Monday, November 2, 2020

Update on the Mayoral Election in SK's Two Largest Cities (萨省两个最大城市的市长选举最新动态)

Abstract: A mayor is the top official at the local level of a city. He should possess expertise in management, leadership skills, wisdom and a far-sighted vision, preferably with advanced education. During the pandemic, safety and health are some of the top issues, while a sustainably growing economy will be the locomotive to keep a city vibrant and dynamic. A healthy budget is needed to both to help the future and to get all the businesses, community associations and people involved.


Key Words: Mayor, platforms, property taxes, funding, US models

I. Introduction

Saskatchewan’s two largest cities will have one of the most heated mayoral elections on November 9, 2020. Although the two cities are different one way or another, they have similar issues. However, the focus of discussion is more on the economy and development in Saskatoon while education and health are seldom mentioned. In Regina, the economy is less talked about, and more focus is on social issues.


II. Expectation

A mayor is the highest official at the local level of a city. What should be expected of a mayor? Well, he should possess expertise in management, leadership skills (so as to be able to manage his staff and coordinate the relationships), rich experience, good education and wisdom (so as to make fewer mistakes) and a far-sighted vision ( so as to save on money, labor and time as well to enjoy long-term benefits). Therefore, those candidates with experience in management and in leadership should be preferred. Also, during the pandemic, a candidate careless of the safety of the public should not be considered as health and safety is the most important issue for the present being. Yes, individual freedom is to be treasured, but only to be under the condition that safety of the majority is cared for. There is no absolute freedom in the world. Well, if you want the freedom of not wearing a mask, what about the freedom of not taking any risk of catching COVID-19 for some other people? Therefore, those advocating a free choice of mask-wearing are unwise and sometimes selfish and dangerous. Mask wearing should be encouraged and sometimes has to be mandated when necessary as put by Jim Elliot.


III. Candidate Comparison

1. Education and Experience

1) Saskatoon

In Saskatoon, almost all the candidates have university education and some of them even one at the postgraduate level. For experience, Atchison, Norris and Clark have both management and leadership skills and relevant experience.


2) Regina

As to education, the situation of many candidates is not clear. What the author knows is that Fougere, Masters and Elliott all have very high education, and the former two are sure to have leadership and management skills.


2. Platforms

1) Saskatoon

The author has compiled a table so that you can view clearly what each is advocating. The table is shown as follows:



Social and Environment

Financial and Governance


Don Atchison (13-year
mayor and 11-year councilor, got training in commerce in U of S and the Institute of Corporate Directors,  and NHL (to be a goaltender) and claims to be the city’s longest-serving mayor)

“Firmly entrenched” on a zero per cent tax increase in 2021

Opposes to a bus rapid transit system to save 500 million and proposes no bike lanes on 3rd Ave (possibly 4th Ave due to a typo), defer landfill development by one year, agrees with some of the LEC's projects, including building a hydroelectric power station at the weir, but says the full package is too costly, shows interest in smaller projects like tree-planting programs or an active transportation corridor that would connect neighborhoods in the south to the Meewasin Trail system

In favor of a new library but prudent on borrowing, against the plan to reallocate provincial infrastructure funding to cover a $14.6-million pandemic deficit

Rob Norris (a U of L bachelor in political science and a U of A master in political science, previous
provincial cabinet minister lasting 8 years)

Property tax increases to
one per cent annually to make the city more affordable, proposes launching a municipal immigration nominee program to help grow the economy

Will shelf a proposed new downtown library and will
not defund police

Proposes a hiring freeze, calls the Low Emissions Community Plan 'Charlie Clark's carbon tax'

Charlie Clark
(Incumbent, a U of T bachelor in education, a U of W bachelor in conflict resolution and a master in York University in Environmental Studies, 4-year mayor and 10-year councilor)

Emphasizes on city
growth, environmental
innovation, embracing
technology and leveraging
partnerships with
organizations and other levels of government to achieve efficiency

Favors both the new library and a bus rapid transit system, saying halting the library project would eliminate 1,000 construction jobs

Mentions freezing staff hiring may add more on overtime pay

Zubair Sheikh (a master
in civil engineering)

Promises a zero per cent property tax increase

Proposes installing closed-circuit television cameras around downtown with a control room in the police station, so officers could keep a better eye on the city’s core

Opposes spending close to
$70 million on a new library, wants to eliminate unnecessary spending and attracting year-round tourism by offering tax incentives to construct an indoor theme park

Wants to make Saskatoon a safe
and healthy place for all residents

Cary Tarasoff (a self-employed planner, a bachelor in physical geography from U of S, experience in mining, development and construction, with training in the Canadian Armed Forces)

