Let us move forward, together

There were no major upsets last night. Mayor Mandel was re-elected to his third term. Every incumbent councillor was re-elected, including Kim Krushell in the close Ward 2 race.

Envision Edmonton made a lot of noise about 100,000 people wanting to have their say on the airport, yet they apparently didn’t care enough to show up at the voting stations.

By all accounts, yesterday was a victory for Edmontonians ready to move forward, beyond the airport and on to bigger and better things. Yet if you read today’s Edmonton Journal, that’s not the impression you’d get at all.

The Day After: Calgary Herald vs. Edmonton Journal

Here are the headlines/key phrases today on the front of the Calgary Herald:

  • It’s Nenshi
  • New mayor paints town purple with decisive win
  • Political newcomer vows change on the way for city
  • Best voter turnout in years ushers in new faces to council chamber
  • What’s next for council?
  • Big changes at City Hall
  • Calgarians flood polls

Here are the headlines/key phrases today on the front of the Edmonton Journal:

  • ‘Finally, we will move forward’: Mandel
  • Envision Edmonton vows to continue fight to save City Centre Airport

Turn the page, and on A3 you see in big bold letters, side-by-side:

I’m definitely not the first to point out the differences between the Herald and the Journal – this kind of thing happens far too often. And before you comment and say that the Journal is just trying to be balanced, let me say to that: I don’t buy it.

Is there really a division?

There’s no question that the airport has been a divisive issue in Edmonton in the past. But yesterday is not today, and today is not tomorrow. In his article on the airport issue dividing the city, David Staples wrote:

“A council bent on shutting the historic downtown airport won re-election, but the bitterness over issue will continue to fracture Edmonton.”

I humbly suggest that the only “fracture” left is the artificial one that David and his colleagues seem more than happy to perpetuate.

Let’s follow the logic here. Thousands of Edmontonians re-elect a city council that decided it was in the city’s best interests to close the City Centre Airport. Envision Edmonton’s Ed Schlemko says the issue “has divided the city”. As a result, we’re going to continue to be fractured?

This afternoon, the Herald’s website was full of stories about Nenshi. And the Journal? They’ve got a story about new ward 11 councillor Kerry Diotte pushing for an airport plebiscite. It’s not just the Journal either – CBC, the Edmonton Sun, and iNews880 also have similar stories.

Let’s move on

Edmontonians want to move forward – they voted for a council that decided to close the airport. Mandel wants to move forward, as he made very clear in his victory speech last night. Even David Dorward seems to want to move forward.

Envision Edmonton is heading to the courts, refusing to accept defeat. They and what few supporters they have left don’t want to move forward. Kerry Diotte has decided he doesn’t want to move forward either.

The City Centre Airport will close. And then the lands will be redeveloped. We need to focus our energies on making sure that redevelopment is positive for Edmonton.

Let us move forward, together.

9 thoughts on “Let us move forward, together

  1. Important post, Mack. I had a really hard time with the Staples article. Full of hyperbole and manufactured conflict. Thanks for putting this out there!

  2. Exactly my thoughts today Mack. Good on your for highlighting the mainstream media’s false equivalency on the Airport debate in the aftermath of the election today.

    This thing is over and done with.

    I understand the journal has to make money to, but you do that with the kind of intrepid reporting Todd Babiak did to break the Nathan Black story, not the vapidly tepid “reporting” from others mentioned above.

    Time to move on.

  3. Krushell’s comment about the ultimate plebiscite being the election are bang-on. This was when Edmonton chose a direction and it chose to move on.

    That’s why I said the airport fight was dead, in my morning headlines. And I hope that Envision and pro-airporters put their efforts into making the city better, not dragging us into old fights.

    Also, you looked at actual paper versions of the paper? 😉

  4. I understand what you’re saying Mack, and empathize with your position, but I have to agree with Staples that the airport issue wasn’t put to bed after yesterday’s vote. Some voters feel that the debate should continue, and, according to Diotte, sent some councillors to City Hall to do just that.

    If true, than it’s certainly within the Journal’s prerogative to discuss it. Though perhaps words like “fractured” and “division” are hardly words to describe the current situation.

    Perhaps we will have to wait until the courts decide on Envision Edmonton’s challenge or when pro-airport councillors realize their colleagues, who number in the majority, want nothing more to do with it.

    The issue isn’t over yet. But, I hope it dies soon.

  5. Well said, Mack. The airport certainly got most of the attention, but there are a lot of other issues on the table too. I think we decided, collectively, about the airport yesterday. Now let’s move on indeed.

  6. The differences in the Herald and the Journal coverage are spurious to your argument. Calgary chose a new mayor in an election that was seen as a watershed event, given the departure of Dave Bronconnier. In addition, there was no single issue in the Calgary election – the closest, ironically, was the Barlow Trail tunnel under the airport – like there was in Edmonton.

    You seem to be suggesting two things: first, that the Journal and their media colleagues are keeping this narrative going to draw eyes. Second, that the solution is for media to stop doing stories, stop reporting … news. Maybe your beef should be with Envision Edmonton, Ed Schlemko, and Kerry Diotte for reopening fresh wounds.

    As one final note – I can’t help but think that if Dorward had won, if pro-airport candidates had pipped the incumbents, you wouldn’t be interpreting the election as “the final word on the airport.” I am fervently pro-closure, but I’m not going to run around telling the minority to be quiet. The wind in their sails will die down but not because the media, or you, or anyone else choose to.

  7. No need to worry about Kerry Diotte. He is a drunk and a fool, and will be the master of his own demise within city council, most likely on an alcohol fuelled incident. Bets are in that he wont even complete his term.

  8. While I’m inclined to agree that the Staples article was full of hyperbole, I am also inclined to agree with Chris’ comment above.

    This post reads as though you’re accusing the local media of manufacturing a story. Like Chris, I find this accusation (if that’s what you’re implying; maybe I’ve misunderstand your post) to be unfounded.

    David’s column was very over-the-top, in my opinion, but I certainly don’t think that he or anyone else at the Journal is trying to drum up false controversy to sell newspapers.

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