Ward 8 - Municipal Candidate Response Form (Responses)
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TimestampEmail AddressNameIf elected, how will you champion the Early Years in your governance work on Council?How will you support Council’s current initiatives focused on young children and their families?Do you have any new or different initiatives to propose that will improve the early childhood development results for young children? If so, what are they?
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8/15/2017 11:26:30electben@benhenderson.netBen HendersonI will continue to do what I have been doing. In my work championing End Poverty Edmonton (the City's Poverty Elimination Strategy) it became clear that healthy early childhood development is fundamental to breaking the cycles of poverty that cross generations. It is not an accident that our strategy goal was to end poverty within a generation. The fundamental changes that we need to make have to include proper support for our next generation. All the evidence shows that the place where you can make the biggest difference is in proper and healthy support in early childhood pre school. The City cannot do this alone. It is also the responsibility of other orders of government, but there are levers the City has that can make a huge difference in good access to healthy early childhood development. This can include support for quality day care, quality facilities and programming in those facilities including libraries, and good public planning to make sure that our communities and neighbourhoods give good access to participation in a healthy community.My answer is largely similar to the answer I have given above. We have done a great deal of work creating the strategy embodied in End Poverty Edmonton. The real challenge now is to actually implement that strategy. The other major lever we have in encouraging healthy early childhood development is through the Edmonton Public Library which has made a major commitment to encouraging early engagement with young children and their parents particularly encouraging literacy, numeracy and good socialization.I am always interested in new ideas. There is growing evidence how fundamentally important the early years are. We continue to learn what differentiates healthy early childhood from less successful models. Our main challenge must be to stay open the the increasing body of evidence based practise that we can adopt in order to ensure that all of the next generation of young Edmontonians are given the foundation to grow into the full people they can be.
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9/5/2017 9:53:50kirsten@kirstengoa.caKirsten GoaI have spent most of my adult life working with young people and families and raising my own five children. Creating places, spaces, programming and supports for children and their caregivers has been a priority for me during my tenure on the City of Edmonton’s Council Initiative on Public Engagement, and a primary focus in my role as a Leader and chair of La Leche League Canada, my work as an editor for both Birthing and Birth Issues magazines, and my leadership with the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton.

Our culture has become increasingly siloed, to the point that seeing children in public is sometimes frowned upon and many parents (especially if they are younger, newcomers, indigenous or LGBTQ) feel very fearful of how they will be judged in public when their children, behave like children.

Shifting our culture starts at the top -- with Council. It’s been refreshing to occasionally see younger children of current Councillors and the Mayor involved in activities, but children are still primarily invisible in decision making. With only one woman on council we are not seeing experiences of caregivers or their children reflected in many of the conversations about how we build our city. For example, in the discussion about the first mile/last mile for transit, the discussion related to ride-sharing services spoke about issues for seniors and those with limited mobility, both important demographics, but completely ignored the fact that a parent or caregiver travelling with young children is likely going to need more than one car seat!

My campaign office is now open and the first thing we set up was a play area for children. We’ve had children in the office most of the time all weekend. Creating a child-friendly and welcoming place that makes it possible for all ages to participate in the campaign and for caregivers to help out too. I am often door-knocking with small children! Creating inclusive spaces will continue when I get elected. I will create an office that is welcoming and expects children, and my intention is to hire staff in job share roles, so that their capacity is not overlooked simply because they also have caregiving demands.

We are often focus any conversation about the Early Years into silos such as playgrounds, childcare and education. All of these are deeply important and need to be integrated into the broader discourse, but the society our children are growing up in also goes far beyond these issues.

In the spring, I was asked, during the Executive Committee meeting about the new Public Engagement policy, about including children in Public Engagement (because of the story I told about my daughter presenting to City Council when she was 8 years old). In that conversation, I made it clear that we need not only to provide activities for kids and make kids feel welcome at these events, we need to engage them – at all ages – and not just on issues related to parks and schools. Children take transit, children live in housing and use our infrastructure every day (and so do their caregivers).

