Philip Mitchell said he wants to bring a higher degree of fiscal responsibility to Calgary city council.
“If we spent like the City of Calgary does, we would all lose our homes,” Mitchell explained.
“I believe in fiscal responsibility at city council and I believe they’re spending like it’s the good ol’ days, and it’s not the good ol’ days anymore.”
Mitchell announced his candidacy in Ward 8, throwing his hat in the ring to replace Evan Woolley. Woolley announced earlier this year he wouldn’t be seeking re-election.
Self-employed for the last 16 years working in the construction industry, and having a career dedicated in the private sector, Mitchell said he believes he will benefit the city and ward 8 with businesses in mind.
“I feel that our businesses are being crushed under the current taxation situation that the city has and part of that is not the city’s fault,” he said.
“Part of that is the economy, but I believe our city councilors have not adapted to the realistic financial situation Calgary is in.”
He added he believes he can help change the streams of income of the City of Calgary from “completely” taxpayer-oriented to something more “fee-based and diverse.”
Green Line, inadequacies in council
Mitchell said he believes the Green Line was an incredible idea, though it has turned into a fiasco.
“It would have been incredible for Calgary. If city council had worked together as a unit and… [was] more business-minded rather than discussing too much… it would be in the works right now,” he said.
“They don’t have the leadership skills to get the job done.”
He added the current city council has failed to maintain the trust of Calgarians, particularly with respect to the current economy, and what Mitchell regarded as uncontrolled spending habits.
“I’ve been knocking on doors now for a couple months and… people are really upset by the lack of controlled spending,” said Mitchell.
Downtown vacancies and supportive housing
Mitchell said as a business-minded person, he has “infinite ideas” to fill vacant buildings in the downtown core, be it with people or businesses.
With homeless and low-income populations in mind, he suggested there’s a need for more and better programs to keep people off the street and getting proper care.
“There’s a lot of people living on the streets who are afraid to go to the shelters, especially right now because of COVID-19,” Mitchell said.
“We need to look at better programs [for the homeless populations]. We can’t have people building tents on 17th avenue. We need places for these people to go that are safe,” he said.
Speed limits, police funding and Fluoride
Mitchell said the speed limits in residential areas are not the real problem between pedestrians and motorists. Reducing the unposted speed limit is a Band-Aid fix.
“The problem isn’t the speed… The driver who speeds through certain roads is still going to speed through certain roads,” he said.
Mitchell suggested a better approach would be educating drivers further on the dangers of distracted driving. He said it’s a “rampant” problem in Calgary.
He’s also against defunding the Calgary police, saying it’s not even a debate to him.
“We need to rebuild and restore public trust in the Calgary Police Service,” Mitchell said.
“The erosion of the confidence in the police force… will only lead to more confrontation and incidents between officers and the public.”
He added the negative light police are under takes away from the “hundreds, potentially thousands” of positive interactions Calgarians have with police daily.
Though personally against keeping fluoride in Calgary’s water, Mitchell stressed if elected he will put the interests of Ward 8 residents above his personal opinion.
“I am going to align my voice… [with] the people of Ward 8.
“I will ask the constituents what their opinion is because that’s what I feel is the right thing to do on a major issue like this,” he explained.
“Fluoride is not something I want, but if the residents of Ward 8 want it, I would vote for it.”
Transparency in council
Mitchell believes constituents have the right to know every vote he participates in.
Mitchell would be an advocate to do away with in-camera sessions of council. It would give Calgarians a better idea of what goes on behind the scenes of council.
“I don’t think councilors and politicians should talk in circles or cloud the language. I think you have to be decisive, and if you’re going to be a leader… you have to speak the truth.
“I believe the people of Ward 8 deserve to know every single thing I do while I’m working.”