Your candidates for city councillor in the 2013 municipal election

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Ward 1

Andrew Knack Andrew Knack

Age: 29
Occupation: manager, electronics store
Married, no children

Ward 1 candidate Andrew Knack is hoping that his third run for council will finally get him to city hall.

In 2010, Knack finished second to incumbent Linda Sloan, with 5,369 votes to Sloan’s 8,836.  Sloan has decided not to run in this election.

Knack says he has knocked on 13,000 doors since March.

In newer neighbourhoods, he says people want to know when they’ll get new recreation centres, a fire hall and the west LRT.  People in the more mature neighbourhoods are worried about how the city spends money.

Knack proposes the city increase the frequency of branch audits to find savings in areas like road maintenance.

Knack believes that coming up with a short-term solution for the city’s pothole problem may not be the best approach.

“Could we as a city spend more on snow removal to save us more money on road maintenance?”  he asks.

Knack also wants the city to push the province to get rid of grocery store covenants, which prevent new grocery stores from opening in locations where one has closed.

Having a grocery store within walking distance is important for increasing density in mature neighbourhoods, he says.

Sharon Maclise Sharon Maclise

Age: 62
Occupation: real estate broker, investor, property manager
Single, two adult daughters

Ward 1 candidate Sharon Maclise sees the 311 phone line as a symbol of a growing communications gap between city government and the people it serves.

“It was instituted because they thought it would create greater efficiency,” she said.

“Well instead, it has not done that. What it has done is simply distance the civil service, the people who work for citizens, from the citizenry. It almost seems to have been intended to do that.”

In addition to reviewing the 311 service, Maclise wants to change how budget decisions are made.

She believes council can do a better job at distinguishing between needs. She also decries a system where money is spent simply because it had been set aside in the budget.

“I don’t care if it’s $50,000, $500,000, $5 million,” she said. “There is no reason to use money just because it’s available to you and as a councillor I would be very careful about those things.”

Maclise cites the much-maligned Talus Dome art installation and the construction of new bridges close to existing ones in the river valley as examples of unnecessary items.

Maclise doesn’t live in Ward 1. “I just live on the edge of Ward 1. I live in Glenora. I live in Ward 6.”

Jamie Post Jamie Post

Age: 31
Occupation: coordination and communications director for a non-profit disability services organization
Single, no children

Ward 1 candidate Jamie Post believes the city has the budget process backwards.

Usually administration presents a draft budget, leaving it up to council to slash spending to get the taxes down to an acceptable rate. But Post believes it should be the other way around.

“The budget process needs to start with what’s coming in, what Edmontonians can afford right now,” he said. “As opposed to trying to tax our way towards what administration wants to spend.”.

Post wants to overhaul how the city consults the public to expand participation beyond those who advocate as part of their jobs.

He suggests a system where individuals interested in a particular issue could register with the city to receive regular updates.

Post, who worked on the Jasper Place Revitalization and Area Redevelopment Plan, believes that infill is important because newer neighbourhoods can cost money.

“The future of Edmonton is our ability to grow inward. Can we do it? If we can’t, then we’re in big trouble as a city,” he said.

However, he says the city needs to do a better job enforcing infill guidelines.

Bryan Sandilands Bryan Sandilands

Age: 41
Occupation: health economist
Married, three children

On Oct. 21, Edmontonians will elect at least six new councillors, meaning it becomes more crucial to choose candidates with ample professional and personal experience, according to Ward 1 candidate Bryan Sandilands.

“City council, once elected, is going to need to hit the ground running on day one,” he said. “We simply need to get going because we have some of Edmonton’s biggest developments in history ahead of us and we need a really competent, professional team.”

Sandilands,  who earned a masters degree from the London School of Economics, believes the city needs to review the land use zoning bylaw, to prevent small and medium businesses from getting tied up in red tape.

He also wants the city to continue plans for the revitalization of Jasper Place and the Stony Plain Road business area.

Sandilands doesn’t believe the city debt is at an unreasonable level given the projects underway.. He says that keeping infrastructure in good repair is what a city should do.

But the pace of suburban development is putting pressure on the city’s ability to fix roads, he says.

“When we keep building hundreds of kilometres of new roads out to the outskirts, we simply don’t have the manpower, the funding, or frankly, the capacity to make sure that every pothole is filled,” he said.

Sean Amato Sean Amato

Age: 27
Occupation: television journalist
Single, no children

Sean Amato says he has covered city council meetings hundreds of times as a journalist. Now he hopes to become a councillor himself.

Amato says his experience on the other end of the microphone gives him a unique perspective on city issues. With every story, he goes to the people affected by city hall decisions to hear their reaction.

He hopes to continue this tradition if he’s elected.

“I really pride myself on listening to Edmontonians, to what they’re actually saying about the things that are going on at city hall.”

Amato commends past city councils for having a grand vision of Edmonton, but said they’ve forgotten core values.

Edmonton is a small city, he said, and it’s time we start treating it that way.

If elected to represent Ward 1, Amato said he would push for a reinvestment in roads and drainage, rather than in large capital projects.

“I think people really want to see that their core services are taken care of,” said Amato. “They want to see their tax dollars at work in their neighbourhood.”

Rob Pasay Rob Pasay

Age: 37
Occupation: Business owner

The way Edmonton is sprawling further and further toward outlying communities led Rob Pasay to run for city council. “I think it’s time the city stopped growing out, catch it’s breath a little bit and grow up instead.”

Pasay, whose technical support company Bug Byte corporation marks its 10th anniversary this year, believes urban sprawl is creating all kinds of problems. “You can visually see it cause a problem for the infrastructure, buses are going to have to travel further out, they’re coming back half empty, the roads are seeing stress.”

Pasay believes all new developments outside of the Anthony Henday should be stopped. He would like the city to focus on new infill housing in mature neighbourhoods, as well as continue with high rise developments downtown.

He wants to see more money spent to fix up the roads and sewers, but instead of borrowing money to do it, he wants cash redirected from what he sees as superfluous projects.
“An example of that would be the idea we have right now to build an artificial beach along the river valley area. Those dollars should be put into infrastructure if not debt repayment.”

Ward 2

Bev Esslinger Bev Esslinger

Age: 55
Occupation: executive director of SHAPE, a walk to school program
Married, 2 children

Bev Esslinger spent six years as a trustee and four years as chairwoman of the Edmonton Public School Board, an experience she believes will serve Ward 2 residents well if she is elected on Oct. 21.

“As a school trustee, you learned very quickly that you have to make very difficult decisions,” she said.

“Learning how to work under pressure and making those difficult decisions is something that experience has provided me, as well as learning how to do a very large budget.”

Esslinger says people in her ward are concerned about potholes, road maintenance and snow removal.

She supports the current council’s push to expand the LRT and the proposed redevelopment of the City Centre Airport lands. She believes the city needs to keep working to secure funding for LRT expansion from the federal government.

“You can’t give up because it got difficult.”

Esslinger stepped down from the school board in 2010 to care for her ailing mother who has since passed away.

As the Progressive Conservative candidate for Edmonton-Calder in last year’s provincial election, she placed second to David Eggen from the NDP.

Nita Jalkanen Nita Jalkanen

Age: 47
Occupation: special marketing projects for an Alberta bank
Single, no children

Nita Jalkanen never thought she would run for council. But that changed earlier this year after witnessing what she now calls ‘“the end of democracy.”

Jalkanen paid Environics Research Group $5,000 of her own money to ask 300 Edmontonians about aspects of the arena deal.

Even though the majority of people surveyed opposed the use of taxpayer dollars, council finalized the agreement with the Katz Group on May 15.

“I just reached a personal tipping point, and I thought, no. that’s it,” she said. “I cannot sit back and watch something that I believe in, and that’s our system of democracy, no longer function.”

