Ward 14 Wordsmith Awards
In their studies, the grade six students of Alberta learn about government, including municipal government. I have been inviting the grade six students of Ward 14 to participate in a writing contest for seven years now. The goal is to inspire the kind of passion for democracy and public service that my colleagues at City Hall share, but may overlook as a given sometimes. What I have always said is that if I can inspire just one, then the endeavor has been worthwhile. It is great if we can teach some kids about government, and this year is a very special year for the Ward 14 Wordsmith Awards. That is because, after seven years, the inaugural class is now eligible to vote!
The 2019 Winner!
Congratulations Ashley Boon! Ashley attends Mr. Martin’s grade 6 class at St. Theresa of Calcutta School in Midnapore. She won with her amazing knowledge and writing skill that stood out amongst the most participation I have had to date. She takes home the award, a trophy, a signed Mike Smith jersey courtesy of the Calgary Flames, and her entire class visited City Hall for a tour!
Why should I care about Municipal Government?
by Ashley Boon
Can you imagine life without the municipal government? If there was a fire, your house would burn to the ground. If your car was stolen, you would have no one to call. If you needed water, you would have to walk to a well. This is because you need the municipal government. The municipal government is responsible for our libraries, parks, local police, fire department snow clearing, public transit, building permits, property taxes, water, waste management and much more.
Some may ask why we need a municipal government and a federal government. Isn’t this a duplication of duties? However, that is like saying why do your need parents when you have grandparents? Parents and grandparents have different duties or shared duties so they don’t have to do all the work alone just like governments. Parents are like the municipal – they mostly focus on one specific item (their children) just like how the municipal government has to deal with one item, the city. Grandparents are like the provincial government – they might have several grandchildren from different parents but they all came from the same family. The provincial government has to deal with different cities all from the same province.
If we only had one government looking after the city, province and country, this government would have way too many responsibilities and they would have to deal with so many problems which will cause them to overlook too many things. No two families are the same and likewise no two cities are the same. The people living in each city have a unique set of characteristics, values and needs.
Let’s look at a specific example like hosting the 2026 Calgary Olympics which would have cost the city $5.11 billion. The federal government couldn’t make a decision like this because they don’t know as much about a certain city as much as the municipal government would. The federal government and the provincial government also wouldn’t know as much about what would need rebuilding within the city and if they could get enough volunteers because they have so many other cities to focus on. Even if the federal government focused mainly on Calgary for a few months it would put all the rest of their work and problems behind schedule.
We often take our municipal government for granted. However, could you imagine life without a government? At first you might think that it might be kind of nice to not have to pay city taxes but would it be nice to dive on old bumpy roads and to have garbage everywhere or have to drive somewhere else to borrow books at a library? I don’t think so. The clean water we drink right from our taps and the public services we have are thanks to our municipal government. Sometimes you might find garbage waste management annoying because you have to remember to take the right bins out on certain days and you have to pay for them to pick those bins up, but if we didn’t have that kind of service, our streets would probably be full of garbage and that would lead to diseases.
In an ever-changing world, we continuously trust our municipal government to take care of our transit, local roads, water, libraries, snow clearing, property taxes, waste management, building permits and much more. Like parents they make decision with the best interests of its citizens in mind.