History of Diversity in Edmonton's City Council

A Timeline of 100 Years of BIPOC, PWD, LGBTQ+ and Female Members of Edmonton's City Council

By Emil Tiedemann

If you've been paying attention to who's running for Edmonton City Council this year, you may have noticed a number of candidates who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community, or that close to half of the nearly 50 candidates are women. As a gay Métis man, this is both promising and exciting, especially because gender and minority representation in Edmonton's City Council has been...off balance! 

History of Diversity in Edmonton's City Council

This inspired me to go back in time, to take a look at Edmonton's history with diversity in City Hall. Although there has been some pretty progressive moments in our city when it comes to minority representation in municipal politics, it's disheartening to discover such a lack of it as well. 

2021 marks the 100th anniversary of Edmonton's first female City Councillor (known then as an Alderman or Alderperson), but since 1921 there has been just 30 more women who have sat on Council. And just one female Mayor in all that time. That's out of a total of 238 City Council members since Edmonton was incorporated as a city, in 1904. That means that women have made up just 13% of all Edmonton Mayors/Councillors in the last 117 years. 

The numbers are even more discouraging when it comes to the BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ communities. In fact, there have been just two openly queer City Council members since 1904, and only two Indigenous members in a city with a current Indigenous population of around 60,000. As of 2016, more than 37% of Edmonton's population was recognized as a visible minority, though there's only been four BIPOC Councillors (that's less than 2% of the total amount of City Council members since 1904). There has never been a BIPOC Mayor in Edmonton's history or a female BIPOC Council member. 

Unfortunately, it is more difficult to find information on the number of Council members who are persons with disabilities. Percy Wickman comes to mind, as a PWD that advocated for other PWD while an Alderperson during the late 1970s and early 1980s. 

To celebrate the encouraging gender and minority representation we're seeing in the 2021 municipal election so far, I wanted to put together a timeline of the history of diversity in Edmonton's City Council, starting back in 1921 when Izena Ross became the first female Alderperson in our young city's history. 

Timeline of Diversity on Edmonton's City Council:

1921: 
On December 12, Izena Ross was elected as Edmonton's first-ever female Alderperson (she was also the first woman to run for Edmonton City Council), just five years after women were granted the right to vote in Alberta, on April 19, 1916. "She was so brave at a time when there was so much opposition to women in leadership roles," said YWCA board member Lisa Holmes, who set out to commemorate Ross' legacy in the project "Searching For Izena." Ross, who was identified as a "housewife" by the local media at the time, received 3,341 votes as a member of the Citizens' League party at a time when our city's population sat at around 59,000. 

Calgary's first female Alderperson was Hannah "Annie" Gale (1876-1970), who served from 1918 to 1924, and was also the first woman to hold an elected political position in the entire country. However, Calgary has never elected a female Mayor in its history. 

Izena Ross

1925: 
Less than a decade after women were finally granted the right to vote in Alberta (in 1916), Gertrude McBain became the first woman to run for Mayor of Edmonton, running up against five male candidates. Unfortunately, McBain received just 31 votes (out of 15,286 votes total), representing less than half a percent of the total vote count. In the early days of Edmonton's municipal elections, the majority of women who ran for office happened to be married to men who were already on Council (McBain was not married at the time). 

1933: 
On November 8, Edmonton-born Labour Party member Margaret Crang (1910-91) was elected as a Southside Alderperson, just the second female City Council member in Edmonton's short history (and the first to be re-elected). At the age of 23, Crang became one of the youngest people ever elected to civic government in Canada, and was the only candidate in the 1933 election who was actually born in Edmonton. Crang had studied law at the University of Alberta prior to running for office and was admitted to the bar in 1934. Known for her "socialist" ideals, Crang spent four years in City Council, before running unsuccessfully for provincial politics three times. She later became a Montreal Gazette reporter and then relocated to Vancouver in 1953. 

Margaret Crang

1941: 
On November 12, Ontario-born Gwendolen Clarke (1883-1972) was elected as only the third woman in Edmonton's history to be elected to civic office, following the death of her husband. Clarke, who moved to Edmonton in 1907, had previously worked as secretary for City Council's committees, during which time she met Edmonton Alderperson Joseph Clarke. They married in 1911. Clarke, who was also a mother of three, served on City Council until 1943, later serving as President of the Edmonton branch of United Nations Associations, in 1954. 

Gwendolen Clarke

1945:
On November 7, Ethel May Browne (1893-1974) was elected as the Alderperson for Edmonton's Southside, but spent less than a year in the position due to an illness. During WWII, Browne served as President of the Edmonton Navy Mothers' Club and on the University of Alberta's Board of Governors. Browne was 80 years old when she passed away in February 1974 and she was survived by her husband and her son. 

Ethel May Browne

1951: 
On November 7, London, England-born Violet Field (1896-1975) was voted in as one of Edmonton's Northside Alderpersons, some 24 years after she first moved to Edmonton, in 1927. The mother of two lost her husband, Dr. T.H. Field, before she was elected to office, where she spent two years. Field later worked as the President of the Women's Canadian Club and served on the Board of Directors of both the Victorian Order of Nurses and the Red Cross. 

Violet Field

1952: 
On October 15, Ethel Cybil Wilson (1902-83) became only the sixth woman elected as an Alderperson in Edmonton, remaining in her position for six terms, until 1966. This made her the longest-running female up until this point. The mother of three had previously worked as a seamstress for 25 years and would later serve as Minister Without Portfolio for 9 years (1962-71), as well as an Edmonton MLA from 1959 to 1971 (for North and then Kingsway). 

Ethel Cybil Wilson

1954: 
On October 13, Lucan, Ontario-born M. Laurette Douglas, who moved to Edmonton as a baby, was elected as a member of the Citizens' Committee party to Edmonton City Council, getting more than 9,300 votes. This marked the first time that two women were on Edmonton City Council simultaneously, joining Ethel Wilson. Douglas had studied both in Edmonton and California, before settling in Edmonton and working in the bursars office at the University of Alberta. She then ran a moving & storage company with her brother before becoming the secretary for Mayor J.W. Fry, from 1935-44. Douglas remained an Alderperson until 1960. She died in December 1990. 

M. Laurette Douglas

1963: 
On October 16, Poland-born Julia Kiniski (1899-1969) was finally elected as an Edmonton Alderperson, after 14 unsuccessful runs since 1945. Kiniski's family emigrated from Poland to Chipman, Alberta (near Lamont) in 1912, a few years before she married her husband Nicholas, at the age of 16. They had six children together, including future wrestler and Edmonton CFL football player Gene Kiniski (1928-2010). She managed a café and sold cosmetics after moving to Edmonton with her husband in 1936. Known as an "accomplished, albeit unconventional" speaker, Kiniski was 70 when she died of a heart attack while in office, in 1969. Her son, Julian Kiniski, succeeded his mother in office (1970-71, 1983-89). 

Julia Kiniski

1964: 
On October 14, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan-born Kathleen McCallum garnered more than 23,000 votes to seat her as an Edmonton Alderperson, as a member of the Better Civic Government Committee. McCallum worked as a school teacher for a decade before she moved to Edmonton in 1938, later serving as Chairman of the Edmonton Christmas Bureau, President of the St. Joseph's Catholic Women's League, and a member of the Development Appeal Board. She remained an Alderperson until 1966 and was re-elected in 1968 (until 1971). 

Kathleen McCallum

1966:
On October 19, Sunnybrook, Alberta-born Una MacLean Evans (1926-2015) was elected to her first of three terms as a member of Edmonton's City Council, a position she held until 1974. Prior to her work as an Alderperson, Evans studied at Calgary's Central Collegiate Institute and Winnipeg's University of Manitoba, before working as Assistant Secretary for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, in the early 1950s. In 1962, she married newspaper columnist Arthur Evans and then moved to Edmonton soon after. They had three children together. Following her time in office, Evans served on several boards, worked as a citizenship judge in Northern Alberta, and taught urban politics at Grant MacEwan. She was 88 when she died in 2015. 

Una MacLean Evans

1968: 
On October 16, Chesterfield Inlet, NWT (now Nunavut)-born Kiviaq (1936-2016) was elected (under the name David Ward) one of 12 Alderpersons to represent Edmonton, and the first Indigenous person to do so. Kiviaq was four years old when his family moved to Edmonton, where he was raised as David Ward. He became a legendary prize fighter who won 102 of 108 fights, before switching to football and finally politics. Kiviaq spent two terms as an Alderperson, until 1974, before unsuccessfully running for Mayor in 1976. In 1983, he became the first Inuit person called to the bar and later hosted his own open-line show on CJCA radio. In 2003, the City of Edmonton honoured the former Alderperson by declaring March 14th as "Kiviaq Day." It would be another 49 years before another Indigenous person was elected to Edmonton's City Council, when Aaron Paquette was voted in to represent Ward 4 in 2017. 

Kiviaq

1974:
On October 16, Musidora, Alberta-born Olivia Butti (b. 1938) became Edmonton's 11th female Alderperson, serving as an Independent for Ward 2. The former Hairy Hill and Victoria Composite High student studied law and public speaking before working as an advertising consultant and then a banker. She was part of various boards and committees and also founded the Rosslyn Community League. Butti remained in City Council until 1986, after which she organized a Wayne Gretzky tribute following his trade to the L.A. Kings. Butti and her husband Peter had two children together. 

The 1974 municipal election marked the first time a woman ran for Mayor of Edmonton since Gertrude McBain in 1925, though Nell Martin received just 507 votes (0.4%). There were six other mayoral candidates that year...all were men. 

Olivia Butti

On October 16, Brampton, Ontario-born Elizabeth "Bettie" Jane Hewes (1924-2001) became an Alderperson for Edmonton's Ward 4, a position she held onto for a full decade (until 1984). Hewes studied occupational therapy at the University of Toronto and eventually served as Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association, from 1967-74. In 1975, she briefly served as acting Mayor following the death of William Hawrelak, in 1975. After leaving office, Hewes became the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Board of the Canadian National Railway (1984-85). In 1986, she was elected as MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar (as a Liberal), a position she held until 1997, the year she retired from politics. 

Elizabeth "Bettie" Jane Hewes

1977:
On October 19, Regina, Saskatchewan-born Lois Norene Campbell was voted in as an Alderperson for Edmonton's Ward 1. The former University of Alberta student worked as a school teacher, consultant, and sessional lecturer before joining the Edmonton Public School Board in 1968, remaining there until 1974. While serving a six-year term with the University of Alberta Senate (1975-81), Campbell was elected to City Council, which lasted until 1983. She married Dr. Duncan D. Campbell of the University of Alberta and had four children. 

Lois Norene Campbell

On October 19, Thunder Bay, Ontario-born Percy Wickman (1941-2004) was elected one of three Alderpersons for Edmonton's Ward 2, alongside Olivia Butti and Gene Dub. Wickman became the first-known paraplegic to serve in Edmonton's City Council and his legacy included supporting people with disabilities not just while in office, but throughout his life. He remained on Council until 1986, later serving Edmonton-Whitemud as an MLA from 1989-93, and then Edmonton-Rutherford from 1993-2001. Prior to his time in politics, Wickman founded the Handicapped Housing Society of Alberta, in 1969, and later served as co-chair of the Canadian Organizing Committee for the International Year of Disabled Persons, in 1981. 

Percy Wickman

1980: 
On October 15, Edmonton-born Jan Reimer (b. 1952) was elected as an Alderperson for Edmonton's Ward 1, serving alongside fellow Alderperson Ron HayterReimer, who was the daughter of activist and politician Neil Reimer, graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts and became the citizen coordinator of the Calder Action Committee in the late 1970s. She was re-elected Alderperson in 1983 and 1986, remaining in this position until she was elected as Edmonton's first female Mayor, in 1989. 

Jan Reimer

On October 15, Wetaskiwin-born June Carol Cavanagh (b. 1928) was voted in as a Ward 3 Alderperson, serving as an Independent until 1983. By this time her husband, Terry Cavanagh, had already served as the Mayor of Edmonton for more than 20 years (1957-77, 1988-89) and as an Alderperson (1971-77, 1983-89, 1992-2007). In addition to her time in office, Cavanagh worked in advertising and spent 14 years as promotions manager for the CJCA radio station. She was also active with various charities, even serving as Director at Bissell Centre for a period. 

June Carol Cavanagh

1983: 
On October 17, Lethbridge-born Lillian J. Staroszik (b. 1943) was elected as one of two Alderpersons for Edmonton's Ward 5, making her the 16th woman to join City Council. Staroszik was also a mother and an award-winning pilot who volunteered her time with Norwood Readiness Centre, Trinity Day Care Centre, and the University of Alberta Hospitals. She remained on City Council until 1995. 

During the 1983 election, Doreen Crowley became only the third woman in history (and the first since 1974) to run for Mayor of Edmonton, garnering a little more than 1.3% of the total vote count. Crowley's 2,070 votes put her in fourth place that year, out of six mayoral candidates. 

