Get to Know Your Candidates: Scott McKeen, Ward 6

We sent out a brief, fun survey about libraries to all of the nominees running in the 2017 Edmonton civic election to help you get to better know your candidates.

These are the answers that Scott McKeen from Ward 6 sent back to us.

Election day is Monday, October 16. Get to know your candidates, learn how you can support EPL,  and don’t forget to vote!

1. What is your favourite library memory or experience?

I can remember my mom taking my brother and I to the "Centennial Library" as kids. The children's section was downstairs and featured a variety of lizards and snakes.

You could smell them down the hall before you reached the Children's Library. It gave the place a cool, exotic vibe in which to discover great adventure books to borrow... until the next time.

2. What is your favourite book, movie or song right now?

OK, I can't wait for the Blade Runner sequel to come out. I'm a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan. I use their future worlds to escape the stress of life as a Ward 6 councillor.

I recently read Alif the Unseen, a wonderful sci-fi fantasy set in the Middle East around computer hacking, authoritarian government and the redemptive magic of the djinn. Its portrayal of the kindness of Arab culture was an added bonus and antidote to the negative portrayal in recent years.

3. What magazines, newspapers, blogs, Twitter accounts and/or podcasts do you follow?

So I don't have much time. I read The Edmonton Journal online and sometimes The Globe and Mail.

I read religiously Lowetide's hockey blog on all things Edmonton Oilers. Again, a wonderful release from the stress of being a constituency politician overseeing the most dynamic ward in Edmonton.

Alan Mitchell, the host and writer at Lowetide, is a gentleman and establishes a culture of civil discourse, for the most part. Wonderful to see expectations of respect demonstrated on social media.

4. Which fictional character do you most relate to and why?

I'm going to say Superman. But stay with me, here. Superman's efforts to help the citizens of Metropolis were often misunderstood and portrayed in the negative in The Daily Planet.

I realize that we are all the heroes of our own story. But jeepers, it sometimes feels like city council can't earn a positive news story. I used to be a reporter. The problem with the Superman comparison? I dress better than Clark Kent. 🙂

5. What is one book you think everyone should read and why?

Everyone should read 1984.

Cynical governments will use fear to divide and conquer its citizens. Rampant fear allows government to deftly, carefully, erode civil rights in the name of community safety ... until no one is safe from government. Orwell's cautionary tale reveals what all of us should really fear: the fear-mongering politician who offers to protect us versus them.

6. What book is on your nightstand (or on your eReader or tablet) right now?

I'm reading The Luster of Lost Things, a lovely tale of a city out of time and the characters at a bakery where the pastries are imbued with magic.

7. Election Day (October 16) is also Boss' Day. Who was your very first boss and what was your job? What was one important lesson you learned from them?

Jeepers, that's going way back. I was a rink shack attendant in the Kilkenny Community League in northeast Edmonton. My boss was the community league president.

If memory serves, the first lesson was about being on time. Kids expected the rink shack to be open when it was SUPPOSED TO BE OPEN. 🙂

8. What role do you see EPL playing in a thriving and vibrant Edmonton?

The Edmonton Public Library helps flatten and democratize Edmonton. It is open to anyone who wants to read, use a computer or borrow music, movies or books. You need not have wealth to be wealthy, because of the EPL.

I think we all worry whether our retirement savings will be enough. I tell myself that I need never be bored or alone or seriously out of pocket, when I can walk or take the bus to the local library. I can't tell you how much comfort that gives me. EPL rocks!