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The morning after… Post-Election radio panel on the Ryan Jespersen Show

It was a late night watching the results come in last night, but I was up early this morning to join Ryan Jespersen‘s post-election panel discussion about yesterday’s municipal election results. If you missed it this morning on 630 CHED, here is the panel discussion with myself, Jespersen, Lana Cuthbertson and Kim Krushell:

And here is Jespersen’s morning interview with Don Iveson, fresh from his landslide re-election as Mayor of Edmonton:

Edmonton Election Results – A big Iveson landslide and few City Council surprises

Photo: Don Iveson celebrates his re-election victory with his family (photo: Twitter)

As expected, Don Iveson was re-elected Mayor of Edmonton in a huge landslide with 141,182 votes – 72 percent of the total votes cast in that race – increasing his total vote count from the 2013 election. Placing a very, very distant second was perennial candidate and pro-smoker advocate Don Koziak, who earned 6.7 percent.

Jon Dziadyk Edmonton City Council Ward 3

Jon Dziadyk

Of the City Council races, the most notable ended up being the surprise defeat of incumbent councillor Dave Loken in Ward 3, who was unseated by Jon Dziadyk by 464 votes. Karen Principe placed a strong third-place in this race. Loken, who was running for his third-term on council, becomes the first incumbent councillor to lose re-election since Don Iveson defeated Mike Nickel in 2007.

In neighbouring Ward 7, Kris Andreychuk ran an incredible first-time campaign placing 165 votes behind three-term councillor Tony Caterina. Caterina saw his share of the vote drop from 42 percent in 2013 to 33 percent in this year’s election.

Three new councillors were elected in Wards without incumbents. In Ward 4, Aaron Paquette finished first in a twelve-person race with 23 percent of the vote. Sarah Hamilton earned 35 percent of the vote in a nine-person race in Ward 5 to succeed retiring one-term councillor Michael Oshry. And in Ward 9, Tim Cartmell was elected with 41 percent of the vote over four challengers.

Sarah Hamilton Ward 5 Edmonton

Sarah Hamilton

Running what appeared to be a stealth re-election campaign in Ward 8, three-term Councillor Ben Henderson was re-elected with 36 percent of the vote. This is a 48 percent drop in support from 2013, when he was re-elected with 84 percent of the vote. Challengers Kirsten Goa placed second with 22 percent, James Kosowan with 19 percent and Eli Schrader with 11 percent.

In the Public School Board races, Michael Janz was re-elected in a landslide in Ward F. With 15,671 votes and 71.4 percent of the total vote, Janz earned the most votes of any trustee and council candidate and the highest percentage of any candidate in this election except Don Iveson.

In Ward C, Shelagh Dunn earned 45 percent of the vote, unseating incumbent Orville Chubb, who earned 18 percent of the vote. In Ward D, former CBC broadcaster Trisha Estabrooks was elected with 44 percent.

In Ward G, Bridget Stirling appeared to be in a tough race for re-election, but she defeated conservative activist Tyler Duce by a 33 percent margin. Duce’s campaign had broadcast a robocall endorsement from former Edmonton-Gold Bar MLA David Dorward in the final weekend of the campaign.

And in Calgary, Naheed Nenshi appears to have been re-elected as mayor, despite recent polls that showed him 13-points behind challenger Bill Smith.

I will have more analysis of the results and what they could mean for the next four years tomorrow (after I get some sleep).

Edmonton City Hall Elections

Edmonton Election races I will be watching on Election Night

Election Day is Monday October 16, 2017. Voting stations are open from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm. Use the Where to Vote tool to find your voting station and candidate list. Authorized identification is required to vote.


With less than 36-hours left until the polls open on Alberta’s municipal Election Day, candidates and their campaign teams will be pressing hard to make sure their efforts over the past month pay off.

Here are a few Edmonton City Council races I will be watching on Election night:

Aaron Paquette Edmonton

Aaron Paquette

Ward 4: There are twelve candidates running in this northeast Edmonton Ward. Ed Gibbons has represented the area since 2001 but decided not to seek re-election. With so many candidates there is a chance that the successful candidate could be elected with a small percentage of the total vote. It is difficult to make a prediction about who will win, but one campaign that sticks out is that of well-known artist and past NDP candidate Aaron Paquette. I am also watching Alison PosteHassan Haymour, Rocco Caterina, Justin Draper, and Trisha Velthuizen in this race.

Ward 5: One-term councillor Michael Oshry decided not to seek re-election. There are nine candidates in this race, but I am predicting that Miranda Jimmy, Sarah Hamilton, and Dawn Newton, and David Xiao will place in the top four.

