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Column: What's at stake on Oct. 18?

Albertans are preparing for their second trip to the polls in less than a month, but different issues will be at the forefront this go-around.

Albertans are preparing for their second trip to the polls in less than a month on Oct. 18, but different issues will be at the forefront this go-around.

Not only will residents be choosing their local municipal leaders and school trustees, but votes on equalization payments, daylight savings time, and senators will also be on the table.

Citizens in nearby Calgary will also be voting on whether or not to re-introduce fluoride into the city’s drinking water. The chemical was previously removed in 2011. The City of Airdrie receives drinking water from Calgary, so the decision will also affect Airdronians, who will not get a direct say in the matter.

Pulling the province out of the Canada Pension Plan and creating an Alberta-focused plan, as well as a decision on a provincial police force will not be held at this time, though they were points of conversation and consideration.

There is a lot of pressure on Albertans this municipal election.It is no longer as simple as picking who you want for mayor or as a school representative – not that those decisions are easy to begin with.

Voters have been left with a lot of responsibility to educate themselves on numerous topics, in order to make a responsible decision that will impact their everyday lives.

In this day of immense political and social division, I truly think the decisions made on Oct. 18 will reverberate through the province more than those made federally on Sept. 20, especially because some voters may be under the impression that whatever is decided will be the end-all-be-all, which isn’t exactly the case.

Additions to this election’s ballot have also been extremely indicative of Premier Jason Kenney’s government.

The Province does not have power to amend the constitution, which outlines the direction for equalization payments. However, Kenney is pushing a 2019 election promise to end equalization payments.

According to Elections Alberta, a vote of ‘yes’ by Albertans would pressure the federal government and the other provinces to begin discussions to amend the constitution.

On the subject of Daylight Savings Time, however, provincial officials do have the ability to make an amendment following the referendum, as time change is not a constitutional issue. Regardless, Albertans will still observe time changes this fall and in the spring of 2022. 

Additionally, senators are not elected in Canada, rather they are appointed by the Governor General at the advice of the prime minister – yet a writ was issued on June 23 to hold an election for three positions which could be summoned to the Senate of Canada, relating to vacancies in Alberta, though this is not guaranteed.

Alberta is continuing to rock the boat by giving voters the chance to make decisions that cannot necessarily be implemented. If anything, the upcoming vote may be the wave that destines the province as a sinking ship.