Updated: Kerry Diotte running for Mayor of Edmonton.

Leaked photos that may have been a mayoral photoshoot for Councillor Kerry Diotte were posted on Facebook by photographer Con Boland last month.

Leaked photos that may have been a mayoral photoshoot for Councillor Kerry Diotte were posted on Facebook by photographer Con Boland last month.

To no one’s surprise, Edmonton City Council’s resident contrarian Kerry Diotte launched his campaign at a downtown hotel this afternoon, making him the first candidate to enter Edmonton’s 2013 Mayoral Election race.

After yesterday’s “final” vote on the proposed downtown arena project, the former Edmonton Sun columnist quickly announced he would soon make an announcement about his political future. Photos leaked to this blog last month suggest Councillor Diotte has been preparing to run for mayor for some time.

The current mayor, Stephen Mandel, is not a fan of Councillor Diotte, shared some harsh words about him on CityTV’s Breakfast Television this morning: “He hasn’t done anything…. He comes to Council and tweets all the time…. He doesn’t pay attention…

When asked by reporters at today’s press conference about his vision for Edmonton, Councillor Diotte stumbled, citing “listening” and a grocery list of issues including opposing the arena, fixing potholes, and stopping the construction of bike lanes.

If trying to figure out Councillor Diotte’s vision for Edmonton is difficult, so is pinpointing his politics. He has acted as the right-wing contrarian during his three-years on city council and has attached himself to more controversial attention-grabbing issues. This has not made him popular with his council colleagues and has typically placed him in the minority vote on council (he would typically be the “1″ in a 12-1 vote).

Though his supporters preach about his populist streak, it feels more gimmicky than real grassroots (his public engagement seems focused on holding contests on his website, like ‘Kerry in your Kitchen,‘ or a contest where he took a constituent to an Edmonton Oilers game).

Council Diotte’s explanation why he wants to be Mayor was not awe inspiring, articulate or well-prepared, but it was frankly reflective of the frustration felt by some Edmontonians about the leadership-style of current city administration. He is a backlash candidate who could appeal to many voters who either disagree with the current mayor or feel left out of Edmonton’s decision-making process.

Despite the many criticisms of Councillor Diotte, he should not be discounted and should, at this point in time, be considered a serious candidate.

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The gaggle of Wildrose Opposition Caucus staffers standing at the back of the press conference may give an indication as to how the one-term Councillor plans to build a city-wide political campaign. With the Wildrose Party looking to gain an organizational toe-hold in major Alberta’s cities before the next election, it is easy to understand why their organizers would gravitate toward Councillor Diotte.

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Other candidates suspected to be interested in the mayor’s chair include Councillors Don Iveson, Karen Leibovici, and Amarjeet Sohi.

26 thoughts on “Updated: Kerry Diotte running for Mayor of Edmonton.”

  1. Kerry Diotte would make a very good leader of the opposition at a different order of government. I don’t believe he has the vision or the temperment to perform the political finessing it takes to be mayor.

  2. Mayor Mandel should learn how to bow out gracefully. He’s spent 9 years pushing ahead with pet project after pet project, and all the while the bigger issues like urban sprawl and crumbling infrastructure have been left unattended.

    We desperately need a new mayor, whether Stephen Mandel chooses to run again or not. Our roads this spring were worse than ever. That’s largely due to the lack of proper snow clearing they experienced over the winter, and the Mayor’s decision to move road repair funds into his pet LRT projects.

    Anyone that lives in/around 111th Ave can tell you what a nightmare “at grade” LRT has been. We need to stop this madness before Mandel’s next route cripples the traffic in Mill Woods and the West End.

  3. Barb and I were having a cuddle in bed this morning, laughing at Ryan Jesperson’s shirt on BT, so just the usual monrning. Then Barab turns to me and says Bora, which schmuck do you think will run for Mayor now Steve is hanging up his hat? Will that young boy, you know the one with the French name and the blog, will he be working on Don Iveson’s campaign for Mayor. I had to look at Barb in the eye and say “I don’t know”. I felt so sad. Even though she is in her 80s Barb is still so trusting of journalists, bloggers and politicians.

  4. Diotte had some valid points in his anti-arena opposition. I’m not nearly as strongly opposed but I do think the city could have gotten a better deal than it did.

    Even so, he would make a terrible mayor. A mayor can’t see things in the black and white that Diotte seems to see them in. While he’s not the bumbling idiot that Mayor Ford is, he does possess the same extremist characteristics and would be a blight on Edmonton.

  5. I doubt I’ll support Diotte for Mayor, but at least he has the guts to stand up to Mandel and his rip off of taxpayers. Something I can’t say for too many of the other Councillors.

  6. Well at least Mr. Diotte is making his intentions known now. If Mr. Mandel feels so strongly then maybe he would like to announce his intentions to run (or not run) right away and not hem and haw for another month?

  7. “gaggle” of WRP staffers? two or three? The mention of every man, woman and child being $3000 in debt thanks to the current administration, BEFORE borrowing for this terrible arena deal, is forebearance enough of a platform direction. As far as Mayor Pouty’s comments go, if Diotte tweets all the time during Council, then why are there no tweets on his account when Council is sitting? Or is that too difficult for the Fourth Estate to investigate?

  8. It’s great that he’s thrown his hat in. It gives people who are dissatisfied with the current direction of Edmonton’s administration a place to get involved.

    Anyone who engages in the process is to be commended… if not voted for.

    Will

  9. I’m sure the Wildrose gang were delighted to stand behind a guy saying “Well, I don’t really have a..you know…platform.”

  10. Please, Please, lets not have 3 left wing candidates to split the vote and let this tool into office. Keep it a 2 man (or woman) race.

  11. @Randy: At the rate everyone else has been deciding, Diotte won’t be elected. He’ll be acclaimed.

  12. I certainly will vote for Mr. Diotte. We NEED a new mayor, someone who doesn’t make the decisions that we don’t want. mr. mandel has done enough damage for 3 years.

  13. I have a lot of Respect for Mr Mandel and I think he has been Edmonton’s best Mayor. Than being said I think Kerry Diotte defiantly stands up for his constituents and is the most democratic city councilor I have met.Kerry has listened to people about the state of our roads the spending of our taxes and connected with business to further development in Edmonton.

    We can help business succeed but at some point they must succeed on their own. The Oilers and the Down town arena should have been build with private funding. Look at the huge scandal of katz donating to the Conservative party. That was wrong and Kerry is right for standing up for you and me.

    Kerry Diotte will be an amazing Mayor with a vision of lowering your property taxes not raising them every year.

  14. Hey Neal, you know how urban sprawl is dealt with? Develop new projects in and bring investment to downtown!! Give your head a shake!

  15. I refuse to comment on the growing speculation that I will be running for Mayor. I deny that I have been in contact with Nascar officals in a bid to turn the city centre airport into Edmonton Motor Speedway. And it is totally untrue that I have put the feelers out to CBC to see if they will consider expelling George Strombolopoulos from Toronto so he can take over the BT chair.

  16. Kerry Diotte for Mayor?! Just what Edmonton needs – its own Rob Ford clone. He will get alot of attention – ha ha ha.

  17. Don Iveson has the experience…and has clearly outlined the issues, as well as the approach to those issues. I see transparency and respect in his leadership.

    Kerry D is likely WRP…evidenced by the usual “not a clear platform”…and is somewhere between Ford and a Republican “teabagger” (and look at the boat that both the US and Ford are in now).

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