Calgary Minute: New Taxes, New Secrets, and Big Changes for Municipal Elections
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
Today's Strategic Meeting of Council will receive the recommendations of the City's "Financial Task Force". That's the group that was set up a year ago, and we warned was explicitly designed to recommend "new revenue options" for the City - ie more taxes. As predicted, "the task force’s 35 recommendations identify possible revenue streams for the City of Calgary, including new fees and taxes". You can't really blame the members of the task force, as they were explicitly banned by the Mayor and Council from considering any spending cuts. This is, once again, the fault of an out of control Council.
- Council will also debate a new "Rethink to Thrive" strategy. It's mostly buzzwords, but the City has finally noticed that almost half of Calgarians say quality of life in Calgary has worsened in the past three years, and Council wants to "do things differently" now. It looks like doing things differently will only last a few minutes though, as they'll also be "Imagining the Calgary of Tomorrow"... in a secret meeting. Can you imagine a Calgary of Tomorrow where Council had these discussions in public?
- On Thursday there will be a Calgary Planning Commission meeting, which will mainly deal with Land Use Amendments.
Last Week In Calgary:
The Province tabled Bill 29, the Local Authorities Election Amendment Act. The Bill seeks to level the playing field between incumbents and challengers in municipal elections. Incumbents almost never lose in Alberta - and especially in Calgary - because sitting Councillors get massive amounts of free media coverage, while challengers face severe restrictions on their campaigns that make it very difficult for them to compete. Several incumbents have already complained about the new rules... I wonder why?
- The Province also made another big announcement that will affect next year's Calgary election. There will be a province-wide referendum on equalization held in conjunction with Alberta's 2021 municipal elections. Cue numerous condescending statements from politicians who assume Calgarians can't answer more than one question at a time - elitism at it's finest, friends.
- Now that the Green Line debate is done, Council are starting to plan their next mega-project, an LRT line to the airport. Apparently it will be autonomous - something we suggested five years ago for the Green Line! If you like the sound of this airport LRT plan now, you're going to love it when it doubles in price, is running 4 years late, and only goes halfway to the airport! Oh, and don't get too excited, even if it is on time, it's not expected until at least 2048!
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