Mostly-progressive Edmonton council has 'big challenge' working with UCP

Edmonton elected a new mayor and council Monday night - and it is one of the most progressive-leaning the city has ever seen.

“That’s going to be a big challenge. The UCP government does not play nice with other levels of government,” political analyst John Brennan said on election night.

“We had a progressive mayor in Don Iveson, we’re going to have a progressive mayor in Amarjeet Sohi. The majority of this council are progressives, but there are some 'small c' conservatives there.”

KENNEY CALLED SOHI

Mayor-elect Amarjeet Sohi made his place on the political spectrum known as a Liberal cabinet minister.

Sohi said he received a traditional congratulatory call from premier Jason Kenney on Monday night.

They discussed COVID-19 policy, economic recovery, and support for people with mental health and addictions challenges.

“We haven’t always agreed on some policy proposals, but I have always been very respectful,” Sohi said, pointing out they worked together on pipelines and LRT funding when Sohi was a federal cabinet minister.

“He acknowledges that when I was in Ottawa I always tried to do my best to defend the interest of Albertans,” he added, with a smile.

Kenney and Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver both tweeted their commitments to work with all new municipal officials Monday night.

“I think it’s important for us to avoid turning municipal politics into partisan exercise, and I respect the choices that voters make,” Kenney said, claiming his party was not involved in supporting candidates.

CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLORS DEFEATED

Voters decided to say goodbye to well-known conservatives Mike Nickel, Tony Caterina, Moe Banga and Jon Dziadyk.

The latter three all voted against sanctioning Nickel in a code of conduct dispute.

“It’s not lost on me that some of the folks who are not returning are some of the folks that refused to stand up for the code of conduct,” outgoing mayor Don Iveson said Monday.

Nickel said “goodbye” to Edmontonians in his concession speech, but he decided not to take questions about anything, including exactly what that means.

Many of Nickel’s endorsed candidates lost including Tarcy Schindelka, Dave Olivier and Derek Hlady.

Nickel also endorsed UCP press secretary Tricia Velthuizen, but she was defeated by former NDP candidate and incumbent Aaron Paquette.

NEW CONSERVATIVE VOICES ON COUNCIL

On the plus side for right-leaning Edmontonians, former UCP candidate Karen Principe was elected in Dziadyk’s old seat.

Principe said she will focus on cutting “wasteful spending” at City Hall - after hearing those complaints while door knocking.

“A few people felt that maybe we needed a little bit more accountability with the spending of tax dollars,” she said.

Principe ran for the UCP in the 2019 Alberta election, finishing second to the NDP’s Chris Nielsen.

Fiscal conservative Jennifer Rice appeared to win a very tight Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi race, with a recount possible in a vote split of just 33.

Rice’s campaign focused on providing basic city services like road repair and possibly increasing the frequency of garbage pickup.

“The most public complaint I hear at the door is that, ‘Our tax dollars keep increase,’ and however our services still have room to improve,” Rice said on election night.

IVESON-ENDORSED CANDIDATES WIN

NDP-endorsed Michael Janz was elected in the Strathcona area and the left-leaning Andrew Knack was headed back to council as well.

Three of the candidates endorsed by Iveson also won their races.

Those were: Anne Stevenson in Ward O-day'min, Ashley Salvador in Ward Métis and Keren Tang in Ward Karhiio.

Iveson also picked Ahmed ‘Knowmadic’ Ali in Ward tastawiyiniwak, but he finished third.

Erin Rutherford was elected Anirniq, after being endorsed by NDP MLA Sarah Hoffman.

Newly elected Sspomitapi councillor Jo-Anne Wright appeared to have a centre-left platform.

Councillors Sarah Hamilton and Tim Cartmell, considered centrists, were both reelected in their respective wards.

Brennan included Cartmell on the "small c" conservative list, but the returning incumbent said he’s happy to work with everyone.

“I don’t necessarily buy into this political tagging, this lefty righty progressive, conservative stuff. It really does feel like a rebirth and a new beginning, so it’s very exciting days,” Cartmell said.

The new council will be sworn in on Oct. 26.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk