Where are all the Airdrie City council candidates?
That’s the question our newsroom members have been asking ourselves, with our 2021 municipal pre-election coverage underway.
As of press time, only three candidates had filed nomination papers for the Airdrie City council election on Oct. 18, and not a single candidate has announced they will run for mayor. Interestingly, none of the incumbent members of council have announced their intentions to run for re-election.
We’re curious what the reasons are for the slow start to campaigning in Airdrie, as that hasn’t been the case in other nearby communities in the Calgary metropolitan region. Seven people have already registered to run in the Town of Cochrane’s election, nine are registered in the City of Chestermere, six are running for Rocky View County council and eight are currently registered for the Town of Okotoks’ election. The City of Calgary already has 20 mayoral candidates, let alone the dozens running for council seats.
This year has been in contrast to 2017, when Airdrie had 28 people registered for the municipal election, including five mayoral candidates and 23 council candidates. Perhaps there are fewer "hot-button" municipal issues in Airdrie this time around, which has lessened public interest in local politics.
But with the election just three and a half months away, we hope to see more candidates throw their hat in the ring in the coming weeks. A larger pool of candidates would mean more choices are available for Airdrie voters, and having more competition for council would motivate candidates to put forward their best campaign possible. Having more candidates would hopefully result in a higher voter turnout, as well.
Yes, being an elected official at the municipal level can often be a thankless task, and it’s impossible to please every constituent. But representing your city and making decisions on behalf of your community can be a worthwhile and noble endeavour. Council members play a key role in the vitality and progress of their communities.