Ward 7: Tony Caterina is running for his fourth-term on city council and, unlike most incumbents, he has always faced strong challengers. In 2010 he was re-elected with 48 percent of the vote and in 2013 he was returned to office with 42 percent. This time around, he faces a strong challenge from Kris Andreychuk, who is running a solid campaign and has the support of the two previous second place challengers (including Caterina’s council colleague Scott McKeen, now representing Ward 6). I have also been impressed by Mimi Williams, who placed third in 2013 but is running a noticeably better organized campaign this time.

Kirsten Goa Edmonton

Kirsten Goa

Ward 8: Councillor Ben Henderson was re-elected with 84 percent of the vote in 2013 but this year he faces a much more robust challenge from three main candidates – Kirsten Goa, Eli Schrader and James Kosowan. I have spoken to a number of voters in this ward who have been confused by Henderson’s low-profile campaign and my impression is that Kirsten Goa is the candidate to watch in this race.

Ward 9: With six-term councillor Bryan Anderson retiring, this looks like it could be a four-way race between Tim Cartmell, Rob Agostinis, Sandy Pon, and Payman Parseyan.

Ward 11:  Mike Nickel will be hard to beat, but challenger Keren Tang has been running a strong and well-organized campaign. Nickel was first elected in Ward 11 in 2013, but he ran for mayor in 1998 and 2001, and later served as Councillor for Ward 5 from 2004 until he was defeated by Don Iveson in 2007.

I am also watching a handful of Public School Board races, including Ward A, where incumbent Cheryl Johner is facing six challengers, Ward G, where incumbent Bridget Stiring is being challenged by conservative activist Tyler Duce, and Ward F, where my friend Michael Janz is being challenged by Yemi Philip.

Just outside of Edmonton city limits, here are some more races I will be watching:

St. Albert Mayoral Election: Councillors Cathy Heron, Cam Mackay and former councillor Malcolm Parker are running to succeed retiring Mayor Nolan Crouse. This bedroom community north of Edmonton is known for its nasty politics and divisive elections, and this year’s election was no exception. A slate of candidates, apparently friendly to Mackay, have been campaigning against the construction of a second library branch in the growing community.

Strathcona County Mayoral Election: Incumbent Roxanne Carr is facing a strong challenge from former Progressive Conservative MLA Jacquie Fenske, former mayor and past Wildrose candidate Linda Osinchuk, and past federal Liberal candidate Rod Frank.

Are there any other races I should be watching on October 16? Let me know!

Edmonton Best Selling Audreys Books

Oil’s Deep State by Kevin Taft continues to top Audreys Books’ Edmonton Bestsellers List

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended October 8, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

  1. Oils Deep State Kevin Taft AlbertaOil’s Deep State: How the Petroleum Industry Undermines Democracy and Slows Action on Global Warming – in Alberta, and in Ottawa  –  Kevin Taft *
  2. To Hell and Back: A Former Hells Angel’s Story of Recovery and Redemption – Joe Calendino
  3. What Happened – Hillary Rodham Clinton
  4. Trudeau’s Tango: Alberta Meets Pierre Elliott Trudeau – Darryl Raymaker * +
  5. Powered by Love: A Grandmother’s’ Movement to Ends Aids in Africa – JoAnna Henry, Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, Alexis MacDonald
  6. Lightfoot – Nicholas Jennings
  7. Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists: The Origins of the Women’s Shelter Movement in Canada – Margo Goodhand
  8. Farm to Chef: Cooking Through the Seasons – Lynn Crawford
  9. The Vietnam War: An Intimate History – Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns
  10. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers

  1. This is All a Lie – Thomas Trofimuk *
  2. Slow War (Poetry) – Benjamin Hertwig
  3. Glass Houses – Louise Penny
  4. The Sun & Her Flowers (Poetry) – Rupi Kaur
  5. Bellevue Square – Michael Redhill
  6. A Legacy of Spies – John le Carré
  7. The History of Bees – Maja Lunde
  8. Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan
  9. Walking Through Turquoise (Poetry) – Laurie MacFayden * +
  10. A Tincture of Sunlight – Vivian Hansen * +

* Alberta Author
+ Alberta Publisher

Photo: Diana McQueen, Don Iveson, Jim Prentice and Naheed Nenshi sign the Framework Agreement that paved the way for the development of city charters on Oct. 7, 2014 (Photo source: Government of Alberta on Flickr)

Nenshi in a tight race while Iveson coasts to victory

Photo: Diana McQueen, Don Iveson, Jim Prentice and Naheed Nenshi sign the Framework Agreement that paved the way for the development of city charters on Oct. 7, 2014 (Photo source: Government of Alberta on Flickr)

With six days left until municipal election day in Alberta, the mayors in the province’s two largest cities are facing very different election campaigns.

In Edmonton, Mayor Don Iveson is expected to coast to victory, with none of his twelve challenger mounting the kind of campaign needed to unseat a popular incumbent mayor.

