Election 2017 questionnaire response: Justin Draper, Ward 4

[We sent five questions concerning green living, local economy and inclusiveness to all of the Election 2017 council candidates. We are posting their unedited responses in the order that they’re received. – Ed.]

Justin Draper, candidate for Ward 4
Justin Draper, candidate for Ward 4

What is the biggest challenge your Ward faces? What policy solutions would you seek if elected?

Ward 4 is one of the most diverse Wards in Edmonton. We feature new communities and communities with extensive roots already, we have a large rural population, there are areas that represent all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, and with that diversity comes a diverse set of challenges and opportunities.

Edmonton is growing, and I want to make sure that Ward 4 has the resources to support that growth. Things like infrastructure development, public transportation and community resources, to ensure that communities have what they need to succeed.

How will you help Edmonton become a greener / more environmentally friendly city?

When elected, I will support the development, preservation and maintenance of parks and green spaces in Ward 4 so that the people of Edmonton can play and enjoy nature in their own community today and in the future. I will also support the development of accessible public transit, to provide the people of Ward 4 with alternative, less environmentally costly forms of transportation.

In addition, I will support environmental sustainability as a priority and value in all city initiatives and developments. Environmental sustainability needs to be a value and a goal in every discussion, and it will be incorporated into every decision.

How will you strengthen Edmonton’s local economy and support our city’s independent, locally-owned businesses?

By supporting Edmonton’s growing technology and knowledge industries as they bring in jobs and local economic activity, as well as by promoting use of local manufacturing and building companies in city projects and programs. Finally, by including local businesses in the process of designing communities so that communities have access to these businesses by day one, and businesses can grow with the communities they live in.

The city should look to the people of Edmonton first when they are designing or implementing a project, and local talent and businesses should have the ability to bid on working with the City of Edmonton first. These businesses are a part of our local economy, and it just makes sense to invest in the people who will invest back in Edmonton.

Also through general infrastructure development in the north east to support our growing population, who can then use that infrastructure to access the local business communities.

How will you make this a more inclusive city and support Edmonton’s marginalized communities?

The first priority of council should be to ensure that Edmonton is inclusive and accessible for everyone who calls our great city home. When an Edmontonian doesn’t feel safe in their community, something is wrong.

When elected, I will work with the Edmonton Police Service, and specifically with the officers responsible for combating hate crime to ensure that the necessary resources needed to reduce hate crime are in place. In addition, I will work to ensure all officers across the city receive additional and ongoing training in working with LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized groups.

Many policies that impact marginalized communities are enacted at the provincial and federal level (Such as the recent federal legislation guaranteeing trans rights, or the recent discussion surrounding GSA’s at the provincial level). While council may not be able to directly impact these decisions, I am committed to working across levels of government for the best interest of Edmontonians. This may involve working with marginalized to advocate to another level of government, or working with council to voice our support or opposition to actions at the provincial or federal level.

I am currently a member of a Child Friendly Edmonton working group, and a board member of the Somali Canadian Women and Children Association, where I am seeing first hand the power of giving a underrepresented group a voice. When experts, allies and, most importantly, the marginalized people themselves have a space and a framework to have their voices heard by council, this can have broader benefits in the lives of marginalized people, that can have positive impacts over many different sectors.

How can our readers learn more about your platform, contact you with questions or concerns, or get involved in your campaign?

You can learn more about me and my platform by visiting ElectJustinDraper.com. If you have any questions, I’d love to chat! You can reach my by e-mail at Contact@ElectJustinDraper.com or by phone at (780) 270-7276.