Ask About Edmonton launches as election looms

To the list of first names that will attract attention in the upcoming provincial election campaign—Rachel, Jason, Stephen, David, Derek and others—would you consider adding Ed?

Edmonton, that is.

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Ask About Edmonton is the capital initiative unveiled by Mayor Don Iveson at Edmonton City Hall on Thursday, March 14. The idea is straightforward. Edmontonians are encouraged to ask provincial candidates about key municipal issues when they come door knocking and looking for support.

“City issues are provincial issues,” said Iveson.

“This election will have a big impact on our city, no matter which party wins, and it’s important for the next government to know that Edmonton is essential to Alberta’s economy.”

A provincial election will be held on or before May 31 this year. The door knocking and politicking have already started.

The Ask About Edmonton campaign is non-partisan. It encourages people to ask questions about transit, jobs, affordable housing, roads and climate resilience in addition to the questions they’ve been saving up personally.

“Our city needs support from the provincial government—especially on large infrastructure projects—to manage growth, prosper and thrive,” said Iveson. “Asking about our city is a great way to start a positive conversation about the kind of city we want to live in.”

Fund fact: About 40 per cent of Edmonton’s infrastructure and city-building budget comes from other orders of government. For example, in Edmonton’s four-year capital budget of $4.3 billion, $1.2 billion comes from provincial funding.

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There’s a new website to help Edmontonians learn how provincial funding affects municipal priorities. Quite apart from the election, it’s a great resource for anyone interested in how cities and the province are connected on the issues of the day.

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At the news conference, reporters asked Iveson whether the City had made a coordinated effort like this in the past, and why it was doing so now.

The answer: in focus groups, the City discovered that most Edmontonians don’t realize how interdependent the city and province are. When asked about key provincial election issues, Edmonton priorities weren’t top of mind, even for big city lovers.

The Ask About Edmonton campaign aims to change that by providing information and inspiration.

“This is less about city hall telling, and more about us inviting Edmontonians to speak for themselves,” Iveson said. The mayor has also blogged about the initiative.

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So, before you give candidates your X, please consider asking them about your Y.

YEG, that is. 🗳️

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