As I told Global News, “the two most high-profile competitors have been one candidate who talked about bringing back smoking in public places and another candidate who became notable for simply not showing up to election forums.”

The lack of challengers is not a surprise when considering Iveson’s high approval ratings through most of his first term as mayor. Not taking the lack of competition for granted, Iveson has kept up a healthy pace of campaigning and policy announcements, and has been spotted lending his support to a handful of incumbent City Councillors running for re-election – Andrew Knack in Ward 1, Dave Loken in Ward 3, Michael Walters in Ward 10 and Moe Banga in Ward 12.

Meanwhile, looking south to Alberta’s largest city, incumbent Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi appears to be in the fight of his political life. The campaign began with a showdown between Nenshi and Calgary Flames President and CEO Ken King over funding for a new hockey arena (sound familiar, Edmonton?), but the narrative shifted into a referendum on Nenshi himself.

Nenshi, who took pride in winning two previous elections by campaigning “in full sentences,” now faces a conservative establishment candidate who has forgone any deep policy proposals. Bill Smith appears to be running almost purely on an “I’m not Nenshi” platform, which appears to be satisfactory for a significant portion of the electorate unhappy with the current Mayor.

He can sometimes be brash and over-confiendent, but Nenshi has done a lot over the past seven years to help reshape more than a few preconceived notions about Calgary and Alberta into a more modern, progressive and urban place.

While I am told by Calgarians that the race is expected be close, I am very skeptical of a recent poll showing Smith with a huge lead over Nenshi. Recent news that bailiffs were recently poised to seize the property of Smith’s law firm over a defaulted loan worth nearly $25,000 could dampen the challenger’s momentum in the final week of the campaign.

Unlike Iveson, who is expected to coast to victory on October 16, Nenshi and his team will need to work overtime for the next six days to secure his third term in office.


Nenshi and Iveson shared the stage to deliver the 10th Annual Hurtig Lecture on the Future of Canada held at the University of Alberta in 2015.

Pierre Trudeau Peter Lougheed Alberta NEP

The rise and fall of (Pierre) Trudeaumania in Alberta

Trudeau's Tango Alberta Darryl Raymaker

Trudeau’s Tango

There is perhaps no greater myth in Alberta politics than that the National Energy Program, which all Albertans are told to believe brought untold devastation to the oil sector and salted the earth for the federal Liberals in this province for decades to come.

Looking beyond the myth, most Albertans might be surprised to learn that by the time the NEP was launched, it had already been twelve years since the (Pierre) Trudeau Liberals had last elected an MP in Alberta.

Long-time Calgary Liberal Darryl Raymaker does his share of myth-busting as he delves into a period of political optimism, generational changes and missed opportunities that swept through Alberta in the late 1960s and early 1970s in his new book, Trudeau’s Tango. Alberta Meets Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

An active member of the Liberal Party of Canada at the time, Raymaker’s book is rich with stories and anecdotes from the offices of party insiders and the trenches of the campaign trail during the Trudeaumania election of 1968. That election saw a federal Liberals breakthrough in Alberta, with four MPs elected, but a long-string of missteps and mistakes led to the party being shut out in the province four years later (and not electing another MP from Alberta until 1993).

Raymaker provides useful insight into the fraught relationship between the four Alberta Liberal MPs and their Ottawa masters, between Trudeau and Calgary’s nouveau rich oil industry, as well as the federal party’s reaction to the shifting ground that led Peter Lougheed‘s Progressive Conservatives to unseat the long-governing Social Credit Party in 1971.

One of the most fascinating stories Raymaker includes in his book is about the failed attempt to negotiate a political coalition between the federal Liberals and the provincial Social Credit Party. The political coalition was an attempt to solidify federal Liberal gains and keep Lougheed’s Tories at bay. The marriage negotiations failed, and as Raymaker argues, helped drive many traditional federal and provincial Liberals into Lougheed’s big-tent PC Party.

The institutional memory that Raymaker shares in this book is invaluable to anyone wanting to understand the politics of a period that had a significant impact on Alberta’s politics in the following decades.

While the context may be different, the book provides some parallels to today’s Alberta politics –  the electoral breakthrough by the (Justin) Trudeau Liberals in 2015, Trudeau’s friendly relationship with the government of NDP Premier Rachel Notley, and the ongoing political battles over oil pipelines and climate change.

Darryl Raymaker will be launching Trudeau’s Tango in Edmonton on Tuesday, at a free event open to the public at Audreys Books on Jasper Avenue. Edmonton-Centre Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault will be sharing a few words at the event and facilitating a discussion after Raymaker’s talk.

Edmonton Book Launch of Trudeau’s Tango
Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Avenue
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The Energy East Blame Game. Who blames who?

Today’s announcement by the TransCanada Corporation that it would no longer pursue the construction of the Energy East Pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Saint John, New Brunswick triggered a storm of statements, accusations and criticisms from politicians trying to drive their political narratives.

