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Attack ad sparks controversyNEWS/Entries/2017/10/18_Attack_ad_sparks_controversy.html
Greenhouse crowdfunding growthNEWS/Entries/2017/10/18_Greenhouse_crowdfunding_growth.html
Glitch slows Fort ballot countNEWS/Entries/2017/10/18_Glitch_slows_Fort_ballot_count.html

Volume 22, Number 40, Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Katchur returns for third term

The piece of filth mailed to Fort homes last week marked a new low in local politics. The card attacking incumbent Mayor Gale Katchur was nasty, uncalled for and insulting to the voters of Fort Saskatchewan. Full of half-truths and a few outright lies, it brought U.S.-style politics to our town.

Adding further insult to injury, its authors were too cowardly to admit ownership.

This was not an amateur effort. Nor was it cheap. Distribution by Canada Post cost almost $2,000, and printing some 12,000 cards cost another $1,000 to $2,000.

Canada Post has confirmed that the cards were sent from Calgary, with specific instructions for delivery last Thursday. The timing was intended to have maximum impact on the election, with minimum chance for rebuttal.

It is clear that this was a coordinated political attack by Alberta's far right movement, similar to attacks made on Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Whether it was made with or without the knowledge of a local candidate is now only of historical interest.

I believe these cards had a major impact on Monday's vote, but that impact was the exact opposite of what the authors intended.

These cards angered Katchur supporters. They also angered many other voters that may or may not have supported her. Katchur received a boost at the polls. What was supposed to be a close election therefore turned into a victory for Katchur even larger than her 2010 win over incumbent Jim Sheasgreen.

I believe Fort voters rejected this U.S.-style political attack, and I really hope this means that we won't see it again, in any election.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Strathcona elects new mayorNEWS/Entries/2017/10/18_Strathcona_elects_new_mayor.html

Mailout a new low in local politics

Fort voters kept their mayor, but changed almost all of City Council Monday.

Mayor Gale Katchur returns for a third term with the 2017 civic election, receiving 3,959 votes to the 3,148 given to challenger Arjun Randhawa. The third candidate for Mayor, Judy Sellin, received just 171 votes.

Voters favoured newcomers in the race for the six City Councillor seats. Only one of three incumbents, Ed Sperling, was re-elected. This will be the second term for the local ATB branch manager.

Chartered Accountant Brian Kelly, Multicultural Society Chair Jibs Abitoye, retired RCMP member Deanna Lennox, business owner and former Chamber president Lisa Makin, and former senior City manager Gordon Harris now make up the rest of City Council.

Incumbent Councillors Birgit Blizzard and Frank Garritsen were not re-elected. Two former City Councillors, Mike Ferris and John Mather, also failed to get enough votes.

Third time was not the charm for Sheeptown Players star and safety manager Stuart McGowan who also ran for office in 2010 and 2013.

Fitness expert John Bouwman, financial advisor Don Lehman, tech expert Curtis Dominique and jokester Charlie Simpson also failed to get enough votes.

A total of 7,381 ballots were cast out of 19,623 eligible voters, for a turnout of 37.61 per cent.

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

Gale Katchur and husband Wayne speak to supporters Monday.