Kerry Diotte plans to run for mayor
"Ladies and gentlemen, friends and fellow Edmontonians — I am pleased to announce that I am running for mayor of Edmonton in the October 2013 civic elections."
With that announcement, Ward 11 Coun. Kerry Diotte, the former newspaper columnist who was first elected to Edmonton city council in 2010, affirmed the long-held suspicions of many Edmontonians.
In his statement delivered Thursday afternoon, Diotte said he has spent the past three decades fighting for a better Edmonton.
"I believe we can do better, we at City Hall, of listening to Edmontonians and caring about the things that mattered most to them," he said, before listing potholes, snow clearing, municipal spending and managing the input of special interest groups as topics of key importance to Edmontonians.
And he said he is already gathering supporters to his cause.
"All of the people in this room, along with thousands of Edmontonians I’ve heard from over the last several months, feel very strongly that it’s time for new leadership and new direction at city hall."
"Every step of the way, I’ve been encouraged to keep up the fight by an ever-growing army of supporters."
However, when Diotte was asked about his running agenda, he deferred to answer, saying he wasn’t big on platforms.
Instead, he has promised to "listen" to Edmontonians.
City council weighs in
Diotte’s mayoral plans have been causing some controversy at city hall.
Earlier this morning on a local news television program, Mandel accused Diotte as being ineffectual on council.
"He hasn't done anything as a councillor," he said. "Other than he comes to council meetings and tweets the whole time. He doesn't pay any attention to what's going on."
Mandel tried to stop himself saying, "I shouldn't say that. I wish him luck."
But just seconds later, Mandel took another swipe at Diotte, saying he doesn't have "any kind of a vision for the city except the one that got us to where we are today where nothing ever happened."
And Mandel is not the only council member expressing a lack of confidence in Diotte’s leadership.
While Coun. Amarjeet Sohi did not want to discuss what he thought of Diotte’s contributions to council, he did say that there are grounds for the mayor’s frustration.
"[Mandel] has every reason to be frustrated," he said. "What he said, I think, shows what he feels, how it has been for the past three years."
"I will just be interested to see... what vision he intends to present for the city," added Ward 10’s Don Iveson, "because after three years of working with him, I'd struggle to guess what it will be."
Diotte, however, said he does not want to dwell on the negative comments.
"I know that the mayor said some comments about me and I’m certainly not concerned by what the mayor may or may not think of me," he said. "What I am concerned about is what Edmontonians think of me because they’re the people who matter."
"I’m resolved to take my fight for a better edmonton to the next level," he added.
Diotte has been a vocal opponent of many of Mandel's initiatives including the downtown arena deal and development of the City Centre Airport lands.
After three terms in office, Mayor Stephen Mandel says he'll announce his intentions "sooner rather than later."
As for Sohi, he's waiting for Mandel to make his intentions known before deciding on a possible run for the mayor's seat.
Likewise, councillors Karen Leibivici and Don Iveson are also thought to be potential candidates for the city's top job, but have not yet made any formal announcements.
With files from CBC's Janice Johnston