Meet the Calgarians running for mayor and council
The next municipal election is on October 18, 2021.
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The next civic election is in October 18, 2021. So we’re keeping a master list of all the candidates who have declared they’re running for Calgary City hall, the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School District. Official nominations open January 4 and close September 20, 2021 at noon.
The list is up to date as of January 13. If we’re missing anyone, or if there are any errors, let our municipal politics reporter Jeremy Appel know at email@example.com.
Calgary City Council
Calgary businessman and self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur,” Brad Field supports the construction of both the Green Line and the new event centre, as well as cutting taxes and services—including the police budget. Field says council should simply impose lower speed limits in Calgary, rather than put it to a plebiscite.
A Nigerian immigrant, Ogbonna is the founder of Youth for Transparency International, an organization aiming to get young people civically engaged. Ogbonna's LinkedIn page identifies him as a former board member of the Calgary-McCall UCP constituency association. On Facebook, he accused the Calgary Police Service of adopting a “Marxist world view” after Chief Mark Neufeld acknowledged systemic racism.
A civil engineer with a PhD in management who ran for mayor in 2017, Gabriel says he’s running against the “career politicians” at city hall. He says his first act as mayor would be to establish a two-term limit on the office. Gabriel’s website is still under construction.
Desautels is a Calgary musician who received his master's degree of music from the University of Arizona. He wants to partner with the federal government to build a vaccine manufacturing facility in Calgary, abolish the mayoral title of “Your Worship” and generally enhance the tone of debate at city hall.
The rookie councillor for Ward 11, who was elected on a campaign of low taxes and fiscal restraint, declared his candidacy in September 2020. Prior to serving on council, Farkas was a senior fellow at the Canada Strong and Free Network (the conservative think-thank formerly known as the Manning Centre), and executive assistant for the Israel studies program at the University of Calgary.
The Ward 3 councillor was first elected to city hall in 2017. Prior to her political career, Gondek was director of the Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies at the University of Calgary and sat on various community boards. She says Calgarians should be seen as “investors” in the city and has described herself politically as “completely a centrist.”
Billing himself as a fiscal and social conservative, Heather is involved in efforts to issue an injunction against the city’s mask bylaw. He ran for mayor in 2017 and notoriously sued to have the election results overturned, relying on an 1877 Supreme Court decision to accuse Mayor Nenshi of exercising “undue influence,” which was rejected.
A geologist by trade, Wang ran as an independent in last year's federal election in the Calgary Rocky Ridge riding. He wants to bring property taxes down to 2015 levels by 2025, and to "tie the police budget to the crime rate reversely."
Former president of the Kerby Centre for seniors and current president of ZKO Oilfield Industries, Novak is calling to upgrade the city to “Calgary 2.0”. He wants the city to work more closely with developers to create a growth plan and is concerned about the costs of the Green Line’s northern portion.
Incumbent: Ward Sutherland
Disability advocate Jacob McGregor is putting his hat in the ring to replace Coun. Ward Sutherland—who has yet to announce his intentions for 2021. McGregor, who has cerebral palsy, wants to invest in suburban infrastructure, reduce city councillors' pay, and reduce the city's dependence on tax revenue. He is a volunteer with the Calgary Ability Network and has volunteered with Conservative MP Pat Kelly.
Incumbent: Joe Magliocca
Tyers is running to replace scandal-plagued Coun. Joe Magliocca, whom she has called on to resign. She most recently worked as a constituency assistant for Calgary-Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel. Tyers wants to cut taxes and says the city should focus more on delivering essential services and less on beautification projects.
Besouw is an engineering consultant who immigrated to Alberta from the Netherlands in 1977. He says he wants to cancel any expensive projects that won’t be completed until after council’s term (i.e. the Green Line), scrap free services that are not for low-income Calgarians, and collaborate with the non-profit sector.
Incumbent: Jyoti Gondek
Trenholm is a business consultant and author who is calling for spending restraint and running on the slogan of “Take Back City Hall.” His official campaign website is still under construction, we will include the specific policies he supports when they become available.
