It's October. This month means different things to different people, but for urban politics wonks, it only means one thing: it's municipal election season.
Over the next five weeks, more than 1000 municipalities in Canada will hold municipal elections. These races span seven provinces and territories. Thousands of candidates are running, and voters will choose the next group of mayors to lead Canada's cities.
Two weeks from tonight, on October 15, the flurry begins in Northwest Territories. Yellowknife is an election to watch, with incumbent Mayor Mark Hayck stepping down and four new candidates stepping up. Elections will take place in the Yukon later that week, with another interesting race in Whitehorse (and if you didn't know that there is a candidate with an award winning beard running, you haven't done your homework yet).
We're just 20 days away from municipal elections in British Columbia. The races in Vancouver and Surrey are both worth reading up on. In both cases, the current governing local political parties have experienced major shake ups, and there are front runner independent candidates in the race. The landscape of local political parties will surely look a little different in just a few weeks.
Three weeks from tonight, all eyes will be in Ontario - and although all you've been reading about is Toronto's election, there are actually 443 other Ontario elections that night as well. Later that week, voters in Saskatoon and Manitoba will go to the polls.
Municipal election mania wraps up five weeks from tonight in Prince Edward Island. The incumbent mayor in Charlottetown, Clifford Lee, is stepping down after 15 years. Some interesting candidates have stepped up.
What can we learn from following these elections? Who has stepped forward to run, and why? What issues are they championing, and how are those issues framed? What particularly interesting policy ideas are emerging from mayoral campaigns, and what ideas are gaining traction?
Pull up a chair, urban politics lovers. We're going to learn a lot in the next few weeks as we watch these races unfold.
Do you know about an interesting race to watch, or particularly interesting candidate? Contact me. I'd love to hear from you.