By Gillian Slade on October 17, 2017.
Two incumbents who have significant experience on Medicine Hat city council lost their seats on Monday.
With 5,970 votes, Bill Cocks finished ninth, only 113 votes fewer than eighth-place Jamie McIntosh’s 6,083 votes. Les Pearson was 10th with 5,842 votes, 241 fewer than McIntosh’s total.
“The people have spoken,” said Pearson. “Transit did me in.”
The decisions being made about the transit situation had him feeling “torn,” he explained. He said he received scores of phone calls with people on both sides of the issue.
“When I saw the people who are affected, these are my friends,” said Pearson. “I felt desperately out of sync with the decision. But, I can live with the will of the people.”
He said he hopes the message and importance of inclusion and diversity in the community is not lost.
“I will be working to improve those things in our community regardless of whether I am on council or not, or anywhere else,” said Pearson, who was elected in 2010 with 6,931 votes and in 2013 with 7,644 votes.
The News was unable to reach Cocks on Monday after voting results were announced.
Voter turnout in the last election was 40.21 per cent compared to 34.61 per cent this time, with 17,308 votes cast including 1,619 in the advance polls.
Immanuel Moritz received 5,650 votes to finish 11 in the 19-person race.
“The electorate is never wrong so there you go,” said Moritz. “It would have been nice to get 400 or 500 more votes, but that’s how she goes.”
Throughout the election campaign the issue was “community engagement,” he said.
“If they want to be more effective as a city council they have to talk about community engagement. They have to make sure they involve the citizens in the decisions,” said Moritz. “Maybe they can with the new people in there.”
Fiscal restraint will also have to be addressed, said Moritz.
“With Hirsch and Turnbull in there they’ll step in those general directions,” said Moritz. “If I’d been there we’d have moved it a little farther along the path.”
Moritz said he feels council appeared at times to have forgotten that it works for the people rather than for the city.
Maureen Roberts took 5,141 votes while Hugh English received 4,230.
“There was talk of change and we are seeing some of that in the new faces on council,” said English, who says participating in the process was good experience.
Michael Klassen received 3,717 votes, Colette Smithers 3611, Myles Mulholland 3,536, Charles Turner 2,656, Leslie Rath 2,008 and Ryan Regnier 1,416 to round out the list.