While the reasons for the TransCanada Corporation withdrawing its plans are likely influenced more by economics than by politics, there will certainly be political implications for the politicians – like Premier Rachel Notley – who have tethered their governing agenda to the approval of pipeline projects.

So, politics being politics, here is a quick look at who is blaming who for the demise of the Energy East Pipeline:

The TransCanada Corporation blames existing and likely future delays caused by the National Energy Board regulatory process, associated costs and challenging “issues and obstacles” facing the project.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley blames “a broad range of factors that any responsible business must consider.”

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant doesn’t blame the TransCanada Corporation, but recognizes “recent changes to world market conditions and the price of oil have negatively impacted the viability of the project.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall blames Justin Trudeau, the federal government, and Montreal mayor Denis Coderre.

Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr blames the decision to cancel the pipeline project as a business decision.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer blames Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Alberta Liberal MPs Randy Boissonnault, Amarjeet Sohi and Kent Hehr blame “current market challenges related to world market conditions and lower commodity prices.

Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel blames “Liberal ideological opposition to the wealth and prosperity of western Canada, to the detriment of the nation as a whole.”

United Conservative Party interim leader Nathan Cooper blames the Alberta NDP.

UCP leadership candidate Brian Jean blames Rachel Notley, Justin Trudeau and Denis Coderre.

UCP leadership candidate Jason Kenney blames the Alberta NDP carbon-tax and social license, and the Trudeau Liberals. He later also blames Denis Coderre.

UCP leadership candidate Doug Schweitzer blames Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley.

Alberta Party leader Greg Clark blames the Alberta NDP.

Alberta Liberal leader David Khan blames economic factors, describing the decision as “a business decision by TransCanada based on current economic and political realities.”

UCP MLA Drew Barnes blames Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

UCP MLA Prasad Panda blames the Alberta NDP’s carbon tax.

Karen McPherson Jamie Kleinsteuber Calgary NDP MLA

MLA Karen McPherson bids farewell to the Alberta NDP

Photo: Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill MLA Karen McPherson (right) and Calgary-Northern Hills MLA Jamie Kleinsteuber (left). Source: Facebook

There have been a lot of changes on the opposition side of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly this year, but today marked the first time since 2015 that we saw a decline in the number of MLAs on the government side.

Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill MLA Karen McPherson unexpectedly announced on social media this morning that she was leaving the governing New Democratic Party caucus in order to sit as an Independent MLA. Elected in the Orange Wave that swept Alberta in 2015, McPherson has kept a relatively low profile in the Assembly while serving as chairperson of the Standing Committee on Private Bills.

In a statement that in parts sounded somewhat similar to what former UCP MLA Rick Fraser wrote last month when he announced he was sitting as an Independent MLA, McPherson wrote:

“Alberta, in fact the world, is changing quickly and I believe our political processes need to reflect these shifts. Continuing to do politics the way it’s being done will lead to further polarization. We are missing the middle where we have more in common with each other than we are different. Albertans need political choices that inspire them, not scare them.”

McPherson’s letter was short on details but included statements about the need to transform the health care and education system and the role of technology in the economy, including expanding high speed internet to all rural communities (she also mentioned this in a promotional video produced by the NDP caucus in July 2016).

As a backbench MLA, McPherson’s departure is not likely to have any significant impact on the functions of the government. But it does mark the most significant breach of party discipline the NDP has experienced during their first term in government. To their credit, Rachel Notley‘s NDP have done an impressive job enforcing MLA discipline in the government caucus, avoiding the kind of embarrassing bozo-eruptions that have plagued the Conservative opposition benches over the past two years.

Despite her low-profile and her insistence that the decision was made without malice, McPherson’s departure does add fuel to the narrative that the NDP is weak in Calgary, which is expected to be a key electoral battleground in the next election.


SHOCKER: Callaway endorses Kenney

If McPherson’s announcement came out of nowhere, the decision by Jeff Callaway to drop out of the United Conservative Party leadership race to endorse Jason Kenney was the exact opposite. Most political watchers I have spoken with believe that Callaway’s only real reason for entering the UCP leadership race was to attack Brian Jean on Kenney’s behalf.

