Edmonton Election 2017: A mandate to keep moving forward

Monday’s election resulted in very few surprises for City Council. Don Iveson easily won re-election as mayor, all but one of the incumbent councillors is returning, and while it is still early, the winners of the three open races seem like they’ll fit in just fine with the mostly progressive Council they are joining. Voter turnout wasn’t great, but it was far from the disaster many were predicting with such a boring mayoral race. So why does it seem like the overwhelming narrative is that citizens are unhappy?

Consider what Paula Simons wrote in her first column after the election. “Sure, incumbent mayor Iveson cruised to easy re-election, with support from almost three-quarters of those who cast ballots. But don’t misread that,” she warned. “Iveson faced no legitimate challengers, so voters who were unhappy with his leadership had nowhere to channel their frustrations.”

Her colleague David Staples seemed to agree. “Iveson will likely have majority support for his agenda on council, but on a host of issues where he has taken a strong stand, from LRT and bike lanes to photo radar and social housing, Edmontonians appear increasingly less inclined to go along with his progressive vision.”

Or consider what the Edmonton Journal’s editorial board had to say. “If letters to the editor, media comment boards, call-in shows and candidate forums are any indication, much of the electorate is in no mood for business as usual,” they wrote. “Many may have expressed their frustration by staying home Monday, which along with the lack of a high-profile challenger for the mayor’s chair, could help explain a disappointing voter turnout.”

I look at Monday’s results and I see something very different. I see a clear endorsement of the decisions that Iveson and the previous Council made and a mandate for this new Council to build on that work.

Iveson with the new councillors
Bumped into all four new members of #yegcc on the media circuit just now. Congrats! – @doniveson

Yes, there are citizens who are annoyed about bike lanes and photo radar. Some are opposed to infill, at least in their own neighbourhood. There are plenty of citizens who love to complain about how it isn’t as easy to park downtown as it once was. But these are just squeaky wheels and we shouldn’t let them speak for the majority. There’s a big difference between being annoyed that a traffic lane now belongs to bicycles and being upset about the overall direction the city is headed. This is what people really mean when they say they want to vote for something rather than against something.

I see no credible evidence that Edmontonians are unhappy with the direction our city is going.

“They wrote letters to the editor! They called the call-in shows! They tweeted their discontent!”

Then why not show up to express that anger where it matters, at the ballot box? Voter turnout was 31.5% in this election, which is down 3% from the 2013 election. Considering that voter turnout went from 41.79% when Stephen Mandel was first elected to just 27.24% when he won re-election the first time, I’d say a 3% drop isn’t too bad at all.

“Voter turnout would have been higher but people stayed home to express their frustration!”

If citizens were really expressing frustration by staying home, I would have expected much lower turnout. Don Iveson received 141,182 votes on Monday, up from the record-setting 132,162 he received in 2013. Only four times has an Edmonton candidate cracked the 100,000 vote mark and Iveson has done it twice in a row (the other two were Jan Reimer in 1992 and Stephen Mandel in 2010). A record number of Edmontonians voted for our mayor rather than staying home.

“They only voted for Iveson because there were no credible challengers!”

Why is that? In a city of roughly 900,000 people not one credible person was willing to step forward to run against Iveson. Could it be that no one was miffed enough to go to the trouble? The 2010 election, in which the City Centre Airport was the big issue and the downtown arena debate was starting to heat up, saw a challenger step forward in David Dorward. It has happened before.

“Incumbents never lose and Dave Loken lost! Ben Henderson barely scraped by! Tony Caterina nearly lost!”

Loken won his seat in 2010 by just 507 votes and won re-election in 2013 by just 501 votes. Is it really that unbelievable that he might lose this time around by 464 votes? Both he and Henderson were pretty quiet in this election. As Dave wrote, Henderson ran “what appeared to be a stealth re-election campaign in Ward 8.” It’s not at all surprising that the results reflect that. Caterina has never been seen as one of Iveson’s sure votes, so I don’t see how his narrow victory is any indication that people are unhappy with the progressive agenda. Quite the opposite, in fact.

“The polls say people have doubts about everything!”

Don Iveson and Ryan Jespersen talked about polls on Tuesday morning. “It’s not accurate, it’s not a true thing,” Iveson said. “I would enourage all media outlets as a matter of ethics and integrity to stop reporting that.” There are definite flaws with many of these polling methodologies. Trust them at your own risk.


