When I started this blog series, I was trying my hardest to make the questions open-ended to let the candidates take it where they wanted, making their platforms apparent. Yet in doing so, some of my readers felt as though some topics were missed.
Knowing me, it's no surprise those topics I heard were the Arts and Youth. After all, I surround myself with Artists and Youth.
The Arts seems to have wide support amongst the candidates, but the different approaches are what sets them apart. Terry Coleman would like to remove barriers for Arts Initiatives as a way of working with the Arts community. Jamie Kinghorn touts his direct involvement, and recognizes that in terms of "Culture", we have a significant immigrant population that should be included in our concept of community. Sandra Wiebe points out that Arts are not just an aesthetic, but also an industry and an approach to the look and feel of community. Michael Nychyk discusses a potential financial solution led by Council to support the Arts in the form of a development levy that can be directed to Arts programming or capital projects. From the perspective of an Arts Advocate myself, each of these approaches are necessary for Arts to thrive; the question ends up being "which approach is more accessible for a 365-day Councillor?"
With regards to youth, there were a few similarities once again, but each had their own perspective as to the manner in which youth should be supported. First, it should be clear that each candidate seemed to agree that the term "youth" refers to people under the age of 30, and most discussed this category as young families. Both Coleman and Kinghorn referred to a Youth Committee and consulting them for ideas forward. Wiebe focused on the public spaces and safety for youth in those spaces. Nychyk referred largely to the need for economic development to encourage a youth population, pointing out that High River's youth population remains much smaller compared to other locations. However, both Kinghorn and Wiebe also pointed out that there is a plethora of activities available for youth.
Finally, I gave the candidates an opportunity to sell themselves to the voter one last time. In their final bid for your votes, candidates once again showed their knowledge, experience and aptitude for the role. The differences between them in their final statements were more about nuance than about glaring differentiation. Coleman's experience outside of High River can be coupled with his experience inside High River. Kinghorn has a clear understanding of what the role entails, having done it before and having stayed immersed in it. Wiebe touts her communication skills, and the fact that she is "a citizen just like you". Nychyk has also remained immersed in the goings-on of Town, and claims to be a good fit with Council. With as many credentials, approaches and similarities as there are, it really leaves a voter wondering what it is they should do.
But that is for a different blog.
Candidates Responses Part 3
The Town of High River has a vibrant Arts community. What initiatives would you pursue as elected Councillor to support and grow the Arts in High River?
Our High River's Vital Signs report shows High River has a sizeable youth population. Yet youth find few activities and entertainment available to them with the exception of organized sport. What solutions would you promote for youth in High River?
Do you have anything to add that you think will make the difference in convincing voters to cast their ballot for you? This is your opportunity to market yourself.