Edmonton Municipal Election Wrap-Up
Well, Edmonton had one of the lowest voter turnouts in years – 26.8%. Despite the lack of significant challenges to the incumbent mayor, however, this elections still served up some surprises.
Overall Edmonton city council experiences a fairly significant shift to the left last night, perhaps registering some of the underlying dissatisfaction of newer Albertans who are unable to impact politics at the provincial level.
While all incumbents (with the exception of one, see below) were re-elected, the retirement of some council members has allowed for a partial rejuvenation of council. What changes this will bring will, as always, remain to be seen.
– 28 year old first timer Don Iveson sticks it to incumbent Mike Nichols. Nichols was well known for his opposition to a range of important projects in the city, sometimes on the grounds of fiscal conservatism, others because he seemed (ha, past tense!) to enjoy being difficult. Iveson brings in some good ideas and fresh thinking on transit and controlling urban sprawl, so he will be one to watch.
– Ben Henderson, another social activist in the same vein as Iveson, finally broke through in Ward 4. Henderson should bring some meaningful debate regarding issues of affordable housing and homelessness as he represents the downtown core and surrounding areas. Alas, incumbent Jane Batty was also re-elected, despite her failure to actually take a position on anything during her campaign. Chalk it up to name recognition and voter laziness.
– Stephen Mandel is re-elected with 65.8% of the 26.8% of voters choosing him over a field of un-heard-ofs and crack-pots. (If my calculations are correct – a big if, mind you, approx. 123,432 Edmontonians, out of 730,372, voted for Mandel – not sure if that counts as a resounding victory, but a victory nonetheless.)
– And finally, I am deeply saddened to see that the hyper-conservative, hyper-homophobic, hyper-idiotic Bill Whatcott only received 1.11% of the vote. A sad day for discriminatory idiots across Edmonton, but a validation for everyone else that we haven’t slipped into lunacy here yet.