Edmonton Best Selling Audreys Books

Oil’s Deep State by Kevin Taft tops Audreys Books’ Edmonton Bestsellers List this week

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended October 1, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

Oils Deep State Kevin Taft AlbertaEdmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

  1. Oil’s Deep State: How the Petroleum Industry Undermines Democracy and Slows Action on Global Warming – in Alberta, and in Ottawa  –  Kevin Taft *
  2. The Unravelling: How our caregiving safety net came unstrung and we were left grasping at threads, struggling to plait a new one – Clem & Olivier Martini * +
  3. Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists: The Origins of the Women’s Shelter Movement in Canada – Margo Goodhand
  4. \What Happened – Hillary Rodham Clinton
  5. The Dwindling: A Daughter’s Caregiving Journey on the Edge of Life – Janet Dunnett
  6. Finding Gobi: A Little Dog With a Very Big Heart – Dion Leonard, Craig Borlase
  7. Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood – Pauline Dakin
  8. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind – Yuval Harari
  9. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone – Brené Brown
  10. In Search of A Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey – Payam Akhavan

Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers

  1. Miriam’s Secret (Childrens) – Debby Waldman *
  2. This is All A Lie – Thomas Trofimuk *
  3. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
  4. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
  5. Glass Houses – Louise Penny
  6. Annie Muktuk and Other Stories – Norma Dunning * +
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  8. One Brother Shy – Terry Fallis
  9. This Was a Man – Jeffrey Archer
  10. Walking Through Turquoise (Poetry) – Laurie MacFayden * +

*Alberta Author
+ Alberta Publisher

We will not be divided.

We will not be divided” was the message delivered by political leaders in Edmonton and Alberta after an apparent terrorist attack that began with the attempted murder of an Edmonton police officer outside a Friday night football game at Commonwealth Stadium.

While it is too soon to tell what the longer-term impacts of this weekend’s incident will be, it is hopeful that our leaders have stepped up with calls of vigilance, love and solidarity, rather than vengeance and fear.

“We will not give in to hate, we will not give in to discrimination and we will not give in to terrorism,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley told a crowd of hundreds gathered at a vigil organized by the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council.

We will not be divided.

Here are the statements made by Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Premier Notley:

Mayor Don Iveson:

We​ ​have​ ​all​ ​been​ ​tested​ ​by​ ​this​ ​attack:​ ​Edmontonians​ ​of​ ​every​ ​faith,​ ​Edmontonians​ ​of every​ ​culture,​ ​and​ ​especially​ ​the​ ​Edmontonians​ ​who​ ​protect​ ​and​ ​serve​ ​us​ ​every​ ​day have​ ​been​ ​tested.

But​ ​we​ ​have​ ​already​ ​shown,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​show​ ​here​ ​tonight,​ ​where​ ​we​ ​stand.​ ​We stand​ ​together,​ ​all​ ​faiths,​ ​all​ ​cultures,​ ​We​ ​will​ ​not​ ​be​ ​divided.

Radical​ ​violence​ ​is​ ​about​ ​creating​ ​panic,​ ​sewing​ ​divide​ ​-​ ​we​ ​can​ ​either​ ​succumb​ ​to​ ​that, or we​ ​can​ ​rise​ ​above​ ​it.

In​ ​the​ ​last​ ​24​ ​hours,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​shown​ ​what​ ​we​ ​are​ ​made​ ​of.​ ​That​ ​Canadians,​ ​and especially​ ​Edmontonians,​ ​are​ ​filled​ ​with​ ​compassion​ ​and​ ​love​ ​for​ ​the​ ​victims,​ ​for​ ​our​ ​first responders,​ ​and​ ​for​ ​all​ ​our​ ​fellow​ ​Edmontonians.

This​ ​love​ ​and​ ​faith​ ​will​ ​be​ ​tested​ ​in​ ​the​ ​days​ ​ahead.​ ​You​ ​may​ ​start​ ​to​ ​hear​ ​persistent whispers​ ​or​ ​even​ ​shouts​ ​about​ ​certain​ ​faiths​ ​and​ ​groups​ ​in​ ​this​ ​strong,​ ​diverse community​ ​of​ ​ours.

I​ ​urge​ ​all​ ​of​ ​you​ ​to​ ​reject​ ​that​ ​hateful​ ​line​ ​of​ ​thinking​ ​by​ ​holding​ ​this​ ​loving​ ​thought​ ​in your​ ​heart:​ ​we​ ​are​ ​strong,​ ​stronger​ ​together,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​will​ ​not​ ​be​ ​divided.

It’s​ ​understandable,​ ​still,​ ​for​ ​us​ ​to​ ​be​ ​worried​ ​about​ ​our​ ​safety.​ ​That’s​ ​exactly​ ​what​ ​the forces​ ​of​ ​of​ ​extremism​ ​want.​ ​However,​ ​all​ ​evidence​ ​so​ ​far​ ​points​ ​to​ ​this​ ​being​ ​an isolated​ ​act​ ​by​ ​a​ ​single​ ​individual.​ ​And​ ​remember,​ ​too,​ ​that​ ​our​ ​well-trained, well-equipped,​ ​and​ ​courageous​ ​Edmonton​ ​Police​ ​members​ ​are​ ​out​ ​there​ ​working​ ​for​ ​us every​ ​day.