One of the major issues related to the Early Years is affordable market and non-market housing. We want to increase density in order to address our infrastructure deficit, but we continue to completely avoid building three bedroom apartment and condo units, townhouses or stacked row housing. If we continue to substantially increase the number of housing units while building almost nothing that can accommodate young families, we will exacerbate the existing silos in our communities and isolate children from our society even more. Our Municipal Development Plan has policy that states that 25% of all large-scale infill in mature neighbourhoods should be family oriented housing, but 3% is currently seen as a concession being made by developers on current projects. This doesn’t work for our communities, but it also doesn’t work in the long run for landuse planning.

I’m currently working with my Community Leagues on the Neighbourhood Renewal Committee. We are taking a significant departure by reimagining what our streets can look like in a way that increases safety and walkability. Focusing the design of our streets, sidewalks and open spaces on pedestrians and cyclists and those with limited mobility will help us make our neighbourhood more accessible for everyone. I know I won’t be as worried about my kids biking and walking to their friends’ or to school once this is done. Given that we have multiple schools, daycares and playgrounds in the neighbourhood as well as five major thoroughfares, making our streets safer will increase options for families and children.


I am also advocating for a city wide policy of 30km/hr in all residential neighbourhoods. Almost everyone is only 30 seconds from a major thoroughfare, I think 30km/hr for 30 seconds is a reasonable compromise to keep our kids (and others) alive and safe.
As an extension of this, I would like us to require that we design our streets for appropriate speeds instead designing for faster than posted speed limits. Even if we lower the posted speed limits, the roads aren’t really safe if they are designed for much higher speeds. We can slow traffic and increase safety by using design principles that naturally slow us down when we are driving.

When my children were young (I have five children, including two sets of twins), I found myself quite isolated, either because I had to drive and my kids screamed in the car, or because just leaving the house was a monumental task. I was fortunate to have deep family connections and a strong community that helped us get through, but I’m very aware of the demands and intensity of caregiving in the early years and everyone I see in public with small children has made significant efforts to get out of the house. Making our public spaces more supportive, is essential to making this easier. I’m excited about the Abundant Communities program which connects neighbours right at their doorstep and on their block. This can support so many more families and young children to connect to their communities.
I think these are very important initiatives but need to be taken further and integrated into the work of the City as a whole. Because of the stratification that has occurred we need to be very intentional in how we invite children and their caregivers and their communities into our public spaces and public life in a much broader way.

There are many excellent ideas in the work of the Childfriendly Initiative. So far implementation seems to focus on activities for children, which is an important service, but I’d like to see a multigenerational focus as well. As an example Strathcona Seniors 55+ Centre as 15 multigenerational programs right now. This type of intergenerational connection is how we begin to weave together the natural community supports we all need at different stages of life, including when we are children and caregivers.

We need to make sure the work being done to support our most vulnerable families is also integrated into the community and connected with the broader community so that the support can expand to natural supports. Supporting the community around families and around children is essential to creating an environment where kids can thrive.
We need to raise the bar on design in Edmonton. This includes transportation, public buildings, playgrounds and parks, housing etc. One of the ways we need to do this is to consider the implications of our design choices on a broader range of demographics and make sure that those making the recommendations aren’t only from a narrow range of experiences and perspectives.

Implementing “8 to 80” design principles in building streets/roads/public spaces, would make them safer more enjoyable and accessible for all of us – but it will have a particular impact on children, their caregivers and seniors. The goal of “8 to 80” is to make these spaces safe and accessible for 8 year olds and 80 year olds. When we plan for children and seniors in mind, it usually works better for everyone else.

Ensuring more diverse housing options (in terms of income & built form & bedrooms) will invite more diversity into our communities, making them more resilient and safer.

Including Gender-Based Analysis + (GBA+) in our decision making will make our communities safer and more inclusive. Making our City more inclusive of women, will require that we also consider children in a way that we aren’t right now.

