By COLLIN GALLANT on October 9, 2021.
Hatters can vote on Saturday morning in advance polls and will be presented with a ballot rivalling a phonebook.
There are 32 names for council on the local ballot, five for mayor, either 15 or seven school board candidates (depending), a bunch more potential senate nominees and a couple of provincial questions.
But there isn’t a local referendum… which is curious.
Calgarians will be asked about returning fluoride to their water system. Voters in Bow Island will consider a Highway 3 bypass route.
Hatters will recall the hazy summer of 2020 when the Canadian Taxpayers Federation made the eyebrow-raising statement that Medicine Hat should get out of the power generation business.
They renewed that stance in February when utility administrators announced they actually were evaluating the potential of a sale.
The scope of a review, dubbed a valuation process, was quickly amended to assure no sale was pending and would wait until after the October election.
“The CTF’s position is the power plant should be sold, but if council decides otherwise, a referendum calling for a sale should be held,” read the story the News published on the issue.
Yet, here we are, staring down a laundry list ballot, and there hasn’t been a heckavu whole lot of talk about the power plant.
Several candidates have the issue in their platforms, but it’s hardly being yelled from rooftops.
Most of the incumbents have maintained the stance it’s good business practice to know the value, and a potential profit forecast of a key business asset (see actual positions in the News’s election guide in this edition).
But judging from the time spent on specific issues by mayoral candidates in this week’s television forum, the power plant question ranks maybe a third or fourth issue anyone wants to talk about.
Maybe just like gas-powered generation, the tact of election campaigns is steady as she goes.
Time for time change?
The other big question on the ballot pits young mothers against fathers (or vice versa depending on who gets the kids up or puts them to bed).
It asks whether you support Alberta staying on daylight saving time, but it’s an intellectual exercise to determine what that means.
A service to readers, the result of ‘yes’ would be an end to clock changes and – on daylight saving time – the sun would rise later in the winter months and correspondingly also stay up later compared to current winter practice.
It would also keep us aligned with Saskatchewan for the entire year, which is probably the reason behind the specific plan, which, again has caused endless confusion and debate.
All things being political, it’s a likely nod to the United Conservative’s rural base. Linking with Saskatchewan makes a lot of sense for folks in Medicine Hat and Lloydminster, but what about the several million Albertans in major cities or western Alberta. They maybe think about what time it is in Regina maybe twice a year.
But, vote your conscience.
There’s a very serious discussion about getting more women involved in decision making roles and politics.
There’s also a saying making the rounds that women are too busy getting things done to get involved in politics, which is both kinda funny and probably true.
At present there are only four women elected to a total of 25 seats on the councils of Medicine Hat, Cypress County and Redcliff ahead of this month’s election.
Observers will recognize an over representation of female leaders in organizations that are taking on social, business and even political issues.
Further proof is a quick survey of attendees at this week’s Community Foundation Vital Signs luncheon. Of the 94 attendees, 64 were women (judging from first names alone) and among speakers, the figure was eight of nine.
Sorry, guys, we’re falling behind and need to catch up.
A look ahead
Whoa boy, early voting in Medicine Hat continues later this week ahead of the Oct. 18 election. The last bit of official council business was to be an Oct. 14 meeting of the audit committee where the mid-year financial results were to be received. In a twist, that will be postponed until after the election in favour of a utility meeting, the News is told.
And in case there’s a conspiracy theorist out there who wonders what they’re hiding, the financial report will outline this summer’s power profits, which are sure to be impressive, if not astounding.
Your author was too busy in present day this week to read papers from 1921, but expect the “100 years ago” portion of this column to return soon.
Collin Gallant covers city politics and a variety of topics for the News. Reach him at 403-528-5664 or via email at gallant