Most organization insist their activities reflect their core purpose and are in keeping with their business and strategic plans. I say most organizations because the activities of our city council are a notable exception.
Apparently, ensuring our city is well run and efficient gets boring at times, so councillors often advocate for their pet projects. The recent decision of city council to ask staff to report on national programs designed to get more women interested in politics is a case in point.
Civic politics is one of the places where women are very well represented and hooray for that. But apparently the intent is not to find out how to get more women to run in civic elections. It’s to get more women to be members of boards such as the library board and the police commission.The rationale is that only 25 per cent of board members are women and boards are a steppingstone to a political career.
Now there is just what this city needs, a whole lot of people with political aspirations sitting on boards so that they can push their personal agendas and make their name known to the public. Are those the kind of people you want making decisions about the library in your neighbourhood or deciding what the police should and should not be doing?
If it is such a good idea, why stop with just getting more women on boards? Why not give everybody a chance to have a political career? How about getting more black, brown, and yellow women and men on boards. How about getting more aboriginal women and men on boards? How about making sure the homeless have a voice on boards? How about making sure that blue-eyed, left-handed people are properly represented?
Or how about city council concentrates on the things we have elected them to do. How about they spend their time determining why civic salaries have almost doubled in 10 years to almost $1 billion. Maybe our councillors could work hard on determining why we paid out almost $30 million in overtime and what could be done to stop bleeding money. Or maybe they could try to figure out why the city of Edmonton’s unsustainable spending growth is almost 1.7 times population and inflation growth and Calgary’s is only 1.5 times. I think a study into any one of those issues would be money well spent.