Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Municipal Elections and Business as Usual?

From Policy Note
by Janet Newbury

With municipal elections on the horizon in British Columbia, it is worth paying attention to the nature of political discourse in this province – and considering its implications and alternatives.
Increasingly, business parlance is finding its way into what still holds the pretence of being a democratic institution.  As with our most recent provincial election, economic growth seems to be the bottom line used to pursue votes by many who are campaigning to lead us.  Throwing all our eggs into the fiscal basket can be a real missed opportunity, however – even when it comes to economic development.  While we all have a vested interest in seeing communities thrive economically and otherwise, I am increasingly becoming convinced that going the business route in our democratic systems will not ensure this is the case in a long term and sustainable way.

When exploring the question of what makes communities desirable places to live, an extensive 2008 study from the US determined there are three qualities that attach people to their communities: social offerings (such as places to meet), openness (how welcoming a place is), and the area’s aesthetics (beauty and green space).  While we are often quick to assume these are luxuries that can only be considered once basic needs have been addressed, I think we might be well served to consider the possibility that attending to these three areas of community wellbeing could actually contribute to economic prosperity of our communities in very real ways.
If we mean it when we say we want to diversify our local economies and keep people living (well) in our communities, then perhaps we need to question our growing cultural acceptance of business norms in political process.  As has been articulated clearly time and time again, running government like a business is not only dangerous, it can be counter-productive to our own aims of electing leaders who can support us and our neighbours in the pursuit of a good life.  Prioritizing people over dollars does not mean throwing economic caution to the wind.  It means making the surest investment there is.

For the complete article go to the link above.

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