I have no doubt there are some people who truly are upset about certain decisions, whether it’s bike lanes or infill or whatever. There’s always going to be someone who is upset about something. And yes, Iveson and Council should take what they heard on the doorsteps to heart and they should always strive to truly listen to citizens in order to make the best decisions possible. But they should also see the outcome of Monday’s election for what it is: an endorsement of the trajectory our city is on and a mandate to keep moving forward.

Edmonton Election 2017: Nomination Day Recap

Nomination Day took place on Monday, September 18. A total of 132 Edmontonians filed their nomination papers and paid their deposits to run in the 2017 municipal election. Michelle Draper was the only candidate acclaimed on Nomination Day, so she’ll continue serving as the public school board trustee for Ward B. Barry Koperski had filed his paperwork to run for council in Ward 4, but withdrew his nomination by the deadline on September 19.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

So that leaves us with 131 candidates in this election:

  • 13 mayoral candidates
  • 70 city council candidates
  • 20 Edmonton Catholic School Board trustee candidates
  • 28 Edmonton Public School Board trustee candidates (including one acclamation)

A total of 131 candidates is a new record for municipal elections in Edmonton. The previous high was 120 in the 1986 election. The 2013 election came close, with 119 candidates filing their paperwork.

Linda Sahli
Returning Office Linda Sahli

“This morning ran very smoothly – now it’s the voters’ turn,” said Edmonton Elections Returning Officer Linda Sahli.

Andrew Knack, councillor for Ward 1, was running unopposed until Nomination Day, when three challengers came forward. “Thankfully people will have a choice in Ward 1,” he tweeted. It’s actually Ward 2 that has the fewest candidates for council, with just three, a significant decline from 2013’s seven. In the 2013 election, Wards 4 and 9 had just two candidates each.

There are 24 female candidates for mayor or council, which is about 29%, and that’s up from 17% in 2013. Counting all the races, 36.6% of the field is female (48 candidates), which is up from 32.7% in 2013 (39 candidates).

Election Candidates by Year

Edmonton Elections has made the full candidate list available on its website and in the open data catalogue.

You can see more photos from Nomination Day courtesy of Dave Cournoyer. Here’s my recap of Nomination Day for the 2013 election.

Your Guide to the 2017 Municipal Election

We’ve combined open data from the City with other data that we’ve collected to build an election microsite at Taproot Edmonton. You can browse the full list of candidates, all the wards and voting stations, and a list of election-related events. On Election Night, you can watch the results dashboard to see who your new elected officials are.

For a more personalized experience, try our Election Guide feature. Simply put in your home address and we’ll tell you everything you need to know – which wards you’re in, who your candidates are, where to vote, and more.

We’re also publishing a weekly roundup of election news and other links. Here’s our latest edition and here’s the archive. You can sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each week.

If you find the election microsite and/or newsletter updates useful, spread the word! Maybe we can bump the voter turnout numbers up a bit. And if you want to support the work we’re doing at Taproot Edmonton, become a member. It’s just $10/month.

Here’s where to find the latest Edmonton Election news for 2017

During the 2013 election, I got into the habit of writing a regular series of posts to collect all the election-related news I could find in one place. It was useful for me, to keep tabs on what everyone was doing, and I think others found it useful too. This year I’m doing the series again, but at Taproot Edmonton! Currently we’re publishing the roundup every two weeks, but we anticipate increasing the frequency as we get closer to the election.

This is a bit of an experiment for us, just like our #YEGFringe Daily Digest that Ryan Stephens has been writing for the past couple of weeks. Like some other future-of-media entrepreneurs, we think email has a big role to play. For all the talk about spam, there’s actually quite a bit of evidence that people like email newsletters!

If you’d like to get our Edmonton Election Update in your inbox for free, join our mailing list here. If you’d like to support the creation of our local feature stories as well, consider becoming a full member of Taproot Edmonton. It’s just $10/month or $100/year to join.