Your​ ​safety​ ​—​ ​each​ ​and​ ​every​ ​one​ ​of​ ​you​ ​—​ ​will​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​be​ ​foremost​ ​in​ ​our​ ​minds as​ ​we​ ​work​ ​to​ ​support​ ​our​ ​law​ ​enforcement​ ​agencies.

If​ ​I’m​ ​worried​ ​about​ ​one​ ​thing,​ ​it’s​ ​this:​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​refugee​ ​child​ ​going​ ​to​ ​daycare​ ​tomorrow and​ ​feeling​ ​scared.​ ​But​ ​if​ ​we​ ​find​ ​it​ ​within​ ​ourselves​ ​to​ ​care​ ​for​ ​that​ ​child​ ​in​ ​the​ ​coming days​ ​and​ ​months​ ​and​ ​years,​ ​that​ ​person​ ​will​ ​look​ ​back​ ​on​ ​this​ ​moment​ ​and​ ​have​ ​felt supported​ ​-​ ​and​ ​included​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​our​ ​community.​ ​But​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​do​ ​that​ ​for​ ​them​ ​alone, our​ ​police​ ​service​ ​cannot​ ​do​ ​that​ ​for​ ​them​ ​alone,​ ​and​ ​their​ ​family​ ​cannot​ ​do​ ​that​ ​for​ ​them alone.

We​ ​must​ ​do​ ​this​ ​all​ ​together.​ ​That​ ​is​ ​why​ ​we​ ​cannot​ ​be​ ​divided.

Therefore​ ​we​ ​will…​ ​all​ ​of​ ​us…​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​reject​ ​racism,​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​reject​ ​islamophobia,and​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​reject​ ​radicalization​ ​in​ ​all​ ​its​ ​forms.​ ​Because​ ​we​ ​will​ ​not​ ​be​ ​divided.

Premier Rachel Notley:

“The horrific events last night in downtown Edmonton have left us shocked and angry. It’s left us shocked at the indiscriminate cruelty and angry that someone might target their hatred at places where we gather with our families and friends.

“Our first responders are incredible people. Thank you to each and every one of our police officers, paramedics and firefighters who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Thank you, also, to the women and men who dropped everything to help their fellow Albertans. Your bravery in moments of fear and your compassion in moments of chaos are what’s very best about us.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their loved ones, and with everyone who witnessed last’s violence.

“As we learn more about what happened last night, I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and to listen to law enforcement authorities.

“Hatred has no place in Alberta. It’s not who we are. We are in this together and together we are stronger than any form of hate.”

You’ll be surprised who is on Elections Alberta’s list of banned candidates

A ruling by Court of Queen’s Bench Mr. Justice William Tilleman has lifted a ban imposed on past election candidate Jamie Lall, allowing him to run in the next provincial election if he chooses. Section 57 of Alberta’s Election Act allows the Chief Elections Officer to deem an individual as prohibited from being nominated as a provincial election candidate for a period of eight or five years if they fail to file the proper financial statements with Elections Alberta following the election.

Hugh Sommerville

Hugh Sommerville

Before changes were made to Alberta’s elections laws in 1983, the head of Elections Alberta had the authority to rule individuals indefinitely ineligible to stand for provincial office if they failed to submit their financial returns on time. Three individuals are still listed as being indefinitely ineligible to run as a candidate.

“These things can happen when you’re 22 years old, and get talked into running,” wrote Hugh Sommerville in an email to the publisher of this website. The respected Drumheller-based lawyer was surprised to learn that 38 years after he stood as a provincial election candidate, he is still listed by Elections Alberta as being indefinitely ineligible to run again.

Sommerville has been elected to the board of the Law Society of Alberta and was appointed to the Alberta Health Services Board of Directors in 2015, but in 1979 he ran as a candidate for the New Democratic Party in the Three Hills constituency. He earned 222 votes.

Jamie Lall PC Chestermere Rocky View

Jamie Lall

“I ended up being ineligible because my campaign spent absolutely no money, and my campaign manager left the province for employment in Saskatchewan without filing papers to say that,” Sommerville wrote. “I was working in Fort McMurray at the time, and my mail was being sent to the family farm. By the time I actually received notice that my campaign manager had neglected to file, I was already on the naughty list,” he wrote.

The other two past candidates listed as indefinitely ineligible are Claire Williscroft, another NDP candidate in the 1979 election, and Barry Cook, an Independent candidate in the 1982 election.

“I suppose I should look into whether it is possible to get my name off the list after 38 years,“ Sommerville wrote, noting that he has no intention of running in any future provincial election.

As for Lall, he is now a member of the United Conservative Party but says he is not sure if he will run in the next provincial election, expected to be held in 2019.


Included on the list of individuals prohibited from running or serving as chief financial officers until May 9, 2024, are Edmonton City Council candidates Tony Caterina and Rocco Caterina. The senior Caterina, Tony, ran as a Progressive Conservative the 2015 election, and his son Rocco, served as his chief financial officer.

