Lifelong St. Albert resident Cam MacKay threw his hat into the city council election ring on Tuesday night.
During a meeting of the St. Albert Taxpayers’ Association, of which he is a member, MacKay said he wanted to run for a councillor spot and work on what he sees as deficiencies at city hall.
“The changes I’ve seen in St. Albert over the last eight years have not been in the direction I thought the city should be going in,” he said in an interview. “The biggest thing I have noticed is that taxes have gone up and our services have not.”
MacKay, who grew up in St. Albert, is the owner of Open Spaces Doggie Daycare & Training Centre and opened the business in 2004. In his speech Mackay spoke about his upbringing and life in St. Albert. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in commerce, specializing in accounting, and said his six years in the armed forces after university helped him develop into a person that he feels would be needed on city council.
“My military career instilled in me three ideals that would serve as the foundation for me in my later life,” MacKay said in his speech Tuesday, which has been posted as a video on YouTube. “A pride in Canada … an appreciation for St. Albert … and duties of citizenship.”
MacKay said taxes are one of his top priorities, adding the high property taxes in St. Albert and rampant spending need to be changed to make the city more accountable and economical with its funds.
He also noted the city’s various community groups have declined in recent years, adding that the city had taken to dissuading groups from doing some of the work they did in the past for liability reasons. MacKay felt the decline of community groups was hurtful to St. Albert and believes there is a way to get them more involved again.
“If they could find a liability insurance to cover them, that would take care of those issues,” he said. “If community groups were more involved, I would prefer that.”
MacKay also said he would like to see the city get more involved with green technology and applauded and supported those who are forging ahead with the concept.
Lynda Flannery, president of the tax watchdog group, said there are similarities between what her organization has identified as election issues and the platform MacKay presented Tuesday. Although she said there are no intentions of putting a slate together for the election, Flannery said they would keep an open mind about the talking points brought forward by other candidates.
“The big issue is getting our taxes to the same level as other places,” she said. “We think the spending is out of whack.”
MacKay said that, in addition to door knocking over the next five months, he will develop a website for his campaign and a YouTube channel.
“We’re going to take some innovative approaches,” he said. “We thought it was a neat thing to do, to go and see and listen for yourself.”