Meet your new council: Yellowknife’s results are in
Rob Warburton, Cat McGurk and Stacie Arden Smith received the most votes as Yellowknife’s new city council took shape on Monday night.
The three will be joined on the new council by Tom McLennan, Garett Cochrane, Ryan Fequet, Steve Payne and Ben Hendriksen according to provisional results.
Mayor Rebecca Alty had earlier been acclaimed to a second term.
With all eight tabulating machines reporting, the city’s posted results on Monday showed incumbents Smith and Payne will return for second and third terms on council respectively, but Rommel Silverio, the other sitting councillor to seek re-election, misses out.
Rob Foote finished in ninth place, 120 votes behind Hendriksen.
Voter turnout was 48 percent, with 3,939 votes cast and 8,190 eligible voters. Of those votes, 3,004 came from ballots either mailed in or placed in dropboxes, with 935 cast at polling stations on Monday.
Turnout at the last municipal election in 2018, which also featured a mayoral election, was 56 percent.
“I think Yellowknifers have seen that we need to adjust and shift as the economy changes here and the mines close down,” said Warburton, explaining what he interpreted from the votes residents cast.
“The polytechnic, more houses that we desperately need – these are going to be unpopular with some folks, but from the slate it’s clear that people are in support of doing all these things.”
Arden Smith and Cochrane, who is Métis, give Yellowknife its largest Indigenous representation on council in the city’s history.
“People really appreciated that I never wavered, that I stuck to my guns on issues,” said Arden Smith, asked why she believed she had been re-elected. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done and I want to help this community make that change.”
McGurk said: “I’m grateful. It’s really wonderful that the community that I love, and I’ve worked really hard to build, is in support of me.
“I’m looking forward to what we are capable of doing together. It’s a really great slate, they all seem like people I can work with.”
The outgoing council has one final meeting later this month. The new council is sworn in on November 7.
You can read candidates’ interviews with Cabin Radio here to get a sense of what each candidate is promising to do if elected.
Cabin Radio covered election night live. Developments as they happened are shown below – newer updates appear first. All times shown are mountain time.
22:08 – We’ll try to hear from remaining newly elected councillors in the morning. For now, we’re closing our live coverage. Thanks for joining us, even during that dull two hours in the middle. Good night.
22:06 – Tom McLennan says meeting so many people during the campaign was an amazing experience and he is “really excited to contribute to the community.”
“Everyone on there has something else to bring,” he says of the new council. “I think it’s an amazing group.”
Budget deliberations are coming up almost immediately for councillors. “We have to be conscious of spending right now. It’ll be a junior council so I think the focus should be on reviewing where we’re at and making a work plan that’s achievable,” McLennan says.
21:59 – Garett Cochrane, who is Métis, joins Stacie Arden Smith in giving Yellowknife the largest number of Indigenous councillors (two) it has ever had at once.
“I’m certainly feeling the weight of the position. I don’t think the next four years are going to be the easiest for Yellowknife, but I am very confident in the council that has been duly elected here, ” Cochrane says.
Congratulating everyone who ran, Cochrane adds: “The majority of the council is going to be new. Residents have demonstrated to us that they want us to do things differently this time.”
21:57 – Rob Warburton, too, was surprised by the number of votes he received. He is pleased that people noticed the work he put in around the community.
“I didn’t do as much talking as other folks, I wasn’t out and about during the campaign as much as I would have liked. This is what happens, I guess, when you are civically engaged before a campaign,” Warburton says.
“I think Yellowknifers have seen that we need to adjust and shift as the economy changes here and the mines close down. The polytechnic, more houses that we desperately need — these are going to be unpopular with some folks, but from the slate it’s clear that people are in support of doing all these things.”
21:54 – Cat McGurk did not expect to be elected by such a large margin.
“I’m grateful. It’s really wonderful that the community that I love, and I’ve worked really hard to build, is in support of me,” McGurk says.
“I’m looking forward to what we are capable of doing together. It’s a really great slate, they all seem like people I can work with.”
21: 52 – “I’m feeling pretty excited, overwhelmed and tired,” says Stacie Arden Smith. “I think people really appreciated that I never wavered, that I stuck to my guns on issues. But they are also seeking change considering there is a whole new batch of people coming through. I am super excited. That’s why I put my name in, because there is a lot of work that needs to be done and I want to help this community make that change.”
21:40 – Quotes from several candidates to come…
21:31 – THE PROVISIONAL RESULTS! Eight of eight tabulators reporting!
