EDMONTON — The race to replace Amarjeet Sohi on Edmonton City Council is officially on and
So far, 32 people have thrown their name into the hat for the chance to represent Ward 12 in the city’s southeast. That’s more than 10 times the number of candidates in the 2013 general election, when there were just three names on the ballot for the ward.
The byelection was called after councillor Sohi was elected as a federal MP.
Here is a list of the candidates, as of Jan. 11.
Shani Ahmad – Local real estate agent
Damien Austin – Local bus driver
Mohinder (Moe) Banga – EPS officer for 24 years
Danisha Bhaloo – Fund development manager with Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton
Viorel Bujor – Project manager in the construction industry
Mike Butler – Former vice president of Alberta Liberal Party and federal NDP
Nick Chamchuk – Long-time fundraiser for STARS Air Ambulance and NAIT graduate.
Irfan Chaudhry – Grant MacEwan instructor and City of Edmonton employee in the Multicultural Relations Office (on leave for campaign)
Jagdeep Singh Gill – Journeyman heat treatment field technician
Lincoln Ho – Works in the telecommunications industry
Sam Jhajj – Owner of Sam Landscaping
Daniel Johnstone AKA “Can Man Dan” – Well-known community advocate
Nav Kaur – Small business owner
Don Koziak – Don Koziak has run for city council several times, losing out to Bev Esslinger in Ward 2 in the 2013 civic election. He also ran for the Wildrose Party in last spring’s provincial election.
Balraj Singh Manhas – President of the United Cabbies Association of Edmonton.
Terry J. McKinnon – Works for the Canadian Revenue Agency. McKinnon says he is running to primarily address crime, potholes and high taxes.
Kyle McLeod – Former provincial Wildrose candidate
Rakesh Patel – Self employed independent residential and commercial contractor, VP of Garbi Gujarat Assoc.
Field Pieterse – Correctional Officer and Alberta Sheriff turned local restauranteur, owner and operator of Cured Wine Bar
Arundeep Singh Sandhu – Business development manager for his family’s local company “Sandhu Trucking.” Has won Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Community Service
Yash Pal Sharma – Worked for Nalco Canada and GE before launching multilingual South Asian newspaper ‘Asian Tribune’ and produces TV show ‘Harmony’
Nicole Szymanowka – University of Alberta student
Laura Thibert – Edmonton Catholic School Board Trustee in 2010; re-elected in 2013. She also owns and operates a carpentry business
Steve Toor – Runs small trucking business
Preet Pal Toor – Edmonton Transit employee for 18 years
There are 61,452 voters in Ward 12. If every person votes, and each candidate receives an equal number of votes, someone could take the seat with just 1,921 ballots. But the likelihood of everyone voting is extremely slim.
In the 2013 election, voter turnout in the ward was 32 per cent. Byelections typically see more apathy, therefore a candidate could get voted in with less than 1,000 votes.
The salary for an Edmonton city councillor is now $100,873 per year, a third of which is tax exempt.
Whoever fills the vacant seat will be on council for less than two years, as the next civic election is in October 2017.
Advance voting will be held from Monday, Feb. 8 to Thursday, Feb. 11 at the Meadows Community Recreation Centre. Election day is Monday, Feb. 22.
For more information on how and where to vote, visit the City of Edmonton’s website.
With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News.