Jyoti Gondek will be Calgary’s next mayor, CBC projects

Jyoti Gondek will be Calgary’s next mayor — and the first female mayor in the city’s history.

The former Ward 3 councillor had 161,622 votes — a lead of 52,384 votes over her nearest rival, former Ward 11 councillor Jeromy Farkas, who had 109,238 votes as of 10:20 p.m. MT Monday, with 246 of 259 vote tabulator machines reporting.

“This election is about all of you and the many things you believe we can accomplish together,” she said in a victory speech at 10 p.m., to a small gathering of supporters — a scaled-down celebration due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It has been an absolute privilege to run in this election, and highlight all the things that are important to you. It will now be an honour to serve as your mayor.”

Gondek thanked her husband, Todd, and 16-year-old, Justice, for their support, and said her deceased father’s unfinished community service was part of what propelled her into her political journey.

“My attention to service, that’s all his legacy,” the mayor-elect said. “So now we turn to that focus, to the mission of service — to build a stronger city.”

While Farkas said the result wasn’t what he had hoped for, he congratulated Gondek on her win in a concession speech shortly after 9 p.m.

“Now, I believe, is the time for us to come together as Calgarians to wish this new council well, to hope that they can seize the opportunities, they can meet the challenges that are in front of us as a community,” Farkas said.

Former Ward 6 councillor Jeff Davison was sitting in third, with 47,259 votes. Davison said he called his former colleague to congratulate her on her win.

“She’s a class act, so I have a lot of high hopes for Calgary,” he told supporters. 

Gondek, 52, was elected as councillor for Ward 3 in 2017.

She was born in the U.K. to parents who immigrated from Punjab, India. She grew up in Manitoba, and settled in Calgary in 1997. She has a PhD in urban sociology, and worked in consulting and led the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business before entering politics.

Polling stations across Calgary closed at 8 p.m. MT, and results are beginning to be reported in the city’s municipal election. (CBC)

Voting stations closed at 8 p.m., which is when Elections Calgary’s high-speed electronic tabulators began to wirelessly transmit initial results through a secure, private connection to the servers at the city’s Emergency Operations Centre. Mail-in and advance votes will be included in that count.

Those unofficial results were being released as they came in, after being verified by the returning officer and deputy city clerk. Official results will be published by noon on Oct. 22.

As of 6 p.m., voting stations across the city had reported a voter turnout of approximately 129,500. That’s in addition to the advance vote turnout, which was more than 141,000 — the highest in city history.

Outgoing mayor Naheed Nenshi did not run for re-election after 11 years in the role, and 27 candidates were vying to take his place.

Earlier in the day, Nenshi thanked Calgarians for the privilege of serving the city in a video posted to social media.

“While my political story is ending, the story of Calgary is still continuing,” he said. “Thank you for giving me the honour of my life, the privilege of being able to work on these things with you for all of these years, and let’s make this city even better.”

Nine of 14 current councillors also did not run for re-election (three of those departing were seeking the mayor’s seat).

Here’s who was leading in Calgary’s 14 council races as of 10:20 p.m.: 

  • Ward 1: Sonya Sharp.
  • Ward 2: Jennifer Wyness.
  • Ward 3: Jasmine Mian.
  • Ward 4: Sean Chu (incumbent).
  • Ward 5: Raj Dhaliwal.
  • Ward 6: Richard Pootmans.
  • Ward 7: Terry Wong.
  • Ward 8: Courtney Walcott. 
  • Ward 9: Gian-Carlo Carra (incumbent).
  • Ward 10: Andre Chabot. 
  • Ward 11: Kourtney Branagan. 
  • Ward 12: Evan Spencer.
  • Ward 13: Dan McLean.
  • Ward 14: Peter Demong (incumbent). 

Calgary Chamber of Commerce president Deborah Yedlin said the chamber extends warm congratulations on behalf of the business community to the mayor-elect and councillors-elect.

“Calgary is no stranger to challenges and economic uncertainty,” said Yedlin. “But we’ve seen time and again, that with bold leadership and thoughtful public policy, our city is capable of tackling complex challenges … [and] developing innovative solutions.”

Voters also selected school board trustees, senate nominees, and weighed in on a municipal plebiscite and two provincial referendum questions. 

Around 61 per cent of Calgarians voted in favour of reintroducing fluoridation to the city’s water supply.

Calgary is releasing unofficial results on those provincial referendum results from voters in the city on Monday, but Elections Alberta has said it will release official results from municipalities across the province on Oct. 26. 

Roughly 59 per cent of Calgarians voted in favour of removing the principle of making equalization payments from the constitution, and 51 per cent voted against the province adopting year-round daylight saving time.

In Edmonton, Amarjeet Sohi will be elected as the city’s next mayor, CBC’s decision desk projected. The former city councillor and Liberal member of parliament will become the city’s 36th mayor, replacing Don Iveson.

  • For more results and analysis around the municipal election, join Rob Brown and special guests live at 11 p.m. MT on CBC Television.

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