21:26 – Whisper it, but Rylund Johnson’s unofficial poll did very, very well. Other than predicting Rob Foote would be in the top eight instead of Steve Payne, Johnson’s poll is currently completely accurate.
21:22 – RESULTS UPDATE with six of eight tabulators in:
21:19 – Several of the candidates at Makerspace are just veering into celebratory mood with three of eight tabulators (glorified calculators) to go. “Can we say we did it?” asks one supporter. There is hugging and posing for photos. We’ll bring you interviews once the results are certain.
21:08 – NEW RESULTS with five of eight tabulators reporting:
21:05 – Not to talk down to you or anything but, in case it ain’t obvious, the top eight are going to be your next council. Beyond that, the number of votes they get doesn’t mean much (bragging rights?). A gap of fewer than four votes between eighth and ninth will trigger a recount.
21:02 – RESULTS UPDATE: Still says “three of eight tabulators reporting” but we have updated numbers. I’m now doing this in order of votes received so far.
21:00 – “Tabulators” indeed. Lah dee dah, City of Yellowknife. Lah dee dah. They mean machines that count stuff.
20:58 – So Stacie Arden Smith leads with 364 votes, then Cat McGurk on 354, Rob Warburton on 324, Garett Cochrane on 307, Tom McLennan on 284, Ryan Fequet on 273, Ben Hendriksen on 239 and Steve Payne on 223.
20:54 – WE HAVE OUR OPENING RESULTS. So far, with “three of eight tabulators reporting:”
20:52 – Candidate Cat McGurk’s entry for Walt’s contest: “Onerous.”
20:50 – Entries for this election in one word:
(Name redacted at emailer’s request): “Impotent.”
Eli: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” or “exhausting.”
And from Lea, who says their 12-year-old submits this while refreshing the page: “Boredom to the extreme.” (I now regret using the word “turd” in the prior update. Apologies to the 12-year-old. Don’t use such language near your mother.)
20:45 – Several people at this Makerspace thing (where around five candidates are gathered) have expressed surprise that the media doesn’t have its own special access to the results. Well, I am here to tell you that all I do in this or any election is refresh the same page you do, polish that turd lightly, and publish it.
20:41 – While we wait, a reminder that we published the results of St Pat’s High School’s mock election a bit earlier.
20:37 – Yellowknife prospector, columnist and legend Walt Humphries, sensing a lull, writes: “I’m trying to think of a word or phrase to describe this election. Anticlimactic sounds far too exciting. So does doldrum. You should run a contest on this.”
This election in one word. Go on, email in.
It’s either that or I go back to Coffee Crisp analysis.
20:31 – Like many things in politics, the suggestion that results would arrive by 8:30pm was a crock. No official word of any sort yet.
The broader issue is that, given the design of the city’s unofficial results page, it’s not immediately clear if we’re going to be told how many votes are still to be counted when the first figures are posted. So it may not be easy to know when, exactly, the final (unofficial) tally is in.
20:29 – We are rapidly approaching the 8:30pm deadline by which the more optimistic among us were convinced results would materialize…
20:17 – People are genuinely furious with me for dissing Coffee Crisp. Want me to blow your mind? In the UK it’s a Toffee Crisp.
No results yet.
20:11 – Listen, we’re dredging a barrel at this point (something in the NWT needs to get dredged amiright) but the Cabin Radio team all guessed which eight we think will be elected. We’ll read them out tomorrow on air at 8am and see how close we were. Listen live to Mornings at the Cabin 7-9am each weekday.
20:08 – So how ’bout them Blue J– nope, nope.
19:58 – The child returned with a Coffee Crisp, which is at best a 4/10 candy but, much like a Yellowknife municipal election, you work with what’s in front of you.
19:56 – A small child is now offering to ferry candy to the Cabin Radio decision desk. The tedium of the still-blank Yellowknife provisional results page is clearly showing.
19:42 – And in case there were any doubt that you can call five candidates in a Makerspace facility a political event, Kieron Testart is now here.
19:40 – Re the buffet, see image below. Definitely seen worse at political events.
19:37 – Julian Morse, who is at the Makerspace gathering of candidates, says he has his reasons for not running again but he’ll miss the privilege of serving on council. “I genuinely loved doing it,” he says. He’s impressed that several candidates have the courage to hold a public election-night gathering with reporters present. (I’m impressed mostly by the buffet.)
