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Why I say No to Yes or No


Life is painted in shades of grey.
So is politics, which is sometimes described as the art of compromise.
My politics? I think of myself as a show-me centrist.
So, the best decisions are made with facts, research and evidence, weighed alongside opinions from subject-matter experts, citizens and City administration.

It’s my journalism experience. The best reporting also involves hearing from all sides of an issue, then doing background research.
That bias, that nothing is black or white, is why I will not be answering surveys that demand yes or no answers.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation sent such a survey out to candidates in the civic election. As did Pesticides Free Edmonton, in conjunction with the local chapter of the Council of Canadians.
This past term, a few of us worked on a motion that reduced the City’s use of pesticides for cosmetic weeds.
This past term, council voted to begin a service review that will look intensively into civic services to see if there are better ways of doing business. It will also ask: Should City Hall be in this line of business at all?
I’m open to looking further reducing chemicals in the environment. I’d dearly hope the City can find ways to reduce the property tax burden on citizens.
But yes/no surveys give candidates no chance to explain. I fear they are potentially divisive and open candidates up to misunderstanding.
There’s another notion in politics: If you have to explain yourself, you’ve already lost the debate.
I disagree. Information, evidence, consultation and open minded elected officials make for good government.
So that’s why I answered two surveys with: No thanks.


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