Edmonton Votes, 2010

We vote for a new city council tomorrow. Three years ago we had the thrill of seeing Don Iveson defeat the always jerkish Mike Nickel. What will we see this year?

I'm pressed for time, but here are some short notes on what I hope will happen (sorry that it's incomplete).

Ward 7

I am strongly endorsing Scott Mckeen in this ward. He has been a proponent of smart urbanism for years now. Tony Catarina, on the hand, is fighting hard to bring back 1960s Edmonton. When the world still had most of its cheap easy oil in the ground and Edmonton had 250,000 people, that made some sense. Now? Not so much. Please vote for McKeen if you live in ward 7.

Ward 11

Kerry Diotte is another reality-denying (as in, there's no climate change and our economy will continue to grow forever), sprawl-supporting airport supporter. As far as I can tell, the best man beat him in ward 11 is Chinwe Okelu. He came very close to winning last time, making him the best hope to beat Diotte's strong campaign. I support Okelu in ward 11.

Ward 8

I will be voting for Ben Henderson. He totally gets it on issues ranging from urban sprawl to food security to LRT.


There's really no debate here - Mandel isn't perfect but he is pushing hard on the LRT and has the gumption to stop ugly architecture and close that damn waste of space airport. I endorse Stephen Mandel as mayor of Edmonton for the next three years.


Here's the obligatory section where I tell you to get out and vote.

However, I'm not going to do that. If you disagree with me - if you think that there's a huge pile of money at city hall waiting to be found by going over the budget "line by line", if you think that endless seas of vinyl siding on the edge of the city provide much needed choice for middle class families to park their SUVs in, if you think that climate change is a socialist hoax to transfer wealth to developing nations - don't vote tomorrow. Why would I encourage people to vote against my candidates?

If you are a green voter, please make the time to support the green candidates, the ones who will make a positive difference in Edmonton for the next three years. And tell your friends too. I look forward to seeing an intelligent, forward-thinking, airport-closing city council tomorrow night.


Congratulations to Linda Duncan

Linda Duncan is smart, experienced, and hard-working. She's one of Canada's most prominent environmentalists, and of course she's also now the Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona!

A couple of weeks ago, I gave her a one in a hundred chance of taking the riding (after all, this is Alberta).  The weekend before the election, though, I started to really think she might have a chance.  The clue came in my mailbox in the form of an insulting-to-the-intelligence postcard dropped off by the Rahim Jaffer campaign.  The message basically amounted to "the NDP thinks that car thieves shouldn't go to jail".  The fact that Jaffer was using the logic of a nine-year-old in a negative ad like that indicated to me that he was running scared.

The public tantrum and last-gasp cry for attention that followed from Jaffer just confirmed that the people of Edmonton-Strathcona made the right choice.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Duncan be named the NDP's environment critic.  Her election is a refreshing dot of orange in a province that was supposed to be a sea of blue this time around. Thank you to Edmonton-Strathcona voters for making an environmentally-sound choice of representatives, and congratulations to Linda Duncan!

Federal Election 2008 : Voting for the Environment

There are tough times for green voters this upcoming federal election. The Conservatives, who are almost certain to win at least a term as a minority government, are a disaster on the environment. Instead of going into specifics, I'll direct you to the Sierra Club of Canada's Voters’ Guide to the Climate Crisis Election (pdf file). It gives the Conservatives a big fat F+ on the environment, by far the worst grade of any political party.

And please don't assume that this is a partisan analysis. I'm a green voter. Brian Mulroney was a green Prime Minister, and I would happily support Stephen Harper if he was too. He's just not. In fact, he just recently started to pretend to believe that climate change is real.

So what is a treehugging Edmontonian to do? The answer, if you live in Edmonton-Strathcona, is to vote for the NDP's Linda Duncan.  Longtime Reform/Alliance/Conservative incumbent Rahim Jaffer is regularly outvoted, but because the left-of-Jaffer vote is split three ways, he keeps getting the seat. Let's get this straight right now: the only legitimate anti-Jaffer vote is a Linda Duncan vote. In a highly annoying move, the Liberal candidate has been spending big dollars in her futile attempt to mine the NDP's considerable Strathcona vote base.

The fact is, the NDP vote has been increasing for four elections in a row. Here's the NDP vote versus Jaffer's:

NDP votes vs. Conservative votes, Edmonton-Strathcona

In 2006, Linda Duncan got about 17,000 votes, Jaffer got 22,000, and the Liberals got a bit over 9000 votes.

If you live in Edmonton-Strathcona, and you don't want to vote for Jaffer, please vote NDP. Linda Duncan has the best hope out of anyone in Alberta of beating a Conservative. It's maybe one in a hundred, but it is a chance.

Plus, Duncan is a longtime environmentalist. She's widely respected in her field, and she would make a strong voice for the environment in Parliament.

If you live elsewhere in Edmonton, your vote will be mostly wasted, because the Conservatives are going to slaughter everyone. I would vote Green, because it makes the party more legitimate, and they will get $1.50 more because of your vote due to Canada's public financing rules.

Alberta: Get Rich or Die Trying

I recently discovered an excellent local blog: Alberta: Get Rich or Die Trying. Its four authors are, according to recent email correspondence, "frustrated by the decision of many of our progressive friends to leave Alberta for greener pastures, so we think it's really important to contribute to fostering a sense of community and agency among younger Edmontonians and Albertans". Amen!  read more... »