What do the Referendums Mean in Calgary's 2021 Municipal Election?
On this upcoming Monday (Oct. 18th), thousands of Calgarians will be heading to the polls to decide the future direction of city council. With large infrastructure projects on the line, as well as three referendums, this municipal election is becoming a lot more encompassing of larger municipal issues. Since it's hard to find information that accurately describes what each referendum means, we've decided to compile some helpful information to ensure you can make an informed decision come Monday.
If you need more information about the election, you can click here to read our latest blog post that outlines what you need to know about voting (i.e. where to find candidate profiles and voting locations, among other things).
Water fluoridation has been a contentious issue in Calgary for the last several years. More recently, the City pulled its water fluoridation program due to a lack of funding to fix critical infrastructure that added fluoride to our drinking water. The main argument in favour for water fluoridation is that it evens out the playing field for citizens, allowing everyone (and especially children) to have some form of protection against cavities and tooth decay since dental care is not publicly funded.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring compound found in air, water, soil, and almost all types of foods. It appears in our current drinking water at a very low level (between 0.1 and 0.4 mg/L). The fluoridation program aims to raise the fluoride level to 0.7 mg/L. You can read more about the program here.
Should section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, Parliament and the government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making equalization payments, be removed from the Constitution?
As part of section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, the Federal Government committed to accepting payments from the "have" to the "have not" provinces to ensure that each provincial government had enough funds to provide the same quality of public services to their citizens.
This referendum can't abolish section 36(2), since it is Federal jurisdiction, but a majority vote will bind the Provincial Government to pursue action. To remove or amend section 36(2) of the Constitution, all of the provinces and territories will need to meet with the Federal Government to discuss any proposed changes.
You can learn more about the referendum here.
How are Equalization Payments Calculated?
"To determine which provinces receive an equalization payment, the federal government measures each province’s ability to raise tax revenues and compares that ability to other provinces. If a province’s ability to raise tax revenues does not allow it to provide a reasonably comparable level of public service to other provinces, the provincial government will receive an equalization payment from the federal government." (Alberta Government)
Do you want Alberta to adopt year-round Daylight-Saving Time, which is summer hours, eliminating the need to change our clocks twice a year?
Instead of changing our clocks twice per year, the Alberta Government is giving the option for its citizens to vote for having permanent summer hours for the entire year. This change, if the majority votes yes, would be implemented after summer 2022. While this may seem like a desirable option, circadian rhythm experts are cautioning against implementing permanent summer hours since it would interfere with our biological clock and may lead to a higher chance of car accidents, heart diseases, and other health concerns like SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
You can read more about the proposed change here.
“That move will give us five bad months when we’re forcing ourselves to wake up long before our bodies are ready,” he says. “Our circadian clock always follows the sun, and our sunrise comes so late when we’re in Daylight time. Meanwhile, our bosses and teachers demand that we follow the clocks on our wall, or on our phones, and our circadian clock struggles to do that. It leads to something we call social jet lag, and it poses very real threats to our health.” (Michael Antle)
You can read more about Michael Antle's circadian rhythm research here.