Alberta Politics

Don Iveson brings new energy to Edmonton’s mayoral election.

Don Iveson Edmonton Election Mayor
Councillor Don Iveson launched his campaign for Mayor of Edmonton this week.

Councillor Don Iveson announced his candidacy for mayor this week, rounding out the list of the most likely candidates expected to run for Mayor of Edmonton this year. Councillor Iveson has represented south Edmonton on city council for two terms and is well-known as an advocate of sustainability and smart growth.

First elected to city council in 2007, Councillor Iveson defied expectations when he unseated Councillor Mike Nickel in the then-sprawling south Edmonton Ward 5. He was easily re-elected in 2010 in the new Ward 10 with 76% of the vote. He has served as chair of the Capital Region Board’s Transit Committee and as a strong advocate for public education as a member of Edmonton’s Public Library Board. At age 34, he is the youngest Councillor in the race and brings a wealth of unconventional ideas and energy to the contest.

Kerry Diotte Edmonton Mayor
Kerry Diotte

Over the past few months, I have attended the announcements of the three city councillors competing for the mayor’s chair and it has been interesting to observe the differences in atmosphere and attendance.

On May 16, the day after Edmonton City Council voted to move forward on the downtown arena project, Councillor Kerry Diotte announced his candidacy to a group of seniors in a windowless hotel conference room. Councillor Diotte was not particularly articulate when he spoke with the media at this event, but his anti-downtown arena and anti-pothole agenda will resonate with a surprising number of Edmontonians frustrated with the current leadership in City Hall.

On June 12, Councillor Karen Leibovici stood in front of a crowd of supporters, including many of of Edmonton’s corporate elite and political establishment, to announce her candidacy for mayor. Her campaign chose the brand new CKUA building, an institution embraced by our city’s baby boomers, to launch her campaign. A formidable candidate with four-terms on city council and two-terms in the provincial legislature under her belt, Councillor Leibovici brings 27 years of electoral experience to her well-funded campaign. As she positions herself as the heir-apparent to Mayor Stephen Mandel’s legacy, she may run into difficulties if she is too overcautious not to criticize the outgoing mayor.

Karen Leibovici
Karen Leibovici

On June 18, with supporters by his side, Councillor Iveson took to the podium at Edmonton’s Petroleum Club to announce his entry into the mayoral contest. The venue was an odd choice for the articulate and nerdy policy wonk known for his smart growth politics and love of bicycles. Perhaps to ease the worries of some voters who may feel uncomfortable with this younger and more progressive candidate, Councillor Iveson sent a message that while we need to look at new ways of developing our city, the industries and business that drive our economy are essential.

While praising the work of retiring Mayor Mandel, Councillor Iveson has not been shy to provide examples of where Edmonton city council could have done better over the past six years – including doing a better job of convincing the provincial and federal governments to share the cost of the downtown arena project.

The vibe of the youthful crowd at the Petroleum Club was different than the other candidate’s events. There was an unmistakable mood of optimism among those attending Councillor Iveson’s announcement, many who looked like they would be ready to start knocking on doors for the candidate that afternoon. In many ways, this diverse group of young Edmontonians – entrepreneurs, lawyers, university students, and public servants – represent the new face of our city.

Edmontonians now have three contenders who realistically stand a chance of winning the October 21 mayoral election. It is going to be an exciting four months!

(Note: I have known Don Iveson for many years and volunteered on his successful City Council campaigns in the 2007 and 2010 elections and will be volunteering on his campaign in this election)

10 replies on “Don Iveson brings new energy to Edmonton’s mayoral election.”

I seriously love Don Iveson! He is my city councillor, and it would be great to see someone young breathe life into municipal politics. I hope he wins. I think Leibovici would be great too, but I’ve got good vibes about Iveson.

Edmontonians have three options: they can go backward (Diotte), keep the status-quo (Leibovici) or move forward (Iveson).

Don Iveson would be a great mayor. It’s great to see the next generation stepping up and taking ownership of their future. We can’t afford to have stagnating leadership in the next few years. Mandel has been a great mayor for the last nine years and its time to take the next step.

In voting for Don Iveson!

