March 19th, 2018

And then there were four…

By Collin Gallant on September 19, 2017.

NEWS IMAGE Medicine Hat's mayoral candidates for the 2017 municipal election. Voting day is Oct. 16.

Medicine Hatters will have four names to choose from on the ballot for mayor next month, including that of a web blogger who describes himself as someone who shakes up the status quo.

Tom Fougere joined incumbent Ted Clugston, former alderman John Hamill and local broadcaster Scott Raible in filing nomination papers at Monday’s deadline.

Fougere, 33, operates a website known as “Community TV,” where he posts video commentary on a variety of topics and does promotions work for local businesses.

On Monday, Fougere said he was running to give residents more options in local government, and felt the educational aspects of his campaign would be “valuable.”

“It’s easy to run for these positions and more people should do it,” said Fougere, adding that while he is running in part to promote engagement in civic politics, he plans to run to win.

“If you’re going to do something, go all in,” he said specific to his choice to run for mayor instead of council in a first bid at a seat in local government.

“Four (candidates), including myself, are not enough. There is a huge diversity of people in Medicine Hat, feeling a lot of different things, and three viable options are not enough.”

Fougere rose to prominence in 2015 for his controversial coverage of alleged improper workplace behaviour at the Monarch Theatre.

That included several broadcast confrontations between himself and officials with the theatre and its owner, the City Centre Development Agency. One resulted in an assault charge that was eventually withdrawn from court when Fougere agreed to a sign a peace bond.

The candidacy is not about self-promotion, said Fougere, who said specific platform and policies will be unveiled over the course of the campaign.

Along with four mayoral candidates, 19 hopefuls filed nomination forms to vie for one of eight seats as city councillor when Hatters vote on Oct. 16. The official candidate list will be published after a noon deadline on Tuesday.

Clugston said on Monday that voters will decide the issues, and his campaign, based on continuing work of the current council, won’t change because of Fougere’s late entry.

“I saw on (social media) that he was running last night, and that’s the way it is,” he told reporters. “It’s democracy and there are very little barriers to running for municipal politics. It’s his right.”

And as for Fougere’s estimation that the others in the race were “probably scared to death,” Clugston said “No.”

“It’s interesting he would say that,” he added, “but I’m not saying anymore.”

Hamill, who is promoting his experience and plans to maintain city services, said he’s not sure what to expect of the latest entry, but hopes for a clean race.

“I honestly have no idea who he is,” said Hamill. “I guess he’s got a tall bike.”

Aside from running a website development business and social media marketing firm, Fougere also rides an over-sized bicycle as part of promotions. He will appear on the ballot as “Thomas ‘Tall Bike Tommy’ Fougere.”

Raible, who is campaigning to preserve public services and improve quality of life issues, said having more candidates could improve interest in the race. He also hoped voters will have a clear decision at the ballot box.

“It’s my hope that the four of us will be having a debate about the issues that matter to the people of Medicine Hat,” said Raible.

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