September 11, 2019 6:47 pm
Updated: September 11, 2019 8:46 pm

In conversation with Kaycee Madu: Edmonton’s sole voice in the UCP

WATCH ABOVE: Vinesh Pratap sat down with Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu, who is Edmonton's only UCP MLA.

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He’s a lawyer by training, but now it’s all things cities, towns and everything in between for Edmonton MLA Kaycee Madu.

In April, Madu secured 46 per cent of the vote in Edmonton-South West to become the sole UCP MLA for the capital; also appointed to the role of Municipal Affairs minister.

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In between a busy schedule of meetings with mayors, reeves, councillors and municipal agencies, Madu sat down with Global News to talk about a number of issues.

We’ll have his answers to several topics over the course of Wednesday and Thursday.

Vinesh Pratap: Do you feel the pressure? You’re an enigma in Edmonton — an island of blue in a sea of orange here?

Kaycee Madu: At the end of the day, it is how our democratic process worked. What is important is that they’ve (Edmonton) got a very strong voice on cabinet that is advocating what is best for Edmonton. As a government, we see it as a very important part of our agenda.

VP: How do you make sure the Edmonton voice is listened to within the context of the political reality we’re in?

KM: We are a government that is going to pay attention to Edmonton’s needs. I have not had any concerns about that. Obviously the reality of politics is that I would have loved to have more of my colleagues rather than myself having to advocate for Edmonton.

READ MORE: Province introduces bill on future municipal infrastructure funding for Edmonton, Calgary

The minister spoke about recent government announcements reconfirming funding for things like the southwest Henday widening and the Winspear expansion.

Madu indicates he has a good relationship with Mayor Don Iveson.

With talk of the need to rein in spending, questions have been raised at Edmonton City Hall about how the upcoming provincial budget could impact funding to cities.

“What I would say to you is that the broad principal is, we are committed to long-term predictable funding for our municipalities,” Madu said.

The previous NDP government struck a funding deal with the province’s two big cities which would tie future money to the rise and fall in provincial revenues and to the provincial carbon tax.

The carbon tax was eliminated by the UCP.

READ MORE: Alberta makes it official: Bill passed and proclaimed to kill carbon tax

Vinesh Pratap: Do you expect changes to funding formulas? There is the City Charters Fiscal Framework Act. It’s laid out in legislation. Is that something that’s going to be looked at, as we look at how we finance things?

Kaycee Madu: I think we made a commitment to protect the funding that we have guaranteed to our two big cities. We also made a commitment to provide long-term predictable. but sustainable funding to the rest of our municipalities. I have been working with our municipal partners to make sure we understand the scope of the problem that we face, but to also assure them that our government is committed to long-term predictable funding.

On Thursday, Madu will offer some clarity related to questions about funding tied to large-scale infrastructure projects in the city’s queue, such as the Valley Line West.

And we’ll hear his perspective on the role of municipal government vis-à-vis the example the province is trying to set.

The interview with Madu was edited and condensed for clarity.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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