One specific way we can be more welcoming is to support and encourage breastfeeding. I was involved with the Breastfeeding Action Committee of Edmonton when we first were successful in changing City policies on breastfeeding in and around public pools. However, we have a long way to go in normalizing breastfeeding in public. Harassment, shaming or even the expectation that you can’t do it, is one of the first ways we isolate parents with young children in public spaces. This is more common if the breastfeeding parent is young, poor, single, indigenous or other visible minority. Discrimination against parents breastfeeding/chestfeeding is another way that we penalize caregivers and children for being in public spaces.
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9/5/2017 19:50:55info@robbernshaw.comRob BernshawWork with stakeholders to develop new and/or enhance current programs to benefit all participating.From the moment, everyone enters this wonderful world, until the moment they leave, they desire and want to:

BE HEARD.

Everyone also requires a safe respectful environment in which to live, work and play.
I fully support Council’s current initiatives and will continue to promote Edmonton as a welcoming city where:

“Inclusion is better it makes us stronger and working together we can always achieve more.”

Where all are respected and engaged in the process of making Edmonton a more diverse, accessible, safe and inclusive city.
Nutritious food is the basic building blocks of a healthy vibrant life. I wholeheartedly support and would work with the province to take the lunch program a step further.

That step would be to incorporate into the school lunch program, a healthy nutritious breakfast program component. I would also encourage the province to make breakfast program funding available to all school board districts across this great province of Alberta. No one should go hungry

When one has breakfast, they are in fact breaking a fast from the last meal they ate the previous day.
I fully believe a nutritious breakfast is the single most important meal of the day.
I believe it is the meal that kick starts the brain and body with the energy to have a vibrant fulfilling and more alert day.
I believe a nutritious school breakfast program for the children will help immensely in the way they meet the day and will give them the energy to better able to do their work in school.
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9/10/2017 8:19:40contact@jameskosowan.caJames KosowanFirst, as both a parent and educator, I understand deeply the importance of early childhood development. I have seen students struggle at the high school level and I firmly believe that solid early childhood development could have made a significant difference in those children’s skills and success. Therefore, I strongly support initiatives like the Edmonton Early Years Coalition. The more citizens involved in the process of children’s development, the better. I would do my utmost to support the EEYC’s ability to communicate with city government and lobby for the important work they do. I will always be a sympathetic ear on council.If there is a financial manner in which Council can support the EEYC, I would certainly consider it money well spent to promote healthy, happy and successful children as this would also contribute to a stronger, more vibrant and creative city. I support Council facilitating the spread of information about EEYC, as well as doing whatever it can to assist the programs and initiatives which they spearhead.Vertical integration has been an effective new strategy in the public sector. Early childhood education and the programs of EEYC should be an integral part of the entire stream of a child’s education development. I would support any endeavors that would connect EEYC’s efforts to the phenomenal work done by Alberta Learning in the K to 12 stream. Communication and cooperation would certainly benefit children from the earliest stage.
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9/13/2017 14:17:46eli@electeli.caEli SchraderI will continue to support the good work of the End Poverty Edmonton initiative and the City of Learners project through the Edmonton Public Library. While on Council, I will champion early childhood development by supporting a process that encourages families and their young children to become more involved in the decisions that impact them. I will also work with experts in the field to make sure evidence and best practices are used in decisions so that chances for observable outcomes and results in early childhood development are achieved.
End Poverty Edmonton is an initiative that I am passionate about.

Through my work at the Bissell Centre, I helped develop a program that aims to support families by keeping them in their homes as a way to avoid them falling into poverty. I understand not only the value of keeping families together, but also the value of allowing parents to raise their children in a secure environment that helps them grow and learn.

I will support City initiatives that are proactive for children and their families, such as End Poverty Edmonton and the City of Learners project through the Edmonton Public Library. The End Poverty Edmonton is an initiative that is close to my heart. The task force for the initiative adopted an approach I helped develop for the Bissell Centre, which helped families remain housed. I have seen firsthand the importance of keeping single parents in their homes to help them provide a healthy, stable environment for their children.

I am committed to working with individuals and organizations that have expertise and knowledge in early childhood development. Together we will develop the most effective solutions and supports for children and their families.
I support more use of effective public engagement with the people most affected by early childhood development issues to come up with services to improve results for young children. Early childhood development efforts need to reach out to marginalized populations and especially engage with the Indigenous community to create culturally relevant programs.
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