Below are some of the most frequently asked questions DJ has been asked.
Where do you stand on masks and vaccine mandates?
I’ve written about this in some detail previously, but in short, I believe healthcare is a provincial responsibility and, ideally, Calgary City Council would never need to be involved in a discussion on either. Personally, both as a person who loves visiting many places around Calgary and the parent of an immunocompromised child, I’m looking forward to COVID-19 and mask mandates being a thing of the past as soon as possible. However, due to the provincial response Calgary currently finds itself in a state of local emergency with emergency rooms and ICUs operating beyond standard capacity and all manner of life-saving medical procedures being cancelled or delayed. I support the recent City of Calgary bylaw simplifying the province’s Restriction Exemption Program because it was requested by the Calgary business community. The provincial program was unfair because it put the onus on businesses, complicating their operations and placing their staff in harm’s way. The bylaw addresses those things. I also acknowledge that having as many Calgarians as possible get a vaccine is the quickest way to end mandates and get our lives and the economy back on track. I encourage everyone to get a vaccine if they are able to.
Who do you support for mayor?
I don’t plan to endorse anyone for mayor – and I don’t even know who I’m going to vote for yet. Jeromy Farkas is the only person running for mayor that I have personally met. Before he was a councillor we found a common passion in encouraging more City of Calgary transparency and he supported my advocacy of a Calgary Open Data Catalogue. Much of my platform aligns with what Jyoti Gondek is promoting. (On a side note, the one skill I believe a mayor needs is the ability to chair a good meeting. I have asked those in the know who the best chair out of the mayoral candidates are and I have been told that is likely Gondek.) I am intrigued by Jan Damery’s background and I like several of the ideas she has put forward. I also find myself in agreement with Brad Field’s call to implement priority-based budgeting at the City, something I think would result in several positive outcomes if it was accomplished.
Where do you stand on fluoride?
I am happy to share my personal opinion, however, I believe it is irrelevant. The decision was made by the previous City Council to put the issue to a plebiscite during this election. I commit to enacting the will of the electorate regardless of my personal stance on the issue. Personally, I’m swayed by the medical evidence that has been brought forward that fluoride in our water has a demonstrable net positive benefit. I also see this as an equity issue because the lack of fluoride has an overweighted impact on our most vulnerable populations, especially children and those who live in poverty. Adding additional fluoride to our drinking water appears to be the most cost-effective way to address these issues.