Edmonton Election Update

The format we’re using at the moment is 2-3 “feature” items, followed by a list of other news items and events. If you read and enjoy my regular Edmonton Notes or Media Monday Edmonton posts, the election roundups should feel very familiar. Here are the three I have written so far:

  • Aug. 23 — Helping Edmonton’s homeless community vote, Taz Bouchier is running for mayor, Work the election on Oct. 16
  • Jul. 27 — More than three dozen female candidates already, Campaign finance reform, Fahad Mughal to challenge Iveson for mayoralty
  • Jul. 13 — Iveson remains uncontested, Ward 5 heats up

If email isn’t your thing, watch our Twitter and Facebook — we’ll be sharing each roundup on social media as well. We’re still working on the rest of our election coverage, and will have more to share on that in the weeks ahead.

Have an election-related tip for us? Let us know by email, or share it on Twitter with the #yegvote hashtag and tag us @taprootyeg.

What do you think?

Recap: Political Pub Night

In the 2013 municipal election here in Edmonton, just 39 of the 119 candidates who ran for office were women. And of the 79 candidates who ran for City Council specifically, just 17 were women. Nomination Day for the 2017 municipal election isn’t until September 18, but already there are more than three dozen female candidates who intend to run!

Political Pub Night

Many of them were in attendance earlier this evening at Political Pub Night, an informal mixer organized by Ward 5 candidate Miranda Jimmy. “I went to an Equal Voice event last month and everyone said ‘we need to get more women elected’,” she told me. “I thought, the way to do that is to support each other.” She organized the event to give people an opportunity to meet the women running in this election in a more casual environment.

Political Pub Night

There were about two dozen candidates who confirmed their attendance and the free event “sold out” in just four days. “Obviously, there’s a need for this,” Miranda said after I remarked how impressive it was that so many people gave up a beautiful July evening to talk politics.

Political Pub Night
Miranda Jimmy and Amanda Nielsen

Amanda Nielsen, past chair of Equal Voice’s Northern Alberta chapter, said events like tonight’s mixer are important to help candidates build confidence. “Being a candidate is tough, so you need to build support for what you’re doing,” she told me. Equal Voice has been holding training schools for candidates on door knocking, organized the Fundraise-HER event last month, and is paying attention to Twitter to proactively respond to gendered attacks.

In addition to meeting potential voters, the event was an opportunity for candidates to meet one another. “There’s a lot we can learn from one another,” Miranda said.

Here’s the list of candidates that was shared at the event:

You can see more photos from tonight’s event here.

For more election coverage, be sure to subscribe to Taproot Edmonton’s newsletter or become a member to support our work.

Danisha Bhaloo is the right choice for Ward 12

Much has already been said about the large number of candidates running for Council in next week’s Ward 12 by-election. Choosing from 31 names is certainly daunting, but fortunately there are some quality candidates to consider. Irfan Chaudhry has run a solid campaign and would bring a strong focus on diversity and inclusion to Council. I continue to be impressed by Lincoln Ho‘s passion for Edmonton and his thoughtful ideas. Moe Banga would bring solid credentials in addressing crime & safety. But there’s one candidate who I believe stands out as the right choice for Ward 12. And that’s Danisha Bhaloo.

danisha bhaloo

After receiving her BA in Criminology from the University of Alberta, Danisha went on to become Alberta’s youngest Probation Officer. She made the move to the not-for-profit sector shortly thereafter and for the last few years has been the Manager of Fund Development with Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton. BGCBigs is an organization Danisha has a lot of history with. “My teenage years were difficult,” she wrote in 2013, but thankfully her mother enrolled her in the Big Sisters program. Danisha credits the experience with helping her overcome the challenges she was facing at the time.

Danisha’s experience has fueled her committment to improving the lives of Edmonton’s children and families ever since. I first got to know Danisha when she was the President of the Youth Restorative Action Project and Director of the Inner City Children’s Project. I found her to be very driven and compassionate. She has continued to make important community contributions in the years since, joining the Edmonton John Howard Society board, the Edmonton Opera board, and the University of Alberta Senate, among many others. The common thread throughout her work has been a focus on community and ensuring others have the support and opportunities they need to lead happy, healthy lives here in Edmonton.

Along the way, Danisha has earned a number of awards and honors. In 2009 she was chosen to receive the Distinguished Nominee for the Ron Wiebe Restorative Justice Award by Correctional Services of Canada. She was named one of Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 and one of Edmonton’s Sizzling 20 under 30 in 2013. And in 2014 she recieved the Alumni Horizon Award recognizing “the outstanding achievements of University of Alberta alumni early in their careers.” This is just a small snapshot of the recognition she has received.

