Political parties don't make sense at the municipal level.

And I think our provincial masters know that, because the party system is already broken at other levels. It's evident in the increasingly polarized and unproductive nature of parliamentary dynamics. 

Previously, governments alternated, addressing systemic issues while maintaining a degree of consensus. However, this model has been replaced by extreme positions and focusing on defeating and humiliating opponents rather than governance. 

Power is now consolidated in the Prime Minister's or Premier's office – offices that are generally unmoved by the input of the opposition or even their caucus and their cabinet on certain issues. 

I've heard all the rationalizations for political parties at the municipal level.

It's hard to know what you stand for without a party platform. I don't vote in municipal elections because I can't tell the difference between the candidates. There should be a vetting and nomination process.


If you want to know what I think, you can find it on this website. It's not hard to find, and it's much easier to understand than a political party platform that runs on rhetoric.

And besides, are we expected to believe that more voters are interested in provincial and federal elections because they find the policy papers at those levels easier to understand? Do we believe most people are even interested in looking up those platforms?

Or is there more interest because party politics have become personality politics? That party politics have become a version of reality TV where the person who hurls the cleverest insults wins the prize? That the media loves a good conflict (it gets the clicks), so that's what hits the news?

Who is Donald Trump but another inflammatory contestant on a bastardized version of Big Brother? How is that guy even part of the conversation? Why does he draw so much support? I doubt it's because of his detailed, comprehensive policy book.

Do people vote based on the party's policies or the leader's personality?

A City Council is, in essence, the Board of Directors of a $3.5B non-profit corporation. If a recruiting company was tasked with populating such a Board, I doubt any current Edmonton City Councillor, including myself, would qualify. 

But suppose we are going to put some gates in place to restrict who gets to run. In that case, we might start with a fundamental understanding of governance, of Robert’s Rules of Order, of governance vs. operations, of basic accounting principles, of life cycle capital financing – you know, the things a Councillor should know every day.

Introducing municipal political parties would simply serve as a referendum question on the UCP government. This isn't about governance. It's about defeating another perceived threat, about quelling what are perceived as critical voices of opposition. Vote for our municipal party or else.

We don't need municipal political parties from the Provincial government.

What do we need?

Schools? Yep, we need those.

South Edmonton Hospital? Or at least some investment in primary care? Definitely.

Infrastructure investment? Absolutely (maintenance and renewal dollars, please).

A functioning mental health system? You bet. Why should families wait two years to see a child psychiatrist?

Follow through on the promise to eliminate provincial education property taxes in exchange for municipal grants? Ready to chat when you are.

Do those things – give people what they are asking for, fill the gaps that so obviously need filling - and your prospects of staying in government might improve.

Continue to try to compel the support of Albertans instead of earning it? My bet is the other side ultimately wins.

Timothy Cartmell


Honoured to be the City Councillor in Edmonton's Ward pihêsiwin. #yegcc #Wardpihêsiwin