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Municipal Politics Public Interest Alberta

spring sunday.

Let me preface this post by reflecting that even though Spring in Edmonton has had a few noteable false starts this year (snow last week and snow two weeks before that) it actually feels like a nice fresh Spring day this morning. As allergy season sets in for us unlucky ones, let’s hope that Summer comes soon.

This weekend’s Public Interest Alberta conference was interesting. I spoke at the Post-Secondary Educaiton discussion breakout sessions and found that there was some good conversations, but I most enjoyed attending the Cities discussion breakout session. The Cities sessions was hosted by Amarjeet Sohi – 2004 Edmonton City Council candidate in Ward 6, Jim Gurnett – Executive Director of the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, and Janice Melnychuk – Edmonton City Councillor from Ward 3.

I’ve found myself beoming more interested in Municipal issues over the past year (being involved in lobbying City Councillors and presenting to Council Committees). Much of the discussion surrounded the need for more affordable housing, better public transit, and more regional cooperation between the Capital Region’s 22 Municipalities. I think I may write another individual post on this issue.

I also had a very interesting conversation with Tyson Slocum, who is a Director with Public Citizen‘s Energy Program in Washington DC. Public Citizen was a consumer advocacy group set up by Ralph Nader in 1971. Our conversation ranged in topics, but it stemmed from his speech to the conference delegates when he mentioned that the energy industry in the United States spends over $500,000,000 lobbying politicians and decision makers in Washington DC. That number simply blew me away. If you can even survive when competing against a budget that size your group must be amazing, but if you can survive AND be a political player at the same time – that shows how strong your organization really is.

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