“My life, both professionally and personally, centers around improving the lives of children and families in our community. That’s what keeps me motivated,” she said in a 2014 interview.

I think Danisha has run a solid campaign. She has heard from residents about the need for crime prevention and community safety and she understands that different parts of the ward experience these issues differently. Danisha is supportive of building LRT and of ensuring that Ward 12 has great connections to the Valley Line. She’d also like to review DATS and has spoken about the important work of the Transit Strategy review that the City is currently conducting. She views the cultural diversity of Ward 12 as an asset and something to be celebrated. She is supportive of the service review that Council has asked for, but understands the need for balance.

I really like Danisha’s position on public engagement and the fact that she has joined one of the working groups as part of the Council Initiative on Public Engagement. “We need to be as diverse in how we connect with Edmontonians to reflect the diversity of Edmontonians themselves,” she wrote in response to my survey on the issue.

Her position on women’s issues is also encouraging. She agrees with many of us who feel that we need more women in leadership positions throughout the city and her approach to achieving that is focused on mentorship and leadership. “I will look for ways to ensure we are asking the tough questions of ourselves for the agencies and boards to which we appoint Edmontonians,” she responded, “where we have opportunities in the City to mentor strong female leaders, and set a good example of leadership on this issue for members and organizations in our community.”

I don’t agree with Danisha on everything. She’s a little more sympathetic to the taxi industry than I am, and I don’t think she’s tough enough on the issue of police spending. But what’s important is that she is able to have a healthy, constructive debate about these and other issues. Danisha is open to new ideas and information, and she’s willing to consider alternative perspectives. These are important skills and attributes that any City Councillor needs to have in order to work collaboratively to get things done for Edmontonians.

danisha bhaloo

It’s true that Danisha does not live in Ward 12. She did grow up in the ward and does still own property there, however. I asked Danisha about this and her position was that the ward is very diverse, so living in one neighbourhood doesn’t mean you automatically understand the needs and challenges of the others. Whether you live in the ward or not, you’re going to have to work hard to represent your constituents effectively. My preference is definitely for a Councillor to live in the ward that he or she represents, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me. What’s more important is, can they do the job and are they willing to put in the work? I think the answer for Danisha is a clear yes.

I believe Danisha is in this race for the right reasons. She’s running to contribute to her community and to help move Edmonton forward. The reason that Danisha was first to announce her candidacy was because this is not a decision she made on a whim. This is not just a stepping stone for her. This is a logical step forward in a career built on public service.

I do think increasing the cultural and gender diversity of City Council would be a good thing, but I don’t believe we should accept candidates less suited to the role just to achieve that. Fortunately with Danisha, that’s not an issue.

Amarjeet Sohi represented Ward 12 very effectively during his time on Council. He brought important leadership and perspective to the table, both for his constituents and for all Edmontonians. No candidate should seek to fill his shoes, but should instead bring their own ideas, strengths, and abilities to the table. I know that Danisha will do all of that and that Ward 12 residents would be very well represented if they chose her as their Councillor. I also know that like Amarjeet Sohi, Danisha will consider the bigger picture in serving as a member of City Council.

If I were voting in Monday’s election, I’d be voting for Danisha Bhaloo.

A closer look at the issues Ward 12 candidates care about

I’ve been looking through all the Ward 12 candidate websites (well, those that have websites) to find information on their platforms. As expected there are a few common themes, but not a lot of detail.

I’d say the top three issues that candidates talk about is community safety, transportation, and fiscal responsibility. Nearly every candidate says they want to reduce crime, improve roads or transit or both, and ensure citizens receive good value for money. Quite a few candidates mentioned reducing or eliminating poverty and/or homelessness, but never as a top priority.

Ward 12 By-Election Signs

Most candidates mention the Valley Line LRT one way or another. Some like Brian Henderson highlight the importance of LRT expansion, while others like Jag Gill say that the Valley Line needs oversight to ensure it is completed on time and budget. Don Koziak would “reallocate LRT funding to improve vehicular traffic flow.” David Staples spoke with a number of candidates on this issue, as did Vue Weekly.

