Tag Archives: Ryan Hastman

Ryan Hastman is a former Conservative Party of Canada candidate and a political commentator.

Dust, Sweat and Blood: In defence of the modern political campaign

Guest post by Ryan Hastman

Note: Sarcasm function is set to 8/10 for the remainder of this piece.

Thank you to my good friend Dave for the opportunity to contribute this guest blog.  As everyone in Canada knows, we are nearing the end of that most awful of all times: the political campaign. A time when kitschy candidates make their best attempt to interrupt your dinner and beg for your vote. When we all have to try to cope with lawn signs distracting from our natural scenery and the news being dominated by “this leader did this today and that leader did that” taking over the nightly news. Right? 

Please. All of you (political) ‘muggles’ (look it up) won’t be getting much sympathy from me. Sorry, maybe that’s a bit harsh. You’ll have to forgive me, like many other failed politicians before me, I worked hard and fell short, but lived to tell the tale.  The advantage is now I can use more humour and sarcasm in pieces like this.

Some of you may be familiar with a famous speech that many politicians and political types are always referring to: the “man in the arena”, a part of a speech titled “Citizenship in a Republic  given by the former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910.

Here is the most frequently quoted part:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I’m sure other groups involved in intense projects have their own poetry to celebrate what they do. For many politicos, this particular speech really resonates. Why? Because win or lose, if done for the right reasons, politics is hard. No matter if a person is a hard leftist or the most right leaning libertarian, or anything in between, politicos expose themselves to many risks and costs that most people do not. There is a cost to your health, finances and to your family.

How many other professions submit themselves to constant criticism (“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better),  who submits themselves to scrutiny and public judgment while engaging in a highly personal zero sum battle that resembles intellectual war (credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming), yet knowing that at the end of it all politics and concerning ourselves with the polity is noble and important (who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause), spending their most productive years in the one industry where there is no second place (who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly)?

In what other important profession/activity do rational people seek to ask their friends and neighbours for help, votes and money, in fact are unable to succeed without doing so? With all respect to my “ivory tower” colleagues (read: political science professors), until you interrupt a regular citizen’s day to ask them for a vote, to volunteer or to donate their money, you do not understand how it feels to expose yourself to such rejection. On the positive side, working with regular folks – moms, dads, grandparents, working people, students, youth – who are setting aside the pressures on their own life in order to show up and lend a hand is rewarding like no other.

To someone who has been through the entire process of running for office, there is nothing as demoralizing as hearing about apathy.  For a typical candidate for office, the process is long and difficult – a nomination contest and then a general election – where their families, careers and personal lives are made secondary and everything is sacrificed for the cause. There are tremendous rewards, the most significant of which is the privilege of governing.  No one is forced to get involved, and I’m not arguing for sympathy.

Because I am in the club of people who have been through this, I feel empathy for those who have also stood in the arena. Even if I disagree with everything they believe, I have a respect for the folks who are part of the process. I will defend every last NDP left wing crank from attacks from the “critic” class.  They may be wrong, but good on them for getting involved. Before you criticize, have you volunteered?

But the next time you hear a “Reporter/ news anchor/ talk show content producer” make a comment like this one: “17 phone calls, 4 doorbell rings, and 5 pamphlets. Congrats #yycfoothills candidates, you’ve given me voter apathy,” remember this: Please think of the candidate’s family, which hasn’t seen her or him in months. Think of the busy volunteers, who sacrifice family time to make those calls and doorknocks. Think of the sign guys, God bless them, who drive around and do the thankless work of installing the signs that everyone loves to hate. I love the sign guys. And I even love lawn signs. Those kitschy, tacky signs that clog up all of our boulevards and make us question the judgment of our neighbours are a beautiful sight to me. I call them the blooming flowers of democracy. When you look at them, don’t see a lawn sign. See a unit of campaign resources. See the late nights spent building them and digging them into (often frozen) ground. See the sign crew driving around checking up on their signs, fixing vandalized ones and often straightening out their opponent’s signs too.

The only group that dusty, sweaty and bloody political arena-warriors discount more than the “ivory tower” critic is this: the political fluke. AARG!! It is hard to overstate how annoying it is for the fluke candidates who don’t work hard and still win. Maybe it’s jealousy. So sue me. To be clear, it has nothing to do with their background or age. It has everything to do with not working hard or respecting the political process.  If you win and didn’t try, we can’t be friends. Well, we probably can eventually, but I’m going to have resentment issues with you.


