It has become clear to this political watcher that Edmonton’s mayoral election has become a race between two candidates with distinct competing visions for Edmonton. And those two candidates are Don Iveson and Kerry Diotte.
Don Iveson has positioned himself as the candidate who is looking beyond the status-quo and planning for Edmonton’s future. His thoughtful and forward-looking approaches to innovation, housing choice and infill development, light-rail transit, partnerships with capital region partners and critical infrastructure issues are the most comprehensive policies released by any mayoral candidate.
Mr. Iveson’s growing campaign is built on a foundation of solid ideas and driven a feeling of excitement about the opportunities available to Edmonton in the future. And with less than two weeks remaining in the election campaign, he needs to continue building positive momentum and avoid being distracted by attacks from his opponents.
Kerry Diotte’s four key issues – potholes, snow removal, spending and debt – have been the consistent focus of his campaign since the summer. The well-known former journalist’s message is appealing to a significant number of Edmontonians who feel disenchanted and disconnected from the city’s establishment and the decisions made at City Hall over the past nine years.
While Mr. Diotte would like to return Edmonton to where it was before Stephen Mandel became mayor, he has shown little evidence that he has the ability to build a coalition on city council in order to achieve his goals.
In the closing days of the campaign, expect Mr. Diotte to focus on wedge issues that will fire up his base of supporters (read: government spending and bike lanes). I would not be surprised if he tries to channel Rob Ford, who rocketed to office in Toronto by focusing on the issues that appealed to disenchanted voters in that city’s suburban communities.
Once perceived as the frontrunner in this race, Karen Leibovici has adopted a thick negative tone since a poll commissioned by the Edmonton Journal showed her in a distant third-place behind Mr. Iveson and Mr. Diotte. While the career politician has released decent position statements, these ideas have been overshadowed by her continued attacks on Mr. Iveson.
Ms. Leibovici’s declaration that Edmonton will “grind to a halt” if she is not elected mayor is comical and insulting. Edmontonians have enough common sense to know that the fate of civilization is not tied to the success of Karen Leibovici’s political career.
Ms. Leibovici’s uninspiring campaign is disappointing, because I do think she would be a competent administrator. Unfortunately, with her campaign showing little sign of upward momentum, it has become clear that Ms. Leibovici’s has decided that her only path to victory is by demonizing her opponents.
Edmontonians have two clear choices when they visit the polls on October 21: we can either move forward as a city with Don Iveson or move backward by focusing on the bare basics with Kerry Diotte.
Thanks for all the comments and responses. Not surprisingly, this post has sparked some interest in the campaign and has become one of the most well-read during this election.
I took a little heat on twitter from supporters of some mayoral candidates and from Edmonton Journal blogger David Staples, who, in a blog post implied that this website is an extension of Don Iveson’s campaign.
I want to be clear: there is no conspiracy. I wrote this post on my own accord. My blog includes my opinion and does not have any input from any political campaign. I have been publishing daveberta.ca for eight years and, similar to the role of columnist working at the Edmonton Journal, I use this space as an opportunity to publish opinions and observations that are my own.
But when it comes to my support in the October 21 election, Don Iveson is the clear choice in my mind and I am happy to lend my support to his campaign. I have publicly stated my support on this blog and during the #yegvote Google Hangout.