Albertans choose progressive mayors

After a surprise victory in the 2010 purple wave, Naheed Nenshi became one of Canada’s most popular mayors during his handling of severe floods in Calgary earlier this year.

Few predicted any chance of him losing his position in yesterday’s election and perhaps the only shock was the size of his victory, with 74% of the city voting for him.

Meanwhile, Edmonton saw a heated race as popular incumbent Steve Mandel opted to retire on a high note (rather than be unseated like most of his predecessors). Three councillors stepped forward to challenge for the seat, with Don Iveson’s ‘policy wonk’ campaign taking over 60% of the vote in the end. Iveson’s campaign drew on his time at the University of Alberta and engaged a number of my friends.

Both mayors have promised to slow urban sprawl by investing in urban density, mass transit, and bicycle lanes. This approach is familiar and popular in Vancouver, where Gregor Robertson is equally popular.

The results aren’t too surprising for anyone who closely follows Alberta politics. Despite the province’s tendency to vote overwhelming for Conservative provincial and federal parties, the cities tend to be more liberal and many mayors of both major cities have been further to the left than their provincial and federal colleagues.

Meanwhile, a right-wing slate of candidates for Airdrie’s city council was rejected in favour of the incumbents.

And congrats to my aunt who was re-elected to the Rocky View Municipal Council.

No, I don’t

Look at this photo.

Herald reader L. Wolanski submitted this photo from Saturday's super moon in Calgary, pointing out the "Jesus-like" Face in the clouds. What do you think?

What do  you see?

I see the moon, some clouds, a tree, and an over-exposed light post in the foreground.

The Calgary Herald wants to know if you’re as pareidolia-susceptible as their reader L. Wolanski and see Jesus in the clouds.

Nevermind how angry this story about the supermoon will make Phil Plait, if anything the face in the clouds (which I didn’t even see at first), reminds me not so much of a mythical Jewish carpenter as a different famous face.

I’m continually amazed at the religious pandering that the Calgary Herald will succumb to.

Progressive sweeps in Alberta!

Municipal elections are being tallied in my home province today, and to some surprise all the progressive candidates are winning!

Stephen Mandel has been re-elected as mayor of Edmonton with over 50% of the vote. Don Iveson has also been sent back to council with a large share in his new riding (Edmonton has just switched from 2 councillors per ward to 1).

Also in Edmonton, my friend and former Lister Hall and UofA Students’ Union president Michael Janz has been elected as a Public School Trustee. Sarah Hoffman, with the support of the Alberta NDP has also won as trustee.

Calgary is the more exciting race as underdog Naheed Nenshi pulls far ahead of former alderman Ric McIver and former (maybe soon again) TV anchor Barb Higgins. Nenshi was a long-shot going in but put a lot of legwork in, made massive uses of social networking and has earned the nickname the “Obama of Calgary” for drawing out the younger vote.

Official results for Calgary are here and Edmonton here.

Red mayors are nothing new in Alberta, but perhaps the young movements behind Nenshi, Janz and Iveson will translate to the next provincial and federal elections if any party can inspire them (and so far the Alberta Party is the only one that looks like it’s doing it right).

Perhaps there’s interest for a Reason Alberta? 😉