Ryan Hastman is a former Conservative Party of Canada candidate and a political commentator. Follow him on Twitter @RyanHastman.

Conservatives approach a full-slate of nominated candidates in Alberta

With the next federal election less than one year away, the Conservative Party of Canada is close to nominating a full slate of candidates in Alberta’s 34 newly redrawn ridings. By my count, Calgary Rocky Ridge, Edmonton-Griesbach, Edmonton-RiverbendLakeland and Peace River-Westlock are the only ridings without nominated Conservative candidates in this province.  The other parties lag behind, with the Liberals only having nominated eleven candidates, the NDP four and the Green Party only two.

Nirmala Naidoo Liberal Calgary Rocky Ridge

Nirmala Naidoo

Calgary-Rocky Ridge
The Liberals rolled out a high-profile nominee in this northwest Calgary constituency. Former CBC News anchor Nirmala Naidoo has announced her plans to seek the Liberal nomination, scheduled for December 16, 2014.

Five candidates are contesting the Conservative nomination in this constituency. Party activist Gord Elliott has collected endorsements from Nova Scotia MP Scott Armstrong and Manitoba Senator Donald Plett. City of Calgary lawyer Paul Frank also ran in Alberta’s 2012 Senator-in-Waiting election. Patrick Kelly is a Conservative Party volunteer and former Real Estate Board member. Teacher and homebuilder Dan Morrison was a third candidate in his party’s painful Calgary-Signal Hill nomination. And Arnie Stephens is a retired oil and gas business executive with the endorsement of former MP Eric Lowther, who had initially announced plans to run in this nomination contest.

Michael Cooper Conservative Edmonton St Albert

Michael Cooper

St. Albert-Edmonton
Long-time partisan activist and lawyer Michael Cooper defeated past Edmonton-Strathcona candidate Ryan Hastman to become the next Conservative candidate in this suburban riding.

Mr. Cooper is known in political circles for his hard-line conservative positions and has been involved in politics since he was a teenaged national director of the Canadian Alliance Party. His previously electoral experience includes running a generously self-financed campaign for St. Albert City Council at the age of 19 (he was unsuccessful in that bid).

Mr. Cooper will face incumbent Independent Member of Parliament Brent Rathgeber. Mr. Rathgeber has been harshly critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper since he resigned from the Conservative caucus in 2013.

Terry Hogan Conservative Peace River Westlock

Terry Hogan

Peace River – Westlock
Former Member of Parliament Albert Cooper is looking to make a political comeback. The Progressive Conservative MP for the former Peace River riding from 1980 to 1993 faces school principal Terry Hogan for the Conservative nomination.

Calgary-Centre
Popular Calgary-Buffalo Liberal MLA Kent Hehr was nominated as the federal Liberal candidate in this hotly contested riding on Nov. 28. First elected to the provincial assembly in 2008, Mr. Hehr will face off against Conservative incumbent Joan Crockatt. Ms. Crockatt was narrowly elected in a 2012 by-election that saw her party’s share of the vote drop by 18,210 votes. Only a sharp vote split between Liberal Harvey Locke and Green Chris Turner ensured a Conservative win.

Kerry Diotte Edmonton Mayor Election

Kerry Diotte

Edmonton-Griesbach
On Dec. 6, former city councillor Kerry Diotte and party organizer Omar Tarchichi will face off for the Conservative nomination in this redrawn east Edmonton riding.

The current Edmonton-East riding is represented by MP body-cam advocate Peter Goldring, who plans to retire after 18 years in Ottawa. Mr. Tarchichi has received Mr. Goldring’s endorsement and both candidates have been endorsed by former premier Ed Stelmach. Mr. Diotte’s former council colleague Tony Caterina has endorsed Mr. Tarchichi.

Sherwood Park – Fort Saskatchewan
Past Wildrose candidate Garnett Genuis defeated three competitors one competitor to win the Conservative nomination in this new riding east of Edmonton. In the 2012 provincial election, Mr. Genuis ran as the Wildrose candidate in the Sherwood Park constituency, placing second behind PC candidate Cathy Olesen.

The Liberals nominated lawyer Rodney Frank on Nov. 25. A Liberal press release describes Mr. Frank has working in the “telecommunications industry” and specializing “in competition and antitrust law.”


I am maintaining a list of candidates who have announced their intentions to seek nominations and run in the next federal election in Alberta ridings. Please contact me at david.cournoyer [at] gmail.com for additions or updates related to candidate nominations in Alberta.

