Is Democracy Alive and Well in Local Government?

7:00 - 9:30 PM
Theatre Gallery of the Lethbridge Public Library

Local government is a basic foundation of democracy in Canada. Participation in decisions locally empowers citizens to define a desired future for our community. On October 15, a key event in local governance in Alberta will occur - election for municipal councils and school boards.

Issues regarding local democratic institutions are being raised. Is voter apathy increasing with more citizens assuming that others will make decisions for us? Are enough citizens willing to run for election to municipal councils and school boards? Are provincial and corporate influences threatening to constrain the voices of locally elected representatives and their accountability to citizens? Should fully elected health region boards be reinstated rather than ones appointed by the provincial Minister of Health? Is there a need to revitalize democracy locally?

Three Lethbridge residents with extensive experience in local governance will debate the vitality of democracy at the municipal level.

Speakers: Bridget Pastoor - Before being elected as the MLA for Lethbridge East in November 2004, Bridget A. Pastoor was a two term alderman with the City of Lethbridge (1998-2004). While on City Council, Bridget was the Chair of the Council/Corporate Review of the City of Lethbridge (2001-2004) and a member of Lethbridge Library Board, Exhibition Park Board and Municipal Planning Commission. She was also an elected board member of Federation of Canadian Municipalities (1999-2002). Bridget is a registered nurse and geriatric specialist.

Stan Sawicki - Stan taught high school in southern Alberta from 1946 to 1981, the last 16 years as principal of Lethbridge Catholic Central High School. Since then, he has served on the following boards: Board of Governors, University of Lethbridge St. Michael'’s Hospital board (12 years, 5 as chair) Chinook Health Region board - 1994-96 (vice-chair) Holy Spirit School Board - 1998-2007 (3 years as vice-chair)

Chris Spearman - Chris is completing his 15th year of service (5th term) as trustee for the Holy Spirit School Board. Since 2002, he has been a board member of Economic Development Lethbridge, including serving on executive and represents industry on the Southern Alberta Alternative Energy Advisory Committee. Chris is a local businessman. He is a founding member (1983) and current Chairman of the Industrial Association of Southern Alberta.


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