Local bicyclist and activist Jim Elliott is running for mayor a second time. Photo by Chelsea Laskowski.
by Chelsea Laskowski
In October, for the first time in 12 years, Regina’s mayor won’t take credit for the city’s “I Love Regina” motto.
Since Mayor Pat Fiacco announced that he would not be running for re-election, one thing is clear: “it’s gonna be an interesting fall, that’s for sure” said Heather McIntyre, who ran in Ward 2 last election.
After Fiacco’s Feb. 14 announcement, five mayoral candidates have stepped up-- David Loblaw, Chad Novak, Jim Elliott, Charlie Wiebe and Michael Fougere.
“(T)his is a little bit of a crossroads,” said Elliott, who ran against Fiacco last election. Elliott added that Fiacco’s “crowning of the replacement” by endorsing city councillor Fougere is disconcerting.
“It is the decision of the citizens, it’s not the decision of the current mayor. “
Last municipal election, the only chance voters had to watch debate between mayoral candidates was “one closed session with the Chamber of Commerce,” said Elliott.
“It was at a luncheon and you had to buy tickets to go,” said McIntyre. “I think that these have to be open forums and the public has to know about them and be able to go without any cost other than time.”
This time around, Elliott said he hopes to “engage the other candidates in a much more direct way through debate and discussions.”
On Feb. 21, Fougere held a press conference to announce his intentions at Delta Hotel. So far, Novak, a local accountant, is not using financial resources to get his message across. He held a press conference in City Square Plaza on Monday, March 5 to announce his platform.
After driving in a bright orange sports car to announce his entrance, Novak said, "I like to do things a little bit different." Using a free public space and his car which "probably cost half" of most new vehicles, he discussed bringing a motorsports facility to Regina, lowering costs at city hall, and reviewing the Regina revitalization program.
Other candidates believe that engaging the public is essential. After a 24 per cent voter turnout for the civic election in 2009, Elliott said that “we need to talk more directly to the community itself” to influence the public to get out and vote.
According to his website, Loblaw’s greatest priority in running is “dramatically increasing the voter turnout in the 2012 Regina municipal election.” He also welcomes competition and encourages “everyone to seriously consider running for council or for mayor.”
Running for mayor is not as complicated as residents may think. The City of Regina requires a $100 application fee, 25 signatures from Regina residents supporting the candidacy, three months of residence in Regina and six months of residence in Saskatchewan. Candidacy forms can be picked up from City Hall in September.