I thought that the Vehicle for Hire issue would come up more, but only Moe Banga, Dan Johnstone, Nav Kaur, Balraj Manhas, and Nicole Szymanowka mention it on their websites. Many candidates shared their thoughts on Uber with Metro Edmonton, however.

Some eye-catching ideas include Mike Butler‘s “sky train idea”, Dan Johnstone‘s pledge to donate $10,000 of his salary, and Jason Bale‘s pledge to spend just $100 on his campaign. Shani Ahmad, Sam Jhajj, and Balraj Manhas, and Steve Toor all talk about fixing potholes. Mike Butler, Jag Gill, and Dan Johnstone all mention photo radar and either reviewing or banning the program.

A few candidates went with a slogan. Nick Chamchuk‘s is “Cold Hands & Feet, Warm Heart”. Lincoln Ho went with “Keep. Moving. Forward.” Yash Sharma‘s slogan is “People Living in Harmony”. And Preet Toor chose “Moving Forward for Better Communities”.

There are four candidates that actually provided some details behind their platform priorities. It’s one thing to say that you support improving transportation, for instance, and quite another to provide some ideas on how you’d go about doing that. I certainly don’t agree with all of the ideas presented, but I appreciate that these candidates made the effort to go a bit deeper.

Jason Bale wants to increase the fines for speeding in school zones, implement free 24-hour public transit, install city-wide video surveillance of public areas, and bring esports to Edmonton to boost tourism. If elected he would work to establish a cap on the amount election candidates can spend. I like his idea for saving money on signs, but unfortunately the weather hasn’t been cooperating: “In lieu of producing costly lawn signs, I am asking my supporters to write ‘100’ in the snow in front of their homes and businesses.”

Irfan Chaudhry would work to create incentive-based structures within agreements to ensure projects are complete on time and budget. He would work with EPS and the Chief’s Advisory Council to improve public safety. He would support creating share social spaces (such as community gardens) and would work with universities and colleges to enable the donation of unused U-Passes to the “Donate a Ride” program. He would work on developing “Edmonton for All”, a strategic plan for making Edmonton a welcoming and inclusive city, and he’d help Administration establish a Local Immigration Partnership Council.

Lincoln Ho has perhaps the most specific and wide-ranging list of priorities. He wants to establish text-to-911 for everyone, widen major roads and add additional access points to the Anthony Henday, add trams to the public transit mix, and utilize land along the Anthony Henday for urban farmland and large scale community gardens. He’d also like to implement free transit to the river valley, create specially designed parks/playgrounds for pets, vary speed limits on Whitemud Drive, and use traffic circles instead of traffic lights in new developments.

Steve Toor wants better lighting for pedestrian crosswalks, more citizens involved in neighbourhood watches, more thorough snow removal in school zones, to reduce or cap bus fares, to create more park ‘n ride locations for the LRT, to add more bus routes into newer areas, and to reduce interest rates.

If “progressive issues” are your jam, then check out the analysis from Progress Alberta. If you think gender diversity and women’s initiatives are importance, check out the Women’s Initiative survey. Metro Edmonton asked candidates for their thoughts on the police budget. And in case you missed it, here’s my candidate survey on Edmonton as an open, transparent, accountable, and engaged city.

Update on the race to join Edmonton City Council in Ward 12

With just 11 days to go until Election Day in the Ward 12 By-Election, let’s take a look at what has happened so far in the race to replace Amarjeet Sohi.

More than 3000 advance votes cast

The City of Edmonton held advance voting this week from Monday through Thursday at the Meadows Community Recreation Centre. Election officials told me today that more than 3,000 voters have cast a ballot. That’s a little less than anticipated, but is nevertheless a good start considering a total of 17,815 votes were counted in the ward in the 2013 Municipal Election.

The weather today didn’t help with advance turnout, and neither did the “overwhelming number of campaign supporters” present at the Rec Centre that may have intimidated voters earlier in the week. Election officials took action and setup a barrier to help deal with the situation.

Signs, signs, and more signs

Much has been made in this by-election about the number of signs that are appearing around the ward. Signs are not supposed to be placed close to intersections, bus stops, schools, or polling stations, but they have been. Election officials had to take action because so many signs had been setup close to the advance voting location, and drivers and others have complained the large number of signs are distracting. Campaigns can face a $250 fine for poorly placed signs.

