Tag Archives: Bridget Mearns

The new (and old) faces of municipal elections in Alberta

Tomorrow is election day and in counties, municipal districts, villages, towns, and cities across the province, Albertans will cast their votes for mayors, reeves, councillors, aldermen, and school trustees.

Naheed Nenshi

Naheed Nenshi

In Calgary, uber-popular mayor Naheed Nenshi is expected to crush his opponents, including former Progressive Conservative MLA Jon Lord and a cast of challengers from the political fringe. This election also marks a change of title for Calgary city council members, from “Alderman” to “Councillor.”

With voters in Alberta’s second, third, and fourth largest cities – Edmonton, Red Deer, and Lethbridge – selecting new mayors, there could be a shift in how municipalities interact with the provincial government. With the ongoing war of words between Mayor Nenshi and Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths, a cast of new mayors could create a new dynamic in municipal-provincial relations in Alberta.

Don Iveson Edmonton Mayor Election

Don Iveson

In Edmonton, I am supporting for Don Iveson for Mayor. But don’t take my word for it. Check out Don Iveson’s ideas for our city and be sure to take a look at what the other candidates are offering. With 6 city councillors not seeking re-election and at least one incumbent in a vulnerable position, there will be some new faces on Edmonton City Council.

While there will be many new faces on municipal councils after the votes are counted, there could be some familiar characters returning to the fray. Observers of provincial politics in Alberta will recognize some of these candidates.

Fallen Tory titan Ray Danyluk is challenging incumbent Steve Upham to become the next Reeve of the County of St. Paul.  Since the former cabinet minister was unseated by Wildroser Shayne Saskiw in the 2012 election, he has become the unofficial government representative in northeast Alberta, hosting traveling cabinet ministers at events and town hall meetings.

Alberta PC MLA Ray Danyluk

Ray Danyluk

In Fort McMurray, former PC-turned-Wildrose MLA Guy Boutilier is running for a councillor position on Wood Buffalo’s municipal council, a place where he served as mayor before entering provincial politics in 1997. In Edmonton, former MLA Edmonton-Mill Woods Liberal MLA Weslyn Mather and former Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview MLA Ray Martin could be elected as trustees on Edmonton’s Public School Board.

In St. Albert, where anonymous smear groups run rampant, former Alberta Liberal Party leader Bob Russell is aiming for a political comeback. While he was never elected to the Assembly, Mr. Russell served as Liberal Party leader from 1971 to 1974. He later served as an alderman in St. Albert from 1989 to 1992 and 1995 to 2001.

In the Village of Wabamum, former Stony Plain Tory MLA Fred Lindsay is running as part of a 3-candidate slate. Running for re-election to Wabamum village council, but not on Mr. Lindsay’s slate, is Bill Purdy, who served as the PC MLA for Stony Plain from 1971 to 1986.

Familial relations also cross municipal-provincial lines. Judy Hehr, mother of Calgary-Buffalo Liberal MLA Kent Hehr is running for a spot on the Calgary Board of Education. Strathcona-Sherwood Park PC MLA Dave Quest‘s wife, Fiona Beland-Quest, is running to become a councillor in Strathcona County. Lethbridge mayoral candidate Bridget Mearns is the daughter of Lethbridge-East‘s Liberal-turned-PC MLA Bridget Pastoor. And in Edmonton, Ward 8 councillor Ben Henderson is running for re-election. Mr. Henderson is married to Edmonton-Centre Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman.

In the City of Airdrie, Jane Anderson, the mother of Airdrie Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson is running for a spot on city council as part of the Airdrie United slate. Mr. Anderson’s brother, Nathan Anderson, is running for re-election as mayor of the town of Crossfield.

The appearance of municipal slates in Airdrie and Red Deer could signal the return of partisan style politics in municipal government (slates were common in Alberta’s larger cities until the 1970s and 1980s).

alberta politics notes 8/26/2010

– Finance Minister Ted Morton is not ruling out the idea of a Provincial Sales Tax for Alberta. Premier Ed Stelmach says it will not happen as long as he is in office. The Government of Alberta remains in a $4.7 billion deficit.
– Over 500 people packed a hall in Vegreville to voice their opposition to the construction of new electrical transmission lines. Although he is the MLA for this area and was invited to the meeting, Premier Stelmach declined to attend.
– Michael Walters is the new Executive Director of the Alberta Party. Mr. Walters previously served and excelled in his role as Lead Organizer for the Greater Edmonton Alliance from 2004 to 2010.
– Former City Councillors Michael Phair and Patricia Mackenzie have written an excellent opinion-editorial in the Edmonton Journal explaining why they believe redeveloping the City Centre Airport lands will benefit Edmonton.
Reboot 3.0 is scheduled for November 5 and 6 in Edmonton.
– Jeffrey Coffman is seeking election to Lethbridge City Council. Mr. Coffman previously served as an Alderman from 1995 to 1998 and later as Chief of Staff to MLA Ken NicolBridget Mearns, daughter of Lethbridge-East Liberal MLA Bridget Pastoor, has announced her campaign for Lethbridge City Council. Also in the running is long-time conservative activist and college professor Faron Ellis.
– What motivated Wildrose leader Danielle Smith to jump to the defence of a failing private health clinic?
– Quebec Conservative MP Maxime Bernier has recaped his summer visit to Edmonton and his encounters with Wildrose leader Ms. Smith and Edmonton-Strathcona Conservative candidate Ryan Hastman. Mr. Bernier’s former colleague Ken Epp is now the vice-president of the Strathcona Wildrose Alliance association. Mr. Epp represented the Elk Island and Edmonton-Sherwood Park constituencies from 1993 to 2006.
– Michael Butler has been acclaimed as the federal Liberal candidate in Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont. Mr. Butler has ran twice for the NDP in 2008, federally in Mill Woods-Beaumont and provincially in Edmonton-Rutherford. The riding has been represented by Conservative MP Mike Lake since 2006 after the retirement of long-time Liberal MP David Kilgour.

Read more in the Alberta Politics Notes archive.