Lillian J. Staroszik

1986: 
On October 20, Edmonton-born Helen Paull joined City Council as a Ward 1 Alderperson, remaining in office until 1992. The University of Alberta grad also spent much of her time serving on committees and boards for organizations like Edmonton Family Services, City Hall Steering Committee, St. Joseph's Hospital, Edmonton Northlands, and the Downtown Business Association. Paull was also a mother of three. 

Helen Paull

On October 20, Winnipeg-born Judith C. Bethel (b. 1943) was voted in as one of the Alderpersons for Edmonton's Ward 3, a seat she held onto for nine years (until 1995). Following her studies at the University of North Dakota and the University of Alberta, Bethel worked as a teacher with the Edmonton Public School Board from 1974-81, before switching careers and becoming an investment broker. In addition, Bethel was a member of the Edmonton's Women's Network, the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, and the Edmonton Business and Professional Women's Club, as well as a mother of two. 

Judith C. Bethel

On October 20, Regina-born Patricia E. MacKenzie (b. 1940) joined Lillian J. Staroszik as an Alderperson of Ward 5, marking the first time two women were Alderpersons for the same Edmonton ward at the same time. MacKenzie studied education at the University of Saskatchewan and then taught high school in Ontario and Quebec from 1962-85, while also hosting and producing a weekly public affairs program on Pickering, Ontario cable television (1984-85). The mother of three remained on City Council until 1995. 

The 1986 Edmonton municipal election saw five women in City Council for the first time ever, including MacKenzie, Staroszik, (future Mayor) Jan ReimerJudith C. Bethel, and Helen Paull.

Patricia E. MacKenzie

1989: 
On October 16, Jan Reimer was elected as the first female Mayor in Edmonton's history. The former Ward 1 Alderperson (1980-89) won by a landslide, despite having one of the lowest campaign costs for any successful mayoral candidate ($139,000). Reimer, who was Edmonton's first social democratic mayor in 15 years, was known for criticizing oil and gas development on Lubicon Cree land, encouraging the hiring of more employees from "traditionally disadvantaged groups," and even refusing to wear the city's ceremonial chain of office, which was made from a beaver pelt. Reimer was re-elected in 1992 and then narrowly lost to Bill Smith in the 1995 municipal election. 

1989 marked the biggest year of female representation in the history of Edmonton City Council, with six female Alderpersons in addition to Mayor Jan Reimer: Helen Paull (Ward 1), Catherine Chichak (W2), Judy Bethel (W3), Patricia MacKenzie (W5), Lillian Staroszik (W5), and Sheila McKay (W6). This was (and still remains) the only time in Edmonton's history that there were more women on City Council than men. 

Jan Reimer

On October 16, Edmonton-born Sheila Helen McKay (b. 1936) was elected a Ward 6 Alderperson (as an Independent) with 12,895 votes, serving alongside fellow Alderperson Ken Kozak (there were two per ward at this time). The former Misercordia Hospital nurse had previously run for office four times (1974, 1977, 1980, and 1986), before she was finally successful. McKay was re-elected in 1992 but lost her seat in 1995. She ran again unsuccessfully in 1998, 2007, and 2010. Unfortunately, McKay is perhaps most remembered for an incident in which she dumped a pitcher of water over the head of fellow Alderperson Brian Mason following a heated debate in which Mason told McKay to "shut up." McKay is also a mother of four. 

Sheila Helen McKay

On October 16, Krasne, Saskatchewan-born Catherine Chickak (1934-2009) was voted in as an Alderperson for Edmonton's Ward 2, alongside Ron Hayter. She studied business and worked at a legal firm before being elected an MLA for Edmonton-Norwood in 1971, remaining in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta until 1982. Chickak then served on the Separate School Board from 1983-89, before serving Ward 2 until 1992. Unfortunately, she was "mired in scandal" during her time in City Hall, as it was revealed that she owed $8,400 in business taxes and was actually not eligible to even run for office. She was defeated in the 1992 election. 

Catherine Chickak

1992:
On October 22, Wisconsin-born Michael Phair (b. 1950) was elected as one of the Ward 4 Councillors in Edmonton, becoming the first openly gay elected politician in the province of Alberta, as well as one of Canada's earliest openly gay elected officials. Phair became active in the local LGBTQ+ community during and following his time on City Council (which lasted until he retired from politics in 2007), including serving as an Edmonton Pride Board member and an adjunct professor with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS). He later joined the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta. 

