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‘You’re still voting for evil’: Novak, Damery, Stone call for no strategic voting on Monday

Three of Calgary’s mayoral candidates joined together to implore voters not to go to the polls with a strategic vote in mind.

Mayoral candidates Jan Damery, Zane Novak, and Virginia Stone spoke to the media on Thursday morning with a common message: Don’t settle for your second choice this election.

Novak went further stating that strategically voting for the two front runners in the municipal election would be akin to voting for the lesser of two evils.

“Someone says ‘can you get in instead of so and so, and so and so is the lesser of two evils,'” said Novak.

“My reply is, ‘you’re still voting for evil.'”

He claimed that political polarization in Calgary and in Canada was because of weak leadership.

Polling of Calgary voters over the past several weeks by multiple polling firms has consistently shown that Jeromy Farkas and Jyoti Gondek are the two front runners for mayor.

Pleas against voting for incumbents

The three candidates repeatedly made calls for voters to look at the records of incumbent councilors before making their choices.

“None of these councillors deserve a promotion,” said Damery.

Stone said that Calgarians want change from the previous council.

“That makes me ask why are we being told that this is a two-horse race with the same old same old candidates,” she said.

Novak took aim directly at outgoing mayor Naheed Nenshi. He claimed that being denied the city’s voter list gave incumbents an unfair advantage in this election.

“That has really hindered us from being able to get out in front of 1.5 million Calgarians,” he said.

“I think it was almost unconstitutionally unfair that we were denied the voters list.”

Council declined to make a voters list for the 2021 election after mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston made threats against Alberta Health Services employees.

Then councillor and now mayoral candidate Joyti Gondek requested at the time the city not create the list citing the threats of violence from Johnston.

Elections Calgary confirmed in May that voters lists have only been created at the direction of council, and have not been created for every municipal elections.

Mayoral candidates Jan Damery, Zane Novak, and Virginia Stone held a media availability at city hall in Calgary on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. The candidates jointly called for voters to forgo strategic voting and vote for the candidate they like best. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Reaching the undecided and apathetic voters

Damery made an impassioned plea for voters, especially the undecided, to vote with their hearts.

“Don’t get bamboozled by the game plan that is going on right now,” she said.

Stone said she has been imploring Calgarians to get out to the polls to vote.

“A lot of voters have told me they’ve given up on this system and they have no intention of voting on Monday,” said Stone.

Novak also asked voters to do more research on all of the candidates prior to Monday’s vote.

“There are great potential leaders in this city out there,” he said.

“Do your research and find out.”

Polls open Monday

Voters who didn’t take advantage of the advance voting stations will be able to cast their ballots starting at 8 a.m. on Monday.

Polls will be open until 8 p.m. and locations for the polls are available on the Elections Calgary website.

Already during this election an estimated 141,329 Calgarians have turned out to cast their ballots. This is up 189 per cent from the 2017 municipal election.