this blog has moved to a new address: daveberta.ca

Please update your RSS, bookmarks, and links to http://daveberta.ca.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

let's see some ward reform in edmonton.

Edmonton City Council will be holding a public hearing this afternoon about whether the time has come to change the current six Ward/two Councillor system to a Twelve Wards/One Councillor system. Though the Edmonton Journal framed the decision as a fait accompli late last year, this isn't the first time the idea has been debated by Council.

As Edmonton is one of the last of Canada's larger urban municipalities to still be using the two Councillors per Ward system, I think the time to change the system has come. With each Ward holding over 100,000 citizens, creating smaller and more manageable Wards will make it much easier for Councillors to represent the interests of Edmontonians in City Hall.

The public hearing is set to begin at 1:30pm in Council Chamber, second floor City Hall. To register to speak, call the Office of the City Clerk at 780-496-8176 or register online.

UPDATE: Council is moving ahead with plans for a 12 Ward system...

6 comments:

Sean S. said...

and I thought the 22K and change wards here in Saskatoon where too large!

ch said...

I haven't decided my position on this one yet.

Do you think smaller wards will increase parochialism and/or the already ridiculously strong incumbency effect?

Calgary Rants said...

12 works good in Calgary...Although some Aldermen complain that they need to add two more wards, and two more aldermen.

Sean S. said...

I would suggest that a smaller ward (and by extension, fewer voters) would make it easier for candidates challenging incumbents.

Approx. 80% of incumbents win in city elections and I would suggest that is mainly due to name recognition, and voter apathy (25% turnout here in Saskatoon).

Darren said...

Isn't the one-ward-one-rep system closer to the "first past the post" election system that everyone claims to hate? Doesn't it guarantee - especially if multiple candidates are vying for election - that the winner won't likely garner a majority of votes cast?

rc said...

"Isn't the one-ward-one-rep system closer to the "first past the post" election system that everyone claims to hate? Doesn't it guarantee - especially if multiple candidates are vying for election - that the winner won't likely garner a majority of votes cast?"

Yes and no.

Yes, having a single-member ward would be like single-member plurality in provincial and federal ridings. Yes, it would mean a winner-take-all system you imply.

Unless it was brought in with a transferable ballot and instant runoff voting.

I view it as being slightly different, though, in that neither Edmonton nor Calgary have party systems in their municipal politics, like, say, Vancouver does. So, in contrast to Provincial and Federal elections, at the municipal level people supposedly vote for the candidate, as opposed to the party they adhere to.

Which probably explains why one of Calgary's longest-serving Aldermen is a former NDP MLA.....