I like Don Iveson as well but I have a problem with his flip flop with reference to the Katz arena.
This project is wonderful for the folks who will benefit from it but is not such a great deal for Edmontonians. With the past poor performance of Edmonton city council with a major project–the 23 rd Avenue and Gateway Boulevard interchange Project review –that the city auditor has reviewed and written a report on –there will be cost overruns. Citizens are on the hook for these cost overruns. The bylaw specifies this.

Not only will there be cost overruns but really how can any of us not see that this is all tax payer money that I do not personally believe we should be spending on what I see as non-essential infrastructure (the Katz arena) to supposedly revitalize the downtown when this downtown is booming quite well without additional tax dollars.

In other words, we are providing corporate welfare to the folks who do business downtown and this entire waste of what I predict will be over a billion dollars is entirely the fault of Mandel and his satellite councillors.

I was hopeful that Iveson would not buckle under to the influence of developers but he did just that. This might be politically wise since giving into developers according to the recent Edmonton Journal article is very informative.
Go read it folks.
It will indicate who pays for the election campaigns of folks in Edmonton city council.

While the councillors may deny this I can’t help but feel that if developers pay for 91% of my Councillor’s election expenses– well then this explains why Mr. Bryan Anderson doesn’t listen to me when I ask him pretty please to not support the Katz arena deal which is not in the public interest.

This series of articles gives me the feeling that citizens are listened to by our councillors till the cows come home and then are completely ignored—- while developers are listened to briefly and obeyed immediately. But that’s my opinion.
You may get a better feeling from reading these articles.

In my opinion the best candidate will be the one who can explain to me why they voted for a Katz arena –which is a corporate welfare and why they spent so much council time on this matter, when more important issues such as homelessness, the poor state of inner city neighborhoods, the fate of Northlands, the increasing infrastructure debt, the failure of city administrators to provide financial details in a time sensitive manner, the rush to get things approved before due diligence was done, why the LRT extension is part public and part private—why all these poor council decisions went on and on and none of these folks did their work properly?

I’d give this council a poor grade and would not hire any of them back.
Iveson, Sloan and Diotte were the best of the bunch but based on the council’s performance–well I would still get all new folks in except for Sloan who will be the target of the developers this time around. I doubt that she will get any money from developers who will send their cash to anyone but her as she actually said maybe we should maintain current infrastructure before adding to the infrastructure debt.

Yeah, its hard to believe the city council that the money they get from developers does not influence their decisions to open up new neighborhoods.
But you go decide.
The articles are here:

Who pays for the campaigns?

Who helped candidates cover the costs of campaigning in the 2010 municipal election?

According to a Journal analysis of campaign disclosure statements from successful candidates, the community of Edmonton developers has played a key part in financing election campaigns.

The breakdown of contributions by candidate presented in these graphics were calculated by Journal reporters Gordon Kent and Elise Stolte. For details on how the numbers were calculated, visit the urban affairs blog at

For the purposes of the analysis, the reporters defined development-related donors to include developers, residential construction companies and planning consultants as well as development-related lawyers and lobbyists. This was determined based on the reporters’ understanding of the industry and may not have caught every donor in this area.

Of the total disclosed donations to all candidates, 56 per cent could be easily tied back to the development industry.

For comparison, the reporters also tallied money coming from unions. Unions gave seven per cent of the total raised.

For this project, “other” contributions are those not tied to either the development-related or union categories. These are mainly from family and friends of the candidates, other legal firms, businesses and city consultants.

Undisclosed donations are generally those gifts of less than $100, but councillors Karen Leibovici and Ben Henderson also listed more than $10,000 each from “fundraising functions.” Until the provincial government changed the rules in 2010, donors at these events didn’t need to be named. Henderson, for example, said during the term he held fundraising brunches and silent auctions annually to keep touch with constituents and supporters. These had tickets that were less than $100.

Since there was no information as to who gave the undisclosed donations for the 2010 election, that total was subtracted from the amount raised before the reporters calculated what percentage came from the development industry or unions.

Use the on-screen arrows to switch between councillors. Click on the graphic for a grid view of all the councillors and mayor. Use the reference on the right to decode what the numbers and colours mean.

For best results please use Chrome or Firefox.

The Petroleum Club was most likely chosen for the Iveson launch because it’s small and the room automatically feel packed. Politics 101.

“unconventional ideas” = left wing. The last thing we need on council. Instead we need to re-open the city centre airport and slash taxes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *