EDMONTON – The race to fill city council’s vacant Ward 12 seat is now on.
City officials confirm that the byelection date for Ward 12 will take place on Feb. 22. The nomination deadline for candidates is Jan. 25.
The seat has been vacant since Amarjeet Sohi stepped down to run as a Liberal candidate in this year’s federal election. Sohi was elected MP for Edmonton-Mill Woods, and was recently named Minister of Infrastructure in the new Liberal cabinet.
There will be many names on the byelection ballot. According to the city clerk’s office, 13 people have already filed paperwork to run in the byelection, well ahead of the January deadline.
Candidates so far include University of Alberta Senator Danisha Bhaloo, current Edmonton Catholic Schools trustee Laura Thibert, Grant MacEwan instructor and former city employee Irfan Chaudhry, and real estate agent and Punjabi newspaper founder Yash Pal Sharma.
The 13 candidates who have already filed are Jagat Singh Sheoran, Bhaloo, Steve Toor, Chaudhry, Damien Austin, Thibert, Rakesh Patel, Preet Pal Toor, Sam Jhajj, Nirpal Sekhon, Sharma, Arundeep Singh Sandhu, and Nav Kaur. Several more people are likely to come forward before the Jan. 25 deadline.
The last byelection in Edmonton was held this September, for Sarah Hoffman’s unfilled Ward G seat on the Edmonton Public School Board. Hoffman left the board after being elected to provincial office. She is now the health minister. Hoffman’s former seat was won by Bridget Stirling.
The Ward 12 byelection will be the first byelection for a city council seat since 1994, when sitting councillor Judy Bethel left after being elected as the Liberal MP for Edmonton-East.
The byelection was won by Sherry McKibben, who won 20 per cent of the vote in a field of 18 candidates. McKibben held the seat for less than two years, losing to current NDP MLA Brian Mason in 1995.