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By Marc Chayer
In this election season that we are currently witness to, I have been somewhat surprised by the fact that some issues have not received more attention. The first, obviously, is a new hospital, or the lack thereof. When the Conservatives where in power, we heard much more about this than now. With the New Democrats, the issue has seemingly fallen off the radar.
At the candidate’s forum, the issue was raised but the level of frustration spoken by the incumbent members of council said more than the words coming out. The abject failure on the part of the provincial government to address this concern is, in my mind, negligence of the highest order. Given we are dealing with the NDP, perhaps we could call it a vet clinic for caribou? Betcha that hospital would be built in a year, eh?
Another item that, as a candidate, I would have tested the waters on is the photo radar we have here in town. This one is a no-brainer to get the attention of the electorate. Again, in the forum, the only mention of the photo radar was the fact that the revenues gained from this typically are used as grants to not-for-profit groups in the community. If one had to have a cash grab, it may as well go to those who can use it. However, I recently read an article in the Edmonton Journal that stated that five years ago, Sherwood Park and Strathcona County did away with the system.
Rather than go after residents who are not a danger issue they beefed up police and went after the problems. In one case they set up a digital speed sign in a neighborhood and collected the data. They found that at a certain time of day, a single car was consistently speeding through the area. They targeted enforcement, caught the driver, and the problem was solved without handing out fines to everyone in the area.
In the case of Sherwood Park and a study conducted by the University of Victoria, they found that photo radar did little to reduce incidents of collisions. However, what was found was that with increased enforcement by police, the incidents of drivers who had NO insurance was downright scary.
In an election, candidates struggle to find that issue that resonates with voters while at the same time trying not to sound exactly like the other guy. This was something we saw at the candidate’s forum. Time and time again we agreed across the board that this issue is important or that issue is important or that we must come together and communicate.
Yes, folks, the caribou issue is front and centre as it should be. Too many families are dependent on the industry in town and the last thing we need right now is this. This is the issue of the election and we need to pick the people who can deal with this. But, if you are running for council, the first trick is to get elected and to differentiate yourself from the rest of the field.
Well, the outrageous Trump worked this angle straight to the president’s office. We saw Trudeau do this as a strategy to put distance between him, the Conservatives, and the Liberal old guard. It works and, in an election, the objective is to win. It may sound shallow but this is politics and we live in an era of tweets and 30-second sound bites.
It is what it is…