Tony Caterina told Metro Edmonton in June 2016 that he filed his financial disclosures, but was unable to retire an $11,000 deficit he incurred during the campaign.

Edmonton Best Selling Audreys Books

The Left-Handed Dinner Party by Alberta author Myrl Coulter leads Audreys Books’ Edmonton Bestsellers List this week

Here is the list of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold in Edmonton for the week ended Sept. 24, 2017, compiled by Audreys Books and provided by the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

Edmonton Fiction Bestsellers

  1. The Left-Handed Dinner Party & Other Stories – Myrl Coulter * +
  2. In Case I Go – Angie Abdou
  3. Blackfoot Country (Poetry) – Walter Hildebrandt *
  4. Nostalgia – M. G. Vassanji
  5. This Wound is a World – Billy-Ray Belcourt * +
  6. Walking Through Turquoise (Poetry) – Laurie MacFayden * +
  7. Nuala: A Fable – Kimmy Beach *+
  8. The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
  9. A Legacy of Spies – John Le Carre
  10. Annie Muktuk and Other Stories – Norma Dunning *

Edmonton Non-Fiction Bestsellers

  1. Runaway Wives and Roque Feminists: The Origins of the Women’s Shelter Movement in Canada – Margo Goodhand
  2. Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood – Pauline Dakin
  3. All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey Into the Lives of Others – Carol Off
  4. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End – Atul Gawande
  5. Spiders in Space: Successfully Adapting to Unwanted Change – Todd Hirsch, Robert Roach *
  6. In Search of A Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey – Payam Akhavan
  7. What Happened – Hillary Rodham Clinton
  8. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone – Brené Brown
  9. The Ghost Orchard – Helen Humphreys
  10. Collected Tarts and Other Delicacies – Tabatha Southey

* Alberta Author
+ Alberta Publisher

Cast of fringe candidates line up to challenge Don Iveson for the mayor’s chair

Photo: Don Iveson (standing centre-right) with mayoral challengers Fahad Mughal, Bob Ligertwood, Don Koziak and Carla Frost (sitting left to right). Photo source: screenshot of CBC online video

Any illusions that we could see a mayoral horserace in 2017 were extinguished at yesterday’s lunch-hour mayoral all-candidates forum.

Delivering their four minute introductory speeches in front of a group of roughly 120 people in the cavernous Shaw Conference Centre, it became fairly clear, fairly quickly, that none of the 12 candidate challenging Don Iveson in next month’s election have the skills, experience or even temperament to be a successful mayor.

For the most part, the challengers delivered incoherent remarks, with many focusing on fringe issues that may have an audience on the internet, but don’t appear to have much traction off-screen. While some of them are earnest in their bids, the lack of experience and familiarity on municipal issues among the challengers was apparent.

Iveson’s most high-profile challenger, perennial candidate Don Koziak, was unable to deliver a coherent speech in the four minutes made available to him. Instead, Koziak clumsily reminisced about the issues from his previous unsuccessful campaigns for city council without touching on his thoughts on the issues in this election, aside from bizarrely musing that “there will always be homeless people because there will always be people lining up for free homes.”

Two of the candidates, Carla Frost and Bob Ligertwood, had a weird confrontation on stage. An official from the Elections office apparently gave them a talking-to off stage before the speeches began.

Fahad Mughal, who was the first candidate to enter the race against Iveson, was likely the best prepared of the challengers, though his campaign promises and criticisms of the incumbent do little to actually differentiate himself from the pack. I feel that Mughal could have a future in municipal politics, perhaps as a City Council candidate in 2021.

If first impressions matter the most, the 12 candidates challenging Iveson should be thankful there were only 120 people in the room watching the speeches, because there was little to be impressed about.

For his part, Iveson does not appear to be taking the lack of serious challengers for granted. He and his team are campaigning and have released a series of policies dealing with energy transition and climate change, building design and transportation infrastructure, and transparency at City Hall.

Unless something major changes between now and October 16, 2017, Iveson should cruise to a sizeable re-election.

That said, if politics has been characterized by one thing in the last 5 years, it is that an even a very unlikely outcome is still always possible.


Mayoral candidates will take the stage again and be given a chance to answer questions at two upcoming forums sponsored by Elections Edmonton:

City-wide Mayoral Forum
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
6:30-9:30pm
Harry Ainlay Composite High School
4350-111 Street NW

City-wide Mayoral Forum
Wednesday, October, 11, 2017
6:30-9:30pm
Italian Cultural Center
14230-133 Avenue NW

Note: I am a supporter of Don Iveson and played an active volunteer role in his election campaigns for city council in 2007 and 2010 and his successful bid for mayor in 2013. I do not have an active role in his re-election campaign this year.


