Well, all you Albertans should be wiping the sleep from your eyes and heading off to the polling station now. I, like many others, am not hopeful that any meaningful change will occur when polls close tonight.
As the Globe and Mail reports, this election has done little to capitalize on voter discontent around rampant growth, massive increases in the cost of living, and the environmental degradation that has occurred under the Alberta Tories (37 years and counting…).
Janice Brown predicts that the Tories will pick up 70 to 72 seats. I can hope for less, but in the end it appears that most Albertans are still either too dumb, lazy, or conservative to vote for any party other than the Conservatives.
While I had some faint hope that the influx of new Albertans might make a difference it appears that most people are more concerned with milking the hot economy for all it’s worth rather than making a political statement.
Good riddance, I say. Time to head somewhere where there is some semblance of a democratic process.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vote, though, so find your polling station. At the very least Alberta can avoid having a record-low voter turnout. Maybe.
And keep your eye on Ben Co. for my Top 10 best and worst of Alberta.
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.