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Civic duty (and moms) drove many to the polls on Monday

Reasons ranged from the draft curriculum and daylight saving time, to fiscal restraint and backyard chickens.

Many St. Albertans throughout the city took the time to vote in the municipal election on Monday.

Orval and Anne Belcourt said it was their pleasure and their civic duty to cast their ballots at the Enjoy Centre.

“[We] thought it was really important to vote, especially with the referendum [questions] that are proposed. I think the UCP is overstepping, if you will,” said Anne.

Both Belcourts do not want to see a change with answers to either of the referendum questions.

“We are in our 70s and have grown up with daylight saving time,” said Anne.

Other than that, Orval said he was happy to see the developments and the road upgrades under the previous city council.

Laura Pereira is an elementary teacher and the big issue that drove her to vote this election at the Enjoy Centre is the school board, the public school trustees, and the curriculum.

“We really want, as teachers, to see people who are willing to speak not only for their representatives in their community, but also have taken the time to look through [the curriculum] and look at the feedback that teachers and [teachers' assistants] have been giving,” she said.

Laura said she voted for someone she thought would be willing to take a stand on the curriculum issues.

“I think the curriculum is a disaster. It's ridiculous. It’s almost impossible to implement. There’s a reason almost no boards are willing to pilot it … I think Alberta has had a good reputation in education and I would hate for it to go downhill because of a weak curriculum,” she said.

Pereira’s daughter Brooklyn DeBenedetto is voting for the first time in a municipal election. She feels strongly about the referendum questions — she thinks the province could have focused on better things than daylight saving time, like the curriculum.

“As part of the next generation of voters I wanted to make my voice heard about certain things,” she said.

Ryan Sellers, who voted at the Kinsmen Banquet Hall, said he came out to offer his insight and wishes and practice his right to vote. He was happy to see the equalization question on the ballot.

“I don’t know if we are going to see the change we are looking for, I wish we do,” he said.

Sellers is hoping that, at the very least, a message gets sent to Ottawa.

Ron Simpson is a construction supervisor who voted at Red Willow Place because of civic duty.

The issue that brought Simpson out was daylight saving time.

“Just leave it as is. Either the whole world changes or nobody changes,” he said.

He would have also liked to see the option and moving to standard time on the ballot because he goes to work at 6 a.m. and in the winter, if the province does move to permanent daylight time, he would not see the sun until after 9 a.m.

“When I go to look at the [clock] and see it’s nine in the morning and still dark? Come on,” he said.

At the Salvation Army, where evening wait times were anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, Sebastian Frattin said he also came out because of civic duty. He likes to see constraint in city council, so he voted the way he needed to vote.

Frattin is a retired social studies teacher and also a retired small business owner. He thinks the referendum questions are a pipe dream that should have not been tied to the municipal election. He also believes the government is throwing too much money at businesses lately.

“The government throwing money at us, why? Because they can. And who’s going to pay for it? I hate to tell you; it will be you. Not me anymore … I’m done,” he said.

Frattin said it’s easy for politicians to spend money.

“Tomorrow they’ll just increase your taxes.”

It’s Jackson Brown’s first time voting in a municipal election. Brown said it was his mom who brought him out to the St. Albert Alliance Church, where the two waited almost an hour to cast their ballots. There was only one issue he felt passionate about.

“I kind of want time to be the same time all year round. That’s the only thing,” Brown said.

Spencer Nally sat outside Alexander-Taché School with his dogs Mary and Parker as he waited for his chance to vote. He came out because of due diligence, to support the community, and his kids in their education.

“I haven’t really been happy in the direction of the school board in particular, so I’m voting to hopefully make some changes there,” he said.

Laura Rinaldi voted at Holy Family Catholic Church around 6:30 p.m., but she was told it was going to be a 45-minute wait, so she said she would come back later in the evening.

Rinaldi thinks voting is something everyone should do.

“I did quite a bit of research so I’m going to vote,” she said.

She was tight-lipped about her opinions, but she said she feels strongly about the referendum questions.

“Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

Lizz McBride voted at Servus Place to set a good example for her eight-year-old son, Sebastian, who tagged along.

“I thought that it’s, in all honesty, silly that we’re voting on something like daylight saving time and almost a waste of a question,” McBride said.

Although McBride had no general complaints, backyard chickens are an important issue to her.

“We support backyard chickens and so that was a big one in making sure the values and bylaws were maintained and of course continue with that structure,” said McBride.


About the Author: Jessica Nelson

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