Ward 12 By-Election Signs

I was in the ward on Sunday, and observed dozens and dozens of signs that had fallen down or otherwise been damaged. The intersection at 34 Street and 35A Avenue did feature quite a lot of signs along the fences. But overall I saw fewer signs than I expected, based on the online chatter I was seeing about them. Campaigns have 72 hours after the election to remove all of their signs and other ads.

Lots of candidates

Most of the discussion about the by-election thus far has centered on the large number of candidates running. A total of 32 will be listed on the ballot, and that makes it difficult for a candidate to “break from the pack and distinguish themselves” let alone for voters to get to know all of the candidates in order to make an informed decision. The Journal has a pretty good introduction to each candidate, and while that may help to narrow down the field, it’s not enough.

So far, just one candidate has dropped out of the race. Shani Ahmad announced he is supporting Irfan Chaudhry instead, but because he dropped out after the nomination grace period ended, Ahmad will still appear on the official ballot.

I did not attend the forum last week at the Mill Woods Seniors Activity Centre, but it must have been quite the sight to behold. “The ratio of observers to candidates at Tuesday night’s Ward 12 Forum…was around five to one, and that’s with only 21 of the 32 candidates in attendance,” wrote Claire Theobald. Understandably, many people left early or otherwise complained about the unmanageable number of candidates.

Vote for a woman

One way that voters may reduce the number of choices is by focusing only on female candidates. There are six running, a ratio that isn’t too dissimilar to what we see on Council currently where Bev Esslinger is the only woman. Danisha Bhaloo, Nav Kaur, Nicole Szymanowka, Laura Thibert, Preet Toor, and Jeri Stevens are your female candidates.

Getting more women elected has been the focus of Equal Voice as well. Their goal is to have “half of Edmonton City Council and School Board candidates to be women” in the 2017 election and they have launched yegparity.ca in support of that effort. They recognize that if the by-election is any indication, things are not off to a great start. “Out of the current 31 candidates, only six are women…meaning only five percent of candidates,” they wrote (as a commenter points out below, that’s actually 19% of candidates). “That’s nowhere near close enough to meet our goal of 50 percent gender parity in 2017.”

Woman’s Initiative Edmonton also highlighted this issue with a feature on Nisha Patel, a young woman who lives in Ward 12. “The fact that there’s only a handful of women running amongst all these people who put their foot forward means that I want to support a progressive woman, because I think it’s about time,” she said.

Partisan-free civic politics

Do you think partisan politics should be kept out of the civic realm? That’s the issue everyone was talking about last week as Environment Minister Shannon Phillips took part in a fundraiser for candidate Nav Kaur. “This seems to be quite over the top,” is what Councillor Oshry told CBC Edmonton. Most of the comments I saw about the issue were overwhelmingly against the event and the NDP’s involvement.

Ward 12 By-Election Signs

On the other hand, Dave persuasively argues that it’s a “popular and misinformed myth that ‘there is no partisan politics in municipal elections.'” He notes that it “is natural for politically engaged people to be involved in elections for different levels of government” and that many current and past Councillors have had affiliations in provincial and federal elections, or endorsements from provincial or federal politicians.

Still, it’s hard to look at Nav Kaur’s incredibly orange website and list of key supporters and not immediately think the NDP is running for Council.

Where do they live?

For some voters, candidates simply must live in the ward to be considered. I generally feel that way too, but for me it’s a preference, not a hard and fast rule. And clearly it hasn’t hurt campaigns in the past, as both Councillor Nickel and Councillor Anderson do not live in the wards they represent, for example.

It turns out that about a third of the candidates running in this by-election do not live within the ward boundaries, according to an informal poll conducted by the Journal. With such a large number of candidates running, I don’t think this is that surprising. I also don’t think it’s such a problem. What’s more important than where a candidate lives is whether or not they can do the work necessary to represent their constituents.

There’s an awful lot of variation within Ward 12 as it includes new neighbourhoods like Summerside where median household income is $110,374 (average is $127,128) and also older ones like Minchau where the median household income is $81,139 (average is $89,686). Living in one part of the ward doesn’t mean that candidate will understand all of the challenges facing other parts of the ward any better than an outsider might.

