Alberta Politics

Mayor Don Iveson not running for re-election in 2021

Don Iveson will not run for re-election as Edmonton’s Mayor in next year’s election.

Iveson made the big announcement in a statement on his website this morning and is expected to discuss his decision as the first guest on the inaugural episode of Real Talk, a new show launched by Ryan Jespersen, who was until recently hosting a popular morning show on 630CHED.

Don Iveson in 2007 (photo: Dave Cournoyer)
Don Iveson in 2007 (photo: Dave Cournoyer)

While Iveson will remain mayor until next October’s election and has pledged his full commitment to leading the city through the COVID-19 pandemic and economic issues the city is grappling with, this announcement signals the end of a remarkable career in municipal politics in Edmonton.

As a relatively unknown first-time candidate in 2007, Iveson ran an energetic, youthful and intelligent campaign focused on “smart growth” and “politics in full sentences” that not only got him elected to Edmonton City Council but knocked-off high-profile incumbent Mike Nickel in the process. Iveson was easily re-elected to council in 2010.

In 2013, as three-term Mayor Stephen Mandel made his first exit from elected politics, Iveson trounced two well-known councillors, Karen Liebovici and Kerry Diotte, to win the Mayoral election by a big margin. He was re-elected by a landslide in 2017.

Don Iveson
Don Iveson in 2020

Today’s announcement opens the gates to candidates who were waiting for Iveson to announce his plans before entering the race. Already rumoured to be planning their mayoral campaigns are current councillors Andrew Knack and Mike Nickel and former councillor Kim Krushell. Former economic development executive Cheryll Watson has already announced her candidacy.

There will be plenty of time over the next year to discuss Iveson’s time as Mayor and the legacy he will leave, but it is clear that his last two years as Mayor – leading the city through the global pandemic – have likely been the most challenging and will help define Alberta’s capital city for years to come.

Leaving the Mayor’s office at the young age of 42-years old next year will put Iveson in a position where he could potentially do anything he wants as his next endeavour. Perhaps he will write a book about being a big city mayor? Or host a Netflix documentary series – may I suggest “Smart Growth with Don Iveson” or “Little City, Big Dreams” as a few names. Or he could shift-careers and make a cameo appearance as Leonard McCoy on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds?

Or maybe, after a healthy break, he will return to politics.

Premier Don Iveson sounds good to me.

Listen to my recent interview with Don Iveson on the Daveberta Podcast where we discussed being a big city mayor during the COVID-19 global pandemic, municipal relations with the provincial government, Edmonton’s rapid plan to end homelessness, and the excellence of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Thinking of running?

Interested in running in the 2021 Edmonton Elections as a candidate? Edmonton Elections is hosting a virtual information session that will cover important information about the election processes for candidates, including how to register, upcoming deadlines and changes to rules and regulations. Tune in at 12:00 pm on November 24, 2020 to watch.

5 replies on “Mayor Don Iveson not running for re-election in 2021”

Its hard to remember right now, but in 2013 when Mayor Iveson was first elected, the city and the province was brimming with confidence and positive energy. He was in many ways a man for that time.

I think the Mayor made the right decision. He entered politics at a young age, I think it would be good now for him to broaden his experience and perspective a bit and of course he still has a young family to spend time with. If in several years, he feels he has more to contribute to elected public service, then he can always offer to do so. Edmonton needs good MLA’s and MP’s too.

This is the second relatively young mayor to make this announcement — after Bill Given in Grande Prairie. You gotta wonder, will Nenshi be next?

It was relatively easy and fun for Don to be able to claim all of the political benefits of other governments’ spending (LRT, etc), while not having to spend any political capital having to raise the taxes to do so. Now that the taps are turning off, and the debt levels are approaching unsustainability, Don has decided to depart. He leaves a mixed legacy. For every city-defining architectural project (Walterdale Bride) he left an equal nightmare (northwest police building, Metroline LRT). For every progressive citizen swelling with pride at his every word there is an entrepreneur driven out of business by out-of-control, five-times-inflation business tax increases. (“He” is a relative word as City Council is responsible for these decisions, but Iveson led and drove the progressives on council).

I think he sees himself as a federal Cabinet minister, with an opportunity to ‘steal’ or ‘sneak’ an Edmonton-Centre seat for Trudeau’s Liberals in a spring 2021 election. After nine months of pandemic, he is certainly not resigning to “spend more time with the family.”


What year did the planning on the Metro Line occur?

What year did the planning on the Northwest Police Campus occur?

For that matter, what year did the planning on the Walterdale Bridge occur?

And where can I find these statistics on the entrepreneur plus-minus rate?

Was there a significant dip *before* the global oil meltdown of 2014?

Was there a significant dip *before* covid?

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