 dispatch to the souring of relations between municipalities and the provincial government. This was a fun episode.

Dani Paradis is a Contributing Editor at Canadaland and co-editor of Rage Against the Municipal. Chris Henderson is Chief Strategist and Partner at Y-Station Communications and Research and was campaign manager for Don Iveson‘s 2007 and 2010 city council campaigns and 2013 mayoral campaign.

The Daveberta Podcast is hosted by Dave Cournoyer and produced by Adam Rozenhart.

The Daveberta Podcast is a member of the Alberta Podcast Network: Locally grown. Community supported. The Alberta Podcast Network includes dozens of great made-in-Alberta podcasts.

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4 replies on “Episode 69: Biting the hand that isn’t feeding you”

You & your guests discussed how political parties are not a factor in municipal politics in Alberta, and by & large that’s true. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ideological divides. In fact, there is even a left-right split, although it isn’t as clearly articulated as it is at the provincial & federal levels.

The ideology is around the appropriate role of municipal government. On the right, there’s the “paving, potholes & policing” crowd, who believe cities & towns should limit the scope of their activities — and the tax revenues needed to support them — to the most basic of municipal services. Voters & politicians with this perspective also tend to be deregulatory, and friendly to developers — but less friendly to infill developers than to those building on vacant land, and prone to NIMBYism. They also tend to be more car-centric.

On the left there are those with a more expansive perspective on the role of municipal government, one which tends to be more focused on quality of life and filling gaps in the social safety net. This perspective also tends to be more willing to jump in where the provincial or federal government fears to tread. This perspective is more transit-friendly and in favour of higher density of residential development.

So, no, we don’t have municipal parties per se. But make no mistake: there are ideological divides at the municipal level.

Mike Nickel would be the worst mayor this city has ever seen, and in that way, he’d match the premier as the worst this province has ever seen. A matching set of white, middle-aged male right-wing twits, just what we need post-pandemic. Two leaders with no ideas (or just tired old ones) and no vision for the future, who think the solution to everything is to cut, cut, cut, oh and blame Ottawa for everything, unless there’s another right-wing twit in office there, in which case Ottawa is wonderful. If that was such a fantastic ideology, Alberta should be at the top of the world right now, but we aren’t, if you hadn’t noticed.

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