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A Council of Independents


The uninitiated are sometimes surprised to learn that the mayor is not the boss of city councillors.

I suspect many would also be surprised to learn that I’m less likely to vote with the mayor as other city councillors.

Edmonton Journal columnist David Staples column quoted an analysis of city council voting patters in his column:

“On most issues this past term, Iveson formed a voting bloc with councillors Michael Walters, Dave Loken, Andrew Knack, Ben Henderson and Bev Esslinger, according to the University of Calgary’s excellent CityBlocs website.

“The least likely to vote along with Iveson were the independents — (Michael) Oshry, (Ed) Gibbons, (Bryan) Anderson, (Mike) Nickel, Tony Caterina and Scott McKeen.”

Civic politics is free of political parties. Or, to put it another way, city council is, in a sense, made up of 13 independent political parties.

Every council member swears an oath to represent the entire city to the best of her or his ability. But ward councillors are especially beholden to constituents in their individual wards and come to the role with different life experiences, beliefs and political philosophies. 

I’m a supporter of Mayor Iveson, who I describe as one of the best people I’ve ever met. But I voted against a number of infill projects in Ward 6, which I felt were simply an over-reach. I also voted against a move to reduce on-site parking requirements for infill homes, what with the parking congestion issues that already exist in the ward.

The mayor is elected in a city-wide poll. His mandate carries great weight. Don Iveson is an extremely bright and caring man.
But I sometimes see things differently. Voters expect independent councillors to think independently. 

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