Despite her opposition, Jalkanen insists she isn’t running on the arena issue. Instead, she wants to focus her energies on correcting what she calls a disconnect between council and the will of the people.

She also wants the city to get back to basics and improve infrastructure like roads.

“These are just the foundations upon which our city is built and they’re important,” she said.

“And people want to get to and from work efficiently without $4,100 repair bills to their cars.”

Jason Millar Jason Millar

Age: 39
Occupation: manager for a trucking company maintenance facility
Married, two children

Jason Millar’s school-aged children are the inspiration behind his run for city council.

“I want the city to grow in a direction that enables my kids to enjoy living here and continue to live here,” he said.

Millar’s priorities are ensuring that Edmonton sustains its mature neighbourhoods by approving infill housing to attract new residents. 

He points out the city can’t afford to keep building new communities when it can’t maintain the ones that already exist.

Transportation is another part of Millar’s agenda. He believes the city needs to lobby harder to get the provincial and federal governments to help pay for the west LRT extension, which he says is needed for a growing city.

Millar thinks the city’s chronic pothole problem should prompt officials to investigate what’s causing them in the first place.

“We need to re-evaluate how we’re building our roads, and look for better ways to build our roads, so we’re not having to constantly refill potholes every year.”

Millar believes an audit is needed to find efficiencies in city administration

Shelley Tupper Shelley Tupper

Age: 53
Occupation: appeals officer with Canada Revenue Agency
Single, no children

For 25 years, Shelley Tupper has volunteered with organizations like the community league and community service advisory board in her Kensington neighbourhood.

“I have a passion for just wanting my community to be safe, to be clean, and just to have a good quality of life,” she said.

Tupper, running in her third election, says people in Ward 2 are worried about potholes and flooding, particularly after heavy rains taxed the drainage system.

As a transit user, Tupper knows the challenges of getting around Edmonton and thinks the city should work collaboratively with other regional municipalities to secure funding for LRT expansion.

“I think the more that we work together, the more that the provincial and federal governments will be willing to work with us,” she said.

“Not just we benefit but the whole region is going to benefit from having those funds there.”

Tupper also ran for council in 2007 and 2010.

Ted Grand Ted Grand

age:  55
occupation: Purchasing agent
Married, two adult children

Ted Grand says even though many people accept that the downtown arena is going ahead, they’re still annoyed with the lack of consultation.

“The one major thing I’m hearing, the constant theme, whether I’m in the south part of the ward or the north part of the ward, is that people feel a disconnect between city council and themselves,” he said.

Grand wants the city to accelerate the pace of road and drainage repairs by putting more money into the neighbourhood renewal program.

He also wants the city to make tougher choices at budget time. While he sees the arena as a want, he believes that LRT expansion is a necessity.

“You shouldn’t be slowing or stopping the city from becoming a place where people want to live,” he said.

“You need to build rec centres …. in new areas that need them,  you need to renovate rec centres in older areas that need them. It’s just part of developing a good city and a great city to live in.”

Mustafa Ali Mustafa Ali

Age: 23
Occupation: human resources policy developer for a social services organization
Single, no children

Mustafa Ali works as a mentor and community activist in Ward 2. He wants to join city council to make a greater difference for the people he works with.

“I want to take my unique experiences and unique perspectives to government to better represent …. the voices, representing the younger generation and a lot of minority groups that don’t find themselves represented at the level of government,” he said.

Ali wants to lobby the provincial and federal governments to improve how professionals from other countries are accredited to work in Canada.

He also thinks the city should get a fairer share of industrial taxes generated in the region.

“Many people live in Edmonton who work in the smaller communities around Edmonton,” he said. “So it’s unfair for Edmonton to have to provide the large part of the services.”

Ali wants the city to rethink how it should handle infrastructure issues like potholes. He thinks council should set up a think tank to determine the best way to proceed.

Don Koziak Don Koziak

Age: 49
Occupation: General Manager, Chateau Louis Hotel
Married, six children

This is Don Koziak’s sixth time running for city council, including a bid to become mayor in 2007.

In 2010, he placed a close second to then incumbent councilor, Kim Krushell.

“I still have some strong feeling about how my city can be better,” he says.

Koziak says the top issues for Ward 2 are fixing infrastructure problems

“I don’t remember the roads being this bad before,” he says.

He’d also like to see overhead power lines buried as part of neighbourhood renewal.

If elected, Koziak will push to make the Yellowhead a free-flowing highway. He says money should be redirected from the LRT expansion to fund this project.

A long time proponent of the city centre airport, Koziak firmly believes the closure of the airport is the wrong decision for the city’s economy. If elected, he says he’d try and convince council to keep the airport open.

Koziak says the next city council needs to curb spending in an effort to reduce the debt.

“The next city council will have their hands handcuffed behind their back, as far as priorities, because of all that debt,” he says.

Koziak lives in the ward and was born and raised in Edmonton.

Ward 3

David Dodge David Dodge

Age: 54
Occupation: host, producer, Green Energy Futures
Married, five children

David Dodge says his apprenticeship for public office started at a community league meeting 18 years ago.

“They said ‘your son won’t get to play soccer unless somebody sticks their hand up,’” Dodge recalled. “So I did and that was the beginning.”

Dodge later became the head of his community league and eventually became president of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues in 2011.

He hopes to use his experience at the grassroots level to aid his first run for public office.

If elected, Dodge says he would address what he sees as a widening gap between communities and city hall.

“I think there’s a fear of communities developed over the years and that’s not productive,” he says.

“We have to bring citizens into our decision-making process in order to have more positive outcomes on everything.”

Dodge believes the north side is usually the last in line for city funding, something he hopes to reverse if he is chosen to represent Ward 3 on Oct. 21.

Dave Loken Dave Loken

Age: 48
Occupation: City Councillor
Married, four children

Councillor Dave Loken said he has a lot to show for his first term at City Hall—getting the downtown arena deal to the finish line, and pushing for more parks in his ward at the end of his term.

“Three years is just the start,” Loken said. “It takes time to get things done. I feel there’s a lot more to accomplish.”

Getting transit into new Ward 9 neighbourhoods and extending LRT into North West Edmonton are now his top priorities.

With so many new councillors and a new mayor in the next term, Loken said it’s important for incumbent councillors like himself to return so council doesn’t lose momentum on the progress they’ve made.

​Hakin Isse ​Hakin Isse

Age: 38
Occupation: Small business owner
Married, twelve children

Haken Isse is a relative newcomer to Edmonton, having moved here four years ago.

He said he loves the city, but there are things he thinks he could improve as a councillor.

“My priority is security,” he said. “The safety of the neighbourhood.”

Isse said there is a crime problem in Ward 3, and that could be hindering the growth of development and businesses.

The first step in reducing crime is starting a dialogue with community members.

“The most important is to be open minded to each other and debate the issues so that we can tackle the challenges that we have.”

Rob Bernshaw Rob Bernshaw

Age: 60
Occupation: works for the Alberta Motor Association

Rob Bernshaw says he can bring greater transparency and accountability to city hall.

“All my life I’ve been working for others.  I am a democracy candidate,” he says.

If elected, Bernshaw says he’ll establish an anti-corruption task force at city hall, end closed-door meetings and hold town halls where people living in Ward 3 can vote on issues.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the people and their voices, they would hold us accountable,” he says.

Bernshaw says the next city council needs to prioritize its spending, beginning with investing in roads and sewers. He says too much money has been spent on “wasteful projects,” including the one million spent on the City’s re-branding initiative, ‘Make Something Edmonton.’

Bernshaw doesn’t currently live in the ward, but says he feels a close affinity to the area, because of his military background. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Armed Forces.

Ward 4

Ed Gibbons Ed Gibbons

Age: 64
Occupation: city councillor
Married, three children

Ed Gibbons started his city hall career as one of five novice councillors. Now, as Edmonton is getting set to elect at least six new councillors, Gibbons said he will be one of the most experienced councillor in the council chamber.