19:30 – A word for our outgoing councillors who chose not to run again: Niels Konge, Cynthia Mufandaedza, Shauna Morgan, Robin Williams and Julian Morse. Never again may they face the wrath of a resident angrily declaring at a public consultation that the public has not been consulted.
19:22 – Here’s another set of data while you await the results: the number of pageviews for each of our candidate interviews.
This obviously doesn’t mean much: were people reading an interview because they like a candidate? Because they were clueless about them? Or because they dislike them so much they wanted to hate-read what they said? Who knows.
Moreover, incumbents are likely to fare worse because people already know them and may be less inclined to try to learn more.
Still. There’s nothing else going on so fill yer boots.
Pageviews per Cabin Radio candidate interview:
Cat McGurk 2,285, Rob Foote 1,836, Mike Martin 1,832, Ben Hendriksen 1,804, Ryan Fequet 1,779, Tom McLennan 1,718, Devon Hodder 1,705, Stewart Pallard 1,704, Garett Cochrane 1,643, Dwayne Simmons 1,628, Rob Warburton 1,622, Beaton Mackenzie 1,610, Steve Payne 1,449, John Fredericks 1,404, Rommel Silverio (who didn’t actually do an interview!) 1,361, Stacie Arden Smith 1,223.
19:17 – No actual results yet. Calm.
19:12 – Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson also conducted his own informal online poll.
19:09 – Here, then, are the results of the St Pat’s High School mock election held on Friday last week. THESE ARE NOT THE REAL RESULTS! THESE ARE NOT THE REAL RESULTS.
The school’s students voted as follows.
Elected: Stacie Arden Smith (204), Garett Cochrane (193), Steve Payne (160), Rob Foote (125), Mike Martin (117), Cat McGurk (115), Ben Hendriksen (107), Ryan Fequet (104).
Not elected: Devon Hodder (102), Dwayne Simmons (99), Rommel Silverio (97), Tom McLennan (96), John Fredericks (83), Stewart Pallard (83), Rob Warburton (81), Beaton MacKenzie (70).
One more time: those were NOT THE REAL RESULTS.
19:04 – The city’s unofficial results page is now live. If you just want the results and a life devoid of colour, flair and bonhomie, click here. Otherwise you can stay here and have the results brought to you on about a 30-second delay with added cynicism.
19:01 – Pens down, stop voting! (Or however you voted. Who knows. The author, a permanent resident, doesn’t even get to look inside a polling station, never mind vote or touch a ballot.)
18:59 – Thoughts at the Makerspace gathering have lightly turned to the prospect of the liquor stores reopening. If today’s election ran interference on your shopping plans, those stores reopen in precisely one minute.
18:52 – The suggestion at Makerspace, where Cabin Radio is sat strategically next to the buffet, is that we could have the final (provisional) result by 8:30pm. Which I think we’d all accept. Bed by 9.
18:37 – So far, we have received no reports of election-day catastrophes. But there’s still time. There’s always time.
18:33 – On the grounds that it’s been a long Monday and Makerspace is closer to the house, we’ll be starting our night at Makerspace. (If you end up at the Tree, feel free to send updates for inclusion.)
18:27 – Some of the candidates are understood to be convening at Makerspace and some at the Monkey Tree Pub. We don’t have lists of who’s going to be where, although you might conclude that some candidates give off a Makerspace vibe and some give off a Tree vibe. We couldn’t possibly comment.
18:23 – Hello and welcome to what will either be a very short or mindnumbingly long occasion.
In theory, advances in election technology coupled with a mail-in ballot should provide lots of opportunities for the city to get the counting done early and give us a final tally quite soon after 7pm.
But defining “quite soon” is tricky. In 2018, the losing mayoral candidate (there were four but only two were genuine contenders) conceded just after 9:20pm.
There’s some talk that we’ll know tonight’s result well before then, but as most Yellowknife residents know, here, anything can happen.
A really tight race for the eighth and final seat will send us to a recount that can’t take place tonight, so there are circumstances in which we may not know the final composition of city council by the end of Monday.
You may have seen various predictions already out there, such as the poll conducted by one meddlesome territorial politician and the mock election held at a Yellowknife high school.
We’ve got all those results stacked up, plus a bit of our own internal data, and we’ll roll that out just after 7pm when the polls close. (We take that 7pm cut-off very seriously round these parts.)
By the way, if you’re still in line to vote when 7pm rolls around, don’t worry. As long as you’re physically lined up inside the building, you will be allowed to vote.