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Edmonton Election Update

Edmonton Election Update: July 27, 2017

By Mack Male

Welcome to our second roundup of election-related news and links. We'll be publishing this kind of collection regularly right through to Election Day, which is Oct. 16, 2017. We hope you find it useful, and welcome any feedback or tips you might have.

More than three dozen female candidates already

In the 2013 municipal election here in Edmonton, just 39 of the 119 candidates who ran for office were women. And of the 79 candidates who ran for city council specifically, just 17 were women. Nomination Day for the 2017 municipal election isn’t until Sept. 18, but already there are more than three dozen female candidates who intend to run!

Many of them attended an event Wednesday night called Political Pub Night. It was organized by Miranda Jimmy, who is running for council in Ward 5, and was "sponsored through the generous support of private donors." The event was intended to provide a platform for the many female candidates running in this year's election, and was supported by Equal Voice, which is dedicated to electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada.

Check out my recap for a full list of women intending to run in the election and more photos from the event.

Campaign finance reform

You can tell we're early in the campaign cycle because the issues being discussed are still predominantly the campaigns themselves! Finance reform was the big topic recently, and our friends at Edmonton Quotient did a fine job summarizing the news. Here's a key piece of information from Elise Stolte's most recent article on the subject:

"When the Edmonton Journal studied the issue before the 2013 election, roughly 60 per cent of donations to successful campaigns could be tied back to developers, either through a company or key officials. Unions gave seven per cent of the total raised."

Metro also crunched the numbers and they found a higher percentage, at 71. Either way, it's a lot. Andrew Knack, Fahad Mughal, Troy Pavlek, Payman Parseyan, and Keren Tang have all indicated they will refuse corporate or union donations to their campaigns.

Coun. Knack has written about the issue before, and posted an update last week. "I believe the current rules make it easier for the incumbent to raise significantly more money which in turn discourages people from choosing to put their name forward," he wrote.

Kirsten Goa, candidate for council in Ward 8, supports changes to the Local Authorities Election Act that would ban corporate and union donations in the future, but stopped short of refusing to accept such donations in this campaign, noting that she is "facing an incumbent with almost $30000 in the bank." Goa said she expects to "raise the bulk of our campaign funds through individual donations" and has committed to publishing a list of donors prior to the election.

The provincial government has said it will conduct a review of the rules related to campaign finance in early 2018.

Fahad Mughal to challenge Iveson for mayoralty

We've now got a challenger in the race to become mayor! Fahad Mughal is a former City of Edmonton employee who is focused full-time on his new campaign. He considered running in Ward 10, according to Global Edmonton, but ultimately decided to go for the top job instead. "My platform is for all of the people, all of the citizens," he said. "I really want our council to be accountable, transparent and fair to the citizens of Edmonton."

Edmonton Journal columnist David Staples says that while Mughal may not pose a threat to Iveson's re-election chances, he does pose a different kind of threat to council. "The thrust of Mughal’s campaign is to challenge many of council’s secretive practices and to propose far more citizen involvement in decision-making." His campaign could force more debate on transparency and accountability.

There's some speculation that Charles Laing intends to run for mayor as well, and indeed his name appears on the notice of intent page at Edmonton Elections. He also filed a notice of intent to run in the 2013 election but ultimately withdrew.

Other updates

  • Former PC MLA David Xiao is running for council in Ward 5. He served as MLA for Edmonton-McClung from 2008 to 2015.
  • Shelagh Dunn has announced she is running for public school board trustee in Ward C. "I believe in strong communities, thriving classrooms, student mental health and inclusivity, and I care about our students and our schools," her website reads.
  • Trisha Estabrooks, candidate for public school trustee in Ward D, wrote about door knocking. "The conversation is real on the doorstep and I feel honoured to have spoken to so many people early on in this campaign."
  • Sandy Pon, candidate for council in Ward 9, says she "will fight for more funding & resources" for the Edmonton Police Service, adding "taxpayers deserve better."
  • Edmonton Elections has been promoting its Where to Vote tool. Just plug in your address and go!
  • As of July 19, a total of 76 candidates had filed their notice of intent.
  • Looking to relive the 2013 election? You can see the results at ShareEdmonton.


Have an election-related tip for us? Let us know by email or share it on Twitter with the #yegvote hashtag and tag us @taprootyeg.

What are you curious about?

We'll be making this update available to members and to subscribers to our free newsletter throughout the summer and fall as a pilot project. We're looking at applying what we learn from this to more deep dives on niche topics, which will be available to members only.

Does this update make you wonder about something that you'd like a writer to pursue? Join Taproot so you can get into the Story Garden to share it. Your curiosity could be the start of an important local story.

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