SUNDRE - Following a brief conversation, council recently unanimously carried a motion to support a voluntary pledge for council candidates who intend to run in the upcoming October municipal election.
The Local Democracy Pledge was discussed by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) in late April during the organization’s municipal leaders’ caucus.
The pledge is an entirely voluntary commitment to uphold key democratic principles that candidates can choose to make to voters ahead of the election with the objective of improving “the quality and tone of political discourse,” reads a portion of a report in council’s agenda.
The pledge also outlines a candidate’s commitment to support local, democratic elections throughout their campaign by:
• keeping local elections local with a focus on issues that municipal elected officials actually have the ability to influence;
• maintaining independence and non-partisanship by rejecting any endorsements that would undermine their accountability to municipal residents or the autonomy of the municipality;
• demonstrating transparency by sharing their vision for the municipality and providing pre-election disclosure of campaign contributions and spending;
• and engaging in respectful behaviour by sharing their perspective while respecting and seeking to understand differences.
“It does not mean that a candidate must enter into this pledge,” said Linda Nelson, the town's chief administrative officer. “It’s a voluntary pledge that they can make to the electors of a community."
Coun. Todd Dalke said he would agree to receive the item for information.
“I don’t know about taking it as direction from AUMA in what they believe we should do municipally,” said Dalke, adding he also supported leaving the decision of whether or not to take the pledge up to individual candidates.
Coun. Richard Warnock said candidates should always commit to doing what’s right, regardless of whether such a proposal comes from AUMA or someone else.
“It’s a pledge for us to be upfront, forthright, and responsible to our citizens. And I would certainly support that,” said Warnock.