Mian is an olympic wrestler who also has master’s degrees in psychology and public policy. Her academic interests are focused on pedestrian safety and how cities can leverage tech investment to address their budgetary woes.
Incumbent: Sean Chu
Chu is first councillor to announce they are running for re-election—the former Calgary cop is seeking a third term on council. Chu ran for the PCs in 2008 in Calgary-Buffalo, placing second to Liberal Kent Hehr, and is one of council’s most reliably conservative voices. Chu immigrated to Calgary in 1985 from Taiwan.
Incumbent: George Chahal
Incumbent: Jeff Davison
Kad is explicitly running as “Your Conservative Choice”, using the party’s blue colour scheme on his website. Originally from India, with some time spent studying business in Finland, Kad owns three Boston Pizza franchises and has sat on the Strathcona Community Association’s board. He's also a professional cricket umpire.
Incumbent: Druh Farrell
Incumbent: Evan Woolley
Raised in rural Alberta and Saskatchewan, Murphy would be the first transgender member of Calgary City Council if elected. She has recently served as director of business development for Calgary Pride, director of fund development for Skipping Stone, and as volunteer coordinator for Canadian Rockies Gay Rodeo Association.
Incumbent: Gian-Carlo Carra
Running in the ward currently represented by Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, Wise is critical of council for its spending cuts, but he pledges to reduce city spending and “bring residential and corporate taxes under control.” He touts his experience working in a wide array of fields, including a five-year stint teaching in China.
The first candidate to announce they’re running in the sole ward without an incumbent, Joseph supports enhancing access to seniors programs, revitalizing ageing community centres, expanding and upgrading affordable housing, and offering more services for the BIPOC community while also increasing access and funding for existing social services.
Incumbent: Jeromy Farkas
The second candidate to enter the Ward 11 race, DeFraine was a member of the Wildrose Party’s Calgary Glenmore riding association until the party’s 2017 dissolution. He describes himself as being on the “Warpath [sic] against unreasonable taxation,” and wants the city to reinstate the $20-million it cut from the police budget.
Running to replace Coun. Jeromy Farkas after he announced his mayoral run, Branagan is the past president of the Haysboro Community Association, where she worked with city council and developers to get upgrades and repairs in the neighbourhood. She is currently a community manager at Rainforest Alberta, a group dedicated to fostering tech innovation in Calgary and Edmonton.
Incumbent: Shane Keating
Chandler describes himself as a “front line worker in the conservative movement" as he ran federally for the Reform Party in 1993 in Hamilton, Ontario. In 2007, he helped found the Wildrose Party after then-premier Ed Stelmach denied his candidacy. His website is still under construction.
The owner of an internet consulting business, LaValley wants to cut taxes and calls for the city to choose between the “nice-to-haves” and “must-haves” with regards to spending. He also wants to reduce the amount of in-camera council meetings and foster “the decorum Calgarians deserve from their representatives.”
The son of a Vietnamese refugee, Phan is a former reservist in the Canadian Armed Forces. He is a business owner and has worked as a campaign volunteer for Conservative MP Tom Kmiec and UCP MLA Ric McIver. He wants to cut taxes, invest in infrastructure, and ensure “responsible spending” and “safe communities” in Calgary.
Incumbent: Diane Colley-Urquhart
McLean is campaigning under the Take Back City Hall banner of right-wing candidates who want to cut taxes and spending—an initiative of the conservative Progressive Group for Independent Business lobbying organization. McLean's LinkedIn profile shows he's been involved with the provincial and federal Conservative parties.
The Ward 13 incumbent, who has been a councillor for 20 years, kicked off the first full week of the new year by announcing her re-election bid. Colley-Urquhart supports keeping EMS dispatch local, was a staunch proponent of the city's mandatory mask bylaw, and wants an independent analysis on the Green Line's ridership, cost and risk before proceeding with it.
Incumbent: Peter Demong
Longtime Green Line proponent Coun. Shane Keating announced back in June that he won’t be seeking re-election after a decade on council citing his wife’s cancer diagnosis and treatment.