An Open Letter to My Councillor

Congratulations on your recent win to become my representative on Edmonton City Council. The ballots cast through the election gave you a strong mandate of over a third of votes in Ward 5, beating out eight other worthy opponents.

Over the past six months, our paths crossed as we both made efforts to connect with Ward 5 residents in the race to City Hall. I have impressions of who you are and what they stand for but I don’t think I actually know you. I am looking forward to the opportunity to watch you in action over the next four years and connect with you more in our community.

Before I get to know you, I wanted to be honest about  some of the assumptions I have based on what I witnessed through our in-person interactions and the communications you chose to share publicly. I hope that by openly sharing my perspective, you can correct me in the coming days, weeks, months, and years of your term through your public service.

Assumption #1: Your political ties govern your decisions and actions

Your strong connections to the former PC Party and to the emerging Alberta Together Party are undeniable. Both of those come with a set of values, policies, and expectation of conformity. As a resident of Ward 5, I am concerned that these existing policy platforms will guide your decisions more than the wants and needs of residents and, ultimately, the best interests of our city.

Assumption #2: You are at the mercy of your wealthy financial backers

You come from affluence and your campaign was funded by the wealthy elite, some of which are also linked to the political parties mentioned above. Large donations often come with expectations that could heavily influence your decisions. I worry that the opinions of development industry and a handful of rich people you are connected with will matter more than the lived experiences and perspectives of Ward 5 residents.

Assumption #3: Your privilege will keep you blind to the realities most face

You exude affluent privilege. The way you understand and experience the world is candy-coated and disconnected from the day-to-day realities of others who are not like you. Based on what I know, I’m guessing you have never struggled to make ends meet or face tough decisions to cover the basic necessities of life. You live a sheltered life, free from worry and doors open easily in many ways for you. On a fundamental level, this lived experience would disconnect you from the realities that most of your constituents face yet you are charged with making decisions on their behalf.

Assumption #4: You lack the knowledge to do your job well

The way that I heard you respond to questions at forums and how you expressed yourself on social media conveyed to me a surface level understanding of civic issues and decision making. Many of your campaign promises are unachievable and immeasurable. Your use of buzzwords and a vague vision left me without a clear understanding of what you actually stand for. I am concerned that there will be no concrete way to grade your performance for the next four years if there is not a clear understanding of what you promised to do.

Assumption #5: Your approach to decision making does not include space for differing perspectives

Throughout your campaign, I followed your social media closely. I noticed that any time someone challenged you or asked a tough question, you simply deleted their comments instead of engaging in a dialogue and understanding their point of view. This is hugely concerning for me. 65% of voters did not choose you this election and you need to represent their views as well. Even more importantly, only 12% of eligible voters in Ward 5 voted for you and the other 40,000+ people still need you to represent them in your decisions at City Hall.

I hope that these five assumptions I have about you are incorrect and I want you to prove me wrong. To do this, I want to see you represent all the residents of Ward 5 in an equitable way. I want to see you reach out to those who have different perspectives and opinions than yours and find ways to represent them as well.

Over the next four years, you will be asked many tough questions.  Many of those questions will come from me and my supporters. When challenged, I hope you take a stand – online, in Council Chambers, and, most importantly, in the community. I hope that you succeed in representing the residents of Ward 5 and being the strong advocate we need at City Hall.

Best of luck for the four years to come.

Your fellow Ward 5 resident, Miranda

12 Replies to “An Open Letter to My Councillor”

  1. Well written and a most interesting read. As my father taught me never to assume anything, I especially liked the ‘please prove me wrong’ format.

  2. Very good…she is still representing her “Ward” and I hope her successor does prove her wrong…for that will determine his will to lead!

  3. Well written. I hope Jane Hamilton does engage her entire ward the poor & financially comfortable. There are a lot of issues: homeless, poverty, low income, truly affordable, & supportive housing, to name a few. Each ward has their poor & rich & I challenge all councilors to not forget the poor just because a lot of them may not have voted; don’t forget them. I think for all councilors it is prove them wrong time.

    Miranda you ran an excellent race. I worry if you didn’t win who can? However, in the 30 news clip I saw on television, of Councillor Hamilton’s campaign manager, they secured votes & went back to ensure those votes were locked in. Sounds like one really needs a campaign manager.

    I feel your frustration. In my campaign I wasn’t able to raise the funds I expected to. I couldn’t afford anything.
    Advice I am given, start now.
    Start now door knocking to see what the interest is in your ideas. Start now fundraising. The money for the campaign seems to be the hardest. Start now.

    I would have liked to run in a ward where there was no incumbent but at the time I didn’t know any councillors would retire. I thought it best to run where I lived.
    I am happy I ran in Ward 10 to give the voters more choice and to make Councillor Micheal Walters work harder to represent all in his ward. The next four years will tell.
    Great race to all.

  4. These are fair comments, fair questions, fair concerns and far from being sour grapes. It’s not a secret that the old PC political party machine was working overtime to get Sarah Hamilton elected and that a ton of money was spent on her campaign (including bus shelter, online and social media paid advertising). And true to PC party privilege and practice, these people will all be standing with their hands out expecting due return and backroom favour for their support and investments. True to her mentor, Stephen Mandel.

  5. Miranda:
    It’s entirely fair game to attack political opponents — but only on the issues, and the more specific you can be in your complaint about their stand on a particular issue, the better.
    From the campaign, I saw you raising some important issues for the city, for example, on the issues around West Rossdale.
    But a personal attack — after a heated, difficult campaign — based on assumptions about an opponent’s personal qualities is a bad idea.
    I can’t say I always refrain from personal attacks. Pretty sure I do not. So I’m not “holier than thou” on this, I’m just not liking the personal attack aspect of your note.
    Good luck to you in the future.

    1. You’re one to talk, David Staples. Also, don’t tell women how to act, talk, or lay out their well-thought-out concerns. You’re also a PC hack, and that’s been obvious for years. Guess you couldn’t resist coming out swinging at someone who took some well-deserved shots at one of your people – that is your modus operandi, after all. Maybe YOU should be the one doing better, instead of riding your hobby horses and picking on Indigenous women.

  6. Thank-you Miranda for this letter and the reminder that we need to keep Sarah accountable to her Ward 5 constituents and not her polticial backers. I am here to help you keep Sarah accountable.

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