There are 15 candidates running in this Ward with one vacant seat left by retiring Councillor Michael Phair. I don’t blame Phair for retiring after 13 years on City Council, but his retirement has cost Edmonton its easily most effective and progressive member of City Council.
That said, there are some pretty good candidates running to replace Phair.
Ben Henderson (who I am supporting and voted for when I lived in Ward 4 in 2004) is the front-runner to take Phair’s seat. Henderson placed a unusually strong third place in 2004 – nearly defeating Councillor Jane Batty (who is seeking re-election).
Ben Henderson has a strong team (including his wife – Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman) and has been campaigning hard since April. Henderson is a strong candidate with strong ties to Edmonton’s Community Leagues and Arts Community.
Another candidate who I’ve been fairly impressed with is Lewis Cardinal. Cardinal, a consultant and aboriginal social activist, has laid out a good platform and would be a strong and effective voice on City Council.
A Ben Henderson and Lewis Cardinal Ward tag-team could be the most effective Edmonton has seen in years.
The only other two candidates who I would classify as ‘serious’ are Jane Batty and Debbie Yeung. Batty, who was first elected in 2001, is what I like to consider an ‘inoffensive candidate,’ I don’t have much against Batty but she hasn’t been the strong advocate that one would expect would come out of an eclectic district like Ward 4.
Third-time candidate Debbie Yeung has stunned Edmontonians with her campaign team’s superior website designing skills, but her platform hasn’t really diverged from the typical right-wing pablum that usually comes out of candidates aligned with the likes of Mike Nickel (which she is).
Other entertaining candidates include former Ward 6 City Councillor Sheila McKay (who claims she invented the LRT), Reverend Brian Patterson (who thinks prayer would solve fire response problems), Adil Pirbhai (a perennial candidate), Margaret Saunter (of Christian Heritage Party of Canada fame), and Brian Wissink (who clearly has no idea what he’s getting himself into).
Nyambura Mia Belcourt
Judith (Jodi) Flatt
2004 Election Results
Michael Phair – 23,219
Jane Batty – 14,352
Ben Henderson – 12,475
Debbie Yeung – 10,500
Thomas Roberts – 1,945
Dale Ferris – 1,702
Paul Welke – 1,417
Elect Ben Henderson – Ward 4 – 40 members
Lewis Cardinal for Ward Four – 382 members
Rev. Brian Patterson for Edmonton City Councillor, Ward 4 – 17 members
Vote Brent Thompson for Alderman (Ward 4) – 138 members
Change for Ward 4 (Brian Wissink) – 8 members