Michael Phair

1994: 
On January 20, Sherry McKibben (1944-2014) became not only the 22nd woman in Edmonton's City Council, but also the first openly lesbian member and the second LGBTQ+ member (after Michael Phair). McKibben was actually elected in the 1994 by-election to replace Ward 4 Councillor Judy Bethel, who resigned her seat after she was elected to the House of Commons. McKibben spent less than two years in her seat, however, as she was defeated in the 1995 election (coming in third). She ran several times for provincial politics but was never elected. McKibben has also spent much of her time as an advocate and volunteer for the Edmonton LGBTQ+ community, including work with the HIV Network of Edmonton Society and the Pride Centre of Edmonton. The mother of three also published a book, Daunting Tasks: Dedicated People - Stories in the Management of Change in HIV/AIDS Organizations, in 2001. 

For a brief period during the mid 1990s, Sherry McKibben served alongside Michael Phair, making Edmonton the first Canadian city to have two openly queer Alderpersons simultaneously. 

Sherry McKibben

1995: 
On October 16, Winnipeg-born Wendy Kinsella (b. 1952) was voted into Edmonton's City Council as one of the Ward 1 Councillors. Raised in Edmonton since the age of three, Kinsella studied library science at the University of Alberta and later worked for Alberta Labour and the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Kinsella, who is also a mother of two, remained in office until 2001. 

Wendy Kinsella

On October 16, Athabasca-born Rose Rosenberger (b. 1946) was elected a Ward 2 Councillor, alongside Allan Bolstad. Prior to her time in office, Rosenberger studied education at the University of Alberta and worked as a teacher from 1969-89, in addition to serving as an Edmonton Public School Trustee and a member of the Edmonton Police Commission. The mother of two remained on City Council until 2001. 

Rose Rosenberger

2001:
On October 15, Montreal-born Karen Leibovici (b. 1952) took over as one of the two Councillors for Ward 1, alongside future Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel. Leibovici studied management at McGill University and worked as a social worker with the Montreal Catholic School Commission, before moving to Edmonton and working in various positions with the City. In 1993, she was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, representing Edmonton Meadowlark as a member of the Alberta Liberal Party. She remained an MLA until 2001, the same year she joined City Council, remaining a Councillor for Ward 1 until 2010 and then for Ward 5 until 2013. That year, she came in second in her run for Mayor of Edmonton, losing to Don Iveson. Leibovici ran for federal politics (with the Liberal Party) in 2015 but was unsuccessful. 

Karen Leibovici

On October 15, Edmonton-born Janice Melnychuk was elected to represent Ward 3 alongside fellow Councillor Ed Gibbons. Melnychuk, who studied sociology and anthropology at the University of Alberta, owned and operated her own catering business, By Janelle, before serving as an Edmonton Public School Board Trustee. The mother of two remained on City Council until 2007, and has also served as the President and Vice President of the Newton Community League. 

Janice Melnychuk

On October 15, Edmonton-born Jane Batty (b. 1946) was elected to serve as a Ward 4 Councillor, a position she held until 2010. That year, she became a Councillor for Ward 6 for one term (until 2013), bringing her total to 12 years on City Council. She retired in 2013. Prior to her time in office, Batty was the Executive Assistant to Edmonton Alderperson G. Lyall Roper (1983-86) and the VP of Operations for Denny Andrews Inc. (1986-99). In addition, Batty served as a member of the University of Alberta Senate Chair and the Provincial Affairs Committee, as well as on the Board of Odyssium and Northlands Park. 

The 2001 election marked the first time (but not the last) that three women had campaigned to be the next Mayor of Edmonton: Katie Oppen (1,545 votes/ 0.91%), Tess Elsworthy (1,513 votes/ 0.89%), and Laura Duffy (869 votes/ 0.51%). Incumbent Bill Smith was voted back in that year. 

Jane Batty

2004:
On October 18, Linda Sloan (b. 1960) took over as a Councillor for Edmonton's Ward 1 (alongside Karen Leibovici), keeping her seat for three terms, until 2013. Sloan worked as a registered nurse and led the Staff Nurse Association of Alberta union. This helped her transition into politics, becoming the MLA for Edmonton Riverview from 1997 to 2001. During her time in politics, Sloan - a mother of two - supported extending adoption rights to same-sex couples, as well as the creation of a children's advocate in the province. 