He was an Edmonton Liberal MLA for one term before spending the last 12 years as a city politician. In that time he’s learned how to get things done, he said.

Revitalizing neighbourhoods is what Gibbons said he’s most proud of in his time as a councillor. He said he hopes to get re-elected and finish what he’s started.

“Fort Road is just starting to come alive,” said Gibbons. “The growth in northeast Edmonton is coming along fantastically.”

But it’ll take a steady hand to see those developments come to fruition, he added.

Gibbons said he has the most portfolios of any councillor, and people can trust him to fight for his community and Edmonton at large.

Sam Hachem Sam Hachem

Age: 32
Occupation: realtor
Married, one child

The poor image many Edmonton residents have of the northeast part of the city grates on long-time resident and Ward 4 candidate Sam Hachem.

“I love the northeast side of Edmonton, I think there’s a lot of great potential,” he said. “I think job one for me would be to get in and work and try to better the image of the northeast.”

Hachem, who ran as an independent in last year’s provincial election, says he was inspired to run after his wife could only find work in the south and west parts of the city, not near their home.

“I found it disappointing,” he said.

If elected on Oct. 21, Hachem wants to change the area’s image. He also wants to improve infrastructure in the area, which he believes is inferior to what is seen south of the river.

He also believes that property taxes have gone up too much in recent years and will work to limit any future increases.


Ward 5

Rudy Arcilla Rudy Arcilla

Age: 69
Occupation: retired teacher
Married, 3 children, 2 grandchildren

Rudy Arcilla came to Canada from his native Philippines in 1967 to get his bachelor of education from the University of Alberta.

After 33 years as a junior high school teacher, and one term as a Catholic school trustee, Arcilla says he wants to give back to Edmonton and become the councillor for Ward 5.

His candidacy was also inspired by a desire to solve the city’s pothole problem, perhaps by changing road resurfacing materials from asphalt to concrete.

“If we could improve that mixture, it might be costly, but in the long run, if we don’t repair the roads for a span of three years, you would have saved a lot of money.”

In addition to the pothole issue, Arcilla says the people he’s spoken with are concerned about neighbourhood speeding and vandalism

Arcilla believes that the west LRT expansion is important for residents.

He believes the city should consider extending the LRT to St. Albert and Strathcona County and convince their local governments to share the costs.

Terry Diane Demers Terry Diane Demers

Age: 55
Occupation: contract worker Corrections Canada
Married, 3 children, 5 grandchildren

When Terry Diane Demers made her first run for council in 2004, she didn’t win the seat but she came away with a job offer.

Demers says that veteran councillor Ron Hayter was so impressed with her campaign that he hired her as his executive assistant.

She says her six years with Hayter gave her training for the job she’s seeking today.

“I’ve got the proven background that I can get in there and best represent the people of this ward,” she said.

Like many candidates, Demers has heard complaints about potholes from the people she meets out door-knocking.

Instead of working city-wide, Demers contends that snow removal and pothole repairs would be completed faster if crews were assigned to work in the same ward each time.

“And so we would have our snow done, our streets clean, our roads paved,” she said.

If elected, Demers wants to work with administration to make permitting for building projects less time-consuming. She believes council must maintain a friendly climate for business.

Jim Gibbon Jim Gibbon

Age: 49
Occupation: owner Amber’s Brewing
Partner, three children

A rental increase sparked Jim Gibbon’s run for city council.

After deciding he’d rather move his business than pay the increase, Gibbon learned it would take 18 months for the city to fit his brewery into the current zoning categories

Since Gibbon needed to move his brewery within 30 days, he relocated to St. Albert.

“That sort of frustration has led me to feel that maybe we could improve things,” he said.

Zoning isn’t the only thing on Gibbon’s mind. The city’s current challenges in getting funding commitments for LRT expansion along the west and southeast lines

Gibbon believes the best way to get other levels of government to contribute is to prove there’s a demand by running high-efficiency buses along the routes.

“Rather than the build it and they will come model ...I think we need to get the buses going as soon as possible and get that line flying,” he said.

“If at least the buses are going there, at least those people are being served in the short term and then we’ll get the LRT up.”

Gibbon would also like to run the High Level Streetcar down Whyte Avenue to where it can meet up with the LRT line.

Michael Oshry Michael Oshry

Age: 45
Occupation: co-founder and chairman Firma Foreign Exchange
Married, two children

While some candidates believe the city’s $2.2 billion debt is a symptom of overspending, Ward 5 candidate Michael Oshry doesn’t see it that way.

“It’s capital debt, and it’s safe debt. It’s like a mortgage on a house,” Oshry said.

“I think we have to be careful that we don’t bring that significantly higher but it’s a manageable amount of money that the city has been borrowing and for projects that have to be done which weren’t done by previous councils.”

Oshry’s platform includes making “smarter investments” in roads and sewers, developing the City Centre airport lands and ensuring surrounding municipalities help pay for services provided by Edmonton for the entire region.

When his children become adults, Oshry wants the city to be vibrant and interesting enough for them to stay. .

“You’ve got to create opportunities for all the newcomers, for all the residents of the city, and try to get people to have the highest quality of life possible,” he said.

Oshry supports the new arena for how it will revitalize the downtown core, but says the city did a terrible job explaining the deal.

Allan Santos Allan Santos

Age: 41
Occupation: Edmonton Transit operator
Married, three children

Edmonton councillor Amarjeet Sohi and NDP leader Brian Mason are two former Edmonton Transit drivers who made a successful transition into to politics. 

Ward 5 candidate Allan Santos hopes to join their ranks. The long-time west-end resident says he is like many others in his ward—an everyday working person with a young family.

“I’m doing this because I want to see things change for the family. I want the community to be actually heard,” he said. “I want to be the voice of community for the community.”

Not surprisingly, Santos has ideas about how to improve the transit system.

While he loves the LRT for how quickly it can move people, he worries about the low-floor design which will keep the trains out in traffic, particularly along Stony Plain Road.

“I’d like to personally see go above-ground on cement stilts like they do in Vancouver where it’s out of the way of traffic, it won’t hold up any vehicles in any direction,” he said.

Santos would also like to have fewer stops along the west and southeast lines.

Santos wants more accountability when city projects go overtime and over budget.

He is also concerned that parents have to fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars to build playgrounds in the newer west-end schools, only to turn over construction to the city, which Santos believes could drive up costs.

Rob Hennigar Rob Hennigar

Age: 42
Occupation: businessman
Married, two children, 17 and 19

A lack of funding from the federal and provincial governments has made the rollout of Edmonton’s LRT uncertain. 

Instead of waiting, Rob Hennigar believes the city should switch to Bus Rapid Transit, a system that runs buses on dedicated lanes that aren’t impeded by stoplights.

Hennigar says the system is cheaper and can be built in half the time of an LRT line.

“It has a relatively low cost of implementation. I’ve seen numbers from anywhere to one-third the cost to one-half the cost of an LRT.”

Hennigar says the city needs to find a balance between generating more revenue and cutting costs.

He believes the city can make more money from the services it provides.

However, Hennigar doesn’t want to cut funding for the arts, which he says helps increase business for restaurants and parking garages.

“Everything in a vibrant city does better,” he said. “If we can increase tourism, if we can have people going out more, things happening in our city, that raises our revenue base from the bottom up.”

Alla Ternikova Alla Ternikova

Occupation: Small business owner
Married, two children

Alla Ternikova was ready to retire this year, until her councillor, Karen Leibovici, announced she would be running for mayor. Ternikova said she saw her opportunity to take her community work to the next level.

She arrived in Edmonton 23 years ago as a refugee from the Soviet Union. She said it took her family a long time to adapt to life in this city. Now, she said, she dedicates herself to community leagues, and helping other newcomers connect with services.

“If I’m elected councillor I’ll really put a lot of effort to make sure people don’t fall through the cracks,” Ternikova said.

