Get to Know Who's Running: Lana Palmer (Ward Dene)

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 Dene

Lana Palmer


"I believe in an Edmonton with the brightest future ahead. A future you and I can help build together. I believe we can build an Edmonton where people wake up excited every morning because they are happy, feel safe and have a purpose. A city that is a beacon of light in the true north. A city where every person can go to work feeling that their representatives at City Hall have the best interest of the community in every decision they make. That their hard earned tax dollars will be spent wisely. That every decision will be made taking into account their consequences, not only to the immediate future but for generations to come. A city where city council believes that it's not about being "in charge" but about taking care of those 'in our charge'." 


The Questions:

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

Lana Palmer/ I am running for city council because I want our city to be successful and innovative. We need an agile city that is adaptable to the new economy. Things are changing, and we saw that play out very clearly with Covid 19 and how we all had to pivot and adapt in so many aspects of our lives. Change is here to stay, and we need to adjust and learn how to operate differently. I believe I have the analytical skills, education, drive, and intuition to help us move in that direction. I bring a voice of moderation. I do not believe we need to be radical to succeed; we need to be intelligent and strategic.


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?

LPI am an oral surgeon by profession, so I am detail orientated with strong analytical skillsets. I have worked in the private sector for many years, and I am a small business owner. I understand how red tape, outdated and irrelevant bylaws can hinder businesses firsthand. I serve in the community on the front lines, and I have an excellent understanding of our community's social issues.


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

LP/ Business Approach 
In my opinion, we have too much red tape and restrictions for businesses. I am pro-business. I believe, especially in the current climate, we need to remove barriers and obstacles for businesses. Successful businesses will translate into job creation and improved wages.  Meaningful employment is what I would say is at the root of solving many of the societal problems that we see. Getting money into people's pockets by giving them options and opportunities works with our social programs. We need to make pro-business decisions that are thoughtful and considerate to their needs. These past two years have been tough, and we need to go above and beyond to make sure these businesses can be back on their feet if they can even survive.

 

Fiscal Responsibility 

We are a City that is not fiscally responsible. The reality is we have a lot of expenditures. Our costs have increased, and our revenue has decreased or is stagnant. We need to find more efficient ways to get things done.  I will advocate that we incentivize contractors, employees, and citizens to identify waste so we can eliminate or manage.

 

Innovation and Initiative 

We need to be more forward-thinking and innovative. We have the ingredients for success right here; we need to use them.  The University of Alberta offers world-class nanotechnology recognition. The tech sector in the downtown core provides diversity. We need to create the talent these sectors need and attached more of this industry. I think that cryptocurrency is definitely on the rise, and there is an opportunity for Edmonton to become the crypto capital of Canada. We need to get ahead by positioning our city as a leader, and why not do that now.

 

Effective Infrastructure 

When building new or renewing neighborhoods, we need to consider community sustainability in the short and long term. We need to develop welcoming, functional, and practical communities for all Edmontonians, ones that can accommodate Edmontonians from all walks of life. What is the point in being in the community if you are not part of the community?



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

LP/ Public Transportation. 
We have a real issue with our public transportation. Those who frequent this service are having a hard time, especially in Ward Dene. Public transit needs to be reliable, safe, affordable, accessible, and convenient. The bus redesign did the exact opposite for Ward Dene residents than what it promised to accomplish. Public transportation has become less accessible, less convenient, and less reliable.

Public Infrastructure. 

There is inequity in funding opportunities between newer and older schools in Edmonton regarding school playground replacement. Funding for school playgrounds in Ward Dene has denied due to policy bureaucracy. Essentially technicalities from when they were erected prohibit access to public funding.


Social Programs. 

I believe the gateway out of poverty is education. Education comes formally from our Institutions but many essential programs aid in that journey. City Council needs to have positive relationships in order to actually get things done. Relationships with nonprofits, with businesses with other branches of government. The lack of collaboration and understanding between stakeholders is hindering aid to our most vulnerable. I will work in building those strong relationships. There are a few critical stakeholders in Ward Dene that need a strong ally in city council. C5 and The Mustard Seed are two examples.



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

LP/ We have had some remarkable success with not-for-profit joint partnerships such as C5. This is a great model, and we can expand on this.

Our community leagues are underutilized; I would like to see them empowered and expand on their scope. 

Previous administrations have done an excellent job at building a tech presence in our downtown core, and the UofA is world-renowned for its contributions to nanotechnology. Let's build on this and bring more tech industry to Edmonton. We need our schools to prepare the hearts and minds of children to think about tech to help support these companies and industries. Rather than import talent, let's develop it. I advocate that Edmonton should declare itself the Crypto Capital of Canada and become a crypto-friendly city. Blockchain technology will change how we work, live, and operate as a society. I am a forward thinker and believe we need to move now to gain a first-mover advantage.


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

LP/ The bus redesign was a total disaster for Ward Dene residents. It needs to be revised immediately.

When new neighborhoods are designed, they need to work for all residents and be built in a sustainable manner. Let's use 167th avenue as an example. When we are doing urban planning, it will make more sense that we are proactive and isolate predictable root problems. We knew that the city would expand in this area, so why not just twin the road at the onset? The bus stopping and creating congestion is merely a symptom of having the wrong infrastructure in place for a mid-level artery. I will be very focused on being forward-thinking.


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

LP/ Yes, but it should be done sparingly. City Councillors should be able to block people who are abusive and violent.


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)?

LP/ - I believed we should have taken a vertical risk management approach versus the horizontal approach we saw. The one size fits all approach is morally and intellectually wrong. Some groups had higher risks and should have received more resources, while others (a more significant subset) had a lesser chance of risk and could have operated differently.

- In my opinion, there was a lack of leadership and transparency. This resulted in division and confusion.

- We need to trust businesses will do it right and that market forces will dictate it.

- We should have centralized our Covid hospitalization and increased capacity. It was confusing we were laying off and cutting wages of health professionals during the pandemic.

- We only focused on the disease but did not focus on getting healthy (we closed parks, gyms, and outside spaces).

- There was no emphasis or training on mask-wearing, handling, storage, cleaning, or hygiene. 

- Volunteer Services for the most vulnerable collapsed. While most people were locked down at home, some had no home or were locked in an abusive house.


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

LPI love our beautiful parks and festivals, but above all, I love the people of this city. Edmontonians are hardworking, community-based people who are willing to put in the work to make our city a better place for all. We need leadership that will use the power of this army for good.


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

LP/ Driven, persistent, open, caring and family-centered.


Thank you, Lana!


Follow along with the candidates on Twitter

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

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