Tag Archives: Shaw Conference Centre

Cast of fringe candidates line up to challenge Don Iveson for the mayor’s chair

Photo: Don Iveson (standing centre-right) with mayoral challengers Fahad Mughal, Bob Ligertwood, Don Koziak and Carla Frost (sitting left to right). Photo source: screenshot of CBC online video

Any illusions that we could see a mayoral horserace in 2017 were extinguished at yesterday’s lunch-hour mayoral all-candidates forum.

Delivering their four minute introductory speeches in front of a group of roughly 120 people in the cavernous Shaw Conference Centre, it became fairly clear, fairly quickly, that none of the 12 candidate challenging Don Iveson in next month’s election have the skills, experience or even temperament to be a successful mayor.

For the most part, the challengers delivered incoherent remarks, with many focusing on fringe issues that may have an audience on the internet, but don’t appear to have much traction off-screen. While some of them are earnest in their bids, the lack of experience and familiarity on municipal issues among the challengers was apparent.

Iveson’s most high-profile challenger, perennial candidate Don Koziak, was unable to deliver a coherent speech in the four minutes made available to him. Instead, Koziak clumsily reminisced about the issues from his previous unsuccessful campaigns for city council without touching on his thoughts on the issues in this election, aside from bizarrely musing that “there will always be homeless people because there will always be people lining up for free homes.”

Two of the candidates, Carla Frost and Bob Ligertwood, had a weird confrontation on stage. An official from the Elections office apparently gave them a talking-to off stage before the speeches began.

Fahad Mughal, who was the first candidate to enter the race against Iveson, was likely the best prepared of the challengers, though his campaign promises and criticisms of the incumbent do little to actually differentiate himself from the pack. I feel that Mughal could have a future in municipal politics, perhaps as a City Council candidate in 2021.

If first impressions matter the most, the 12 candidates challenging Iveson should be thankful there were only 120 people in the room watching the speeches, because there was little to be impressed about.

For his part, Iveson does not appear to be taking the lack of serious challengers for granted. He and his team are campaigning and have released a series of policies dealing with energy transition and climate change, building design and transportation infrastructure, and transparency at City Hall.

Unless something major changes between now and October 16, 2017, Iveson should cruise to a sizeable re-election.

That said, if politics has been characterized by one thing in the last 5 years, it is that an even a very unlikely outcome is still always possible.


Mayoral candidates will take the stage again and be given a chance to answer questions at two upcoming forums sponsored by Elections Edmonton:

City-wide Mayoral Forum
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
6:30-9:30pm
Harry Ainlay Composite High School
4350-111 Street NW

City-wide Mayoral Forum
Wednesday, October, 11, 2017
6:30-9:30pm
Italian Cultural Center
14230-133 Avenue NW

Note: I am a supporter of Don Iveson and played an active volunteer role in his election campaigns for city council in 2007 and 2010 and his successful bid for mayor in 2013. I do not have an active role in his re-election campaign this year.


Edmonton Elections is organzing all-candidate forums in each of the city’s twelve wards and for the mayoral election and Edmonton’s Next Gen committee is organizing socials for young Edmontonians in advance of each of the council forums.

Five CEOs hold a press conference in a penthouse boardroom

It was a case of political friendly fire.

With only days left before Election Day, the anti-NDP fear campaign was in full-gear but this shot might have been the final nail in the coffin for Alberta’s 44-year old Progressive Conservative Party government.

On May 1, 2015, five prominent Edmonton business leaders and PC Party donors, including then-University of Alberta Board of Governors Chairman Doug Goss, held a press conference in the penthouse boardroom of a downtown office building to warn Albertans against rejecting the Progressive Conservatives in the May 5 election.

The press conference was held the morning after PC leader Jim Prentice spoke to 1,500 guests at a $5,000 per table fundraising dinner at the Shaw Conference Centre. Even as the international price of oil had already started a sharp decline, he warned the dinner guests that a New Democratic Party government would be a blow for the corporations in Alberta.

The businessmen sat united in their opposition to NDP leader Rachel Notley‘s promise to raise taxes on corporations from 10 percent to 12 percent. Before the election was called, the PCs had proposed increases to personal income taxes and the introduction of a health care levy, but refused to touch corporate taxes. [note: Albertans overall still pay the lowest taxes in Canada, even after the NDP implemented increases following their election win].

A public letter released by the businessmen and their prepared statements at the press conference were fairly reasonable from a conservative business perspective, but the moment the men began answering questions from the media the event went off the rails.

One of the men questioned why he was being asked to pay more. “I have someone telling me that I need to pay more tax. Why is it me? Why the corporation?

Another claimed that corporate donations to children’s hospitals and charities would halt if the corporate tax rate was increased.

While I am sure this group of philanthropists and community leaders sincerely believed they were helping their friend, Mr. Prentice, these were very rich statements coming from a group of men who were sitting around a boardroom table that might have been worth as much as my house.

Sometimes your best friends can be your worst enemies. In this case, these PC donors (and soon after, the Postmedia-owned newspapers in Alberta) inflicted a considerable amount of damage on the PC Party campaign during the final week of the election. It was an incredibly tone deaf message to send to an electorate tired of years of Progressive Conservative mismanagement, infighting and scandals.

The penthouse press conference solidified the narrative that as the economy was slowing the PCs were putting the needs of the wealthy and their corporations before the needs of ordinary Albertans. It appeared as though the conservatives had forgotten how to be populists.


This post is the third in a series remembering some key moments from Alberta’s historic 2015 election. May 5, 2016 marks one year since that election. Read the first and second instalments.