Scramble for federal nominations begins in Alberta

Jim Hillyer MP Lethbridge Medicine Hat

Lethbridge MP Jim Hillyer

It’s a fight – or at least it could be if two southern Alberta Conservative Members of Parliament seek their party’s nomination in the same riding. Boundary changes in the next federal election will mean that Lethbridge Conservative MP Jim Hillyer will find himself living within the boundaries of the new Medicine Hat riding. Mr. Hillyer has already announced he plans to seek the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in the new Medicine Hat riding, which may pit him against current Medicine Hat MP LeVar Payne. Mr. Payne has represented that riding since 2008 and has not yet announced his plans for the next election. UPDATE: Mr. Hillyer may be having second thoughts.

Blaine Calkins Red Deer Wolf Creek MP

Blaine Calkins

Another nomination contest among incumbents may have been averted as Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins has announced he will seek the Conservative nomination in the new Red Deer-Wolf Creek riding. It was suspected that Mr. Calkins could have sought the nomination in the new Edmonton-Wetaskiwin riding, which could have placed him in competition with fellow Conservative MPs Mike Lake and James Rajotte.

Six-term Member of Parliament Jason Kenney announced on Twitter that he will seek the Conservative nomination in the new Calgary-Shepard Calgary-Midnapore riding. Mr. Kenney was first elected in Calgary-Southeast in 1997 and currently serves as Minister of Employment and Social Development.

With her Edmonton-Spruce Grove riding being redistributed in the next election, it is expected that Conservative MP Rona Ambrose may choose to seek her party’s nomination in the new Sturgeon River riding.

Bashir Mohamed NDP Edmonton Griesbach

Bashir Mohamed

Bashir Mohamed has entered the New Democratic Party nomination race in the new Edmonton-Griesbach riding. A student at the University of Alberta, Mr. Mohammed caused a stir last year when he  confronted Mr. Kenney at a Conservative Party fundraiser about the federal government’s cuts to refugee health care. He joins teacher Janis Irwin in the NDP contest.

Entrepreneur Randy Boissonnault launched his campaign to win the Liberal Party of Canada nomination in Edmonton-Centre. A video of his nomination speech is available on his website.

As mentioned in my previous roundup, Ryan Hastman has made official his plans to seek the Conservative Party of Canada nomination in St. Albert-Edmonton. A fundraiser for the University of Alberta, Mr. Hastman was the 2008 Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona.

Matt Grant Liberal Calgary Confederation

Matt Grant

Lawyer Matt Grant has announced plans to seek the Liberal Party nomination in the new Calgary-Confederation riding, which will include most of the current Calgary-Centre North riding. Currently an associate with Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP, he previously worked as executive assistant to Calgary Liberal MLAs Craig Cheffins and Kent Hehr.

Seven-term Conservative MP Leon Benoit will also be affected by the electoral boundary changes. The Lloydminster Source reported that Mr. Benoit told an audience of supporters that “no decision has been made on where he would be running, but one thing for sure is that he would not be running against his colleagues in the next general election.”

The Vegreville-Wainwright riding, which Mr. Benoit has represented since 2004, will be redistributed into the new Lakeland riding. He currently resides in Sherwood Park, which will be included in the new Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan riding. If re-elected in 2015, Mr. Benoit will become Alberta’s longest serving Member of Parliament.

Some Conservatives would like to convince former Progressive Conservative MLA Rob Lougheed to seek their party’s nomination in the new Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan. Mr. Lougheed represented the area in the Alberta Legislature from 1997 to 2008.

Dan Bildhauer plans to seek the Liberal Party nomination in the new Edmonton-West riding. According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Bildhauer is the Director of Operations for Bildhaur Construction and worked as a Senior Policy Advisor for Citizenship and Immigration Canada from 2007 to 2013.

Tanveer Taj has announced his plans to run as a candidate in the Calgary-Skyview constituency. It is unclear whether he will seek a party nomination or run as an Independent. Mr. Taj earned 19% of the vote as a candidate in Calgary’s City Council Ward 3 in the recent municipal election.

See the full list of federal election nomination candidates in Alberta 

Nomination races begin for federal election 2015

There are 705 days until Monday, October 19, 2015, when the next Canadian federal election is scheduled to be held. With less than two years until Canadians choose who will serve as Members of Parliament and with new electoral boundaries coming into effect at the next election, candidates across Alberta are preparing to seek party nominations, a first step to becoming a candidate.

Edmonton's 2015 electoral districts as recommended by the Electoral Boundary Commission Final Report.

Edmonton’s 2015 electoral districts as recommended by the Electoral Boundary Commission Final Report.