Would build a rail tunnel under the city

Opposes defunding the Saskatoon  Police Service, advocates more solar energy on existing commercial buildings

Will steer clear of some large-scale projects - including a new library and arena - and limit the purchase of land for said projects if elected, tighten up spending, not accepting political donations for his campaign, Saskatoon Land should be at "arms length" from the administration

Emphasizes on actual operational emergency experience

Mark Zielke (an internet
and social media consultancy business owner)

In favor of revitalizing
the downtown core and moving both the Lighthouse
shelter and the bus mall, against the property tax freeze or one-percent increase

Will shelf mega projects -
including a new downtown library - “for now”, emphasizes on working with local businesses to generate power through landfill waste

Will seek an analysis of every city department’s budget and specifically the police budget, take aim at mega projects, asks why taxpayers are stuck with the burden of the Remai Modern and why the new library proposal bleeds us dry

Claims Saskatoon faces an "epidemic of poverty,
homelessness, addictions and
mental health problems"

Source: Saskatoon election 2020: Mayoral candidates weigh in on property taxes, written by Alex MacPherson, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, 9 Oct 2020,; Saskatoon votes: A look at who's running for mayor, Saskatoon Star Phoenix, 22 Oct 2020,; Saskatoon municipal election: Mayoral candidates, written by David Giles, Global News, 30 October 2020,
7433684/saskatoon-municipal-election-mayoral-candidates/; Alex MacPherson: Attacks aplenty in 'lively' second Saskatoon mayoral debate, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, 29 Oct 2020,; Mandy Vocke: Saskatoon mayoral candidates square off in economic-focused debate, Global News, 29 Oct 2020,; David Shield: Saskatoon mayoral candidates divided over environmental plan, CBC News, 23 Oct 2020,


2) Regina

The author has compiled a similar table so that you can view clearly what each is advocating. The table is shown as follows:




Social Issues and Environment


Governance and Financial


Bradley, Darren

Stands by the Unions, thinks the council and the mayor shouldn’t stand in the way of further development of the park

Emphasizes on children and education as that is where the problems come from and  wants to implement more police in schools, and have programs that explain to our youth the importance of the RPS in our community

Would like to enhance transparency, accountability, promotes no hidden agenda,  restore faith in the City Hall, and wants to be the change the city is looking for

Wants to implement mental health and addictions support

Elliot, Jim (many-time

Would like to address property

Stands on urban sustainability,
build social and human
capital, end racism and discrimination, advocates new housing in the railway yards area, promotes renewal energy,
removal of MacDonald statue in D/T, would rename Dewdney Ave to Buffalo Ave, keep Wascana Park as natural and as green as it currently is but for the Brandt and CNIB project as long as there's no commercial or retail space within the building and try to end homelessness, promotes a  “green recovery,” putting solar panels on homes and renovating so things gradually become more equitable and renewable, stands for sustainability and a green recovery, 100 per cent renewable by 2050 and rebuilding the city’s tourism strategy

Wants to reduce police
intervention, and says the police should expect a zero per cent increase in 2021 if other things to be cut

Encourages wearing masks in
enclosed areas and mandate it when necessary

Fiacco, Tony (brother of Pat Fiacco)

Wants to renew and strengthen branding projects inch recreational facilities, and improve city infrastructure in D/T regna and the inner-city life

Advocates increase of funding for poverty supports, does not want to dispute with the Capital Commission's decision on Wascana Park development though agreeing on no more development in Wascana Park

Would overhaul policing and budgets (increasing the police budget to a 21 per cent share of the civic budget), would make the government transparent and accountable and administration effective and cohesive, and increase police staff on crisis team, suggests a review of utility fees in the city as rates have increased and also cut the red tape

Advocates increase of funding for mental and addictions supports

Flegel, Jerry (long-
serving councilor)

Wants to build new sports and entertainment facilities out of the pandemic and introduce diverse revenue streams for MOSAIC, renew the D/T core area and city rail yards, and increase transit use, bringing new projects to the Dewdney Avenue railyards and the former site of Taylor Field, wants to give a 5% rebate on property taxes for 2021

Would like to deliver long-
promised affordable housing, and wants affordable housing built on the former site of Taylor Field, embraces development in the park as there may be restaurants and so on to hire more people

Would increase police staff, bringing more boots on the street,
reform policing and not sit on his own hands

Fougere, Michael
(incumbent, claim he has achieved highest credit rating, has the fastest building permit approvals and unprecedented road repairs)

Claims having 10-year vision to make
Regina vibrant and strong, calls in the campaign for a property freeze in 2021 and even in the unforeseeable future, reinvest parking fines into D/T Regina

