Publishing date: Sep 28, 2021, • 3 minute read •
Town council candidate Deborah Murphy.  Patrick Gibson
Local resident Deborah Murphy is so upset with certain aspects of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) that it’s compelled her to run for town council.
“That to me is another form of our government taking over our freedoms and liberties,” she said.
The CMRB is a provincially-mandated body of 10 area municipalities with a mandate focused on long-term sustainability in the region particularly in terms of land use, infrastructure sharing and economic interests. New municipal development plans, area structure plans, area redevelopment plans and associated amendments are subject to CMRB approval.
Part of the provincial Municipal Government Act reads “If a decision of the [CMRB] is to be made by a vote, the decision must be supported by not fewer than two-thirds of the representatives from participating municipalities that collectively have at least two-thirds of the population in the Calgary Metropolitan Region.”
That means the City of Calgary, with more than two-thirds of the population, has what’s been described as ‘veto power.’
“It’s gone on under the radar, and don’t tell me we haven’t lost our autonomy,” Murphy said.
“Where was the sounding the alarm, where was the communication with the residents of Cochrane, where was the ‘Write the letters, make the phone calls, get behind this here we have no choice, we’re mandated, we have to go there.”
When asked about how she’d address the CMRB, Murphy emphasized citizen action.
“In my platform, I do say ‘Give a voice to Cochrane,’” she said, encouraging people to sign onto a petition accessed through her website
“ Stand in your power. Your power is your vote, your power is your voice.”
Murphy said that Calgary should not have any power in Cochrane.
“I would not be on board with giving Calgary any power over us, and anything within my reach or my power to be able to turn this tide on this thing, I would do it,” she said.
“There’s twenty [thousand]-plus eligible voters in this town and these people need to be informed about what has happened, and then we need to address what can we do about this.”
Opposition to the CMRB’s voting structure is the core tenet of Murphy’s campaign, but it’s not her only concern. She highlighted a desire for improved public engagement.
“A councillor’s job is to represent the community. The elected are supposed to listen to the electorate.”
The candidate also voiced concern over the budgets for the upcoming protective services building and Horse Creek Sports Park.
“It seems to me like sometimes, these ideas and plans, that the town thinks we have won the lottery and they want to help us to spend it.”
Originally from Ireland, Murphy has lived in Cochrane for 22 years. She said the move to Canada was “to give [her] children a better future.”
“My husband had built our house, we had two children, and when the second one was on the way he was building a garage and he had said one day to me at lunch ‘I think we’re going to emigrate.’ And so his first choice was Canada, and that was it, my husband decided to do that and so he knew what was best for the family, and so that’s what we did.”
Murphy added they were drawn to Alberta because of its larger concentration of Christians and Cochrane for its natural beauty.
“To this day I can honestly say to you, I will see that Canadian flag flying and I will say ‘Thank you Lord for bringing us here.’”
In Ireland, Murphy worked in a hospital with expertise primarily in children, mental health and nutrition. She then transitioned to a home-based setup as a diet advisor.
In Alberta she’s taught Sunday school in addition to caring for her family and running home-based businesses.
Asked what she’d learned from the experiences, Murphy said “Be quick to listen and slow to speak.”
“Don’t be so quick to make bylaws and policies and implement things in the community without first hearing from them. So listen to the community.”
Murphy called her time connecting with Cochranites on the campaign trail so far a “blast.” Up until the October 18 election date, she said she’ll continue to meet with Cochranites both publicly and privately.
“It’s a busy blast, but I’m having one,” she said.
“I love meeting people one-on-one, and so it’s a treat during the day when you do get to meet somebody.”
“I’m open to everybody and anybody wanting to talk, and I’m very approachable.”
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