Jablonski would add substance

The 2013 Red Deer mayoral race has begun not with a bang, but a whimper.

The 2013 Red Deer mayoral race has begun not with a bang, but a whimper.

Two candidates have announced their intention to replace Mayor Morris Flewwelling, who is stepping down at the end of his current term after 21 years in politics.

Neither of them is very compelling when stacked up against the outgoing mayor.

Matt Chapin, a 26-year-old student, ran for mayor in 2007. He received a total of 559 votes. His campaigns for city council and Red Deer Public School District board trustee in 2010 also failed to connect with voters.

Chad Mason, a 26-year-old accountant, is a newcomer to municipal politics. Cut from the same fiscal cloth as Coun. Chris Stephan, Mason has served on the Wildrose Party constituency board for Red Deer North since 2010 and helped out during the last provincial election. He talks about bike lanes, snow removal and lower taxes, but his resume is light on political experience.

Other potential candidates appear content to sit on the sidelines for now.

Veteran councillors Cindy Jefferies and Tara Veer are widely expected to enter the mayoral race. Jefferies says she will announce her intentions next month. Veer says it’s too early to start talking about the next election.

Could Mary Anne Jablonski give the race the spark it needs?

Rumour has it the MLA for Red Deer North is thinking about leaving provincial politics to run for the mayor’s seat.

Red Deer residents could do a lot worse for candidates than Jablonski, who was first elected to the Alberta legislature in 2000.

A political veteran, Jablonski would shake up the establishment at City Hall. Representing the city on the provincial stage would give her a unique perspective on the city’s goals and the best way to get there.

Jablonski’s understanding of provincial politics and her connections in that arena would also be an asset as the city moves forward with projects that require provincial support, such as a new courthouse.

She wouldn’t be the first MLA to make the jump to municipal politics.

When Lacombe-Stettler MLA Judy Gordon became disenchanted with provincial politics in 2004 after serving three terms in the Alberta legislature, she re-entered the municipal arena with great success. In 2004, she dumped then mayor Bill McQuesten, and she was acclaimed in 2007.

Jablonski said last week that, while she had not made a decision, it was “highly unlikely” that she would run for mayor. Never say never, she added, but she was committed to her job as MLA for Red Deer North.

Nobody is questioning Jablonski’s commitment to the constituents. What is more difficult to ignore is that the mayor’s job comes at a time when Jablonski’s provincial aspirations appear to have stalled.

While the political fortunes of her counterpart in Red Deer South, Cal Dallas, have soared under Premier Alison Redford, Jablonski’s have soured.

Minister of Seniors and Community Supports under former premier Ed Stelmach, Jablonski was relegated to the backbenches by Redford. Barring a dramatic reversal of fortune, her station is unlikely to change any time soon.

Jablonski has tried to stay busy. Her private member’s bill, The Irlen Syndrome Testing Act, passed first reading, but failed to pass before the current sitting ended on Thursday.

Jablonski cares a great deal about the issue — her nine-year-old grandson has been diagnosed with the syndrome — and she is vowing to bring the bill back in the spring.

But political reality paints a darker picture. Most private member’s bills are doomed from the start, and Jablonski’s probably won’t fare much better in the spring session.

The 2013 Red Deer mayoral race comes at a critical time for the city. There is no incumbent, which means Red Deer residents need quality candidates who can articulate their visions for the city.

If Jablonski is serious about serving people, she has a better chance of doing that as mayor than languishing in the backbenches in the legislature in Edmonton.

Mary Anne Jablonski would be a credible candidate for mayor.

Cameron Kennedy is an Advocate editor.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Street Tales: Life is filled with unlearned lessons

There are days that I almost believe evolutionists in that we are… Continue reading

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month