Would like to beautify D/T
Regina including renovating the Globe Theatre, move buses away from the 11th Ave, does not want to dispute with the Capital Commission's decision on Wascana Park development

Would look at other sources of revenue

Advocates strict monitoring of
safety protocols, including wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing

Howse, Mitchell C

Would create a business-friendly

Wants to implement incentives for community leaders and non-
government institutions, enhance drug prevention and cope with severe mental health problems

Thinks a complete reform of the tax system is impossible, but would optimize taxpayer
resources, concentrate on small business regulation on the municipal level, making it easier for businesses to get into and stay in business and issue municipal
bonds to cover deficits

Advocates facial mask choices

Masters, Sandra (Chair
of the Board of
Directors of the Regina
Exhibition Association)

Advocates new economic development, create a vibrant downtown, find 15%
in savings from increased operations efficiencies, proposes removal of the 29% intensification levy, puts emphasis on the economy, jobs and fair opportunities

Supports harm reduction and improved community relations, creation of fair opportunities and
incorporation of green innovation into infrastructure, thinks a park is a park and recommends discussion and public engagement in Wascana Park development, saying offices of Conexus should have been built downtown, advocates for a plaque that more explicitly describes Macdonald’s history and the policies of starvation he imposed on Indigenous peoples, and says more is needed to be done to treat root causes of crime, in particular, poverty

Advocates enhancement of
education to end homelessness

Advocates proactive policing,
value for taxpayers, improvement on accountability and predictability and encourages consultation with key organizations as well as improving relationships with the provincial and federal government

Advocates implementing
precautions and safety protocols

Pierce, Bob (U of S
graduate, intends to collect no wage or pension)

Advocates a Grey-Cup event for local seniors, supports "positive

Anti-MOSAIC Stadium


Woodridge, George R (would cut his own salary by 30%)

Would consider opening up City Hall to commercial development, building infrastructure, building underpass instead of relocating rail lines

Advocates restoration of the inner-city rapid transit or putting a light rail transit to improve transportation to the city centre, and reverting Wascana Park back to full local control just as a park as there is no need to rob green space (saying it's there for families and recreation and not there for business) and wants to get water quality improved, says that Macdonald’s history and legacy is one of both founding Canada and also genocide, feeling the public should have the ultimate say in the matter whether to remove the statue or not, advocates working hardest for the people who have the least

Believes in more community policing, wants to increase civilian
oversight and integration with the
police and cut on administration
expenses, supports unity of the city, would like to consider community policing, and decentralizing the police if necessary

Source: Website of the City of Regina; Heidi Atter: Regina mayoral candidates hold events after nominations officially close, CBC News, 8 Oct 2020,; Murray McCormick, Alec Salloum: In their words: Regina's mayoral candidates respond to list of issues, Leader Post, 2020-10-30, please take your precious time to view the whole interesting article by clicking at the following link:; Murray McCormick, Alec Salloum: Pandemic, Policing, MOSAIC Options: Mayoral hopefuls address key issues,; Samanda Brace: Q & A: Get to know Regina's 9 mayoral candidates and their takes on 4 hot topics, CBC News, 1 Nov 2020,;  

Alec Salloum: Regina Votes: Front runners emerge during municipal election debate, Regina Leader's Post, 3 Nov 2020,; Mioses Canales: Regina mayoral candidates discuss plans for COVID-19 recovery, infrastructure during debate, CKRM, 3 Nov 2020, please view the website:; ‘Renew Regina’: The top revitalization priorities for the city’s mayoral candidates, Global News, 4 Nov 2020,


IV. Brief Analysis

The Saskatoon Mayoral candidates Zubair Sheikh, Mark Zielke and Cary Tarasoff all said they believed the Lighthouse-supported living shelter should be moved or at least decentralized[i]. The New Central Library has become a major issue during the campaign. Norris is campaigning against what he calls a “gold plated” new library, and Tarasoff has also criticized the plan. Atchison says the new library may be too far advanced to stop, but is promising to reign in city spending, with no tax increase next year. Sheikh is also campaigning against what he considers high spending by city council[ii], saying “nobody’s in favor of it” - a point Atchison agreed with[iii]. Also, 3 of 6 of mayoral candidates say Saskatoon needs a downtown arena, but none say it's a priority right now[iv] The author thinks a fancy new library is not what is needed during the pandemic, and computer system upgrade and more online books may be encouraged. Things like arenas may be considered with caution and introduction of experts and economists.


In Regina, during the mayoral candidate debate on 2 November 2020, the consensus was that members of the Regina Police Service (RPS) are expected to do too much with too little. However, a contentious issue in the city has been what belongs in Wascana Park and what development - if any at all - should look like[v].


What is most at dispute is the source of money and whether to invest the money in some projects. The author thinks that we need to think outside the box. Yes, property taxes are also increased yearly in the US. However, they have other sources of income. For example, in Texas, one can only have one property as the main property which enjoys both the low property tax and the capital gain tax rate. If the main property is leased or sold in 3 years out of 5, a double property tax rate and capital gain tax rate will be levied. Community association directors (publicly elected) are supposed to report on those who cheat on the main property status. Also, a lot of things like road repairs, garbage removal, bike lanes, etc are delegated to community associations, which have a much clearer responsibility to take care of those things. When it comes to investment in projects, big or small, in the pandemic or not, the author suggests to review the following things before a final decision is made: 1) whether the project is beneficial to the general public or just a bunch of few people; 2) whether it has long lasting positive economic and social effects; 3) whether it can bring jobs and employment to the industry related as well as other relevant industries; 4) whether the city has the ability to obtain the financial resources to fund such a project either externally or internally; 5) whether the City can ensure a prudent and sound financial management. Therefore, although many projects like a stadium downtown, an arena, a rail yard, a hockey rink or an aquatic centre, it is important to ask these questions. If the answer is yes, we can go ahead. Otherwise, see if we can renovate the place or do some expansion. As to development in Wascana Park, the author is in full agreement with Mr. Woodridge and Ms. Masters, who are mayoral candidates in Regina. As to the bus system, we can borrow the bus system of Macao and the one of some US cities. That is, to invite bids from the general public to run the bus company to operate under the government guidelines (such as price-setting). The government can enjoy both a good bus system and a small budget.


As far as governance is concerned, in the US, the government budget at all levels (including on the sub-district level) and the salaries of all government officials including judges are disclosed for public review at any time. The author does not recommend a freeze or reduction on the staff salaries, but advises to borrow the experience in the US, and set the salaries according to the level of risk-taking, decision-making and responsibility. There needs to be more transparency and accountability regarding some officials’ pay and travel expense remuneration. According to a CBC article, Regina’s per capita debt is more than $3,000 while the city manager’s pay is over $700,000[vi].


The indigenous issue is a controversial one. Actually, Regina is more-open-minded that Saskatoon in this respect as there was a heated discussion on it in the mayoral candidate debate, which was the most interesting part to watch in the debate. However, not much is talked about on this topic by the candidates in Saskatoon. Several things need to be considered, among others: 1) the indigenous people are venerable people because of their culture uniqueness and lack of adaptability to the modern world in the same way that immigrants need to be cared for as they have a hard time to adapt in terms of their culture and language. 2) Focus needs to be placed on training, jobs and employment so that they may not rely on benefits and they can also participate in every aspect of the Canadian society as a host other than as guest. 3) The history needs to be respected as you cannot erase the history, whether good or bad. Also, we need to look at the indigenous issues with a new perspective as the time is different, and we should not still be entangled in the past.


V. Conclusion

A mayor with management and leadership skills, a far-sighted vision and an understanding of not only the business world but also the social issues, as well as an attitude to learn new things and make decisions based on science and feasibility studies should be chosen. Whoever wins, the winner should listen to the other candidates and take their advice as long as it is reasonable, feasible and beneficial to the general public.




摘要:市长是地方上城市一级的最高官员。 他应该具有管理专业知识、领导才干,智慧和远见卓识,最好是受过高等教育。 在大流行期间,安全与健康是最重要的问题,而可持续发展的经济将为城市活力带来动力。 政府需要一个健康的长远预算,并使所有企业、社区机构和人员参与其中。




[i]Nathaniel Dove: Saskatoon mayoral candidates meet in first debate of 2020 civic election,

Global News, 14 Oct 2020, please chick the following link to view the whole article

[ii] Ryan Kessler: Saskatoon mayoral candidate Mark Zielke says he’s not abiding by court order, Global News, 11 Oct 2020, please chick the following link to view the whole article

[iii] Alex MacPherson: Attacks aplenty in 'lively' second Saskatoon mayoral debate, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, 29 Oct 2020, please chick the following link to view the whole article

[iv] David, Shield: Saskatoon mayoral candidates divided over environmental plan, CBC News, 23 Oct 2020, please chick the following link to view the whole article

[v] Alec Salloum: Regina Votes: Front runners emerge during municipal election debate, Regina Leader's Post, 3 Nov 2020, please take time to read the interesting article covering the debate

[vi] Which city of Regina official made 7 times the mayor's salary last year? CBC News, 8 May 2016,

No comments:

Post a Comment