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Alberta Politics

Gondek. Sohi. What a night, Alberta.

Jyoti Gondek defeats Jeromy Farkas to become Calgary’s next Mayor.

Amarjeet Sohi defeats Mike Nickel to become Edmonton’s next Mayor.

Eight of Edmonton’s 12 City Councillors elected today are women – a historic record. Four are persons of colour. Four incumbents are on the verge of defeat. 

Premier Jason Kenney’s referendum to remove Equalization from the constitution gets a very tepid endorsement (59% support in Calgary – Edmonton results next week).

Support for abandoning the twice yearly time change is even more divided.

What a night, Alberta.

7 replies on “Gondek. Sohi. What a night, Alberta.”

These pretend conservatives and Reformers in the UCP are becoming more afraid, because their inability to govern properly, like the true conservative, Peter Lougheed has, just upset people, and they don’t want that type of government at the municipal level. Nor do they want it at the provincial level. They didn’t learn when they supported the UCP to begin with.

Scanning the results of Council elections in the two big cities — with the caveat that as an outsider, I’m not all that familiar with many of the names — it seems voters in both places rejected the anti-everything-good crowd in favour of more progressive politicians. Would that be your take?

Here in Grande Prairie, both top contenders for Mayor were women, and it was the incumbent Jackie Clayton, who was named Interim Mayor after Bill Given left office, who eked out a narrow 125-vote victory over funeral home owner and former RN Eunice Friesen. A number of new faces will also be sitting around the Council table.

It looks to me (no expert in politics) that Jason Kenney has provoked a backlash at the municipal level against Cons. In self-defense, people often elect governments of the opposite polarity to the next-senior level of government. It’s a pattern usually seen at the provincial level, where Ontario is the clearest example. Ontarians often elect Liberal provincial governments when Conservatives rule in Ottawa, and vice versa.

In this case, Albertans are so sick of Kenney and the UCP, it’s no surprise they voted against the Con candidates on municipal councils.

I view it more as the result of vote splitting. The Progressive/Union PAC side was smart enough to only back a single candidate in the Mayoral races, and most of the municipal wards.

I think the outcome of the Mayoral race was not too surprising in Edmonton, but it was in Calgary where it was expected to be a closer or different result. The surprise in Edmonton is how the Nickel Conservative Councilor slate including incumbents went down to defeat.

Usually because the municipal level in Alberta does not officially have parties, there is not such a strong backlash, so this is a bit surprising too. This tells me too things, first of all the UCP’s strategy of making everything more polarized worked, however, second it did not work as they intended.

Smaller cities outside E-town & Calgary also saw interesting results. Grande Prairie elected its first woman Mayor, Jackie Clayton — technically she was the incumbent, but she wasn’t elected Mayor in 2017. As a City Councillor, she served as Deputy Mayor and was named by Council as Interim Mayor last year when Bill Given stepped down to take the CAO job for the Town of Jasper.

Meanwhile, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo elected its “most diverse Council ever”: https://fortmcmurraytoday.com/news/local-news/incoming-council-will-be-rmwbs-most-diverse-official-voter-turnout-at-27-2-per-cent. This piece also surveys voter turnout in a number of places around the province.

This result should have the Alberta establishment stymied. Alberta appears to be making a hard left turn, and the Right should be reconsidering their politics instead of fuming and plotting against those who represent the popular will.

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