As a white man, how do you advocate for more inclusiveness and representation of minorities
This is an apt question and one that I get a lot. It's tough to generate an answer that pleases everyone given the fact that, yes, I am a straight white guy, a group that tends to have over-representation in politics and decision-making.
When I talked with YEGNation (skip to ~7:46), I commented that it can be tough to grapple with the contrast of my desire to see more women on council, and my desire to see myself elected to advocate for issues important to myself and my community.
I really do hope we get more women on council this term - if we elect one from my ward I'd be happy to write to her and advocate for community issues as I do now.
However, one strategy is to plan for the worst-case scenario and then work backward from there to develop a solution.
With that in mind, let's plan for a hypothetical worst-case scenario in which no women win a seat on council and I'm elected with twelve other white guys. It is critically important in this scenario that other perspectives are heard and brought into the decision-making process.
With that in mind, the new public consultation guidelines that we've developed are a great start: they require a project charter be established at the outset of a project that includes community stakeholders with local knowledge and perspectives.
We need to enhance that idea to bring in an intersection of diverse perspectives on project planning. In the same way that GBA+ (gender-based analysis plus) can run policy through a lens of gender-equity, we can run our projects, from the outset, through a rigorous feedback loop with typically underrepresented groups - whether it's women, or gender and sexual minorities, or even those with limited mobility or visibility.
By integrating these perspectives into the project planning process, we can ensure that groups who may not see themselves reflected in council still have a city built for them and their needs.
I think that will also have a positive feedback loop: when under-represented groups are better enfranchised in the city planning process and are better able to proudly call Edmonton home, we're likely to see more of those under-represented groups step forward and, here's hoping, get elected to our council.