Edmonton Mayor swipes at NDP, Wildrose over Katz arena funding.

“Danielle Smith will probably yell and scream. Brian Mason will yell and scream. They really don’t care about the City of Edmonton, I guess, but I would hope they would be wise enough to see it’s about Edmonton.” – Mayor Stephen Mandel (December 18, 2012)

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel
Stephen Mandel

Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel took swipes at NDP leader Brian Mason and Wildrose leader Danielle Smith as the latest saga of the never-ending debate over Edmonton’s downtown arena entered a new phase. The two provincial party leaders have been vocal critics of the proposed downtown arena funding formula and the Mayor’s proposal for the provincial government to provide $100 million in funding.

While his eight-year occupancy in the city’s executive office has generally been positive, Mayor Mandel has become known for making hot-headed abrasive comments about his critics (see the quote at the top of this post). Perhaps the most notable example was when Mayor Mandel admonished Members of Parliament after the federal government denied funding for Edmonton’s poorly communicated Expo bid in 2010.

Brian Mason Alberta NDP leader 2012 Election
Brian Mason

As for yesterday’s comments directed towards the two provincial leaders, Mayor Mandel previously sparred with Ms. Smith when the rookie politician from Calgary waded into the heated City Centre Airport debate in advance of the 2010 municipal election. In an interview with the Edmonton Journal, Ms. Smith, who has been a harsh critic of provincial government spending, said she will propose a new lottery funding model for Mr. Katz’s arena in the new year.

Mr. Mason, a former City Councillor, is a veteran of Edmonton’s Peter Pocklington-era and appears to have enjoyed the opportunity to jump into the Katz funding fray.

The latest phase in the never-ending downtown arena saga

After the Katz Group surprised Edmontonians in September 2012 by rejecting a generous funding formula that had been agreed to earlier this year, an envoy representing billionaire pharmaceutical baron Daryl Katz, owner of the locked-out Edmonton Oilers, informed City Council of Mr. Katz’s desire to restart negotiations to fund the new arena.

Danielle Smith Wildrose Party Alberta Election 2012
Danielle Smith

Last week, the Katz Group’s envoy appeared with a request to appear before City Council, which they did last Wednesday. It is suspected that Mr. Katz is beginning to see his window of opportunity may be closing. With a municipal election being held next fall, Mr. Katz could lose one of his strongest allies, Mayor Mandel, who is considering seeking re-election. If a new agreement is not reached before next summer, Mr. Katz’s costly venture risks becoming a defining issue of the October 2013 vote, which might not play out to his benefit (the Katz Group was strategically silent during the 2010 election).

Yesterday, Mayor Mandel once against began pressing the downtown arena issue, saying that a new deal must be reached within the next six weeks (keep in mind that this issue has been simmering for years).

One of the biggest flaws of the original mega-deal between the City of Edmonton and the Katz Group was the absence of $100 million in funding. Mayor Mandel has been adamant that the provincial government will fill the revenue gap, despite continued assurances from Premier Alison Redford, Finance Minister Doug Horner, and Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths, that this will not happen. With the provincial budget likely to be the largest political battle of 2013, the cards are likely not to be dealt in Mayor Mandel’s favour.

The Wildrose Party’s candidate for Mayor?

On another topic, while the Wildrose Party continues its permanent negative campaign against the provincial Tories into the new year, a party organizers tells me that a a group of Wildrose Party supporters in Edmonton are quietly searching for an ideologically-sympathetic candidate to run in next year’s mayoral election (he suggested that right-wing Councillor Kerry Diotte would suitably fit into the Wildorse Party mould).

16 thoughts on “Edmonton Mayor swipes at NDP, Wildrose over Katz arena funding.”

  1. Forget an arena we can’t afford. Renovate Rexall and build a convention center. Edmonton needs convention space (the current proposal to build in the river valley) and a convention center would meet all the development objectives of the arena and more.

  2. Well let’s see, the Education minister announced yesterday that they may not be able to deliver on Redford’s promise to increase education funding. Also the PC party is stating that there isnt enough funding to give seniors more then 1 bath a week, and Mandel want’s 100 million from the province for a hockey arena, and wonders why the opposition may be pissed.

  3. Mandel should retire. Most of his big vision stuff has flopped. Nothing substantial will happen to the downtown airport lands in this economy; and the arena, as currently negotiated, is a bad deal for all involved (save Katz). His streetcar plan is horrible and would cost a fortune and cripple traffic in key parts of the city.

  4. I hope the Wildrose doesn’t put up a mayor. The last thing we need in municipal politics is parties. I probably wouldn’t mind a right-leaning mayor, but not a political hack.