Linda Sloan

On October 18, Kim Krushell was elected to represent Ward 2 on Edmonton's City Council, remaining in office for three terms (until 2013). Krushell studied at the University of Alberta, the Southern Oregon University, and the Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, before becoming the Executive Assistant to former City Councillor Larry Langley, from 1995 to 2004. Krushell, who is also a mother of one, raised awareness for homelessness and youth advocacy during her time in City Hall. Krushell is currently running for Mayor of Edmonton. 

Kim Krushell

2007: 
On October 23, Banbhaura, India-born Amarjeet Sohi (b. 1964) was elected to represent Ward 6 in Edmonton City Council, making him the first Indian to do so, as well as the first visible minority since Kiviaq (1968-74). Sohi was still in his teens when he emigrated to Edmonton in 1981, despite speaking almost no English. He became involved in the local theatre community but stayed up-to-date on what was going on back in India, publicly speaking out about his homeland's Sikh fundamentalism and state oppression. Following a trip back to India in 1988, Sohi was arrested as a political activist and spent 21 months in prison, until 1990. The father of one became an ETS bus driver and first ran for City Council in 2004, but was unsuccessful. He served as Councillor for Ward 6 from 2007-10 and then for Ward 12 from 2010-15, before becoming Minister of Infrastructure and Communities in 2015 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He remained as so until 2018, switching over to the Minister of Natural Resources until November 2019. 

Amarjeet Sohi

2013: 
On October 21, Bev Esslinger was voted in as the Councillor for Ward 2, becoming the 30th woman ever elected to Edmonton's City Council. The mother of two had previously served two terms as an Edmonton Public School Board Trustee and four years as Chair of the Board. Esslinger was instrumental in the inception of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation and the development of a Board Strategic Plan. In addition, Esslinger was on the Board of Governors of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation and has worked with various organizations, such as Kids Kottage, SHAPE, Oliver Centre for Children & Families, and the Edmonton Sabres Marching Band. 2013 marked the first time that only one woman sat on Edmonton City Council in 42 years, since 1971. 

Bev Esslinger

2017: 
On October 16, Edmonton-born Aaron Paquette (b. 1974) was elected to represent Edmonton's Ward 4, becoming Edmonton's first Indigenous Councillor since Kiviaq (1968-74). Paquette, who happens to be Métis of Cree, Cayuse, and Norwegian descent, first ran as a New Democratic Party candidate for the Edmonton Manning riding in the 2015 federal election, defeated by Ziad Zboultaif. He is also an award-winning artist and a young adult fantasy author (Lightfinder), as well as serving as the President of the Cree8 Success consulting firm. Paquette is currently running for re-election as Councillor of what will be known as Ward Dene. 

Aaron Paquette

On October 16, Sarah Hamilton was elected as the Ward 5 Councillor, winning more than 35% of the vote. Prior to her time in office, Hamilton studied at the University of Alberta and Chicago's School of the Art Institute, before finding work as an adjunct professor of media and communications, a freelance journalist, and the owner and operator of a communications and public relations firm. She has also served as a council representative on both the Edmonton Police Commission and the River Valley Alliance, as well as an advisor on Council's Indigenous People's Strategy and the Arts, Heritage and Culture Initiative. 

Sarah Hamilton

On October 16, India-born Moe Banga was voted in to replace Amarjeet Sohi as City Councillor of Edmonton's Ward 12, earning nearly double the amount of votes of the second-place finisher. Banga, who is a father of three, studied physics at Punjabi University before immigrating to Canada in 1978, working at an engineering firm and then for the Edmonton Police Service for 24 years (as a constable, a sergeant, and finally a detective). He also taught the D.A.R.E. program for 15 years, coached youth soccer, worked for several not-for-profit organizations, and studied at both NAIT and the University of Alberta. 

The 2017 municipal election also marked the first time that there were two BIPOC members serving on Edmonton's City Council simultaneously, in Moe Banga and Aaron Paquette

Moe Banga

2020:
On December 7, Edmonton City Council passed a bylaw to implement 12 names for the city's newly amended wards, chosen by a committee made up of 17 Treaty No. 6, 7 and 8, Métis, and Inuit people. "Edmonton has been a gathering place for Indigenous People for thousands of years," stated the City. "iyiniw iskwewak wihtwawin (the committee of Indigenous matriarchs) have gifted traditional names to the City's naming committee to honour these sacred places in Edmonton and to preserve the history for future generations." If you would like to see the new names for Edmonton's wards, which are officially implemented on October 18, 2021, click HERE

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