By Sophia Lopez, October 19 2021–
Polls for the Calgary municipal election closed at 8 p.m. on Oct. 18 and Dr. Jyoti Gondek has been named the 37th mayor of Calgary with 45 per cent of the vote. Terry Wong has also been elected as Ward 7 councillor with 26 per cent of the vote.
Global News hosted a livestream of the municipal election results, followed by analysis on the results.
“It is a night of change across the province,” said Global News anchor Joel Senick.
Being the first woman elected to be mayor in Calgary, Gondek is proud of this achievement and hopes to see more women and people of colour excel in positions of power.
“I’m very happy we have normalized this concept of women and people of colour being in leadership positions,” said Gondek.
Gondek spoke on how she is very grateful to be able to be a voice for people in the city, and thanked her hard-working campaign team and Calgarians for getting out to vote.
“Thank you Calgary with all of my heart. Thank you for engaging in democracy and sending a clear signal about what our future looks like,” said Gondek. “This election is about my own campaign team, it’s about 1,200 volunteers strong. My heart is full at the thought of how much love and support I have received.”
While there were 27 candidates running for mayor, Gondek remained one the top contenders throughout the whole campaign alongside councillors Jeromy Farkas –– who received 30 per cent of the vote –– and Jeff Davison –– who received 13 per cent of the vote.
While Farkas was not elected mayor, he expressed his gratitude for his campaign team and congratulated Gondek on her achievement.
“Congratulations to mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek –– thank you Jyoti for your tremendous service and your incredible vision of tremendous potential that you put forward for our city, and that platform that you earned the trust of Calgarians to execute on,” said Farkas. “Your vision for a community of economic, social and environmental resilience [is] a reminder of the city that we’re so proud of and we want to keep building.”
Gondek praised Calgary’s 36th mayor, Naheed Nenshi, on the work and efforts he had made for the city during his time in the position.
“I think we need to remember how much tremendous work mayor Nenshi has done, and I think Calgarians can rest easy that I’m up to the challenge of what this very unpredictable environment brings us,” said Gondek.
Lisa Young, professor at the school of public policy at the University of Calgary, believes that the municipal election results show Calgarians true emotions towards the United Conservative Party (UCP) and the provincial government.
“I think there was a fairly clear message sent to the provincial government, that there’s quite a bit of discontent in Calgary,” said Young. “We know that the provincial UCP was backing the Farkas campaign officially in a lot of ways and the results speak for themselves. I do think that the provincial government probably should be looking carefully at this –– and if we assume that the next provincial election is going to be fought largely in Calgary –– I don’t think that there’s a lot of really positive signs here for the UCP.”
Gondek expressed her excitement to be mayor-elect, and also hopes to meet with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and to engage with some of her fellow mayoral candidates to help address the needs of Calgarians. She reassures Calgarians that she is the right leader to help the city recover.
“Having listened to you over the last four years on council, as well as the last nine months on the campaign trail, you have asked me to lead with a steady hand as we emerge from economic turmoil and a pandemic,” said Gondek. “I will ensure that we stay focused on a recovery that is rooted in economic, social and environmental resiliency.”
It has been an absolute privilege to run in this election and highlight all of the things that are important to you,” she continued. “It will now be an honour to serve as your mayor and support you into a future that is ours to shape. Thank you Calgary.”
While most of Calgary was eager to find out who would be the next mayor, Calgarians also cast a vote for their ward councillors and other issues the city and province are facing.
With 26 per cent of the vote, Terry Wong is now the new Ward 7 councillor for the city. In a statement made to the Calgary Herald, Wong expressed his enthusiasm to work with the people in Ward 7 –– and Calgary as a whole –– to properly address the needs of the community.
“Members of Ward 7 are going to have a truly representative councillor –– a councillor that will listen, learn and do the right thing,” said Wong. “I think we’re going to see a great foundation put down for Calgary.”
Sixty-two per cent of Calgarians voted in favour of reintroducing fluoridation of the municipal water supply. Although the results are unofficial and other cities in the province must later be taken into account, Calgarians voted against a year-round Daylight-Saving Time with a close vote of 51 per cent to 49 per cent. The city also voted in favour of removing the principle of making equalization payments from the Constitution by 58 per cent.
To watch the recorded livestream, visit the Global News YouTube channel.