Last week’s resignation announcement by Conservative MP Ted Menzies opens the door for a by-election to be held in southwest Alberta’s Macleod riding. When the next election is called, Macleod will be dissolved and the new Foothills riding will be created. Rumours circulated soon after Mr. Menzies announcement that Wildrose official opposition leader Danielle Smith could seek the Conservative nomination were quickly quashed when he announced she would remain as MLA for Highwood. According to the Okotoks Western Wheel, three local residents, businessman Scott Wagner, rancher Phil Rowland and former Parliament Hill staffer Melissa Mathieson, have expressed interest in seeking the Conservative nomination.

With former Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber confirming he will run as an Independent in the new St. Albert-Edmonton riding in the next election, aspirants are already lining up to contest Conservative Party nomination.

Expected to enter the race in St. Albert-Edmonton is businessman and former political organizer Ryan Hastman, who is currently employed as a Regional Director in the University of Alberta‘s Office of Advancement. Readers of his blog will recognize Mr. Hastman as a co-host of the #yegvote Google Hangout and as the 2011 Conservative candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona. He has previously worked in Prime Minister Stephen Harper‘s Office and for the Wildrose Party.

Lawyer and conservative activist Michael Cooper has already announced his candidacy in the St. Albert-Edmonton Conservative nomination and has the support of the provincial Progressive Conservative establishment, including endorsements from Finance Minister Doug Horner, Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk, and St. Albert MLA Stephen Khan. Also in the race is Kevin Tam, a Conservative Party activist who is currently employed as a researcher with the provincial Liberal Opposition.

Lethbridge and southern Alberta 2015 electoral districts as recommended by the Electoral Boundary Commission Final Report.

Lethbridge and southern Alberta 2015 electoral districts as recommended by the Electoral Boundary Commission Final Report.

Changing boundaries in southern Alberta mean that Lethbridge Conservative MP Jim Hillyer will soon find himself living inside the redrawn Medicine Hat riding, currently represented by Conservative MP LeVar Payne. While a nomination race between the two incumbents could easily be averted if Mr. Hillyer runs in the newly redrawn Lethbridge, he may still face a tough nomination contest now that his large base of support in the southern half of the old riding will now living in a new riding.

After a narrow win in last year’s by-election, Conservative MP Joan Crockatt can expect a strong challenge from a newly revitalized Liberal Party organization in Calgary-Centre.

Conservatives have still yet to resolve who will run in the handful of new ridings created in south Edmonton. Similar to the situation in southern Alberta, Conservatives are hopeful that nomination battles between MPs Mike Lake, James Rajotte, and Blaine Calkins can be averted. This may be even further complicated if current Edmonton-Sherwood Park MP Tim Uppal decides to seek a nomination in the newly redrawn Edmonton-Mill Woods riding. Mr. Uppal was the Canadian Alliance and Conservative candidate in south east Edmonton in the 2000 and 2004 federal elections and lost his party nomination to Mr. Lake before the 2006 election.

Rod Loyola announced his intentions to seek the NDP nomination in Edmonton-Mill Woods last year. Mr. Loyola was the 2012 provincial NDP candidate in Edmonton-Ellerslie and is currently the president of the Non-Academic Staff Association at the University of Alberta.

Calgary's 2015 electoral districts as recommended by the Electoral Boundary Commission Final Report.

Calgary’s 2015 electoral districts as recommended by the Electoral Boundary Commission Final Report.

With the retirement of Calgary-Nose Hill MP Diane Ablonczy, who was first elected under the Reform Party banner in 1993, Calgarians can expect a hotly contested nomination race in this riding that is considered a Conservative stronghold. One candidate rumoured to be considering a run for a nomination is Calgary-Foothills PC MLA Len Webber, who served as a cabinet minister in Premier Ed Stelmach‘s government but was shuffled to the backbenches after Alison Redford became Premier in 2011.

In the always contested Edmonton-Centre, aboriginal activist and educator Lewis Cardinal, announced earlier this year that he would once again seek the NDP nomination. In 2011, Mr. Cardinal increased his party’s support in that riding by 11%, placing second to Conservative incumbent Laurie Hawn. The central Edmonton riding was represented by Liberal MP Anne McLellan from 1993 until 2006. Hoping for a revival of Liberal support in the next election, a number of candidates are said to be preparing to contest the Liberal nomination, including entrepreneur and Rhodes Scholar Randy Boissonnault, and  2011 candidate and lawyer Mary MacDonald.

