The Pulse: Oct. 25, 2021

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Essentials

  • 12°C: A mix of sun and cloud with 30% chance of showers in the morning. Clearing in the afternoon. Wind southeast 30 km/h becoming light in the afternoon. High 12. (forecast)
  • 2: Starting today, Oct. 25, Albertans must provide proof of two COVID-19 vaccine doses to access businesses participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program. (details)
  • 5-3: The Oilers (5-0-0) defeated the Golden Knights (1-3-0) on Friday, Oct. 22. (details)

A smiling Amarjeet Sohi holds a white binder with the words "Mayor-Elect" on the front at City Hall

'I try to find common ground to get things done': Sohi


By Karen Unland Karen Unland

Amarjeet Sohi is heading to the mayor's office with a strong belief in the power of collaboration, whether it's with other orders of government or his fellow members of city council.

While relations have been rocky between Edmonton and the provincial government under the UCP, Sohi told Speaking Municipally that his first conversation with Premier Jason Kenney was "very constructive," and he's optimistic about building a new relationship.

"We cannot just ignore the important role the province plays helping municipalities deliver infrastructure, help grow the economy, and tackle social issues," he said on Episode 152 of Taproot's civic affairs podcast. "We have no choice other than finding a way to work with the provincial government. And I have ideas."

Sohi recalled a meeting with the mayor of Halifax when he was the federal infrastructure minister, in which the mayor had brought together his council and a coalition of community leaders to make their case. That use of the "convening power" of the mayor's office impressed him, he said.

He already has a strong relationship with the federal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in whose cabinet he served from 2015 to 2019. But he's not ready to skip straight to trying an end run around the province to secure support for child care, for example, as Calgary's newly elected mayor, Jyoti Gondek, suggested recently.

"Absolutely, we will explore that option, but I think my preferred approach is going to be to make sure the province is at the table with the federal government and that they're negotiating," Sohi said.

He aims to strike a similarly collaborative tone with the 12 newly elected or re-elected councillors, who will be sworn in with him on Oct. 26.

"I really want to set the tone that collaboration is the key to success at the local level," he said. "I want my council colleagues to understand that I will be open, transparent with them, that I'm there to work with them, and I see all of us as equal."

You won't see public criticism of people he disagrees with, he said. "I don't function that way. I focus on policy. I focus on ideas. And I try to find common ground to get things done."

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A view of the Walterdale Bridge.

Coming up this week: Oct. 25-29, 2021


By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

Photo: A view of the Walterdale Bridge. (Peter Yoeun/Instagram)

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