Should You Share ‘Worst Case’ Scenarios Publicly As An Advocacy Strategy?

On Wednesday the City of Edmonton’s Mayor Iveson made a public announcement about the considerations being made in light of the pandemic.

‘Worst Case’ Scenario

At first glance, it appears the only thing the news media heard was “Edmonton may park its buses and LRT for the summer.” It is true, this idea was presented as ONE of the options being considered in an effort to somehow clot the bleeding of money many municipalities are experiencing right now. Rightfully so (no pun intended) many people – predominantly left-leaning folk – are outraged even by the fact transit is being threatened.

However, if we take a deeper look at this we might see that this was a necessary move for the Mayor in order to further his advocacy campaign to secure emergency funding from both the Provincial and Federal governments.

Due Diligence or Advocacy Ploy?

All municipalities are going back to the books as each week of this pandemic passes by. It would be irresponsible if administration and council were to avoid looking at the worst-case scenarios – that’s business continuity and emergency response planning 101 – but why was this the ‘highlight’ of the avail on Wednesday? Why wasn’t the focus on the broader planning in the reality of the pandemic?

Frankly put – mobilization. In addition to the pressure the Mayor would be putting on the Feds and the Province, he also needs citizens to start crying foul – as loudly as the lockdown will allow for. By spotlighting the potential for a complete transit shutdown, the Mayor is calling on people to join him in the work he’s been doing to secure funds.

The Mayor did very little in the way of ‘clean up’ after the announcement but did Tweet that the last thing he wants is for transit to shut down.

Municipalities Asking for Aid

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities asked for a collective $10 billion in aid from the provincial and federal governments if the pandemic lasts until September. The federation has estimated that municipalities will need $15 billion if economic impacts from the pandemic last until the end of the year.

The longer the other two orders of government drag their heels on committing aid, the bigger the impact will be on municipalities.

“We shouldn’t even be having to consider these options at this point,” Iveson said. Until then, worst-case scenario planning will be both due diligence and advocacy strategy as he continues to wait to hear what kind of support will be coming from the provincial and federal governments.

Stay safe and be well.

Katie Robertson