With Edmonton’s 2017 municipal elections now 210 days away, we are starting to see more candidates file their intentions to run for city council. I have updated the list of declared candidates, which now includes Alison Poste in Ward 4, Svetlana Pavlenko and Michael Oshry (presumably) in Ward 5, Payman Parseyan and Sandy Pon in Ward 9 and Brandy Burdeniuk in Ward 11.
Oshry, the current councillor for Ward 5, announced earlier this month that he would like to see stricter rules around who can run in Edmonton’s municipal elections.
CBC reported that for the next election in 2021, Oshry would like to see candidates putting their names forward be required to collect 100 signatures and provide a $1,000 deposit. This would be an increase from the current requirement of 25 signatures and $100 deposit.
I am supportive of a change that would require potential candidates to collect 100 signatures, which I think is fair and probably good practice, but I am reluctant to support such a drastic increase to the financial deposit. For many first-time candidates, especially those without support from private sector developers, $1,000 is no small amount of money in a campaign budget.
We should not seek to limit the number of individuals seeking election by creating unnecessary financial hurdles but we can gauge their seriousness and commitment by increasing in the number of signatures required on their nomination forms.
Tracking Calgary election candidates
I have been asked by a number of readers whether I will also be tracking candidates running in Calgary’s municipal elections. The answer is no, but thankfully, Sarah Elder-Chamanara has launched a new website tracking candidates in Calgary. I will definitely write about any interesting races that develop in other municipalities during the campaign but my focus on municipal politics remains in Edmonton.