By the end of day on Oct. 18, 37.6 per cent of eligible voters in Edmonton had cast their ballot, making it the highest turnout since 2004, when 41.8 per cent of people voted. And with the election comes some new faces on city council as well as new ward names and boundaries.
Tony Caterina was the councillor of Ward 7, and ran for re-election in O-day’min, but Anne Stevenson emerged as the new councillor with 26.6 percent of the votes.
According to her website, Stevenson’s experience at the Right at Home Housing Society “has provided her with an in-depth understanding of how we can work together to tackle housing affordability.”
Stevenson also worked in city planning. Her website states she wishes to prioritize issues such as housing affordability, climate change, a diversified economy, public spaces, ongoing reconciliation, and community wellness.
Eleven candidates ran in Ward Métis, the most of any ward. Ashley Salvador is the ward’s new councillor, receiving 34.39 per cent of the vote. Salvador has been involved at the municipal level for many years.
“After a while, you start to realize how interconnected all those realms are. And at the municipal level, you really have to have that broad base perspective in order to serve people well,” says Salvador. “So, being able to bring all those perspectives together, and sort of see the city in more of a holistic manner is something that I bring to the table.”
Salvador is prioritizing housing and homelessness. She intends on advocating for investment in permanent, supportive housing with mental health, addiction, and employment supports. Another priority is climate change.
Trisha Estabrooks was re-elected as the Edmonton Public School Trustee for Ward D. After getting elected in 2017, Estabrooks also spent the last two years serving as board chair for Edmonton Public Schools Board (EPSB).
Estabrooks says she wants to give back to the city. “And really feeling like I wanted to do all I could to, sort of, advocate on behalf of families, and parents, and kids, about public education,” Estabrooks explains. “This time, it’s one of those situations I decided to run again, because, quite frankly, I feel like I have more work to do.”
She says the first challenge facing board trustees is navigating the pandemic, then supporting kids and families post-pandemic. She also wants to find ways to keep the curriculum draft out of the classrooms, and ensure that the Anti-Racism and Equity Policy is put into action. Estabrooks explains it will continue to be a challenge for the board to advocate for properly funded budgets from the Alberta government to accommodate the growth of the school division.
Carla Smiley was re-elected as the Edmonton Catholic School Trustee for Ward 73. For the next term, her website says she’ll continue to build relationships.
“One of the key relationships that is relatively undeveloped is that with our parishes, we need an ongoing plan for communication so that those most invested in a genuinely Catholic education can be engaged in its development and defense, when necessary,” Smiley states on her website. “We are also continuing an initiative to review our local schools, to ensure a balance of programming and optimal utilization of school spaces.”
Eleven people duked it out for the position of mayor. Amarjeet Sohi won the mayoral seat after receiving 45.09 per cent of the votes. Sohi is no stranger to politics, having spent eight years as an Edmonton city councillor, and then was elected as an MP.
“We are facing challenges as a city, but also a wealth of opportunities,” states Sohi on his website. “Today, I believe we all understand, more than ever, how the wellbeing of our communities, our economy, and our people are fundamentally interconnected. The economy, social issues, climate change, and equity are all connected, and we cannot address one successfully without addressing the others. A healthy economy starts with healthy, resilient people.”
On Oct 19, Sohi took to Twitter: “I will lead the best way I know how—by example. We will make our city even stronger than it was before. We will dream big. We will build an Edmonton for all. Thank you everyone for all you have done to get us here. Now, let’s get to work.”