Alberta Politics

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
Harry Ainlay Composite High School
4350-111 Street NW

City-wide Mayoral Forum
Wednesday, October, 11, 2017
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.

8 replies on “Cast of fringe candidates line up to challenge Don Iveson for the mayor’s chair”

I really thought this was a disrespectful post. It takes courage and commitment to put your hat in the ring. It is disappointing that you bully and belittle these candidates. Progressives should encourage community partiicipation. So what if they aren’t professional politicians. You should judge them fairly. Whats the use of all your expertise about Alberta politics if you cant show a little tolerance? Thoughts?

I note that not only were the candidates “fringe” but the issues they mentioned were also “fringe”.

Those issues are so fringe that you didn’t bother even mentioning them in your coverage of the forum (unless you count the “homeless” drive-by mention).

It is great a lot of people want to run for mayor, but as someone who somewhat values experience, they are a disappointing lot. Not one has served as a city councilor first and I don’t think any have even been a school board trustee.

Its quite sad when the leading opponent is someone who has run for mayor and other positions a number of times and lost and seems to be recycling ideas from campaigns of the 1990’s.

There are a lot of valid concerns about the current mayor, but an election is a choice between candidates, not a referendum on one person. Unfortunately at this point, none of the other candidates outshine him and none even come close.

I agree with Dave in that most of these candidates lack experience. But to be honest Don was elected with not that much experience either. The only real challenger I see is Fahad. He has actually worked for the city. But I don’t think he is ready for the big chair. Heck even he has admitted this and is mostly running to highlight the issues surrounding this mayor and council.

Which to be honest there are lots of things this government has done wrong. This whole strategy to build bike lanes in a city where 1% of people commute by bicycle is a huge waste. Even building a $3 billion LRT when only 10% of people use public transit that is unprofitable seems like a huge bill for taxpayers to fork out. Not to mention how it is run mostly surface level and will take away road lanes and cause traffic jams at signal crossings. Also the fact this leads to it having to run at low speeds. They could not even get the Metro Line built on-time going to NAIT and now they want to build a 25km expansion. Also doing this whilst not considering other options like building express buses that can change signals like they do in Calgary which would cost far less. Even if people wanted to take the train there are not enough park and rides for people to do so. Also no one is going to walk to the bus that takes 20 minutes to loop around to the train station when you could drive there in 5 or 10.

The list could go on and on from the Walterdale Bridge to building skinny homes which residents hate living next to. To the corruption in city planning departments and the disorganization surrounding them.

Basically City Council is trying to force a Utopian fantasy and an idealistic vision on how we should live. Rather than build things for people they actually want and will use. Even worse the vision they have they are trying build at a discount and still have a small town in the big city mentality which will mean in the future it will have to be torn down and rebuilt again.

I agree with Mark on most of the issues he brought up:
1. Bike Lanes built when only 1% of people commute by bicycle
2. The way the Metro was built: building a $3 billion LRT when only 10% of people use public transit, and not providing enough park and rides for people to do so
3. Lack of Park & Ride areas
4. Corruption in the City of Edmonton
5. Building of Skinny Homes making it an eyesore in the neighbourhood.
I have voted for Iveson in 2013 and even helped during his campaign, but after seeing his record over the past few years, I voted for someone else: Fahad.
Don Iveson lacks the guts Mayor Nenshi has. He is also all about style and no substance.
He has never responded or acknowledged any of my emails even on important issues.
I wasn’t the only one with this experience as I have had a number of friends it has happened to who were very disappointed in him, after having worked very hard on his campaign in 2013.
I hope Don Iveson will do a better job this time around.

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