I’ve been fascinated in politics my whole life. I believe effective change can be made when holding true to your values and beliefs, and seeking to represent the concerns of those you serve through constant engagement. Politics is a duty to serve, a chance to make things better for all, and something not to profiteer off of or elevate one’s own status through.
Why are you running for council?I’m running for council to elevate the voices of the people and the frontline, to remove the barriers to engagement, and truly represent Edmontonians and those in my ward. My top priorities include tackling homelessness, houselessness, and poverty in our city, keeping our services public and accountable to Edmontonians, and sustainable development that rethinks the way we develop and grow our city.
What are your top priorities?
I bring that frontline knowledge of city operations to Edmonton City Council along with the community service, volunteerism, and involvement, that is so crucial to see from anyone who looks to serve on the larger stage.
What happens if you win?
If I win I carry forth my commitments to the residents of my ward and the people of Edmonton. To serve with integrity with the best interest of the people at heart and the intent to see my platform come to fruition. If I lose I carry on serving my community in the ways I have done so before as a public servant, community leader, good neighbour, and volunteer.
Can you describe your plan to tackle drug addiction and homelessness?For too long we’ve been relying reactively on frontline supports ill-equipped for the job of tackling the issues of chronic poverty in our city. During COVID when people no longer felt safe in shelters and had nowhere else to go they found themselves on a transit system ill-equipped to handle the multitude of issues surrounding that poverty. Issues like addiction, intergenerational trauma, mental health challenges, ptsd, and abuse can all contribute to houselessness and homelessness. Without proper engagement and support that recognize these issues as systemic we’ll continue to have a never-ending cycle of trauma for both those experiencing these challenges and those first responders and frontline staff tasked with inappropriately dealing with them whether that be transit, police, peace officers, fire, EMS, or hospitals. We need a more compassionate response that reflects this with low barrier to access housing first programs, inclusive mental health and addiction supports, transitional housing, harm reduction, accessible public washrooms, and an end to stigma surrounding poverty among others. Much of this is responsibility that falls on other levels of government but the municipality ends up paying for this anyways in stress to our public service members, damage we’re seeing to our infrastructure like transit and facilities, and a general sense of a lack of safety that can get in the way of accessing business and services.
How important is climate change and what will you do to make sure climate justice is at the forefront?Climate change is hugely important at this point in time. We’ve normalized smoke filled summers from consistently larger forest fires that are levelling towns, warmer winters, melting ice caps, flooding where none was before, and extreme weather events across the world. The city can take the lead with greener choices that include transitioning fleet vehicles to electric, protection of our natural areas like the river valley from development, making sustainable transportation options like LRT and bus more attractive to everyday users with proper funding and routes in place, and staying within our current footprint with infill, mixed use developments, and a more compact city.What will you do for women and children as Councillor Morgan?
In the immediate, with our children under 12 unvaccinated we can start by masking up until cases of COVID go down again. Long term we need to build our cities with the knowledge that access to childcare and transit are equity makers. Building communities that provide spaces for those services allow women (who are still in 2021 predominantly responsible for childcare and child-rearing over men) to contribute positively to their community with gainful employment that empowers. We also know early learning is essential to the success of children. Again, ensuring childcare supports are available within communities across our city allows for the future success and contributions of our next generation. We can do all this by ensuring that our new neighbourhoods are built with mixed use in mind and in particular space for a variety of services (like childcare).
Your arts, culture and heritage policy resembles what obtains now. Your thoughts?
Much of my Arts and Culture policy is in place already. I’m supportive of the work already happening in our city and would like for it to continue. A dedication of 1% for art in city infrastructure projects beautifies a city and ensures that we have a sustained commitment to the arts for years to come. Supporting our local arts organizations, artists, musicians, actors, and venues is paramount to a thriving city economy (especially our hospitality and retail sectors) as support for those in the arts often translates into spending by users in other areas as well. This in turn builds community and in turn creates a safer, more inclusive city for all.
What books inform your knowledge?
I have been a lover of fiction for as long as I can remember. Over the years I’ve enjoyed the works of Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, Cormac McCarthy, and Neil Gaiman. I look for tales of perseverance and hope for a better future. This is probably what attracts me to the world of comic books too – Captain America being my favourite superhero. Despite challenges that my protagonists face (and oftentimes failing) I look for them to always at least try to do what’s right in the end.
Share a quote or a poem that means something to you.
“It is possible to commit no errors and still lose. That is not a weakness….. That is life.” – Jean-Luc Picard as portrayed by Patrick Stewart in Star Trek The Next Generation.
Where can we learn more about you?
My website www.jonmorgan.ca has my entire platform on it with links to my social media and Youtube accounts. I’m happy to engage in respectful dialogue with anyone via email@example.com.