Political Influence has sneaked into The Edmonton city hall

Dr. P. R. Kalia

Edmonton, 24 Oct, 2021: Apparently, it was the first council election in which an ideological split between the front runners of mayoral races in Edmonton and Calgary clearly divided the voters along a defined political agenda. While in Edmonton, it was an ideological contest between a pronounced fiscal conservative candidate Mike Nickel and a known progressive candidate Amarjeet Sohi; in Calgary it turned out a big success for the progressive vote in favour of Jyoti Gondek, who massively defeated Jeromy Farkas, representing the Far-Right on the political spectrum.

Jyoti Gondek and Amarjeet Sohi

Similarly, Edmontonians elected “a phenomenal council” that’s expected to raise the level of debate from an outgoing council. Residents mostly voted specific candidates, who were ideologically endorsed by some MLA’s of NDP, Conservatives and the outgoing Mayor Don Iveson. Going by the numbers of such elected councillor’s, it was a decisive victory of the progressive vote– obviously a hope for the NDP to perform better in the upcoming provincial election to be held in 2023.  

It will also be the most diverse council in the city’s history. Sohi was elected as Edmonton’s first South Asian mayor. Eight women were elected, one greater than the previous record and up from two women on the last council. Four people of colour, including two women, will serve Edmontonians around the council table. Incumbent councillors Moe Banga, Joe Dziadyk and Tony Caterina were also defeated, all by women. Jo-Anne Wright, Karen Principe and Anne Stevenson will all be first-time councillors along with Ashley Salvador, Keren Tang and Michael Janz. Andrew Knack, Sarah Hamilton, Tim Cartmell and Aaron Paquette will return to city hall after safely winning their re-election campaigns Monday, October 18.

Jyoti Gondek has become Calgary’s first female mayor in the city’s 146-year history. Gondek, who has a PhD in urban sociology, belongs to a Sikh family in Punjab, back in India. Out of the 14 elected councillors, four women winning council seats and the first woman elected as mayor in the city, Calgary will be represented by more women than it had in nearly two decades.

A total of 236,488 Edmontonians (37.6%) cast their ballot in Edmonton — the highest voter turnout in over a decade. Looking back at the past two elections, voter turnout was 31.5 per cent in 2017 and 34.5 per cent in 2013.

Editor, Asian Times

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