She also wants to make the city friendlier to small business owners, she said. She and her husband own a commercial renovation business.

“As a small business owner, I see a lot of red tape,” she said.

Terinikova said she has a special appreciation of civic democracy as a soviet refugee. Now, she said, she wants to put her experience working with community leagues into practice at City Hall.

Brian Kendrick Brian Kendrick

A profile of this candidate will be available soon.

Mark Grandish Mark Grandish

Age: 39
Occupation: tow truck driver
In a relationship

Mark Grandish knows Edmonton’s roads. He spends at least fifty hours a week driving in our city, working as a tow truck driver.

“We need a big improvement on our roads and that’s one of the things I can be a valid voice for.”

Grandish says the number of potholes on city streets is unacceptable and figures there has to be better, more cost-efficient way to fix the problem.

The city’s aging infrastructure, curbing the city’s debt and ensuring the arena is built are top priorities for Grandish.

“We love our hockey, it’s going to be a big draw, it’ll be an asset to the city,” he says of the arena.

This is Grandish’s second run for a seat at city hall.

“I ran in 2010 because I thought [that] I’m hardworking and diligent. I listen to people, I’m driven to helping put change forward and that’s why I’m coming out again.”

Grandish grew up in Ward 5 and still calls it home.

He’s proud to run what he calls a “self-funded campaign.” He says this shows leadership in how to be fiscally responsible, a trait he’d like to see in the next city council.

Ward 6

Taz Bouchier Taz Bouchier

Age: 56
Occupation: small business owner, trained as a social worker
widow, three children.

Taz Bouchier says she’s a straight shooter who, if elected, will bring balance and humanity to city council.

“I have no intention of always being politically correct,” she says.

An Edmontonian for 49 years, Bouchier says revitalization is key for Ward six, but at a pace that suits everyone. She’s in favour of the arena but says money must also be spent to support the homeless population that live in the downtown core, close to the planned arena site.

“It’s not just about profit, it’s about how do we improve community as a whole, and homeless people are part of the community.”

She says she’ll balance Edmonton’s growth with its sense of community.

“With the right people we will get the small town atmosphere back in Edmonton, but yet still have a progressive city.”

Bouchier was born in High Prairie and is connected to the Sawridge Band, about 200 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Kyle Brown Kyle Brown

Age: 29
Occupation: city of Edmonton employee

Kyle Brown says the next city council needs to continue the trend set by the previous council under Mayor Stephen Mandel.

Brown has lived in Ward six for seven years and says he can help clean up its “bad rapport.”

“I think that’s easily fixed and working on it is a goal I’d love to be doing.”

Brown would like more shelters for homeless people and a greater police presence in downtown. His vision of a “cleaned up” ward six includes more green spaces and off leash areas for dog owners.

This is Brown’s first run for public office, but he’s served on numerous boards in the seven years he’s lived in Edmonton, including the Edmonton Pride festival society board.

Brown grew up in Slave Lake and says he’s following in the footsteps of his mother, Lisa Brown, who was a town councillor there for several years.

He says people in ward six are ready to change and he’d like to be part of leading that change.

“I think there’s a lot we can do to improve and there’s a lot of things i could bring to the table for change.”

Derrick Forsythe Derrick Forsythe

Age: 49
Occupation: information officer with Alberta government, part time serving officer in Canada’s Primary Reserve Army.
married, one child

Derrick Forsythe says communities need a stronger voice at city hall and he believes he can be that voice.

“We’ve been shunted to the sidelines in a lot of ways,” he says when asked about the current role community leagues play in major developments in Ward six. If elected, he vows to change that.

He says thirteen years on the community league board at Queen Mary Park, four of them as president, make him an excellent candidate for ward six councillor.

While on the board he helped draft a residential development zoning plan for the north edge of the ward.

He says a challenge for many ward six communities is balancing the character of the old neighbourhoods, with the demand for growth in this part of the city.

Potholes and the arena are top of mind for Forsythe.

“The condition of our roadways says as much about the kind of city we are as the bright shiny buildings we’re putting up in our downtown core.”

A long time resident of the ward, Forsythe says he supports the arena but says the city “gave away too much to get it done.”


Bryan Kapitza Bryan Kapitza

Age: 50
Occupation: business owner, ethical and government consultant
Divorced, used to be a foster parent.

“The status quo will not lead us into the 21st century,” says Bryan Kapitza.

He vows this is his second and final time attempt for a seat on city council . In 2010 he captured twenty percent of the vote, placing second to incumbent Jane Batty. 

Kapitza hopes his message of fiscal prudence and a stronger economic growth plan resonated with voters in the last election. Three years later, he’s refined his ideas and says he’s armed with solutions.

He’s a mathematician by training and insists the next city council needs to focus on cutting debt, diversifying the city’s economy and reducing urban sprawl.

“Urban sprawl is bankrupting the city,” says Kapitza. He says the city needs to offer financial incentives to encourage people to live downtown.

He’s also advocating a change in how the city collects taxes. He says the city should tax based on income, not where you live.

Kapitza believes the city needs to spend more municipal dollars on affordable housing and make safe injection sites for drug users a priority.

He supports the arena, calling it “a distraction, not an economic stimulus,” and says if elected he’d abide by the agreement but not invest another cent of taxpayers dollars.

Kapitza was born and raised in Edmonton. He’s lived in ward six for five years.

Heather MacKenzie Heather MacKenzie

Age: 32
Occupation: current trustee on Edmonton public school board, mother
Married, two daughters

Heather MacKenzie has watched Edmonton change. Now, she wants to be part of the change.

Born and raised in the city, MacKenzie says she’s tired of watching Edmonton grow outwards instead of inwards.

“What I’d like to see is a vibrant core where people want to be coming here for activities and business and people want to live in the core as well,” she says.

MacKenzie says ward six needs to more welcoming to people from all demographics, including seniors and those starting families.

She’s stayed in the Oliver neighbourhood in Ward six to raise her family, but says many don’t. She says diversifying the housing market is essential in stopping the mass exit outwards.

MacKenzie has worked with Big Brothers and Sisters and spent ten years working in international development with a school for AIDS orphans in East Africa.

Scott McKeen Scott McKeen

Age: 54
Occupation: communications consultant, former journalist
Single, three children

This is Scott McKeen’s second run at city hall.

In 2010 he ran in Ward seven, placing second to incumbent Tony Caterina.

This time, he says, is different.  He’s running where he’s lived for thirty years.

The former journalist and city hall columnist says his reporting days and his “love of public service” are a natural fit for city council.

“I don’t have direct first hand experience as a councillor but I probably sat through more council meetings than some of the incumbents, so I bring somewhat vicarious experience.”

Since leaving the Edmonton Journal in 2010 McKeen has volunteered and served on numerous boards.

If elected, McKeen says he’ll continue with the “assertive and aggressive” direction set by the previous administration under Stephen Mandel. He says the job of the next council is to ensure promises, like the arena project, are kept.

“I really think Ward six has to be the jewel in the crown, it is unique and it is a place where we want to really strut ourself, I think all Edmontonians want it to be a place where we can take visitors,” he says.

McKeen says more family friend amenities, regular foot patrols by police officers and a greater focus on how to grow the urban core are key issues for ward six.

He admits potholes are a hot issue in this election, but says they represent something larger for Edmontonians.

“I think they are symbolic of Edmontonians and their wish to be proud of their city,” he says.

Dexx Williams Dexx Williams

Age: 29
Occupation: police officer

When Dexx Williams knocks on doors in Ward six first comes his name, then what he does.

He’s worked in the ward as a police officer for six years, and says people know him and can trust him.

A lifelong Edmontonian, Williams says the city he loves suffers from an inferiority complex.

“We don’t need to compare with New York and Paris. We should become a city that just leads by example,” says Williams.