Two-term Edmonton-Decore PC MLA Janice Sarich is rumoured to be mounting a challenge against current Edmonton-East Conservative MP Peter Goldring in the new Edmonton-Griesbach riding. With Mr. Goldring back in the Conservative fold after sitting as an independent, he is expected to seek his party’s nomination in the new riding. The NDP are searching for a star candidate in this riding, after seeing their support steadily increase since the past four federal elections. The new riding also significantly overlaps the areas represented by NDP MLA Brian Mason, David Eggen, and Deron Bilous in the provincial Legislature. The NDP’s 2008 and 2012 candidate, former MLA Ray Martin, was elected to serve on Edmonton’s Public School Board on October 21, 2013.

Update (November 14, 2013): Educator Janis Irwin has announced her intention to seek the NDP nomination in the new Edmonton-Griesbach riding.

Because lists are something that this writer tends to do well, I will soon start a list tracking declared and nominated candidates planning to run in the 2015 federal election in Edmonton. If I have missed anyone in this round-up, please post a comment below or send me an email at davidcournoyer@gmail.com.

#yegvote hangout – post-election “after hours” edition

Last night we hosted the final #yegvote Edmonton election Google Hangout. Not surprisingly, we had a lot of topics to discuss in our post-election “after hours” edition, ranging from school board races, new city councillors, and, of course, the mayoral election.

When we started recording these hangouts in June 2013, I don’t believe many of us would have predicted the 62% landslide victory that Don Iveson earned on October 21. While most media embraced the narrative of a three- or two-candidate horserace, the results would suggest that it was neither. According to unofficial poll-by-poll results, Mr. Iveson won every poll across Edmonton except eight (four where he placed second and four where he was tied).

Our new mayor was a guest on this hangout in August, and we were joined by his opponent Kerry Diotte in early October. We were also happy to have Steven Dollansky, Kathleen Smith, Aliza Dadani, the Local Good, and Chris Labossiere and Patricia Misutka join us as guests on the hangout.

Thanks to my co-hosts Mack Make and Ryan Hastman for helping make the #yegvote hangout a success. And thank you to everyone who has tuned in to watch us live or our archived videos (which will remain online for the time-being). We have enjoyed hosting these hangouts and may continue to record new versions of the hangout on EdmontonPolitics.com in the future. Stay tuned.

#yegvote Google Hangout with Kerry Diotte

Last night on the #yegvote Google Hangout, Ryan Hastman, Mack Male and I were joined by mayoral candidate Kerry Diotte. We faced some minor technical difficulties, but overall I feel we had a good conversation with Mr. Diotte about his campaign for mayor and some of the key issues he has been focusing on.

While the other two main candidates for mayor are releasing more broad platforms, Mr. Diotte remains focused on four key issues – roads, debt, taxes and the arena deal. It is an interesting strategy, as I have little doubt that these are four issues he is hearing at the doors and will resonate with a significant number of voters in Edmonton.

With just more than two weeks left in the election campaign, we plan to host a few more #yegvote Google Hangouts with some more special guests. Watch EdmontonPolitics.com for details.

Watch our archived episodes on EdmontonPolitics.com or follow the links below
September 26 – Special guests from The Local Good
September 23 – Nomination Day hangout
September 12 – Special guest Steven Dollansky
September 5 – Special guest Kathleen Smith (aka @Kikkiplanet)
August 29 – Special guest mayoral candidate Don Iveson
August 15 – Special guest Aliza Dadani from ActivatED
July 18 – Second #yegvote Google Hangout
June 27 – First #yegvote Google Hangout

 

Edmonton Election Substance and Style #1

With Edmonton’s election campaign in full-swing, it is easy for this political watcher to miss a moment or campaign announcement over the course of a week. At the beginning or end of each week, I plan to compile ‘Substance and Style’, a summary of some the week’s events that I may have missed. Please share a comment below if you believe I missed any important stories.

Substance

Don Iveson Edmonton Mayor Election

Don Iveson

Mayoral candidate Don Iveson released some thoughtful positions supporting entrepreneurs and small businessesrenewing roads and infrastructure, and taking a fresh look at how Edmonton is fundedKerry Diotte stayed away from the fray, mostly attending forums and campaign events. As for policy, he continues to focus on his four key issues – roads, debt, taxes and the arena deal. Meanwhile, Karen Leibovici released statements on transit smart cards, fast-tracking a small and medium sized business review, and clearing snow from city sidewalks for seniors.

Ward 10 council candidate Michael Walters released his eight priorities at City Hall. Ward 5 candidate Michael Oshry wrote a thoughtful blog post on municipal debt.

