Encouraging economic development and addressing rising crime and drug use are some issues Coun. Crystal Froese would attempt to address if she is elected mayor of Moose Jaw.
Froese announced on Sept. 14 that she wants to be the next leader of Canada’s Most Notorious City. Nearly 20 people — friends, family, and a former mayor — were on hand to hear the communications and marketing professional discuss why she would be the best fit for mayor.
“Economic development is key to a stronger city. It encompasses many things to improve the well-being and quality of life for our community,” she said, noting shovel-ready projects are important to acquire provincial and federal funding. “… my key focus is to create more jobs. We need to be innovative to be competitive.”
Some ways city council is being innovative is through the pursuit of geothermal technology and methane capture at the landfill, expanding the runway at the municipal airport, building relationships to attract agriculture-focused businesses, and supporting the farming sector.
Froese would also pursue economic activities that fit the character of Moose Jaw, including working closely with partners in the area RMs and the provincial government.
“We have to continue to eliminate red tape at the business level so we help build our big and small businesses and help them succeed,” she said. “We must have a city that works for us and on behalf of us.”
Residents and business owners reached out to Froese during the pandemic to express their concerns about the community’s future. She brought some of those concerns to city council and helped give taxpayers breaks to ease the financial pressure.
Froese has also heard from residents who are concerned about the increase in crime and how property is going missing. She claimed that Moose Jaw’s emergency services are underfunded and understaffed. She pointed to how firefighters are picking up needles while police are handling more drug issues and mental health challenges.
In particular, the Moose Jaw Police Service is so underfunded that council begged the province for funding to create the Police and Crisis Team (PACT) unit to address mental health issues, she remarked. Therefore, she would ask the province to better fund the police and have community groups help solve social issues.
“Leadership is an action, not a position,” she said, noting she would bring together a task force — composed of the crystal meth committee, business and property owners, and protective services — to address social issues such as drug addiction and identify resources and solutions.
As someone who grew up in Moose Jaw, Froese didn’t ever recall seeing so much crime as she is now. She believes everyone should grow up in a safe neighbourhood.
“I’m a person of action. My door is always open,” Froese added. “… Together, we can make this city stronger.”
During a news scrum afterward, the media asked Froese whether she would push for more council business to be discussed in public instead of in-camera — or behind closed doors.
In response, she explained that provincial legislation governs what council can or cannot discuss in public. Before going in-camera, council always quotes the section of the legislation and how it pertains to a topic.
“So, we never go in-camera unless we have to. There would be no reason to,” she added.
Froese said she does not plan to resign to run for mayor, pointing to The Cities Act and how a clause says councillors don’t have to quit if they run. This ensures a byelection does not need to be called if someone loses.
“So, I’m following The Cities Act, and I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to run for the mayor of our city,” she added.
The city needs a new mayor after Fraser Tolmie resigned to run for federal politics. The plan is for the byelection to be held in November.