  5. The spin that WR is trying to find a WR candidate for mayor is sounding a bit like one of those “whisper stories”
    But I suspect that the govt will somehow fund the last leg of this arena. It will be a shame but I suspect there was an unwritten promise for the rather large donation!
    I do not think that the govt sees much relationship to this expenditure and the one bath situation, or the no guaranteed funding for the school boards, or the physicians. And there will be many more promises broken
    But I think this infrastructure will be supported by the govt

  6. Roads, sewars, and electrical lines are “infrastructure”. Privately controlled hockey arenas are not.

  7. Alberta is nearing 6billion dollars in deficit soon. PC’s were busy holding $10 Scam Sham inquiries, giving 30% raises to their own MLA Cabinet ministers, destroying FOIP, blowing the budget, overpromised budgetary surpluses on overfasted oil prices. ND’s are ND’s, nothing further to say, the WILL never come enough to the center to get the votes. The WR, has yet to shed its ideological theocratic extreme right wing members and those indifferent Libertarians in its political base that bring negative press to the WR. The only real, honest and ethical broker of politics and solutions actually the Alberta Liberal Party. They are moderate, socially progressive and fiscally conservative. The media and Voters need to give a second look at the Liberals. This is NOT Pierre Trudeau’s party. The Liberals called for a Charter for the Cities. Stadiums and arenas are social hubs and draw huge investment and much business development. Most Mayors tend to be Progressive, but business minded. The Alberta Liberals would be the best to replace Redfart’s band of incompetant drunk sailors, so as to be moderate on all policies and be financially disciplined, because that is the Albertan way. Socially progressive, fiscally conservative. Redfart’s Pee See’s missed a huge opportunity to bring magnificance to our cities. Let’s hope Mayor Mandel and Nenshi can find a good political backer of projects, that will benefit the cities and generate a tax treasure trove. So, we again, we can cancel, the ND’s, WR and PC’s and AP off the invitation list. It really only leaves the Liberals as the logical choice to form the next gov’t or hold the balance of power between PC’s and WR. Cities and mayors can greatly benefit from keeping the next Provincial Gov’t in a balance of power.

  8. Alberta is nearing 6billion dollars in deficit soon. PC’s were busy holding $10 Scam Sham inquiries, giving 30% raises to their own MLA Cabinet ministers, destroying FOIP, blowing the budget, overpromised budgetary surpluses on overfasted oil prices. ND’s are ND’s, nothing further to say, the WILL never come enough to the center to get the votes. The WR, has yet to shed its ideological theocratic extreme right wing members and those indifferent Libertarians in its political base that bring negative press to the WR. The only real, honest and ethical broker of politics and solutions actually the Alberta Liberal Party. They are moderate, socially progressive and fiscally conservative. The media and Voters need to give a second look at the Liberals. This is NOT Pierre Trudeau’s party. The Liberals called for a Charter for the Cities. Stadiums and arenas are social hubs and draw huge investment and much business development. Most Mayors tend to be Progressive, but business minded. The Alberta Liberals would be the best to replace Redfart’s band of incompetant drunk sailors, so as to be moderate on all policies and be financially disciplined, because that is the Albertan way. Socially progressive, fiscally conservative. Redfart’s Pee See’s missed a huge opportunity to bring magnificence to our cities. Let’s hope Mayor Mandel and Nenshi can find a good political backer of projects, that will benefit the cities and generate a tax treasure trove. So, we again, we can cancel, the ND’s, WR and PC’s and AP off the invitation list. It really only leaves the Liberals as the logical choice to form the next gov’t or hold the balance of power between PC’s and WR. Cities and mayors can greatly benefit from keeping the next Provincial Gov’t in a balance of power.

  9. This morning on Edmonton AM (CBC), Mandel said words to the effect of “nothing good has happened in this town in 25 years.”

    And it’s Mason who doesn’t stick up for the city?

  10. My feeling’s on this are very simple. 1) If this is a private business matter, forms of Government shouldn’t be part of it and back out. 2) If it isn’t, and its about Edmonton, lets make it about Edmonton and form up a group to buy out the Oilers from Katz and do it in the same way that Green Bay does with the Packers. I for one would love to own shares in the Oilers and I am sure many more would as well. Just saying “This is about Edmonton” won’t quite cut it anymore. There has been so much clouded back and forth between the city and Katz over the last couple years that there is bound to be indecisiveness. Worst come to worst, I would HATE to see this decision be made and rushed just because there is an election next fall. That is no reason to rush this decision considering the financial backing that could potentially come out of the collected taxes, Municipally, or Provincially. I will agree with some of the folks who commented above me though. There are MUCH better things this money could be spent on, and I think it should be. At the same time if we can pull it off with Katz manning up and doing it himself, then so be it, or on the other hand if the Green Bay Packers/public ownership thing would work. That would make sense as well. Rushing into a decision because next term it might not happen shouldn’t be an option.

  11. Glad to see Mandel’s Macheovellian scheming has resulted in a stalemate over the arena scam.

    I suspect he has no intention of running for office again otherwise he would not be badmouthing the opposition parties seeing the the odds of a Wildrose victory next election.

    Either way good riddance.

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