Kerry Diotte Edmonton Mayor Election

Kerry Diotte

#yegvote Google Hangout
Mr. Diotte will be joining Mack Male, Ryan Hastman and I for a conversation on our next #yegvote Google Hangout on Thursday, October 3 at 8:00 p.m. Visit EdmontonPolitics.com to watch the hangout and use the #yegvote hashtag on Twitter to pose questions that we can ask Mr. Diotte during the hangout.

Donor Lists Released
Ms. Leibovici released her list of donors, which showed $365,000 in donations. Mr. Iveson released his list of donors, totalling $318,772. Mr. Diotte has said that he will not release the list of his financial backers until he is legally obligated to after the election.

Style

Karen Leibovici Edmonton Mayor Election

Karen Leibovici

Leibovici goes negative
Ms. Leibovici’s campaign launched a negative attack on Mr. Iveson over the weekend. In a campaign press release, Ms. Leibovici attacked both Mr. Iveson and popular Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, claiming they are conspiring to increase the federal Goods & Services Tax by 1%. There is not any evidence that Mr. Iveson plans to raise the GST, nor is that a power any mayor actually has.

Ironically, Ms. Leibovici spoke out against the 1% cut to GST in 2007, accusing the federal government of being unfair to municipalities by refusing to give them more money to fix sidewalks and sewers.

More gutter politics
A email account operating under the fake name “Henry Frendman” is circulating copies of a a satirical column that Mr. Iveson wrote fifteen years ago for the student newspaper at the University of Alberta. The fake email quotes the obviously satirical column, titled “Workers of the World: Repose!“, and accuses Mr. Iveson of being a Marxist. “That was clearly written as a joke when I was 20 and that is what you do in campus newspapers. You write silly things to get a rise out of people,” Mr. Iveson told Metro Edmonton.

As the mayoral election gets closer and some campaigns get desperate, expect more negative campaigning.

Debt Misinformation
Disappointingly, misinformation about Edmonton’s debt levels continues to penetrate the mainstream media. In a recent Edmonton Journal column, former city councillor Mike Nickel, now running in Ward 11, was referenced as claiming the city is near the top of its borrowing limit. This is simply untrue. As of 2012, the City of Edmonton has reached 52% of its borrowing as limited by the provincial government.

A short roundup of municipal election races across Alberta

With a feeling of excitement in the air, Nomination Day came and went today as residents across Alberta officially became candidates in this year’s municipal election. With nearly 120 candidates registered to run in Edmonton’s municipal election, today’s event was busy. I was at Edmonton City Hall at this morning’s event and snapped photos of many candidates.

While it was expected that some Edmonton City Council candidates could be acclaimed, the only two unchallenged incumbents in this year’s vote are Edmonton Public School Trustees Sarah Hoffman and Cheryl Johner. I have updated the list of Edmonton election candidates with their social media links.

After a busy morning and evening of attending election related events, I joined Ryan Hastman and Mack Male for a special Nomination Day #yegvote Google Hangout. You can watch the hangout in the embedded video above and find previous episodes at EdmontonPolitics.com.

Here is a quick look at some of the interesting municipal election news from across Alberta:

– Popular Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is expected to cruise to victory, but still faces eight challengers.

– Former Progressive Conservative MLA and cabinet minister Ray Danyluk is running to become the next Reeve of St. Paul County. Mr. Danyluk served as MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul from 2001 until 2012.

– Former PC and Wildrose candidate Guy Boutilier has thrown his name into the election for Wood Buffalo Municipal Council. Mr. Boutilier was MLA from 1997 until 2012 and Mayor of Wood Buffalo from 1995 until 1997.

– Former Wildrose candidate Maryann Chichak is running for Mayor in Whitecourt.

– Well-known political blogger David Climenhaga is running for city council in St. Albert.

– In July he announced his retirement from politics, but according to the Bonnyville Nouvelle, Town of Bonnyville Mayor Ernie Isely is running for re-election. Isley has served as mayor since 2006 and was the PC MLA for the area from 1979 to 1993.

– He may be enjoying retirement from Ottawa, but former Member of Parliament Myron Thompson is once again running for a spot on Sundre Town Council. Mr. Thompson was the MP for Wild Rose from 1993 until 2008, and was Mayor of Sundre from 1974 to 1980.

