Deborah Murphy believes Cochrane is losing its autonomy to Calgary, doesn't believe town council is properly engaging residents and is concerned for our freedoms and rights.
The 22-year resident of Cochrane is the latest registered candidate for the Oct.18th town council election.
She disagrees with how the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) has the final say on Cochrane's development plans. She was impressed by a presentation made by Ron Voss to council, requesting Cochrane to step back from the CMRB, but was disappointed in how the council merely accepted it for information with no follow-up.
The words "accept for information" also irked her when they followed a detailed presentation made by Katrina Kitchen last September in opposition to the face mask bylaw. Kitchen told council there was no scientific evidence of face coverings being effective and may, in fact, be counterproductive. She also expressed concern about how the bylaw infringed upon personal rights and freedoms.
"Being naive, I thought that they would do something with the information, but nothing happened, so I sat in on every meeting from that point on."
She believes those putting extensive work into their presentations deserve better.
Cochrane created its face mask bylaw before the province making it mandatory. Murphy believes the town overstepped its authority, and it was up to the province to decide.
"What the community doesn't know is that there was a full-day meeting in Calgary of mayors. Mayor Nenshi decided he was masking his people, and when our mayor came back, the next thing is there's talk of a mandatory mask law in Cochrane."
"When you have your mayor parroting what Mayor Nenshi says in Calgary, I say, excuse me, I didn't elect him. I want to hear your opinion, and want to hear where you're getting your facts from."
The closer she followed town council, the more she came to question the way she voted.
"I assumed that whoever we elected is working for the community, and therefore if there was anything that was detrimental or a violation of our freedoms, they would communicate with the people."
She believes public consultations have been inadequate and appear to be a matter of checking off a box on a list.
"The people need to be heard. There needs to be a better form of surveys and not just second and third readings before the community has even heard what is happening."
She believes town councillors are not elected to voice their own opinion.
"You're elected by the people for the people, not for yourself, not for your own opinion. So when people write to you, and when they share their concerns, it shouldn't take a month to get back. I've made the phone calls, I've written the letters, and the lack of response has been appalling."
She is a strong believer in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and both the Alberta and Canadian Bill of Rights. If elected, she says she would give them over-arching consideration during deliberations.
She has a campaign website and is reaching out to residents.
"My plans for the campaign are to get out there and tell people who I am, let them know what I stand for, and hear their voice."
There are now eight candidates for council. Nominations will be accepted until Sept. 20. Other than the mayor, no other member of the current town council has officially registered at this point.