Top News

Women, progressives lead sweep for change on St. John's city council

Hope Jamieson unseated Ward 2 councillor Jonathan Galgay in Tuesday's municipal elections in St. John's. She joins four other women who will now sit around the council table now that the votes have been tallied.
Hope Jamieson unseated Ward 2 councillor Jonathan Galgay in Tuesday's municipal elections in St. John's. She joins four other women who will now sit around the council table now that the votes have been tallied.

There was major upheaval on St. John’s city council Monday night, as voters elected six new councillors, marking a significant progressive shift.

One of the major upsets of the night was by Hope Jamieson, who defeated incumbent councilor Jonathan Galgay in Ward 2 by more than 300 votes.

Jamieson was jubilant, not just about her own win, but the total of five women who were elected to council.

“I’m really excited about what we can build together,” Jamieson said.
“I think there’s a real potential for change, and the future looks really bright right now.”

Jamieson said she hopes the wave of left-wing candidates who were elected can work to renew the city’s municipal plan, and make it work more for people who previously haven’t had a voice.

Maggie Burton

At the Bellavista, newly elected councillor Maggie Burton was similarly joyful.

“I’m so excited!” she said. “We got a lot of progressive candidates elected.”

Burton said that with a group of like-minded councillors, there’s a chance to make significant change.

“It’s going to be slow and it’s going to be hard,” she said. “But it’s going to be 100 per cent worth it.”

Four years ago, voters elected an all-male council in St. John’s, to the dismay of women’s equality advocates.

Mayor-elect Danny Breen said he welcomed the surge of women to city council.

“I think that we also have younger people on council now, so that will also be more positive for getting a cross analysis for everyone,” he said.

Debbie Hanlon

Aside from Burton, the other elected at-large councillors were incumbents Dave Lane and Sandy Hickman, along with Debbie Hanlon who returns to city council after a four-year absence.

Deanne Stapleton

In Ward 1, Deanne Stapleton narrowly beat Lou Puddister.

In Ward 2, Jamieson beat Galgay.

In Ward 3, Olympic gold medalist Jamie Korab won handily.

In Ward 4, Ian Froude won by a huge margin.

In Ward 5, incumbent councillor Wally Collins won another term representing the Goulds, Kilbride and Southlands.

Longtime municipal politician Tom Hann said he was surprised that he lost his bid for re-election, and there was clearly a lot of frustration from voters expressed in the election results.

“Looking back at the 2016 budget, that was the breaking point,” Hann said.

The budget raised taxes significantly and caused a public backlash. Hann said that in the ensuing years, council found a lot of ways to cut expenses and operate more efficiently, but at that point the damage was done.

Ron Ellsworth was another big name at city hall who got tossed out by the voters Tuesday night. Ellsworth was the deputy mayor for the past four years, but chose to run at-large instead.

Ellsworth referred to the ongoing questions about potentially inappropriate loans he gave to Anne Squires as her business, Exit Realty On The Rock, was failing, but said his defeat had much more to do with a general feeling of discontent among voters.

“Obviously, the general public voted for change,” he said.

“There’s a lot of discontent in the province right now. I think that was reflected in the votes.”

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

 

Recent Stories