– Former MLAs Weslyn Mather and Ray Martin have thrown their hats in Edmonton’s public school board election. Ms. Mather was the Liberal MLA for Edmonton-Mill Woods from 2004 until 2008. Mr. Martin was leader of the Official Opposition NDP from 1986 to 1993, and was elected as MLA from 1982 to 1993 and 2004 to 2008.

Robert Wilkinson was convicted of impaired driving, became an internet sensation with his rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and is the only candidate challenging Edson Mayor Greg Pasychny in this year’s election.

– In the Village of Bawlf, only one candidate filed nomination papers to contest the election for the five member village council. According to the Village’s Twitter account, the “Village Office will be open 10-12 weekdays til Sept30, until 5 nominations are received.”

– In Grande Prairie, popular mayor Bill Given is being challenged by former councillor Gladys Blackmore.

Richard Richards has been acclaimed as mayor in the Town of Stettler.

Twenty-four candidates have filed nomination papers to contest five council seats in the flood damaged town of High River.

Please share in the comments section below if there are any interesting races or candidates who I have missed.

Nomination Day: Edmonton civic election official starts today

Edmonton City Council

Edmonton City Council

Dedicated citizens across Alberta will gather this morning in town halls and community centres to submit their nomination forms to become official candidates in this year’s municipal elections.

In the capital city, the excitement is taking place at Edmonton’s downtown City Hall. With three-term Mayor Stephen Mandel not seeking re-election, three Councillors and a handful of other Edmontonians have stepped forward to fill the spot. While Don Iveson, Kerry Diotte and Karen Leibovici are the front-runners in the race, there is always the possibility of a dark-horse candidate stepping out of the shadows and jumping into the mayoral contest today.

UPDATE: The Edmonton Journal is reporting on the results of a Leger survey which shows Don Iveson with 47% of decided voters, Kerry Diotte with 28%, and Karen Leibovici with the support of 25% of decided voters. When taking undecided voters into account, the support is 20% for Councillor Iveson, 12% for Councillor Diotte, and 11% for Councillor Leibovici. While this is only one poll, and I look at all polls with skepticism, I am very surprised at how low Councillor Leibovici’s support is, considering her 20 year career as a politician in Edmonton.

Since early this year, I have maintained a list of declared nomination candidates for Council and the Public and Catholic school boards. I will have the list updated later today when the official list is released by Edmonton Elections.

There will be a few familiar faces missing from the ballot on the October 21 voting day. Six Councillors are not seeking re-election in their Wards. While this is a large turnover, it is not uncommon in recent elections. The last time Council faced such a significant turnover was in 2001, when six Councillors did not seek re-election.

Until this weekend it appeared as if Councillors Ben Henderson in Ward 8 and Amarjeet Sohi in Ward 12 would be acclaimed, but last-minute candidates have announced their intentions to challenges these incumbents. In Ward 9, Councillor Bryan Anderson remains unchallenged. If he remains unchallenged today, it will be the first time in recent memory that a City Councillor in Edmonton has been acclaimed.

#yegvote Google Hangout

Tune in to a special Nomination Day #yegvote Google Hangout tonight at 8:00 p.m. at EdmontonPolitics.com. Mack Male, Ryan Hastman and I will run down the list of candidates and give our analysis of the first official day of the election campaign.

Municipal elections in Alberta are being held on October 21, 2013.

#yegvote Google Hangout with Steven Dollansky

After a week-long break from the world of political writing and social media, I was happy to return just in time for yesterday’s sixth edition of the #yegvote Google Hangout. This week, Ryan Hastman and I were joined by guest Steven Dollansky, who sat in for Mack Male, who could not make it this week.

In this week’s hangout, we focused on the three-main mayoral candidates – Kerry Diotte, Don Iveson, and Karen Leibovici – and how they are positioning themselves in the hotly contested race to replace outgoing Mayor Stephen Mandel.

With the election less than two months away, and nomination day on September 23, we are expecting the election to quickly heat up as candidates try to gain attention and differentiate themselves from the large pack of political hopefuls that are crowding this year’s municipal election ballots in Edmonton.

As noted by Mack in his weekly Edmonton Election round up, there are currently 6 mayoral candidates and 53 candidates for Council. Councillors Ben Henderson in Ward 8, Bryan Anderson in Ward 9, and Amarjeet Sohi in Ward 12 all remain uncontested.

To watch previous editions of the #yegvote Google Hangout, including last week’s edition with guest Kathleen Smith, visit EdmontonPolitics.com.

#yegvote Google Hangout with Don Iveson

Last night, we had the pleasure of having Edmonton mayoral candidate Don Iveson as our special guest on the fourth #yegvote Google Hangout. Over the course of the hangout, Ryan Hastman, Mack Male, and I questioned Don on some of the hottest issues of the election campaign.