To do that, he says, the next city council needs to focus on safety, cleanliness and accessibility.

He says more police officers aren’t the solution to a safer city.  Rather, they’re one piece of a complex puzzle where the source of those problems—addictions and mental health, for example—are tackled.

He says the arena will have far reaching impact on Ward six and will help reduce crime in the downtown core.

“I think it’s time to ease off legacy projects and focus on core services,” he says.

Alfie White Alfie White

Age: 61
Occupation: retired, former auto body repairman
Single, 16 year old son.

For years other people told Alfie White he’d make a great city councillor.

“I don’t see it,” he says, “but I guess we’re going to find out,” he adds.

White grew up in Fort Saskatchewan and has lived in Edmonton for 23 years, eight of those in Ward six. 

He speaks passionately about helping the city’s homeless population, some of whom he considers brothers and sisters. If elected, he says he’ll do more to push the city’s ten year plan to end homelessness.

“I walk among the homeless, the street people, I listen to them, I help sometimes. I see their struggles.”

White served three years on the Boyle Street Community league and worked on the community benefit agreement for the new arena.

“We need to move on it, the world is watching,” he says of the arena project.

Crime, homelessness, downtown development and improving roads are the top issues for White.

“This is the city of champions, we are champions, we will find a way,” he says. 

Candas Jane Dorsey Candas Jane Dorsey

Age: 60
Occupation: freelance writer/editor, communications consultant

Candas Jane Dorsey doesn’t see herself as a future politician. A better mantle, she suggests, is “community servant.”

Born in Edmonton, she’s lived in ward six for eleven years.

Dorsey has served her community and city for decades as an artist and a volunteer. She spent seventeen years on a citizen’s committee for the Edmonton police service and was the Vice President of the Boyle Street community league.

“It just seemed like the right time to make the move up one step to try and make a better community,” she says.

Dorsey says the city’s aging infrastructure, homelessness and the need to better balance development in ward six are top issues.

“We have to make the communities at the east end of the ward more visible, more attractive,” she says, adding the burden of social problems in the ward must be shared by everyone.

“I bring a combination of smarts and creativity with a sense of good fiscal management.”

After six decades of living, working and volunteering in the city, Dorsey says she wants to give back to Edmonton by serving as a councillor for ward six.

Melinda Hollis Melinda Hollis

Age: 56
Occupation: psychotherapist, runs a holistic counselling centre
Married, one daughter

After twenty years of thinking about running for office and campaigning for other people, this time it’s Hollis on the doorstep.

“Once politics bites you, it bites you,” she says.

Hollis says the arena, keeping the city centre airport open, lower taxes and reducing the city’s debt are all top priorities.

“The cities that are going to thrive are the ones with airports in the centre,” she says.

Hollis says it’s a time of rapid growth for Edmonton and she wants to be part of the change.

“We shouldn’t just be tax collectors, we need to create business, create money,” she says. 

Hollis advocates greater tax breaks for seniors and more affordable housing for Ward six.

She says one of her greatest assets is the ability to govern from the heart, not just the head.

Hollis is the daughter of refugees who fled Hungary in the 1950s. She’s spent her entire life in Edmonton.

Javed Sommers Javed Sommers

Age: 27
Occupation: auditor with the Federal government
Not married

It’s Javed Sommers passion for Edmonton that lead to his decision to run for councillor in Ward six.

That and his desire for the average Edmontonian to be better represented at city hall.

“Mr. Katz got a better deal than maybe he should have, and that bothers me,” he says of the arena.

Besides the arena, Sommers says development in the downtown core, maintaining current infrastructure and curbing the city’s debt are key concerns.

“I want to see investments in existing infrastructure, rather than building new roads, new fire halls, community centres. We need to ensure infrastructure we do have is operating at its best,” he says.

Sommers says he has a unique blend of skills and experience and sees his age as an asset.

“In Ward six, there’s a lot of young people and they need to be represented, their voice needs to be heard.”

Sommers lives and works in the ward. He’s lived in Edmonton for ten years and was born in Toronto.

Erin Northey Erin Northey

Age: 27
Occupation: student, tutors students with special needs

Erin Northey knew she had a future as a politician when she was eight. She remembers watching politicians on television, declaring to her mother she was going to be Defence Minister one day.

“I knew people in politics were important people, they were people of change and they were people that wanted to do better for their community.”

Northey says curbing urban sprawl, homeless and crime are the top issues for Ward six.

“Money is being spent on the outside, but we’re decaying on the inside,” she said.

“Everything just sort of blends in with everything else, I’d be for making this area distinct in its own way.”

Northey sees her age as one her greatest assets. She’s currently in her fourth year at the University of Alberta, working towards her Bachelor of Education.

“People always talk about wanting change, if they really want change, they should be voting for change, and I think I’d be a big part of that.”

She’s lived in the ward for about six months, but in Edmonton for almost two years.

Northey was born in Manitoba.

Terry Parada Terry Parada
Age: 55
Occupation: fire protection and security communications
Single, one son

Terry Parada sees a gap on city council that he thinks he can fill.

“The past council has not really been listening to voters,” he said, referring to the arena deal and the decision to run the LRT through Chinatown.

Top issues for Parada include controlling urban sprawl,  developing downtown, building more affordable housing and addressing homelessness.

“I want to avoid urban decay by hopefully controlling urban sprawl,” he said.

Parada says ensuring Edmonton is a safe and desirable place to live is important to voters in Ward 6.

“There probably should be some policies in place where a certain percentage of a high rise, is dedicated to affordable housing,” he said.

Parada has lived in Ward 6 his entire life.

“Hopefully 50 to 100 years from now, we’ll leave something to the next generations coming up that they can say to us, ‘We made the right decision on the future,’” he said.

Adil Pirbhai Adil Pirbhai

Age: 56
Occupation: accountant
Divorced, one son

This is Adil Pirbhai’s third time running for a seat on city council, but his first time running in Ward 6, where he lives.

A long time supporter and transit rider, he says it’s important to continue funding the expansion of the LRT.

He says a solid transportation infrastructure is the key to a bigger, better Edmonton.

“It really bothers me that we’re so concerned about a hockey arena, but we should be concerned about people first,” he says.

Pirbhai says the top issues for the ward include building more affordable housing, reducing urban sprawl and homelessness. If elected, he says he’ll freeze the price of a monthly bus pass for four years and hold regular town hall meetings in Ward 6.

Pirbhai says the city needs to renegotiate parts of the arena deal, namely the parking revenues and naming rights. He questions whether the arena deal is a fair deal for Edmontonians.

“I want this city to thrive to do well, I want this council, or whoever wins October 21, to think about the people of Edmonton first instead of thinking about big business and developers.”

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Pirbhai has lived in Edmonton for more than three decades.

Carla Frost Carla Frost

Carla Frost
Age: Age no disclosed
Occupation: general contractor, landscaping.
Not married

Carla Frost says she has the “muscle” it takes to represent the people of Ward six.

She ran in 2010, but this time bought a suit—her first—to dress up her bid for city councilor.

“It took five women to get me into it,” she says.

More comfortable in a safety vest, Frost is a long time volunteer and businesswoman.

She’d like to better represent the interests of the city’s seniors and says she’d lobby the provincial government for what she calls “second-stage hospice care”—a place for people to go when they’re discharged from the hospital.

Another key issue for the Capilano-born Frost in Ward 6 is affordable housing.

She doesn’t like the current arena deal but says “there’s a deal sitting there, this is what we’ve got to deal with now.”

Andrzej Gudanowski Andrzej Gudanowski

Age: 58
Occupation: chef
Married, three kids, another due in November.

“Canada gives me a chance, I want to finish that chance,” Andrzej Gudanowski says about why he’s running for city council.

Born in Poland, Gudanowski has spent sixteen years in Canada, the last five in Edmonton.

He ran for office in Poland, but lost, before he moved to Canada. Gudanowski says being politically active is part of who he is.

