Local politics is a bit of a puzzle. On the one hand, it’s the closest level of government to our everyday lives, providing services so essential that their absence would be almost immediately felt, such as police, fire service, water, and garbage collection. On the other hand, it has the lowest voter interest. In 2004, just 19 per cent of Calgarians turned out to select its city council.
This course will give you the knowledge you need to easily follow local politics, in Calgary and elsewhere. We’ll discuss the most important questions of local politics: What powers do city councils actually have? How do city budgets and property taxes work? What’s the relationship between federal and provincial governments and local councils? Why don’t people turn out to vote? What role do property developers play in local politics?
Paul Fairie has been a sessional instructor at the University of Calgary in political science since 2010. Paul is also a data scientist at Centrality Data Science in Calgary, and a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail where he tries to make political science research accessible to the general public.