Tough night for conservatives in municipal elections
Despite strong backing from Calgary's conservative establishment, Monday night's municipal election results were tough for many candidates.
Jeromy Farkas who brought his populist approach to his first term on council four years ago, was soundly defeated.
The unabashedly progressive candidate Jyoti Gondek topped him by nearly 59,000 votes. With former federal Liberal cabinet minster Amarjeet Sohi winning the mayor's seat in Edmonton, Alberta's two largest cities are now lead by progressive people of colour.
"Calgary does have this history of electing progressive mayors and I have to laugh every time we're surprised we vote a new progressive mayor," said pollster Janet Brown. She said Albertans may be conservative when it comes to taxation, but are more progressive on social issues than is often perceived.
Brown said across the city's wards, conservative candidates had a tough night, something that should send the governing UCP a message.
"I think it has to give them pause, when you look at the premier's approval numbers, when you look at how poorly conservative candidates did here in the city," Brown said. "Those people who are of a conservative strike, the ones who had dark blue lawn signs, the only ones that got elected running as conservatives had a lot competition - multiple competitors - on the progressive side of things."
Former PC cabinet minister Gary Mar said the change in council make up is also an opportunity.
"The public is demanding a sort of non-partisan approach to dealing with some of these complex problems and they want to see a collaboration. And that's the real opportunity," Mar said.