His top issues for Ward 6 include affordable housing, especially for families, reducing the city’s debt load and finding better ways to welcome new immigrants to Edmonton.

“I am the guaranty of stability, development and quality of life for all Edmontonians,” he says.

Gundanowki believes strongly in hearing the people on all issues. He’s advocating regular city wide forums, a chance for Edmontonians to be heard.

Ward 7

Tony Caterina Tony Caterina

Age: 57
Occupation: city councillor for Ward 7
Married, three children

Two-term councillor Tony Caterina first moved to Edmonton from Italy in 1962. He adapted to life in Edmonton easily, but his parents had a more difficult time picking up the language and finding services in the city.

That left him with an impression of the difficulties of being a new immigrant in Canada, he said. Now he works to create a fully integrated city that welcomes newcomers. 

Caterina first ran for council in 2004, after finding his councillor at the time unresponsive to the concerns of his community.

He said he’s proud of the improvements he’s seen in northeast Edmonton in that time.

“That’s one of the reasons I’m running again,” he said. “To make sure that what we started with the communities actually comes to fruition.”

The neighbourhood rehabilitation program has been a great success in Ward 7’s mature neighbourhoods, said Caterina. Many have been done, and many are scheduled in the next two or three years.

“I push pretty hard when it comes to my ward,” he said. “I’ll argue, I’ll fight. I’ll cajole, I’ll persuade, whatever needs to be done in order to get these projects moved forward.”

Dave Colburn Dave Colburn

Age: 66
Occupation: public school board trustee
Married, one child

While new communities are being built on the outskirts of the city, mature neighbourhoods are being left to languish, according to Ward 7 candidate Dave Colburn.

“There’s a cost factor associated with increasing sprawl, and there is a quality of life factor with sprawl,” he said.

People who live in the city’s core are subsidizing the city’s sprawling growth, said Colburn.
He wants council to refocus on maintaining aging infrastructure in mature neighbourhoods, rather than building new infrastructure to service new communities.

“I think we have to do a better job ensuring that ordinary citizens in Edmonton see evidence that their tax dollars are being spent to address their needs,” he said.

Colburn has served parts of Ward 7 as a school board trustee for nine years, and was the board chair for three of those years.

He said he’s seen how new housing developments affect inner city school enrolment first hand. Now,  he’s hoping to change all that as a councillor.

Mimi Williams Mimi Williams

Age: 50
Occupation: freelance writer
Married, three children

When city council approved a plan to develop the Horse Hill neighbourhood in northeast Edmonton in February, Mimi Williams says her decision to run for council was made.

“I think it’s a very, very short sighted and wrong headed decision,” she said. “I really think that we need to slow down our outward growth.”

The city has no plan for smart development, she said. If elected as councillor, she plans to push for a slowdown of development in Edmonton and focus on existing communities.

As a writer, Williams delves into public policy as it affects Edmonton in publications like Vue Magazine and Alberta Views. She sees running for council as an extension of that work.

“Running for office and holding office is just a different way to affect social change,” she said.

Williams said she sees financial challenges ahead for the City of Edmonton. She wants to make sure social justice doesn’t fall by the wayside.

“We’re going to need to address coming cuts to provincial and federal transfers,” she said. “We have to make sure that’s not done on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our city.”

This is William’s third time running for council. She also ran for the public school board twice.

Tish Prouse Tish Prouse

Age: 33
Occupation: archaeologist/small developer
married, one child

Tish Prouse thinks the city’s northeast has an image problem.

“Thats a horrible place to live. It’s dangerous, there’s no business, the houses are crap,” said candidate Prouse, describing Ward 7’s distorted image.

“But that’s unequivocally untrue.”

He said contrary to most people’s impression of the area, parts of northeast Edmonton are perfect for young families and children. According to Prouse, what Ward 7 needs is some good publicity.

He said the area could be improved without much city capital or resources by leveraging grassroots community initiatives.

Prouse said it’s up to city councillors to sell the neighbourhood to developers and retailers.

“We are a great community and we have lots of assets,” he said. “That’s the councillors’ job, to to highlight those. Find them, promote them, market them to the correct sources.”

Prouse said if elected, he wants to be a voice for the area, and speak up about what it has to offer.

Terry Rolls Terry Rolls

Age: 56
Occupation: freelance writer

Terry Rolls says he’s running because he got tired of hearing people complain in Ward 7.

He ran in 2010 and, like now, believes the ward needs better representation.

“The ward isn’t being looked after properly,” he says, adding the interests of the average person are being ignored.

Rolls would like to see more money put into the ward for infrastructure projects and if elected, he says he’d find ways to encourage more young families to live in the area. 

“No schools means no young couples, means no one is moving in.”

Rolls says previous city councils have overspent and are committed to more big projects than Edmonton can afford.

“It’s too much, too fast,” he says.

Rolls says he’d bring a fresh perspective to city hall.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Rolls has lived in Ward 7 for most of his life.

A. Daniel Eniafe A. Daniel Eniafe

CBC has not been able to schedule an interview with this candidate.

Ward 8

Ben Henderson Ben Henderson

Age: 55
Occupation: city councillor
Married, no children

“We’ve done some really good work in terms of a long term direction for the city,” said Coun. Ben Henderson. “I think the real test now is going to be in the implementation of all that.”

Henderson said he has worked toward improving Edmonton’s transit system, completing the Winter City strategy, and getting the poverty elimination strategy before council. Those are initiatives he hopes to see through if he’s elected for another term.

But he views challenges in Ward 8 neighbourhoods as the most important work ahead. 

“Because they are some of the older neighbourhoods, the state of the infrastructure in those neighbourhoods has really been let slide quite badly.

“We’ve made major strides in the last five or six years in dealing with the backlog and in catching up,” he said,” but we’re not there yet and some some of those neighbourhoods really just can’t wait any longer.”

Nicholas Reading Nicholas Reading

No profile is planned, as this candidate has told CBC Edmonton that his campaign is a publicity stunt.

Kris Szczepanski Kris Szczepanski

CBC has not been able to schedule an interview with this candidate.

Heather Workman Heather Workman

Age: 43
Occupation: skin illustrator

Heather Workman grew up in the Garneau neighbourhood and remembers protesting a development in the area when she was six. Since then, Workman says she’s worked hard to have her voice and the views of others represented.

“I keep having moments in my life where I wish someone could do something about this, something about that,” she says.

This election, she realized, she’d have to be that person.

Workman says the high volume of traffic and keeping family-owned businesses in the area are issues in Ward 8.

“It’s heart wrenching,” she says about watching businesses in the ward close. “They provide a unique sense of community.”

If elected, Workman would push for a tax credit for small businesses in Edmonton and a citizen action centre—a “one stop shop” for people with questions or requests for the city.

“I want to bring the civil back into civil servant,” she says.

If elected, she says she’d have a bubble-blowing machine and a cookie jar in her office to make .

Workman does not currently live in the ward, but has in the past and hopes to in the future. 

Brian A. Deacon Brian A. Deacon

Age: 30
Occupation: retail, works in a book store

Brian A. Deacon says he’s always loved politics and remembers encouraging his father to vote in a federal election when he was nine.

“I was excited to be part of the process to see what happens and to know that my father was making a difference.”

Deacon has worked on federal election campaigns; during college, he was a legislative assistant to an MPP in Ontario’s legislature.

The jump from behind the scenes to being front-and-centre has been an exciting one, he says.

“I want to see if I can make a difference.”

Deacon says the city’s infrastructure is a top priority for voters in Ward 8.

“The roads and sidewalks are atrocious,” he says. 

Deacon supports increasing the snow plow budget but says clearing all sidewalks would be too costly.

He adds city council should prioritize roads and sewage upgrades over the construction of a new downtown arena.

A regular transit rider, he says there needs to be more bus routes—and buses to run them. .

