Mayor Charlie Clark is right on track to completing his first year in office. It’s clear City Council is making attempts to bring Saskatoon into a new era, in which we might begin to think of ourselves as a big city rather than a Prairie town.
In April, Saskatonians saw the first giant diversion from mayoral predecessor Don Atchison, when Charlie Clark was named grand marshal to the Saskatoon Pride Parade.
Though it was a move that may not have been a surprise to those who have known Clark as a city councillor, finally having a mayor present at the Pride Parade was incredibly helpful in creating a positive view of the LGBTQ+ community event here in Saskatoon.
The introduction of the provincial budget in March led Charlie Clark to openly call out former Premier Brad Wall. The funding cut from the provincial budget left the City of Saskatoon in a shortfall of nearly nine million dollars, and projects like the Merlis Belsher Place at the University of Saskatchewan were questioned.
Mayor Clark’s response was a rare move against the man who has been Saskatchewan’s favourite premier for quite some time — Clark’s council moved to pursue legal action against the provincial government. Many saw Clark’s stance as a sure sign of a new leader who is willing to buck a trend or two.
Under Mayor Clark’s direction, the city has also begun to generate conversations that address the concepts of privilege and racism that exist in the greater community of Saskatoon. In a video posted to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix Facebook page, Clark says we have to work together to help the city’s most marginalized and those living in poverty.
“[We have to] strategically invest and find, where are people falling through the cracks — where can you intervene in people’s circumstances?” Clark said, in the video.
Statements like this show that Mayor Clark is making an effort to create a better Saskatoon by trying to shorten the gaps between the people within our city.
Mayor Clark has made some big waves in Saskatoon, socially speaking, over the last 11 months. It will be interesting to see what more he will do to keep pushing our city into the 21st century.
Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor