1. Get Rid of Corporate and Union Campaign Donations

  1. Eliminate ALL Corporate and Union Campaign Donations
  2. Limit Individual Donations to $1,500
  3. Limit Campaign Budgets to $60,000
  4. Timely Disclosure of Campaign Donations BEFORE Election Day

I am an Independent running to represent the interests of the communities of Ward 7, not those of the developers or any pseudo parties, real or perceived, such as the Manning Centre or CivicCamp. I am backed by members of the community at large. I refuse to accept donations from corporations, unions or third party organizations of any size or background. I also have capped my budget to no more than $60,000 and have capped individual donations to no more than $1500. I have done this for one reason and one reason alone: I never want to be compromised in my decision making. Corporations and unions are partners of the city and make the city work, but they are not in it for charity – they have their own (very valid) interests. It is integral that when negotiating with each, that your councillor not be compromised by having previously accepted (or hope to receive future) donations or gifts from either of these parties.

These are not new ideas and can be easily adopted in principal and practice immediately by everyone in the race. Both the Federal and Provincial Governments have already eliminated corporate and union campaign funding. They did it for one reason: to remove their influence from the political process. It is for the same reason we must eliminate it at the civic level as well. (Frankly, I suspect most corporation and unions would prefer not feeling compelled to back any candidate as they need to work with whoever gets in in any event).

Personal donations have also been limited to $1500 per year at the federal level. This is to avoid undue influence in politics by the rich and connected. I also believe this is incredibly important and should be adopted on a per campaign basis as well (i.e. $1500 per 4 year election cycle).

Limiting the amount of money that can be spent by a campaign is also a basic tenant to a just democracy that does not want to be ruled by money. And it also will demand candidates learn how to manage a limited budget before you unleash them on the city budget! There is far too much money in municipal politics and it is entirely unnecessary. Anything more than $60,000 goes to paying for professional spin doctors, campaign managers (see: spin doctors) and pollsters. You will never receive an annoying call from a pollster from the Brent Alexander Campaign. We respect your time and privacy too much!

You deserve to know who is funding your council candidate campaigns. It is the interests of the voters that are being represented when your councillor is negotiating with both corporations and unions. Druh Farrell’s 2013 campaign was massively backed by Inner City Developers. Demand that all your council candidates for Ward 7 renounce donations from any but personal donors and disclose all donations on at least a monthly basis starting no later than June, 2017 and weekly after nomination day Sept 18, 2017.

To summarize:

  1. Eliminate ALL Corporate and Union Campaign Donations
  2. Limit Individual Donations to $1,500
  3. Limit Campaign Budgets to $60,000
  4. Timely Disclosure of Campaign Donations BEFORE Election Day

 

2. The Opioid Crisis and How to be Part of the Solution

The opioid crisis is ravaging families and communities as overdoses take their toll on habitual and first time users alike. A friend of our family is a case in point. Paul was a habitual drug user. His drug of choice was alcohol. He could not shake his demon. While it kept him on the street, it didn’t stop him from wanting to make a difference in people’s lives. He made our lives richer, was kind to our kids and was the lesson incarnate of seeing the humanity in all of the “people in our neighbourhood”. There was nothing perfect about him – he was no saint of the street – but he was everyone’s equal. Always a handshake and hello. I remember Paul waiving me down in a snow storm to help a perfect stranger who needed a boost for his car. Once the car was boosted, we all went on our ways.

Last fall, after years of dealing with alcohol addiction, Paul tried heroin and was dead within the month. It devastated all that knew him. Over 350 people came to his funeral.

The fact is that while the Calgary Police Service tries to keep a lid on street drugs in our communities, availability and proliferations of new and more potent drugs has increased. The traditional “War on Drugs” has failed.

We need to address addiction as a health issue. If we fail to do so, we will be forced to deal with the consequences of increased HIV/AIDS, Hep C, brain damage and death and the continued economic and social blight on our neighborhoods and their citizens.

The reduction (it will never be eliminated) of the public drug scene will assist dramatically in reducing the cost of drug use on society and reduce harm to the users. Calgary does not set drug or health policy, but it must collaborate closely with all levels of government to facilitate the establishment of harm reduction sites in Calgary.

 A Proven Alternative – FOUR PILLARS

Treatment, Enforcement, Prevention and Harm Reduction

I firmly support the Four Pillar approach. In other great cities like Lisbon, Geneva, Zurich and Frankfurt it has been proven that such an approach can reduce the impact of drug addiction. But it needs some reinforcement. The Four Pillars Approach must include:

  1. The creation of a safe injection site – it works in Frankfurt, Geneva and Vancouver. It can work in Calgary.
  2. Better funding for prevention, including education of parents and children.
  3. Treatment facilities outside the Beltline. Let’s not fool ourselves – the problem of substance abuse is present in every neighbourhood in our city.
  4. City Hall needs to look at ways to collaborate with AHS to ensure rehabilitation services are provided to addicts in their own community.
  5. Implementation of the equivalent to the Vancouver Agreement in Calgary.
  6. Work with Calgary Policy Service for a stronger and more effective clamp-down on drug dealers.
  7. Constantly work with the experts in public health, drug addiction and law enforcement to refine our approach to ensure it is evidence based on the most current information available.

Swiss Drug Policy

Cost of War on Drugs

3. Cutting Red Tape at City Hall

We must welcome new businesses to help Calgary diversify and strengthen our economy moving forward. One element is to reduce road blocks for new business from setting up shop in Calgary to begin with. This will also help existing business owners innovate at the same time.

There is necessary procedure and then there is red tape. It’s a subtle difference but not rocket science. Unfortunately, this has been lost on the current administration at City Hall. Calgary is viewed by many as the most bureaucratic prairie city to set up business.

Brent Alexander intends to:

  • Create a Task Force which will route out bureaucratic red tape and simplify procedures.
  • Ensure Majority of Task Force to include reps from Calgary Chamber of Commerce, various Business Associations and Calgary Economic Development.
  • Set measurable specific time limits for the processing of permits and license applications.
  • Apply the principals of consistency and transparency in the enforcement of regulations.
  • Coordinate the operations of different departments to eliminate inefficiencies, duplication and waste.
  • Meet regularly with Task Force to monitor the progress. Every group must have their feet held to the fire to ensure progress is made. Oversight is a key component.

The vibrancy of a growing city is measured in part by its ability to attract new and retain existing businesses. Eliminating unnecessary red tape and making it easy for businesses to set up shop in Calgary is essential to diversify our economy. The more bureaucratic a city, the more likely companies will give it a pass when deciding where to set up shop. If Calgary is to thrive as a healthy community and services are to reach an increasing populace without adding to your tax burden, then red tape must go!