“If you spend money on putting more buses on, if you improve service, you’ll improve ridership,” he says.

If elected, he would recommend a twenty per cent pay cut for all city councilors.

Originally from Ontario, Deacon has lived in Edmonton for a year.

Ward 9

Bryan Anderson Bryan Anderson

Age: 71
Occupation: Edmonton city councillor
Married, 4 children

Bryan Anderson says he’s accomplished a lot in his 15 years as a city councillor. He said he got started in politics with the goal of seeing more recreation centres in Edmonton.

At the time, the last recreation centre that had been built by the city was already 14 years old.

“I feel very good we are well into the recreation centre business,” he said of his accomplishments at city hall. 

But Anderson said he’s not ready to retire yet.

If elected for another term, he hopes to work toward the timely twinning of some key thoroughfare roads in Ward 9 and make the south LRT expansion a greater priority to alleviate traffic congestion for commuters.

“It’s something that I feel is meaningful for me,” he said, “and certainly a benefit to the people in my ward and the City of Edmonton.”

Andrew Gorman Andrew Gorman

Age: 43
Occupation: services airplanes at Edmonton International Airport
Married, one son

Andrew Gorman says he’s running for city council to make his community and his city a better place.

“I want to be a voice out there on issues I see out there.”

Gorman has lived in Edmonton since 1974, first living in Mill Woods as a child. He currently lives in Ward 9 with this family.

Gorman worked for the parks and recreation department and in 2006 ran a laundromat. Jobs, that he says, made him aware of issues facing people in Ward 9.

Gorman says the priorities for the ward include completing developments in the community, such as schools and parks.

He would like to lobby the provincial government to reduce class sizes and seek corporate sponsorships to fund park hockey arenas and park equipment.

Gorman also says traffic is a huge problem for Ward 9, specifically near schools in the area.

“A lot of people have seen that politicians have not been checking their hearts, they’re looking more at economics of it,” he said. “We have to check our hearts on everything we’re doing.”

Ward 10

Hafis Devji Hafis Devji

Age: 40
Occupation: businessman
Married, one child

“I’m not doing this because I need a job,” said Hafis Devji. “I’m doing this for the love of my city.”

As soon as he decided to run in Ward 10, Devji says, he resigned as president of Devji Group—the holding company he started with his father and brothers, with interests in real estate, home construction, the hospitality industry and entertainment.

The entrepreneur says he plans to focus on politics for the rest of his life.

Although he doesn’t live in Ward 10, he says he knows it well because of family who live there and because he attended Harry Ainlay High School.

The most important thing, he says, is that council has the right people with the right skills.

What he hears from constituents is that the city needs to do a better job of communicating, of consulting before decisions are made rather than after.

“The biggest thing is people want to be heard.”

Richard Feehan Richard Feehan

Age: 53
Occupation: instructor in social work, Edmonton division, University of Calgary
married, three children

Moving from social work to city council seems like a natural transition to Richard Feehan.

“Both of them are focused on underlying core services that provide the best opportunity for the maximum number of people.”

Feehan says that his 35 years of social work practice - a dozen as vice president of family services at Catholic Social Services - allow him to take a community-minded, data-driven approach.

He says that kind of thinking has been lacking on issues like bike lanes and the LRT, detaching those projects from the community they were meant to serve.

While he acknowledges the importance of day-to-day concerns, Feehan thinks the city should start to take a longer view.

“What is it that we would imagine healthy, productive, sustainable cities will look like in 50 years?”

Feehan says we should start building that now.

To make that work, he wants services to be planned on a regional basis, as they are in greater Toronto or Vancouver.

“We don’t have what I consider really sensible government structure in the Edmonton area.”

Dan Johnstone Dan Johnstone

Age: 26
Occupation: construction site superintendent
Not married, no kids

Dan Johnstone says his philanthropic work has led him to electoral politics.

As “Can Man Dan,” Johnstone spent part of the last two years organizing events to collect funds and food for low-income Edmontonians.

He says he was encouraged to run by people he met through those efforts.

“People saw the drive and the vision I had for the city.”

He says he’s happy with what the current council has accomplished, but now it’s time for the city to take stock.

“I really think we need to slow it down for the next couple of years and really build what we have now, what the current council brought us. Take that and make it flourish.”

If he’s elected, Johnstone says he’ll do a lot of listening.

He says many taxpayers and renters feel they no longer have a voice in municipal government.

“I hope to give that back to them.”

Michael Walters Michael Walters

Age: 42 years old
Occupation: owner of a public policy and public engagement firm
Married, two kids

A good council candidate understands the city as well as his own ward, says Michael Walters.

“I’m in spades the strongest candidate in Ward 10 in both of those areas,” he said.

With the Greater Edmonton Alliance, he’s organized in every corner of the city. And as a long-time community leader in the south, Walters says he’s become intimately familiar with the challenges faced by Ward 10 residents.

One of his proudest achievements is his campaign to rejuvenate the moribund Petrolia Mall. It’s an example, Walters says, of how he can bring communities, business and government together.

And that is what’s needed, he says, as Edmonton transitions from prairie city to economic powerhouse.

Walters says some would prefer to keep thinking small, but with a strong economy and surging population, “We don’t actually have a choice.”

That’s why he wants to build a modern capital region and compel surrounding areas to help pay for the Edmonton services they use.

“It’s unsustainable for a city of 850,000 to pay for infrastructure and services that 1.2 million people use every day.”

Ray Bessel Ray Bessel
Age: 62
Occupation: department manager, Walmart
One daughter, one grandchild.

Ray Bessel sums up his campaign in one acronym: LEAD or Listen, Evaluate, Address and Deliver.

Bessel, who has lived in Ward 10 for a decade, decided to run after hearing the incumbent, Don Iveson, would be running for mayor.

He wants to see the city spend more money on infrastructure.

“As a city, we got behind on infrastructure planning because of the lack of funding from the federal and provincial governments over the years,” he said. “We have to plan out potholes, redoing roads and redoing piping and drainage.”

Specific to Ward 10, Bessel says it’s important to consult people about proposed developments.

“I’m all for doing anything that brings revenues to the city but the density of our area is very big,” he says. “We have a huge density.”

Bessel has sat on numerous condo boards and plays competitive volleyball.

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Bessel has lived in Edmonton for three decades.

“I am a passionate person about the city. I want this city to be a great city for my grandson.”

Ward 11

Sonia Bitar Sonia Bitar

Age: 64
Occupation: former citizenship judge for northern Alberta
Married, three children

“Name it and I did it,” said Sonia Bitar.

Since leaving Lebanon in 1976 to escape civil war, the recently retired citizenship court judge has been involved in many local social projects.

That includes the 12 years she served as executive director of Changing Together, a support centre for immigrant women.

She’s also been involved in a proposal to create a city-backed women’s council.

Bitar’s community work has garnered several awards, including a 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“I put more than 120 per cent of my energy into anything I’m doing.”

A Mill Woods resident for the last 33 years, Bitar says her neighbours are concerned about property taxes, road repairs and opportunities for youth.

As for spending, she says, “We can dream, but at the same reality has to be in place.”

If she’s elected, Bitar intends to emphasize teamwork.

“I’m not the only one who has all the answers. And when I don’t know, I’m not shy to ask for help.”

Roberto Maglalang Roberto Maglalang

Age: 59
Occupation: corporate services manager
Married, four children

Roberto Maglalang visits Calgary every week for work, and what he sees worries him.

Edmonton, he says, is falling behind economically, and he puts the blame on city council.

“I’m not impressed with what’s going on over the last nine years.”

That’s why Maglalang, a human resources manager for 35 years, is making his second run for council.

Maglalang says that he’s a pragmatic centrist, experienced at making plans for the medium and long term.

He says that Edmonton can be a great city if it focuses on its economic health.

While he’s concerned that our road repair efforts are too costly, he also believes that an improved transportation system would bring the cost of commodities down.

And that, he says, would be a boon to seniors and other Edmontonians on fixed incomes.

“As much as possible I would like to find the ways and means where the people would have more money in their pocket, more money to spend, and less taxes.”

Mujahid Chak Mujahid Chak
Age: 69
Occupation: retired accountant
Married, four children

Mujahid Chak says public service runs in his blood.

“I love to work for the people selflessly.”

Since coming to Edmonton from Pakistan in 1975, he’s worked for non-profit organizations, started the province’s first Urdu-Arabic-English newspaper, and helped found multicultural radio station CKER.

He wants to continue building bridges between communities, particularly in Mill Woods, where he constructed his home just as the area was being developed.

Chak says he’ll look to promote smart growth and favours reinvestment in Ward 11, especially support for seniors and funding for libraries and community centres.

“It will give families more time to get together in healthy activities.”

His neighbours complain that politicians pay attention during election campaigns but turn a deaf ear afterwards.

He tells them he’s not a politician.

“I’m a simple man like you,” he says.

“I have interviewed so many politicians: too much talk, less action. So at this time I thought: ‘Why shouldn’t I give it a shot?’”

Mike Nickel Mike Nickel

Age: 48
Occupation: businessman
Married, two children

Mike Nickel says there was an upside to losing his city council re-election bid in 2007.

Following his defeat by Don Iveson, Nickel traveled the world on behalf of his family’s business. The experience, he says, was eye-opening.

“It really showed me how fortunate we are to have the city we’ve got.”

The result, he says, is that the Mike Nickel of 2013 isn’t the fiscal hardliner he once was.

“Perhaps back in 2004 I was focused just on the dollars and cents of things, but I know it’s more than that now.”

Nickel says that much of the focus in recent years has been on downtown. Now, he says, Ward 11 and other mature neighbourhoods are ripe for reinvestment.

Nevertheless, he says, “It’s not just about throwing money at problems anymore because money is getting tight now.”

He adds: “I think it’s about value for your taxes. I don’t care how we get there in terms of whether it’s a left wing or a right wing. I don’t believe in those things any more.”

Harvey Panesar Harvey Panesar

Age: 37
Occupation: business owner
Married, three children

Harvey Panesar says that he admires the vision of recent councils.

What he’s hearing from constituents, however, is that the focus needs to turn to core services.

“If you can’t pay the mortgage, there’s no sense in going to buy a hot tub.”

For Panesar, that means more money for potholes, crime prevention and LRT to south Edmonton, less money for projects like the controversial Talus Dome sculpture.

Panesar has founded several startups, including an Edmonton-based mixed martial arts promotion firm.

He says his business success is based on his skills as a communicator, which he hopes to use to promote transparency and open dialogue if he’s elected.

A lifelong Edmontonian, Panesar hopes his children continue to live in the city, but he’s concerned that Edmonton is falling behind.

Ward 11, he says, is a symptom of the problem.

“What used to be a very prosperous ward, very beautiful, seems to have gone through quite a bit of neglect over the last few years,” he says.

“I wasn’t going to leave it up to anybody to make the change.”

Brent Schaffrick Brent Schaffrick

Age: 41
Occupation: oil field consultant
Not married, no children

Brent Schaffrick’s bid to replace Kerry Diotte as Ward 11 councillor is inspired by Diotte himself.

“I feel that he did a much better job than previous city councillors communicating with his constituency,” says Schaffrick. “I’d like to continue that.”

He says that a combination of experiences make him the person best suited to the task.

Schaffrick spent twelve years in the Canadian Forces Naval Reserve, then earned his commerce degree from the University of Alberta. He now works as a consultant in the oil patch.

Describing himself as “fiscally conservative, socially liberal,” Schaffrick says he’ll push for faster snow removal, better use of road repair budgets, and a higher speed limit on Whitemud Drive.

He’s also calling for an end to water fluoridation.

Concerned about changing global economic conditions, Schaffrick wants to make sure the city keeps a firm line on the new arena budget.

Schaffrick says he’s funding his second run for council entirely out of his own pocket.

“I’m not beholden to other vested interests.”

Rob Aromin Rob Aromin

Age: 44
Occupation: labourer, landscaping

Rob Aromin was a key organizer in the Occupy Edmonton movement.

He says those ideas form the foundation of his campaign.

“I want to stop the multi-million dollar projects that do not first get the consent of Edmonton people,” he says.

The Phillipines-born candidate supports the expansion of the LRT but says the city should not build it using a public-private partnership or a P3 model.

“That’s why I’m actually running in Millwoods instead of running downtown,” he says, who is not a resident of the ward. 

“I don’t believe in privatizing our LRT, P3’s can cost more because of hidden legal, financial costs.”

Aromin would also like to see more affordable housing in Ward 11 and in the city.

“A lot of people are finding it harder and harder to find affordable living,” he says.

Dennis Gane Dennis Gane

Age: 58
Occupation: business development manager, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
Partner, four children, four grandchildren, one great grandson. 

Dennis Gane has lived in Ward 11 since 1978.

Originally from England, Gane has settled in many cities, but says Edmonton has always felt like home.

“I have a passion for this city. I want to contribute back to it, ” he says.

If elected, Gane says he’ll bring a balance to city hall. He says he’s the candidate to represent both business interests and the interests of the community.

Gane supports the current direction of city council and will work to ensure projects and promises made under outgoing mayor Stephen Mandel are continued.

Gane’s top priority is the LRT—he favours a public private partnership model to pay for the project.

“We need to stop paying lip service to the environment,” he says, “we need to get cars off the road.”

He says traffic concerns, snow removal and potholes are key issues in Ward 11.

Gane is concerned about the rising debt incurred by the city, describing it as Edmonton playing catch-up. But says the money needs to be spent.

“Sometimes we have no choice,” he says. 

Ward 12

Amarjeet Sohi Amarjeet Sohi

Age: 48
Occupation: City Councillor
Married, one child

In Amarjeet Sohi’s six years as a councillor he has watched public transit ridership rise fifty per cent. He said his biggest priority now is seeing the completion of the city wide LRT network.

“We want to create a city that is exciting for people to live,” said Sohi.

He said with the completion of the downtown arena deal, Edmonton is moving toward that vision.

Sohi said he played an important role in getting that deal. But, he said, he put a motion forward to ensure no infrastructure dollars are diverted from other projects to pay for that deal.

I want to continue to make sure that the vision we have for city continues,” he said, “and we build on the great foundation we have laid.”

Sohi said he’s also proud of the work he’s done to make Edmonton a more inclusive city, including opening the welcome centre at city hall and supporting emerging multicultural organizations.

Raja Abbas Raja Abbas

CBC has not been able to schedule an interview with this candidate.

Chinwe Okelu Chinwe Okelu

Age: not disclosed
Occupation: mediator
Married, two sons

This is Chinwe Okelu’s fifth run for a seat at city hall. In 2010, he came second to Kerry Diotte in Ward 11.

“The nonchalant attitude of the outgoing council is one of the things that pushed me into this,” he says.

A long-time community volunteer, Okelu says the top issues in Ward 12 are LRT expansion and what he calls the “day to-day-issues,” like infrastructure, roads and sewers.

“People can’t come in here when everything is falling apart, we don’t leave a very good impression,” he says. 

“We have to prioritize whatever projects we want to do, ” Okelu says, “then focus on the mega projects.”

He says the next city council needs to slow down on spending, saying future generations cannot be saddled with debt.

If elected, Okelu says he’d push for greater transparency at city hall, saying not enough public consultation happened during Mandel’s years as mayor.

Okelu has lived in the same house in the ward since 1977.

“I am very very close to this community,” he says.

Okelu ran for the Alberta Party in the last provincial election.

He describes himself as a determined, driven person. He’s also an accomplished runner, having taken part in 15 marathons, the last in 2011.

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