Accountability was the word of the day in Episode 150 of Speaking Municipally, Taproot's civic affairs podcast.
Co-host Troy Pavlek dug deeper into the answers to this Taproot Survey question: Should candidates disclose their donors? He noted that the majority indicated they believed that candidates should disclose their donors before the election, even though legislation passed by the UCP government in 2020 does not require such disclosures until after the election. And yet, when Pavlek went looking, only a few candidates had posted their donors.
"The Taproot Survey has been a gamechanger for this type of coverage," he said. "It's an accountability mechanism that we have not had in any municipal election before without a significant amount of work."
After he tweeted his findings, more candidates came forward with their donor lists. Taproot is compiling these disclosures and intends to display them in a future version of the Election Guide.
In his conversation with co-host Mack Male, Pavlek noted that it is possible for a candidate to believe that everyone running should disclose their donors before the election, but also feel they would be at a disadvantage to do so if their competitors don't have to do the same.
"When there's a legislated rule that by 'this date,' everyone has to disclose, that's an even playing field," he said.
The podcast also took a look at the survey questions on police matters:
- Which statement best captures your beliefs about racism and the Edmonton Police Service?
- What should be done about the police budget?
- When police request funding for capital projects, how should council respond?
Male noted that Sarah Hamilton, the sitting councillor running for re-election in sipiwiniyawak, did not answer any of those questions, though she sits on the police commission. She said on Twitter that "the questions on policing do a disservice to the nuance of the issues around police reform."
Male disagreed. "I don't feel like there's nuance missing in these answers," he said. "I feel like she just chose not to answer them because she didn't want to be on the record and held to her position."
The episode also commented on the decision to extend Chief Dale McFee's contract, as well as downtown construction and Pavlek's unsolicited fan art, among other topics.
The Taproot Survey has received more than 13,000 responses from voters looking to see how they match with the candidates, 67 of whom have finalized their answers so far. Later answers will be displayed as they come in.
Find the responses to all of the questions or just take a look at responses from each candidate.
You can find your ward, candidates, and voting station in Taproot's Election Guide. You will be voting for up to three Senate nominees and on two referendum questions, one on equalization and the other on daylight saving time. Advance polls are open until Oct. 13. The election is on Oct. 18.