Get to Know Who's Running: Caroline Matthews (Ward Métis)

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 Métis

Caroline Matthews


"Making things work is the story of Caroline Matthews’ life and career and she will bring practical wisdom to the role. As a Vancouver City Police Officer – the only woman in her 1984 cadet graduating class – Caroline worked with social workers and psychiatric nurses specialized in providing emergency care across the city for persons struggling with mental health issues and safety intervention for vulnerable children. As a hotel manager in the Northwest Territories community of Cambridge Bay, Caroline worked with local Indigenous residents to create jobs and opportunities in the tourism and hospitality business. As an entrepreneur in the United Kingdom, Caroline worked to establish a chain of successful coffee shops. As Director of Recruitment for the University of Alberta’s Executive MBA and Master of Financial Management programs, Caroline worked with business executives from various sectors including the oil patch to develop their skills, knowledge, and success." 


The Questions:

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

Caroline Matthews/ I am running for Edmonton City Council because residents deserve to be Heard, not Told what city priorities are. We are seeing a reduction in the customer service and value provided by the city on a number of issues. This needs to be addressed.


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?

CMI have a broad range of experience. As a former police officer in Vancouver, I served on the special unit, where my partner was a social worker or a psychiatric nurse. I will bring an experienced and compassionate lens to community safety, the opioid crisis, and assisting Edmonton's vulnerable because of this experience. I have also worked in post secondary environments as a Director at the UofA and as a project manager with a start up medical school. I have worked in and support public service unions. Finally, I have experience as a small business owner as I formerly owned four coffee shops in pedestrianized areas. I understand the 15 minute community concept and how the municipal government can support it. Current business owner and local artisan.


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

CM/ Support for Edmonton's Vulnerable - Residents have concerns regarding community safety, access to affordable housing, and the ongoing opioid crisis. The interconnectedness of these issues makes them challenging to unpack & address. Service providers need reliable support from all levels of government to maintain consistency in program delivery on these issues.

Capital Project Mismanagement - City Administration & City Hall have mishandled the conception & execution on several capital projects like the Valley Line LRT and New Police Training Centre. The delays inconveniencing residents everyday lives, the cost overruns on projects that seriously impact other line items in the budget resulting in reduction in services across the board. 

Accountability on Infill Development - Developers need to be held accountable when damage to a neighboring property occurs during the construction process. Furthermore, the iconic & historic nature of our East Edmonton mature communities needs to be preserved. This means holding developers accountable to the communities which will be hosting infill to ensure the designs fit with neighboring property designs.

Access to Public Transportation - Only six of the communities in Ward of Métis have access to On Demand service.  The On Demand service should not require that residents incur the added expense of a cell phone & data plan to access On Demand service. For many youth or elderly this is not possible on a fixed income meaning they cannot readily access the service at all. Public Transportation must be made convenient, accessible, and must not require additional costs beyond a reasonable ticket price.

Lack of Infrastructure Upkeep - Many sidewalks and alleyways in Ward Métis are in a very poor state of repair as a result of renewal delays. In neighborhoods like Ottewell, Beverly and Beacon Heights residents with mobility issues & young parents with strollers use the street because sidewalks are simply unsafe.


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

CM/ Support for Edmonton's Vulnerable - Residents have concerns regarding community safety, access to affordable housing, and the ongoing opioid crisis. The interconnectedness of these issues makes them challenging to unpack & address. Service providers need reliable support from all levels of government to maintain consistency in program delivery on these issues. 

Capital Project Mismanagement - City Administration & City Hall have mishandled the conception & execution on several capital projects like the Valley Line LRT and New Police Training Centre. The delays inconveniencing residents everyday lives, the cost overruns on projects that seriously impact other line items in the budget resulting in reduction in services across the board.

Accountability on Infill Development - Developers need to be held accountable when damage to a neighboring property occurs during the construction process. Furthermore, the iconic & historic nature of our East Edmonton mature communities needs to be preserved. This means holding developers accountable to the communities which will be hosting infill to ensure the designs fit with neighboring property designs. 

Access to Public Transportation - Only six of the communities in Ward of Métis have access to On Demand service.  The On Demand service should not require that residents incur the added expense of a cell phone & data plan to access On Demand service. For many youth or elderly this is not possible on a fixed income meaning they cannot readily access the service at all. Public Transportation must be made convenient, accessible, and must not require additional costs beyond a reasonable ticket price. 

Lack of Infrastructure Upkeep - Many sidewalks and alleyways in Ward Métis are in a very poor state of repair as a result of renewal delays. In neighborhoods like Ottewell, Beverly and Beacon Heights residents with mobility issues & young parents with strollers use the street because sidewalks are simply unsafe.


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

CM/ Business Improvement Areas have created a framework for local stewardship of communities. These organizations have shown the capacity and initiative to begin work on beautifying the city, tackling social challenges, and advocating for municipal improvements beyond the initial scope of their mandates. These organizations need to continue to be supported and empowered.


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

CM/ The introduction of changes to the transportation or waste management system must address customer service at a higher level then has been experienced by residents in the latest rollouts. 

New waste management bins - the residents have not been opposed to recycling, however the customer service portion, especially for residents with mobility issues, that will become even more evident during the winter months is not customer centered. 

The seasonal variation waste is not adequately meeting the needs of residents who maintain their communities by picking up and bagging leaves from city trees, or bagging seasonal waste from their own gardens.  It is not reasonable to be asking residents to make, in many cases several trips to the eco center to dispose this waste.


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

CM/ Yes, hateful & discriminatory behavior should be something City Councilors can block people for. This said, City Councilors have an obligation to ensure freedom of speech is respected on their page and criticism of their policies & initiatives, even when rude & unconstructive, should not be grounds for blocking residents.


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)?

CM/ COVID-19 restrictions are the purview of Alberta Health Services. They are the body with the expertise & mandate to make informed decisions on public health & safety. The city follows the advice and mandates set out by AHS in numerous public health areas and should do so regarding COVID-19.


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

CMCity of community led festivals.


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

CM/ Experienced and dedication to serve.


Thank you, Caroline!

Follow along with the candidates on Twitter

Find Caroline on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  
See Caroline's Platform/Priorities HERE.
Visit Caroline's website HERE
Contact Caroline HERE.

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