The people have spoken ... through ballots
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 06:00 am
The smoke has cleared, the signs and door-knockers have done their job and the people have spoken. Some candidates kept their seats, some lost theirs and all councils feature fresh, energetic faces eager to get to work.
St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse kept his seat and his place at the city’s helm, defeating challenger Shelley Biermanski by a vote count of 9,900 (55%) to 8,061 (45%). It was an intense mayoral campaign between two competitors who hardly saw eye-to-eye on anything. Crouse led all night.
Crouse’s team of councillors is going to be a big change for the City of St. Albert, or at least seems so at first glance. Number-one vote getter Cathy Heron returns with more than 10,000 votes, and plenty of local Twitter hounds were making jokes election night that Heron was the “second mayor” of St. Albert, garnering more votes than Crouse.
Joining Heron are incumbents Cam MacKay, who finished second campaigning on a conservative fiscal policy, and councillor Wes Brodhead who tends toward the middle. With the three newcomers: Sheena Hughes, Tim Osborne and Gilles Prefontaine, it looks like a group for whom co-operation shouldn’t be an issue.
Perhaps the biggest election story locally is the unseating of two-time Sturgeon County mayor Don Rigney by councillor Tom Flynn in another campaign in which the two candidates obviously didn’t get along. Flynn, at his Cardiff election night headquarters, was positive and energetic and said he couldn’t wait to get to work with his new council. The Gazette was unable to find Rigney election night when repeated attempts to contact him went unanswered.
Flynn also has plenty of new blood to work with as only one incumbent, Karen Shaw, is returning. Flynn will be working with newcomers Ferd Caron, Susan Evans, Wayne Bokenfohr and Patrick Tighe, along with former councillor Jerry Kaup. Sturgeon council has been defined of late by split votes, with one camp behind Rigney and one behind Flynn. Obviously county voters, exhausted by the infighting, wanted to see that end and a new era of progress begin.
The Morinville vote was characterized by drama, as Lisa Holmes and Sheldon Fingler were separated by just 18 votes on election night. This prompted a recount that will be settled on Wednesday, at the earliest.
Morinville also elected 19-year-old Brennan FitzGerald, who may be the youngest municipal councillor in Alberta.
Now’s the time when councillors-elect can clear their heads of campaign smoke, look to co-operating on important issues like taxes and regional planning and begin the journey into the future.