Run-ins with the law

According to CBC Edmonton, six of the candidates running have had issues with the law. “While many of the incidents were minor, one candidate was convicted of assault, another was the subject of two court-ordered peace bonds and a third pleaded guilty to more than a dozen public health charges,” wrote Janice Johnston.

A second article by CBC Edmonton says that candidate Yash Pal Sharma is being sued “over his involvement in an alleged scheme to smear the reputation of a local Punjabi-language journalist.” He denied any involvement.

What do they stand for?

Considering we’re less than two weeks from Election Day, there hasn’t been much discussion about ideas or platforms. Candidate Nav Kaur did not like the fact that Council moved forward on the Uber decision without a Ward 12 Councillor, but clearly she’s not just running on the Uber issue. It’s probably a safer bet to suggest that’s why Balraj Manhas is running, but his website doesn’t include any platform information.

The other item I’ve heard/seen many candidates talk about is the Valley Line LRT and ensuring we get good value for money on that project. The Valley Line isn’t going to enter Ward 12 as it terminates at Mill Woods Town Centre in Ward 11, but it will have a big impact on transportation to and from the ward, of course. Still, it’s pretty easy for a candidate to say “we need to do better than the Metro Line” and just leave it at that.

Ward 12 By-Election Signs

But maybe there’s still time for more substantial discussions with candidates to take place. Edmonton’s NextGen has a set of questions they are asking candidates this week, I’ve sent a survey to candidates that I will share the results of next week, and I’m sure others are gathering input as well.

If you’re a voter in Ward 12, there’s not much time to get to know the candidates hoping to earn your vote. If you’re a first time voter, Edmonton’s NextGen has a good roundup of important things to know. Good luck to all!

Edmonton Election 2013: Candidates capture the moment on Twitter

Just as I did in 2010, I wanted to capture on one page the tweets that candidates sent out upon hearing the election results. Not everyone tweeted Monday night – some didn’t post anything until the following day. In some cases, candidates sent out a couple tweets – one to congratulate the winner and another to thank their volunteers – so I have included both where appropriate.

With so many candidates on Twitter, it’ll be really interesting to see how they document their four-year term. Enjoy!

Edmonton Election 2013: The Morning After

What a night! After a landslide victory, Edmonton’s mayor-elect is Don Iveson. He defeated Karen Leibovici by more than 90,000 votes, earning 62% of the vote. Kerry Diotte came third just over 8000 votes behind Karen.

Don received more than 132,000 votes, which is more than any mayor has ever received in Edmonton’s history. Former mayor Jan Reimer held the previous record at just over 113,000 votes in the 1992 election. That year, turnout was 51.7% and more than 215,000 votes were cast. Turnout this year was quite a bit lower at 34.5%, but with a larger population, just 2000 fewer votes were cast than that ’92 election.

mayoral results

I certainly didn’t expect the margin to be that wide, and I don’t think many others did either. It’s a clear mandate for the vision that Don has articulated and the positive, collaborative tone he has espoused from the outset. It’s a huge vote of confidence in a mayor that to many seemed unlikely six months ago. This was not a social media win – you don’t earn the largest number of votes in Edmonton election history without gaining the support of a diverse array of Edmontonians.

Now the work really begins. Don’s campaign team reached out to all the successful candidates last night, and I know Don spoke with many of them personally too. The next week will be a whirlwind of transition meetings, getting new Councillors up-to-speed, and preparing for the first Council meeting which will take place on Tuesday, October 29. It’s an exciting time, and I’m thrilled that Don is the man who will lead it.

I have new appreciation for how much work goes into an election campaign, so I want to say congratulations to all of the candidates and their teams who put the time and energy into running. Only a small number get elected, but the questions, discussions, and ideas that are surfaced during a campaign are incredibly important and contribute significantly to the civic discourse.

I thought Don said all the right things to his opponents last night in his victory speech. Both Karen and Kerry ran strong campaigns and should be commended for their effort and what they brought to the table during this election. I also want to thank them for their service on City Council, and I wish them all the best.

Here are the successful candidates (unofficial until finalized by Edmonton Elections):

successful candidates

Congratulations to all!

I’ll have much more on the election over the next couple weeks. Also, join us on Thursday at 8pm for another #yegvote Hangout at EdmontonPolitics.com! We’ll be analyzing what the results mean for Edmonton and will answer your questions.

You can see all the results of last night’s election here.