'Not looking for a roommate here': Mayoral candidates asked if they can get along

Mayoral candidate Mike Nickel made it clear his top priority is not to make friends when asked how well he'll be able to work with other councillors. (Source: Vimeo/Edmonton Public Library)

A group of mayoral hopefuls was asked how well they’ll be able to work with other councillors at an election forum Wednesday night - and one candidate made it clear his top priority is not to make friends.

“Clearly things are not working downtown at city hall. We need good ideas,” candidate Mike Nickel said.

“People want leadership right now. We’re not looking for a roommate here. We need good ideas. We need good plans...It’s important to have disagreements on council. That policy competition makes for a better product at the end of the day.”

Nickel made those comments during a virtual forum hosted by Edmonton Public Library Wednesday night.

During his time as councillor, Nickel was accused three times of breaking council’s Code of Conduct, but efforts to publicly reprimand him failed by council vote every time.

Nickel did not address those disputes, but he’s previously said they were a result of his political opponents trying to silence him.

Diana Steele, Rick Comrie and Amarjeet Sohi were asked the same question.

“I know how to work with my council colleagues. I listen to them. I build relationships with them. I respect them,” Sohi said, referencing his work in advancing LRT projects.

“That’s how council works, by working together on building a stronger community.”

Steele has not been on council before, but she has served as the president of her community league.

“I am confident that whoever is elected to council will align with me. We’ll all see it the same way, and we will all get along,” she said with a smile.

Comrie sidestepped the question and spoke about taxes, economic development and public meetings.

“Who’s been forgotten is the taxpayer. So here I am, fighting for the taxpayer,” he said.

Brian Gregg, Cheryll Watson, Kim Krushell and Michael Oshry were also at the forum but were not asked about maintaining council relationships.

About 1,200 people watched the debate online.

It was the latest in a series of forums hosted by community organizations, as the City of Edmonton is not hosting official debates in 2021.

Edmontonians vote on Oct. 18, 2021.