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9 days before the election, the gloves are off

EDMONTON- It’s getting down to crunch time. Edmontonians will hit the polls in just nine days. And with just over a week left to impress voters, the city’s mayoral candidates have hit the campaign trail running and the gloves are coming off.

“With either one of them you’re going to get more debt, more taxes,” Kerry Diotte said of his opponents Don Iveson and Karen Leibovici.

“In particular with Don Iveson, he is a hardcore environmentalist,” Diotte said. “You can thank him for the bike lanes and there are tons of them. And under Don Iveson we’ll become a city of bylaws and bike lanes.”

Diotte went on to compare Iveson to Tooker Gomberg, who sat on city council for one term in the 1990s. He was a well known environmentalist.

“Don is just a better dressed Tooker Gomberg. He’s Tooker with a tie,” Diotte said Saturday.

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Diotte has also criticized Leibovici for her proposal of a red tape committee to try to eliminate some of the red tape at City Hall.

“I mean, come on, everybody’s got to see that that’s kind of humorous.”

And Diotte isn’t the only one on the offense. Leibovici took to her blog Friday, criticizing Iveson’s platform saying he “simply lacks the experience to lead a city.” 

“Be it the $200 million in new debt, new spending and new hidden taxes and fees or increased red tape to hamper growth and development, Councillor Iveson is showing voters that his inexperience is a risk Edmontonians cannot afford,” Leibovici said in her blog post.

She defended that post Saturday, saying it’s important Edmontonians know who they’re voting for.

“When you look at some of those promises, it looks like there’s going to be a $200 million hit to taxpayer’s pockets.”

She also defended her red tape committee.

“I’ve put forward some very practical ideas about how we can look at dealing with our budget process, look at how we can eliminate red tape and that’s having a lot of good traction amongst Edmontonians,” Leibovici explained. “If you look at what’s happened in other areas that have put forward red tape elimination commissions, it does exactly what the title says, it eliminates red tape and produces cost savings.”

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Meanwhile, Iveson says he’s staying out of it and focusing on running a positive campaign.

“Edmontonians are pretty turned off by the approach that the other campaigns are taking, that’s the feedback I’m getting anyway,” he explained. “There’s limited air time in these campaigns, I’m focusing on using mine to inspire Edmontonians to vote for something rather than to try to scare them into voting against something.”

No matter the approach they take, these three mayoral candidates will see if their strategy has won over the minds of voters come October 21.

“People are starting to come in at a better clip and they’re starting to call. I feel very confident,” said Diotte.

“I’m very, very positive. We’re getting such good support from across the city. Everywhere I go people are stopping, they’re saying ‘Karen, I’m voting for you,'” Leibovici added.

“I’m learning a ton everyday about their hopes and fears for Edmonton and that will help me be a better mayor if things work out,” Iveson said.

Advanced polls are already open in Edmonton. For a full list of polling stations visit the City of Edmonton’s website.

With files from Tom Vernon, Global News.

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