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Nominations open for upcoming Calgary municipal election

Boxes of roughly 75,000 advance votes sit unopened in Elections Calgary's office and will be counted by hand Monday night. Pat Carroll / Global News

Calgary’s civic election is officially underway following the opening of the nomination period on Monday.

The general election is due to happen on Monday, Oct. 18.

People looking to run as school board trustee, councillor or mayor must have appropriate papers filed with Elections Calgary by noon on Sept. 20.

Read more: Calgary Councillor Jeromy Farkas to run for mayor in 2021 election

Submitting papers will look a little different because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In-person submissions must be done by appointment with a limit of two, symptom-free and masked individuals — the candidate and one other person.

Papers can also be sent in by mail or courier, or at the secure 24-hour lock box at the Municipal Building at 801 – 3 Street S.E.

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A number of incumbent councillors announced on social media their intentions to run for another term in office.

On Oct. 20, Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu tweeted his intention to run for that ward again.

Sunday, Ward 13 Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said she intends to be “the first in line” to submit her nomination papers.

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Monday, Ward 7 Coun. Druh Farrell played coy on whether she plans to seek another term, saying “you will find out when the rest of the world finds out.”

On Thursday’s episode of The Drive on Global News Radio 770 CHQR, Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison signalled an intent to continue serving on city council.

“One way or another, I’m committed to continuing on in council,” Davison told Jock Wilson. “And I would say I’m fully well evaluating as to whether or not I look at a different role.”

On the same program, Ward 3 Coun. Jyoti Gondek was more obtuse in her response.

“I think it’s important to have consistency for Calgarians — we are going through a really difficult time and I think having a lot of turnover is going to create further turmoil,” Gondek said.

“So it’s important for those of us who have been training to take care of the city to execute on that.”

And on Sep. 20, Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas announced his plans to run for mayor.

“It’s going to be a really exciting year as we get our message out to Calgarians,” Farkas told Global News. “It’s going to be a competitive race.

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“All eyes are on the mayor now to know whether he’s going to be running again.”

In his year-end interview with Global News Morning host Dallas Flexhaug, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he will announce his plans in early 2021.

Read more: 2020: A year in review with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

“It’s bad procrastination on my part, but we are dealing with a pandemic and nobody’s got time for politics right now,” he said. “We have to be focused on public health.”

In June 2020, Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keating said he was not going to seek re-election and in October 2020, former Ward 10 Coun. Ray Jones tendered his resignation from council following a 27-year career.

Click to play video 'Elections Calgary hosts candidate information sessions ahead of city election' Elections Calgary hosts candidate information sessions ahead of city election
Elections Calgary hosts candidate information sessions ahead of city election – Nov 18, 2020

Keating said his decision to step down reflects his belief in term limits for office and looks forward to being able to spend more time with family, including 12 grandchildren, after his term ends.

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“I think I’ve done an excellent job of getting things done that needed to be done for Ward 12,” Keating said. “I’ve represented the city as well as I can, and we’ve moved forward with a lot of good initiatives.

“So I think my time is over, is the best way to put it.”

The upcoming election season will likely look different with an increased donation allowance for third-party advertisers (TPAs) following changes to the Local Authorities Election Act. Registered TPAs can put up election advertising between May 1 and election day that promotes or opposes candidates, including addressing issues associated with candidates.

Read more: ‘Calgary’s Future’ registers as first 3rd-party group ahead of city election

According to the Elections Calgary website, TPA advertising does not include:

  • an editorial, debate, speech, interview, column, letter, commentary or news,
  • the distribution of a book, or the promotion of the sale of a book, for no less than its commercial value, if the book was planned to be made available to the public regardless of whether there was to be an election,
  • a document or communication by a corporation or a group to its members, employees or shareholders,
  • a transmission by an individual, corporation or group, on a non-commercial basis on the Internet, of the political views of that individual, corporation or group,
  • the making of telephone calls to electors only to encourage them to vote,
  • advertising by the local jurisdiction in any form, or
  • the transmission to the public in a local jurisdiction that is not a local jurisdiction for which the advertising message was intended and in which there is no candidate and no vote on a question or bylaw to which the transmission relates.

–with files from Adam MacVicar, Dallas Flexhaug, Global News

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