Edmonton Elections is organzing all-candidate forums in each of the city’s twelve wards and for the mayoral election and Edmonton’s Next Gen committee is organizing socials for young Edmontonians in advance of each of the council forums.

How much influence does the oil industry have over Alberta politics?

Way too much, according to author and former Edmonton-Riverview MLA Kevin Taft.

Kevin Taft

Taft takes a deep dive into the influence of big oil on the politics and policy direction of our province in his new book, Oil’s Deep State: How the petroleum industry undermines democracy and stops action on global warming – in Alberta, and in Ottawa.

As leader of the Official Opposition from 2004 to 2008, Taft had a front-row seat in the debate over raising Alberta’s natural resource royalties where it became clear that private interests had captured democratic institutions.

A democratic institution is captured when it serves a private interest over the public interest,” Taft wrote in an op-ed on AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Taft meticulously details the impact powerful forces from the oil industry had over Alberta during the long-reign of the old Progressive Conservative government and the influence it still exerts over Rachel Notley’s New Democratic Party government in the never-ending debate over oil pipelines.

There should be a ruckus in Alberta about royalties, looming costs of reclamation, and global warming. Instead there is quiet, and in democracy quiet is rarely a good sign,” Taft wrote.

It’s true.


The public is welcome to attend book launch events in Edmonton and Calgary.

Edmonton Book Launch
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Telus Centre Room 150 (111 St & 87 Ave, U of A Campus)

Calgary Book Launch
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Room EA-1031, Faculty of Arts, Mount Royal University

Former PC MLAs Richard Starke (left) and Rick Fraser (right) at the 2016 Calgary Pride Parade.

No Thanks and So Long. Former PC MLA Rick Fraser leaves the UCP to sit as an Independent

Photo: Former PC MLAs Richard Starke (left) and Rick Fraser (right) at the 2016 Calgary Pride Parade (Photo from Facebook). 

The recently formed United Conservative Party may be leading in the polls but the party is looking a lot less united. One of the party’s 28 MLAs, Calgary-South East MLA Rick Fraser, announced on social media this morning that he was leaving the UCP caucus to sit as an Independent MLA.

Fraser, who was re-elected for a second term as a Progressive Conservative MLA in 2015, is the third politician to leave the ranks of the UCP since it was formed in July 2017. Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke declined to join the UCP and decided to continue sitting as a PC MLA in the Assembly shortly after he party was founded. Then, in August 2017, the party’s co-finance critic Derek Fildebrandt resigned from the caucus after an expenses controversy and a traffic-accident related court battle.

In his resignation letter, Fraser gave a number of reasons for his departure, ranging from social and economic issues to the party’s increasingly polarizing hyper-partisan tone. While the UCP does not yet have any official policies, or even a permanent leader, it is seems clear that Fraser is uncomfortable with the direction that the province’s largest conservative party is heading.

Social issues are the achilles heel for the UCP, just as they were for the party’s previous incarnation, the Wildrose Party.

The two main candidates for the leadership of the party,  Jason Kenney and Brian Jean, are openly appealing to the party’s social conservative and rural base of supporters and have been extremely reluctant to discuss any social issues. And as we saw in this week’s UCP leadership debate, only Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer was willing to come out in support of gay rights, taking Kenney to task for his silence.

Earlier this year, Wildrose MLAs were tying themselves in knots over student-organized Gay-Straight Alliances and whether school administrators should be required to inform parents if their children joined one of the anti-bullying clubs. The debate, which was triggered by comments Kenney made to the Postmedia editorial board in Calgary, was painful and acrimonious to watch.

And while the party’s interim governing board has issued a statement in support of LGBTQ rights, support for that position by some of UCP MLAs and party members is questionable.

The unanimous position among the UCP leadership candidates to repeal the carbon tax without proposing any alternatives to reform or replace it suggests that none of them see climate change as a serious issue.

Comments, tweets and Facebook posts promoting climate change denial and skepticism have been rampant among the former Wildrose MLAs in the UCP caucus. Earlier this year, Cypress-Medicine Hat UCP MLA Drew Barnes helped fund a film promoting climate science skepticism. And last year, Drumheller-Stettler UCP MLA Rick Strankman was  forced to apologize – twice – after penning an article comparing Alberta’s carbon tax to the Holodomor – the Ukrainian genocide of the 1930s.

An MLA’s first responsibility is to their constituents, and if Fraser does not feel he can effectively represent the people of Calgary-South East as a member of the UCP, he has every right to leave that caucus. He was elected under that banner of the Progressive Conservative Party and now that party is now essentially defunct.

Fraser writes in his letter that he will consult his constituents before making any future decisions, which means he might be open to joining another party sometime in the future. I am willing to bet that Greg Clark , leader of the upstart conservative-lite Alberta Party, is making some phone calls today.