Tuesday, November 10, 2020

On first steps

Hey look, some positive election results! Congratulations to everybody who ran in Regina's municipal elections (and in those around the province) - and particularly the progressive electees who will have the chance to shape policy for the next four year.

But while it's a relief to have representatives in place who can be trusted to make the right decisions on the matters placed before them, I hope they'll take the opportunity to go beyond that and instead work on developing more participatory processes for budgeting and policy-making.

That's so for a couple of reasons.

First, municipal governments and school boards are creatures of provincial legislation. And the Sask Party - like its cousin governments elsewhere - has never been shy about stripping away any power which might be used to support local decision-making which isn't fully in line with its plans.

There's no away around the theoretical risk of the province meddling. But it will be possible to impose a much higher price for any interference if more people are invested in what's at issue.

Second, a large number of Regina's races were won with small pluralities or narrow majorities. In the former case, there's an obvious need to build support just to be able to withstand a reduced number of candidates in 2024; in both cases, it's worth reinforcing the trust constituents have offered, lest any failure to engage be seen as reason for them to vote differently next time out.

In sum, I'm very much looking forward to seeing what this term will hold for Regina. But ideally, we'll look back at last night as only the first step in a long-lasting change toward people-centred governance.

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