Thompson voters elect city's 1st female mayor; upsets in Teulon, The Pas

Voters in Thompson elected their first female mayor Wednesday night, while the mayors of The Pas and Teulon were unseated.

Colleen Smook gets 1,223 votes, beating 3 other candidates

Colleen Smook is Thompson's first female mayor. (Ramraajh Sharvendiran/CBC)

Voters in the northern Manitoba city of Thompson elected their first female mayor Wednesday night, while the mayors of Teulon and The Pas were unseated.

Colleen Smook becomes the eighth mayor of Thompson, elected with 1,223 votes. The runner-up, Ron Matechuk, received 959 votes, while Penny Byer received 519. 

"I never even thought of it when I was running, but when I come here tonight and everyone's congratulating the first woman mayor," Smook said, "it's starting to sink in that 'Wow, this is history for Thompson.'"

Smook has called the city home for 43 years. 

Voters and candidates wait in Thompson's council chambers as votes are tabulated. (Ramraajh Sharvendiran/CBC)

Voter turnout in Thompson was at 37.5 per cent, up from 33.14 per cent last election.

The new mayor will be joined by returning councillors Judy Kolada, Duncan Wong and Kathy Valentino.

Thompson also elected four new councillors: Earl Colbourne, Les Ellsworth, Jeff Fountain and Brian Lundmark.

Of the eight council seats only seven have been decided, due to a tie between candidates Chiew Chong and Andre Proulx, at 1,008 votes each.

The eighth council seat will be determined after consultation with the province on due process in the coming days, former city manager Gary Ceppetelli announced at city hall after votes were counted.

The new mayor and councillors will be sworn in on Nov. 7.

There were four names on the ballot for mayor in Thompson, but one candidate withdrew after the nomination deadline.

Ryan Brady, who was registered and nominated as a mayoral candidate in the northern Manitoba city, pulled out after racist comments he posted nearly a decade ago resurfaced online. Despite withdrawing, he received 69 votes.

Brady, a regular poster on the white-nationalist forum Stormfront in 2009 and 2010, told CBC News in September that he made the decision to withdraw at his wife's request.

Thompson's outgoing mayor, Dennis Fenske, has said he didn't seek re-election because he wanted to focus on his family and personal life.

Upsets in Teulon and The Pas

Voters in Teulon narrowly voted in a new mayor, unseating Bert Campbell, who had been the mayor of the town, about 60 kilometres north of Winnipeg, since 2002. 

Debbie Kozyra was elected with 287 votes over Campbell's 270.

Teulon's four councillors — Rey Girardin, Danny Hutchinson, Michael Ledarney and Barb Mankewich​ — were acclaimed. 

In The Pas, Jim Scott was unseated as the town's mayor, coming in fourth out of four candidates with 230 votes.

The winner was Herb Jaques with 600 votes. Johanna McLauchlan received 386 votes, while Brian Roque tallied 240 votes. 

Scott was elected mayor in 2014. 

"I sincerely appreciate your support over these eight years," Scott wrote on Facebook. "I leave with a back pocket full of accomplishments."

Scott thanked the citizens of The Pas for the chance to serve and congratulated winner Jaques, who returned the favour. 

"I want to congratulate all the candidates. It's super tough to put your name on a ballot and our town is better for everyone's efforts. I also want to send a special congratulations to Mayor Jim Scott. It's a tough job and he deserves a big pat on the back for his efforts these past four years," Jaques wrote

New mayor in Morden

In Morden, Man., voters elected Brandon Burley as the city's new mayor. 

It as a three-way race for the city's mayor, after Ken Wiebe, who was elected mayor of Morden in 2010 and served two terms, did not run for re-election.

Burley garnered 1,134 votes, defeating Karla Warkentin and Ron McClain, who had 1,112 and 267 votes, respectively, according to unofficial results.

Joining Burley on council are Jim Hunt, Doug Frost, Gary Hiebert, Gordon Maddock, Nancy Penner and Hank Hildebrand. 

Portage la Prairie mayor re-elected

Irvine Ferris will remain the mayor of Portage la Prairie.

Ferris, who was first elected mayor in 2014, garnered 1,962 votes. His opponent, Erik Lee, had 1,265 votes.

Joining Ferris on council are Sharilyn Knox, Ryan Espey, Preston Meier, Wayne Wall, Brent Budz and Melissa Draycott.

Dauphin elects 6 councillors 

There was no election for mayor in Dauphin, but residents elected six councillors to represent the city.

Allen Dowhan, a city councillor who was named acting mayor in 2017 following the death of Eric Irwin, was acclaimed the city's mayor for four more years.

Joining him on council are Kathy Bellemare, Kerri Riehl, Devin Shtykalo, Christian Laughland, Patti Eilers and Rodney Juba.

With files from Ramraajh Sharvendiran.


Riley Laychuk


Riley Laychuk is a news anchor and reporter for CBC News in Winnipeg. He was previously based at CBC's bureau in Brandon for six years, covering stories focused on rural Manitoba. Share your story ideas, tips and feedback:


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