At the municipal level, City councils are formed by an electoral process to at least give the impression of representational government. General elections for the City of Airdrie are held every four years for the offices of mayor and six City council positions. Together, they are to be held accountable for establishing the City’s corporate policy and strategic priorities.
It’s no secret the City of Airdrie is a registered municipality, having been incorporated since 1909. Incorporation allows the City to enter into contracts with private and public enterprises that would effectively support safe and efficient infrastructure – including emergency and health services – and healthy economic growth. The corporation is bound by all laws and civil rights charters that outline the rights and obligations of its executives and employees.
There has been a recent trend for governments to establish relationships with entities known as ‘partners’ and ‘stakeholders’ that are to enhance best business practices and efficiencies with socially aware consideration. This network of influencers includes unelected, non-government agencies, organizations, and corporations such as UNESCO, the Red Cross, and World Vision.
There are also larger organizations, non-government and otherwise, and corporate entities that have an even greater impact on geopolitical, economic, and human society in general. Examples are the United Nations, World Health Authority, Centre For Disease Control, NATO, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
But perhaps the most powerful influence on shaping world affairs has been the World Economic Forum, whose director Klause Schwab has gone on record to boast they have ‘penetrated’ a majority of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet. That Canada’s and other governments have been penetrated by any foreign, non-elected political and social influencer should be cause for alarm.
Let’s return to the City of Airdrie. City council and its mayor are elected officials, but one should ask how their mandates, policies, and initiatives are determined as they go through the process of conducting municipal business on our behalf. We can’t overlook the role the chief administrative officer (CAO) plays in determining the focus, decisions and outcomes of the city’s business.
Horacio Galanti, the city of Airdrie’s newest CAO, replaced Paul Schulz in 2022 after the latter served in the position for 25 years. The CAO oversees (and no doubt influences) policy development, and directs all departments of administration and civic employees. It should be noted the CAO is an appointed position and City council makes the appointment based on certain criteria.
There is a trending movement in business practices that is being adopted by corporations, businesses of all sizes, and governments at all levels. Briefly, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) is a framework that penetrates business strategy and influences needs and ways in which to generate value for all organizational stakeholders, which include employees, customers, suppliers, and financiers.
Since 2020, there has been growing interest in overlaying ESG criteria and data with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs are one of the pillars of the U.N. Agenda 21 and Agenda 30, initially signed as a non-binding agreement by at least 113 countries in 1992.
Getting back to the City of Airdrie, it has been published that our new CAO is a strong supporter of ESG. Can we ask if he is also an advocate for the related disciplines of SDGs? Does he have ties to the World Economic Forum that we should know of?
We should also ask how much of this commitment to certain pillars of the UN Agenda 21 and Agenda 30 influences any policy or business conducted by the City of Airdrie and how these might shape visions of the city's future.