In a history making election last night, Edmonton voters chose to keep only 4 existing Councillors, to turf out 4 incumbents and to elect new Councillors into 4 empty wards. It means 8 of 12 Councillors will be women on Edmonton’s new Council. Our new Mayor is an immigrant of South Asian descent and a former City employee who worked his way up.
Former DATS driver, Conventional Transit Operator, ATU Board member, City Councillor and Federal Cabinet Minister Amarjeet Sohi will assume the Mayor’s role on October 26. He takes over at a time when Edmonton is fighting its way out of the COVID pandemic, resources are scarce, public services are under attack, City workers are mired in stalled contract negotiations and two thirds of Council members are rookies. Challenging, indeed. Sohi will need all of his experience and collaboration skills.
ATU members stepped up in the 2021 election, endorsing Sohi and four other successful candidates, including Erin Rutherford, who took on incumbent Bev Esslinger and won. Aaron Paquette won his election in Ward Dene as one of only 3 Councillors to win more than 50% of the vote. Seasoned School Board Trustee Michael Janz won easily as expected in Ward Papastew and Keren Tang won handily in Ward Karhiio.
Jo-Anne Wright upset incumbent Moe Banga in Ward Sspomitapi, while Karen Principe took on first termer Jon Dziadyk and won and Ann Stevenson won O-Day’Min where former Councillor Tony Caterina was running.
Besides Paquette, returning incumbents include Tim Cartmell, Sarah Hamilton and Andrew Knack.
What’s really different about the 2021 election is the effort ATU members put into this win. With massive support from the International and ATU Canada, the Local mounted what is by far its largest election effort ever. Three election mailers went out to members along with routine email, text, website and Facebook updates throughout the election period. Core Team members were in the workplace throughout the election and ATU’s presence was everywhere. Members joined candidates’ campaigns to help canvass, to put up signs and donate money to support them. Congratulations to everyone who stepped up, whether it was to assist in the campaigns, to donate or just to get out and vote. We knew we could do it and we did!
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569