Last night was the second and final mayoral forum, held at Eastglen School. It was extremely well-attended, so much so that the overflow seating was all gone shortly after the event began at 7pm (estimates put the total attendance at around 600). Dozens of people stood at the back of the theatre and in the lobby throughout the entire evening. There were large sections of supporters in the audience, most wearing t-shirts for their respective candidates.
It was an evening full of surprises, heated discussion, and some comedy (perhaps unintentional). When Stephen Mandel delivered his opening remarks, he was greeted with boos and jeers from people in the audience who support his rivals. It would happen throughout the night. Probably the biggest surprise came when Andrew Lineker stood up to deliver his opening remarks. He accused David Dorward of stealing his platform, said Daryl Bonar had no platform, and finished with “this forum for myself is done” before he stormed out. Bob Ligertwood delivered a meandering and off-topic opening address, while Dave Dowling talked about democracy. Dan Dromarsky was strong all evening, and made a good impression with his opening statement. Daryl Bonar presented himself as the alternative to Dorward and Mandel, saying he was “beholden to no one but voters”.
Here are some of the more memorable quotes from the forum:
- “Vote for the future of Edmonton.” – Mandel
- “I’m Dan Dromarsky and I can count to seven.” – Dromarsky in response to Dowling suggesting there were only four viable candidates
- “Being your mayor will be a tremendous challenge, no doubt.” – Dorward
- “I would definitely support an inquiry, if not a criminal investigation.” – Dowling on EPCOR
- “That’s a lot of plebiscites.” – Dromarsky commenting on Dowling’s love of direct democracy
- “Closing the City Centre Airport was a vote against your democratic rights.” – Ligertwood
- “I grew up in social housing. It doesn’t work.” – Bonar
- “Our city is at a crossroads, make no mistake about it.” – Bonar
- “The winds of change are upon us.” – Dorward
- “We should be experts at snow removal, but the sad thing is, we’re not.” – Dromarsky
- “We need to place needs before wants.” – Dromarsky
- “It would be the biggest mistake we’ll make in our lifetimes.” – Ligertwood on the Downtown Arena
- “We’ve found creative solutions and we’ve moved forward – all of us.” – Mandel
- “I Dave Dowling…” – Dowling
There wasn’t much time for questions, which was unfortunate. I also thought it was odd that the first question came from Ward 6 candidate Adil Pirbhai. The candidates were surprisingly brief with most of their answers.
As is so often the case nowadays, Twitter played a role in the event. From 6pm to 10pm last night, there were 1225 tweets posted using the #yegvote hashtag or one of the candidates’ names. There has been consistent chatter on Twitter over the last couple of weeks, but the forum really stood out:
Here’s a wordle of those tweets, with only the #yegvote hashtag removed:
And here’s a wordle with the candidates, #yegvote, and Twitter names removed:
It doesn’t come out as clearly as I thought it might, but the key issues last night included the City Centre Airport, the EPCOR deal, LRT expansion, and transparency.
Here are all the tweets, from oldest to newest:
Hopefully that’s useful as you prepare to vote on Monday. You can read the Edmonton Journal’s recap here. Here’s the CBC’s recap. The recorded webcast will be available here shortly. Stay tuned to the Election centre on ShareEdmonton for updates, including live results on election night!