Michael Janz in Edmonton this morning, moments after submitting his nomination papers (Photo: Screenshot of Edmonton Elections livestream).

While rural and small-town Alberta, traditionally the Conservative electoral heartland, are finding ways to put pressure on Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party, the province’s big cities seem to have concluded discretion is the better part of valour.  

Former Edmonton Public School trustee Michael Janz, who filed his candidacy papers for Edmonton City Council in the city’s Ward papastew this morning, obviously thinks that needs to change. And who better to demand a fair deal for Edmonton in Alberta? 

Michael Janz in 2015 (Photo: David Climenhaga).

Heaven knows, there’s a better case for that argument than for Premier Jason Kenney’s weak case that Alberta isn’t getting a fair deal from Ottawa. 

And maybe it will resonate in a ward that contains the University of Alberta, which is being unfairly hammered harder than any other educational institution by the Kenney Government’s brutal post-secondary spending cuts. 

Mr. Janz is certainly someone who could pursue such a strategy. Despite the timidity of most public school board members, he was never afraid to advocate pushing the provincial government hard on funding and education policy issues. 

He’s not only challenged education cuts and called loudly for a fair deal for public schools, as opposed to the private schools the premier loves, he’s publicly acknowledged the climate emergency and called for sharing such resources as school buses with the city’s Catholic schools. (They didn’t like the idea.) 

He’s even been willing to take on the Mayfair Golf Club’s millionaires over the favourable lease they get from the city! He called the city’s latest 18-year deal with the club “a sweetheart deal for a very wealthy, very small group of Edmontonians for a very, very long time.” He’s called for the land to be opened to public use, as in a park, not a golf course.

After three terms and more than a decade on the public school board, Janz made it known last week he wouldn’t be seeking re-election there. 

Edmonton-Glenora NDP MLA and former school trustee Sarah Hoffman has endorsed Mr. Janz’s candidacy (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

His announcement he’d be running for a city council seat wasn’t a complete surprise. On March 2, many progressive activists in Edmonton received an email indicating he was pondering a run in the Oct. 18 municipal election. 

Janz has received endorsements from a raft of progressive voices in Edmonton, among them Edmonton-Glenora NDP MLA Sarah Hoffman, a former senior cabinet member and school trustee; former city councillor and University of Alberta board chair Michael Phair; former municipal affairs minister Danielle Larivee; former Alberta NDP leader and Edmonton-Strathcona MLA Raj Pannu; and former Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman. 

Ward papastew, the former Ward 8, is located near the geographic centre of Edmonton, south of the North Saskatchewan River. In 2020, Edmonton City Council voted to rename the wards with Indigenous names. It occupies much of the same territory as the federal and provincial Edmonton Strathcona ridings, both represented by New Democrats. 

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5 Comments

  1. If the fair deal hes looking for is the same per capita government spending in Edmonton, as per the Alberta average, he might not like that deal.

    But have at it trying to extract more from golf. My take is, they should always be negotiating the best deal. I guess the current bunch in office are a bunch of fat cats giving deals to their pals(bad Don bad). One woudl think such idealogues might learn from the past though. Much like the oil industry, the golf industry is contracting, one more nail cant hurt right?

    I guess if it gets them elected its all good for them.

    1. The UofA and all the wonderful public school teachers that try their best to lead and prepare children for it’s challenges are in need of an advocate just now. I come from the Tuck Shop era and what the benefits of my time spent learning have meant to me personally are? Without that institution, grants and bursaries? I would likely have had a very shallow and stilted life! Without public education? Good grief! My grade school teachers introduced me to the beauty of mathematics, chemistry, physics, philosophy, music, art, physical fitness, critical thinking and even history. Without that foundation I would never have have been able to navigate and succeed at University, let alone at living a life of wonderful choices and opportunities! To me education is the cornerstone.

  2. I agree, one of Kenney and the UCP’s achievements is that so far they seem to have bullied or bludgeoned most municipal politicians into not fighting their anti municipal policies too much. Yes, there has been some ongoing grumbling, but mostly that has been it.

    You do have to wonder with Kenney’s growing unpopularity if some voters and municipal politicians will become less afraid to confront and challenge him over the next few years

    At this point, some like the U of A may also conclude there isn’t really much more to lose by doing so. Mr. Janz may be capturing a rising sentiment that some of our more cautious counsellors and municipal leaders haven’t grasped quite yet. It will be interesting to see how his campaign goes. I think he will be a strong candidate for council.

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