Get to Know Who's Running: Erin Rutherford (Ward Anirniq)

By Emil Tiedemann

There happens to be a Municipal Election coming up in Edmonton on October 18, 2021, and I think it's important for locals to get to know the City Council candidates running for their particular ward (as well as their Mayoral candidates, of course). I chose to get more involved in the election this year and so wanted to give each candidate a chance to tell us a little about themselves, their vision, and why you should vote for them. I have sent a 10-question questionnaire to each of the 2021 Edmonton Municipal Election candidates and will post their responses (100% as written) here as they come in. With that said, let's get to know...

Ward Anirniq

Erin Rutherford

I’m seeking your support for Councillor Ward Anirniq. I’ve called Edmonton home for 20 years. I love the diversity, energy, and sense of community that exists, especially here in Ward Anirniq. I’ve been working hard to drive change from within. Each and every day of the last 11 years that I’ve been in public service has been about building community. It’s been incredible, working with the community, advocating for the rights of young people and LGBTQ2S+, supporting public engagement on capital projects, and leading a team dedicated to major issues like poverty and homelessness and equity, diversity, and inclusion. I want to help build an Edmonton that works for all Edmontonians, with a strong local economy, healthy environment and social wellbeing. Support me for Ward Anirniq as I put my passion, drive, experience, and knowledge to work for you."

The Questions:

IE/ Why do you want to run for City Council?

Erin Rutherford/ I’m running to put my knowledge, passion, and skills to work creating an Edmonton for all.

IE/ Can you tell us about your past or current experiences that you think could possibly benefit/ translate to your position as a member of City Council?

ER/ I deeply understand city administration. I’ve been working in public service, primarily at the local level, my whole career. This allows me insight into how things get before Council and the questions I would need to ask to see results.

In my career, I’ve been working hard to create change within my various roles. I have practiced community development to address complex issues like poverty, homelessness, and domestic violence. I believe the skills required to facilitate collective action will serve me well on Council as I work with Council colleagues, people in the ward, and other levels of government to move forward. 

I hold certification in the International Association of Public Participation and have a passion for ensuring meaningful engagement. This will serve me well in reaching out and connecting with residents of Ward Anirniq and also hold administration accountable to proper consultation.

I have had a breadth of experience across municipal lines of work. I understand capital infrastructure projects, municipal budgeting, social services, recreation, policy development, and more. While a Councillor is responsible for governance, this span of experience will allow me the opportunity to understand and make balanced decisions on a wide variety of topics.

IE/ What do you think are the 4 or 5 biggest issues facing Edmonton right now that you want to focus on most?

ER/ -Recovery from COVID

-Community Safety 

-Homelessness and Affordable Housing

-Creating good jobs right here by supporting local businesses and economy

-Environmental Action

IE/ What do you think are some of the issues/struggles affecting your particular ward that you would like to focus on most?

ER/ -Being overlooked/ under-represented - Many I’ve talked to in the ward discuss how they do not feel like their concerns and issues are being addressed and often items are prioritized to other areas of the city (shifting the LRT priority South). We need to create win-win solutions for the City and Ward Anirniq.

-Crime - Many residents of Ward Anirniq highlighted their concerns over theft, vandalism, and general sense of safety in their communities.

-Cost of Living - Cost of living including food, utilities, rent, and property taxes are continuing to go up.

-Transit - Residents have expressed frustration and concerns over the Bus Network Redesign, especially those with mobility concerns. The bus is the only public transit available in Ward Anirniq.

IE/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you loved and would like to expand upon?

ER/ -Grants for local businesses

-Support for and fostering Business Improvement Areas

-Community Leagues/ Neighbourhood Development - programs like abundant communities and having locally based neighbourhood organizations is a huge assetLet’s leverage this asset and provide groups and organizations at the local level tools to thrive

- The City Plan

-Advocacy for housing and harm-reduction services

IE/ What are some of the city/community initiatives that you are/were against, and what would you do differently?

ER/ - The Gondola Project - I get it, I support the idea of something that would act as an attraction for tourism in this City. Unfortunately, this project opens the City to too much risk and liability and potentially harms land that is of historical significance for First Nations people.

- Bus Network Redesign - I’m not opposed to the project, but the premise on which the project was founded includes an inner core and longer acceptable distance to access the bus. I have major concerns from an accessibility and safety perspective.

- Paying for parking at City parks - While it is only select parks, the revenue is nominal in the overall City budget and will ultimately create barriers that will stop some Edmontonians from using those particular parks.

- Solar plant in the river valley -  I’ve heard from residents of Ward Anirniq how important the river valley system is to them. Council recently approved the rezoning of river valley land for the development of a solar farm. The cost of environmental action must not come at the cost of conservation of the river valley.

IE/ Do you think elected officials, such as City Councillors, should be able to block people on social media sites like Twitter?

ER/ Yes, when comments are hateful, obscene, profane, pornographic, racist, abusive, aggressive, or threatening, any elected official should be allowed to block that individual.

IE/ When it comes to COVID-19 restrictions, what do you think we got wrong (if anything) as a city or province, and is there anything you would want to do differently (municipally OR provincially)?

ER/ Inconsistencies in policy and practice. The constant opening and shutting down of the province has caused more turmoil and confusion about health regulations. A consistent and measured approach would be how I would’ve handled health regulations.

IE/ What is your favourite thing about living in Edmonton?

ERI don’t think I can pick just one thing! A few of my favourite things about Edmonton are:

- All the festivals (throughout the year) and cultural activities

- The River Valley

- Long summers days

- The people!

IE/ Can you describe yourself in 5 words or less?

ERCompassionate, courageous, honest, energetic, change-maker.

Thank you, Erin! 

Follow along with the candidates on Twitter HERE
Find Erin on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
Visit Erin's website HERE
Contact Erin HERE.


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