Politics gets NIMBY in the Edmonton-Whitemud by-election

Tim Grover Danielle Smith Edmonton-Whitemud by-election 2014 3

Edmonton-Whitemud Wildrose candidate Tim Grover, with Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, MLAs Kerry Towle, Jeff Wilson, Bruce Rowe and other nominated Wildrose candidates.

The phrase “all politics is local” has been used many times to describe voters who might shy away from trying to restructure health care or environmental policy but are passionate about potholes or saving the park down their street.

Stephen Mandel Edmonton

Stephen Mandel

This phrase appears to be particularily reflective of the Edmonton-Whitemud by-election, where former Edmonton mayor and appointed Health Minister Stephen Mandel is campaigning for election to the Legislative Assembly as a Progressive Conservative candidate.

While his opponents from the New Democrat and Liberal parties – Dr. Bob Turner and Dr. Donna Wilson – have made health care issues the focus of their campaigns – including the aging and overcrowded Misericordia Hospital –  Mr. Mandel’s Wildrose opponent is looking to other local wedge issues to attack the former mayor.

As volunteers canvass door-to-door in the constituency, the campaign of Wildrose candidate Tim Grover is circulating a letter from a local resident who opposed a controversial Terwilligar Housing First development.

[Read the letter here]

Dr Bob Turner NDP Edmonton-Whitemud By-election

Dr. Bob Turner

The letter alleges that at an August 2013 town-hall meeting about the proposed housing development, then-mayor Mr. Mandel loudly shouted at a group of residents about the project. While the tensions were high at the meeting, community members I have spoken with who attended the town hall meeting dispute the allegation that Mr. Mandel actually shouted at anyone at the meeting.

As part of the City of Edmonton’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, the development would have provided permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless Edmontonians. And because of the outcry of a small and vocal group of community members, the development was cancelled.

While the proposal was not perfect, the debate around the Terwilligar Housing First development had all the hallmark characteristics of NIMBYism (“Not In My Backyard”).

Rachel Notley Edmonton MLA Strathcona NDP

Rachel Notley

When he launched his campaign, Mr. Mandel said that he would run on his nine-year record as Mayor of Edmonton. And while he has a lot to be proud of, after three terms in office Mr. Mandel did collect a certain amount of political baggage. Because of this, it is not surprising that his political opponents would try to exploit these wedge issues during an election campaign.

Last week, two articulate members from the Haddow neighbourhood spoke to the CBC about their opposition to the development of a surplus school site that Mr. Mandel supported. I am told that “Save Haddow Park” signs have now been spotted in Mr. Grover’s campaign office.

NDP army campaigns for Dr. Bob

Fresh from her victory in the NDP leadership contest, Edmonton-Strathcona MLA Rachel Notley led an army of volunteers on to the streets of Edmonton-Whitemud. The NDP took a break from their weekend leadership convention to bus as many volunteers as possible from downtown’s Sutton Place Hotel to the southwest to help candidate Dr. Bob Turner.

Voters in Edmonton-Whitemud, Calgary-Elbow, Calgary-Foothills and Calgary-West will vote on October 27, 2014. Advance Polls are: being held on October 22, 23, 24 and, 25, 2014.

8 thoughts on “Politics gets NIMBY in the Edmonton-Whitemud by-election

  1. Rene

    Once again 3 male candidates photos and stories appear and nothing on the woman candidate.

    Is the bias against women or ALP?

    Reply
  2. Kyla

    Rene, I can assure you the bias isn’t against women and lies solely with the fact that the female candidate hasn’t done anything silly like plaster a neighbourhood with a letter intent on provoking voters. Maybe Dave doesn’t have a good photo of Donna?

    Reply
  3. Lesley

    I too was at the meeting sitting in the second row. Former mayor came late even tho at the same event as the Catholic nun who arrived on time. He did call us NIMBY’s in a voice that sounded loud to me, he was extremely dismissive and waved his hand as is swishing us away. The entire meeting had been hijacked by the dais and then Mandel. It was suppose to be an opportunity for residents to ask questions but they ran out of time.

    The only one mud slinging in our community would seem to be Mandel, once again.

    On a side note, it was interesting that the media all shut off their cameras prior to his entrance, not that they would have aired it.

    I voted for this man, and I now feel dirty that I did. Last year’s event opened my eyes wide upon doing my own research. Too bad the media reads the news but no longer investigates it.

    Reply
  4. reality

    @lesley…when it comes to their white collar sweethearts….there is no media. The only journalist in Alberta is CBC Charles Rusnell. The rest of them are either helping the PCs in Edmonton, or Wildrose in Calgary. There is no such thing as balanced politics in Alberta. Media plays favorites and selectively gives airtime at a time of its choosing. Money and power.

    Reply
  5. Cora

    I was at that same meeting, front row in fact. It was a very hostile meeting and a lot of shouting going on. Mandel showed up towards the end. Yes he did yell and yes he was dismissive. Remember housing the homeless was his passion. I had spoken many times in front of city council about the distribution of non-market housing and was shouted at for being “NIMBY” by Mandel. He is not a pleasant person to deal with at all. Also he did say to the room that the project would go forward no matter, as we know that didn’t happen.

    Reply
  6. Rural gal

    Gee, will he shout at seniors who want long term beds? Health care fix needs a lot more than a mr nimby! Or perhaps more of the “my way or the highway”. I have been a senior advocate for years and I am ashamed of my province with its wealth that we have treated and neglected these folks for so long! I fear for them with a continuing PC govt. They are announcing continuing care beds – we need long term care beds. Just saying!

    Reply
  7. GoinFawr

    What exactly is the guy on the far right of that pic staring at so intently anyway?
    Opponents might find the following speech of Mr.Mandel’s interesting:
    http://alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=371919FB781CE-99CD-56D8-CB3E787C90AC7449
    Simply scroll down to the audio; he starts speaking at around 7 min, the neat bit (Freudian slip?) happens ~8:23

    “….we probably won’t have enough beds available, and so we will be bidding, uh building in conjunction with my partner from, uh, from uh, um, seniors…”

    Reply
  8. Clarification...

    On the surface, the voiced concerns from Terwillegar residents on the proposed Terwilligar Housing First development may have been simply seen and portrayed as NIMBYism, or at least that what the involved parties wanted it to look like…

    Amidst other concerns, there were many health care workers and allies in the group too who investigated the details of the proposal and the parties involved and concluded, based on lack of precedent evidence from other cities who have done this as well as track records from involved proponents, that this project was setup to fail, and would not only have resulted in shunning of the single homeless men group (high risk category) to a very remote area with no immediate reasonable support, but would also resulted in channeling of tax-payers’ funds to a proponent that was not transparent, had more than questionable accountability track record and with an underlying primary focus for profit… which unfortunately in this case involved profiting from those most disadvantaged in our society.

    Reply

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