The conversation topics coverted potholes, the downtown arena project, LRT, spending and debt, the Terwillegar housing first proposal, and a few other pressing issues (like the state of the Oilers and Eskimos, and whether he prefers Star Trek or Star Wars…).

An advocate for smart growth, Don Iveson was first elected to City Council in 2007 and was re-elected in 2010. He chairs City Council’s Utility Committee and the Capital Region Board‘s Transit Committee. Don and his wife Sarah Chan, a music teacher, have a 4-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter.

We hope to have mayoral candidates Kerry Diotte and Karen Leibovici join us as guests in future #yegvote Google Hangouts.

#yegvote Google Hangout #3 with ActivatED

On last night’s #yegvote Google Hangout, the third in our series, Ryan Hastman, Mack Male, and I were joined by Aliza Dadani from the group ActivatED. According to their website, “ActivatED is committed to electing forward-thinking progressive councillors in the 2013 Edmonton Municipal Election.” Endorsing candidates can be a messy business and ActivatED is already ruffling some feathers in Edmonton’s 2013 election season. The group has already endorsed Linda Sloan in Ward 1, David Dodge in Ward 3, Dave Colburn in Ward 7, Ben Henderson in Ward 8, and Amarjeet Sohi in Ward 12.

Thank you to Ms. Dadani for joining us on the hangout and articulately explaining her group’s raison-d’être and decision making process. You can watch the hangout in the embed above and at EdmontonPolitics.com.

There are numerous additions to the unofficial list of Edmonton election candidates. Many of the additions are in Downtown Edmonton’s Ward 6, where 12 candidates have now declared their intention to run in the ward being vacated by Councillor Jane Batty, the most of any race in the city.

New mayoral candidate Kristine Acielo thinks the proposed downtown arena is not big enough and 2012 Evergreen Party Senate candidate Elizabeth Johannson is challenging former New Democrat MLA Ray Martin in the Public School Board’s Ward D.

If you have any additions to the unofficial list of declared candidates, please let me know.

So you want to be an Edmonton election candidate?

The City of Edmonton’s Elections Office is hosting an information session tomorrow for residents planning or interested in standing for office in the October 21, 2013 municipal election.

According to the Edmonton Elections website, the session will help answer any questions candidates may have about nominations, election legislation and bylaws, campaigning, contributions, expenses and disclosure, and signs.

Date: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: Elections and Census Office, 16304-114 Avenue, Edmonton

The session will be facilitated by Returning Officer Alayne Sinclair, Director of Elections and Census Laura Kennedy, and Director of Community Standards John Simmons. All interested residents are welcome to attend. No RSVP is required.

Although the official nomination deadline is September 23, there are already more than 70 candidates declared as standing for Mayor, City Council, and Public and Catholic school boards in Edmonton. Election day is October 21, 2013.

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Mark your calendars for the next #yegvote Google Hangout this Thursday at 8:00 p.m. Mack Male, Ryan Hastman and I are hoping to be joined by a special guest who will share their thoughts on the election and the candidates who are stepping forward to run. If you are feeling behind in Edmonton’s election news, you can catch up by watching our first and second hangouts.

#yegvote Google Hangout #2

Following out successful first #yegvote Google Hangout a few weeks ago, Mack Male, Ryan Hastman, and I gathered online for the second #yegvote Google Hangout focusing on this October’s municipal elections in Edmonton. In this week’s hangout, we chatted about everything from the strategies of the three main mayoral candidates, the fluoride debate sparked by a fourth mayoral candidate, and some of the competitive city council races.

You can watch the archived hangout below or at EdmontonPolitics.com.

As the campaign period approaches, we are planning to have more frequent weekly #yegvote Google Hangouts and hope to have some special guests join us along the way.

The first #yegvote Google Hangout

Tonight, I joined Ryan Hastman and Mack Male on Edmonton’s first #yegvote Google Hangout on the topic of this October’s municipal election. Over the course of 50 minutes, we discussed the hotly contested mayoral race, some of the interesting open city council races, and issues that could define this year’s election campaign.

If you missed the live hangout, you can watch the archived video below or on EdmontonPolitics.com.

I feel our first hangout was a success and, with much more municipal election news to talk about, we are planning to host more in the near future. Stay tuned!

On another  topic, I will soon publish a post with some thoughts on this week’s devastating floods in southern Alberta and some of the party and personal politics occurring behind the scenes.