Candidate for Mayor
Hello Edmonton! My name is Diana Steele and I am running to be your next Mayor; the first female Metis Mayor.
I have been a steady community volunteer since I was a teenager and developed the understanding of the concept of giving back. Over the past 6 years I have dedicated myself to the community of Crestwood and surrounding areas. I am currently the President of Crestwood Community League, but have volunteered with the Festival of Trees, KidSport, Candy Cane Lane, created the nationally recognized fundraiser Soccer Balls for Syrians, and started a 50 person committee for grocery delivery to get food delivered to those quarantined or immunocompromised during covid.
Over the past 18 years I have run 3 of my own small businesses, taught business courses at NorQuest College and developed senior leadership policies for the Government of Alberta. Currently, I am enjoying my role with the Pilgrims Hospice, Edmonton’s first free standing residential hospice. I am also on contract with the Federal Government as a Designated Representative and I also substitute teach from time to time.
My education includes a Bachelor of Education, a Master’s Degree in Work, Organization and Leadership and a certificate in Organization Development Foundations from Queens University.
On a personal note, I am a mom to two boys; a pre-teen and a teen. When I have spare time, which admittedly isn't very often, you can probably find me shopping. I really miss spending time with friends and family at their homes or while supporting local business, but look forward to the days when we can all be together again.
Question 1: What work experience do you have that’s relevant to the role of Mayor and how do you feel the skills and perspective you have gained will help you in your role as Mayor?
I have an Education Degree and a Master's Degree in Leadership. I have owned 3 of my own small business. I worked at Norquest college for almost 10 years where I taught business courses and then I moved over to the GoA where I developed senior leadership policies for our Deputy Ministers. Currently, I work for the Pilgrims Hospice Society. In addition to my vast community volunteerism, I have been the President of Crestwood Community League for the past 7 years where I have been on the ground every day listening to the needs of Edmonton’s citizens. This is where I discovered my love for community volunteerism and servant leadership. Servant leaders believe in being true elected representatives of the people. It is not about electing me as the mayor, it is about giving a voice to all Edmontonians through me.
Question 2: What do you think are the biggest issues affecting Edmonton are, and how would you approach these issues as Mayor?
We need to solve houselessness, bring back safe injection sites, & build mental health supports. We need to rely on the social conscious of private industry to help us fund tiny houses. The city will offer wrap around supports and try to get these individuals back to a place where employment is a possibility.
Question 3: What do you think is the role of a municipal government? Do you think the City does too many things, not enough, or just the right amount?
To take care of the people. We don't do focus enough on that. We have a social crisis on our hands and instead of saying we cant get the funding from other gov levels we needed to find the money another way.
Question 4: Do you think property taxes are too high, too low, or just about right?
I believe they are too high.
Question 5: Over the next four years, should the City spend less in absolute terms, increase spending but by less than the rate of inflation and population growth, increase by the rate of inflation and population growth, or increase faster than the rate of inflation and population growth?
We should spend less.
Question 6: During the introduction of City Charters a few years ago there was a lot of debate about new taxation powers for the big cities. Would you support the City being given any additional taxation powers by the Province? If so, what taxation powers should the City have?
I have no opinion on this at this time.
Question 7: The City often claims that they’ve found savings in various budgets, but instead of actually cutting spending, they just put the savings into a reserve account and then spend that money on other things. If there’s money left over at the end of a financial year, do you think that money should be saved up by the City to spend in future years? Or should it be returned automatically to taxpayers the following year through some kind of rebate?
Perhaps a mix of the two is the right answer. A reserve account is necessary, but rebates to the taxpayers allows them to be active participants in a process that may directly affects them.
Question 8: Everyone says they support affordable housing, but what does that term mean for you? Do you think the City should be subsidizing housing for lower-income residents? Or focused on keeping the cost of all housing from getting out of control? Or perhaps some combination of the two? If so, how?
Subsidized housing is the answer in my opinion.
Question 9: The new Edmonton City Plan focuses on urban development, promoting more density, more transit, and 15-minute communities, but it also restricts new housing development in the outskirts of the City. Are you concerned that this could affect housing affordability in the long-run?
I have no opinion on this at this time.
Question 10: What do you think should be the split between greenfield and established community growth for new housing? Should the City have a specific target? Should this be determined by market demand?
I have no opinion on this at this time.
Question 11: Oil and gas has been a core part of Edmonton’s economy for a long time, indeed Leduc No. 1 is just a few minutes away, but Council is now actively promoting alternative energy sources. Do you think Council should be working to diversify the economy away from oil and gas and what would that look like?
Yes, we need to diversify. What that looks like will rely on what experts tells us it should look like.
Question 12: The Valley Line SE LRT has suffered multiple significant delays during its construction. What is your understanding of the reason for these delays, and what would you have done differently to avoid them?
I am not familiar enough with the reasons to comment. If it is on the end of the contracted company I would ensure to issue heavy fines.
Question 13: The City has big plans to build multiple future LRT extensions, including the Valley Line West, the Metro Line Northwest, and the Capital Line South. Do you support further LRT expansion in the City or are there better ways to support transportation in the city? If, as Mayor, you find out that - despite all the previous assurances from the City - there has in fact been another delay or cost overrun for a future LRT line, or for some other major capital project, what would you do?
I would have liked to have seen a sky train or below ground train, but we are where we are. I am going to be micromanaging those projects and delays will not be tolerated. I will be inquiring about fines and whatever else is at our disposal
Question 14: What do you think is the best approach to attract businesses to Edmonton? Direct incentives to specific businesses, paid for by slightly higher taxes, or lower tax rates for all businesses?
We need competitive tax rates. We also need to solve our homeless, drug and crime crises in order to entice business to operate here.
Question 15: Should the City be in the business of operating golf courses, or should they privatize or sell them off? How about garbage collection - half of which is already private - or other services?
Golf courses should be privatized. City garbage should be city owned and operated. Bus cleaning should also be city owned and operated.
Question 16: Should we defund the police? If yes, what exactly does defunding the police mean to you? If not, what should the City do to address both historical and ongoing injustices?
I would like to see us find the proper amount of funding for both the police and social services so they can both do the jobs we require them to do. Police Chief McFee has just had his contract extended until 2026 and he has stated he wants to start doing thigs differently. I am looking forward to chatting with him to find out exactly what that means.
Question 17: Do you support the City’s mandatory vaccination policy for City employees?
Yes, I do.
Question 18: Council recently dropped residential speed limits to 40km/h, do you agree with that decision, and what do you think about the proposal by some to go further and drop it to 30km/h in the future?
I would like to see consistent speed limits. So either moving it al to 30km to align with school zones or all to 40km.
Question 19: Serving as Mayor you are elected by and responsible to all Edmontonians, but some policies and government actions inherently benefit one part of the City at the expense of another. How would you deal with a situation where you feel that the best interests of some Edmontonians conflict with the best interests of Edmontonians in other parts of the City?
I will not tolerate preferential treatment of some areas over others.
Question 20: While the concept of a secret ballot is essential, many of our supporters have told us that they’d like to know the political alignment of their candidates. So, if - and only if - you feel comfortable saying so, who are you voting for in your local ward race and why, and if you are affiliated with any provincial or federal political parties, which ones and why?
I have no party affiliation at all. I will be supporting Andrew Knack in Nakota Isga becuse he has made an excellent councilor for the past 8 years and the new council can use his leadership.