Candidates make their pitch at forum

Voting day is Monday, April 3

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

A small but engaged audience of Slave Lake voters showed up on March 24 to listen to and ask questions of candidates running for the vacant mayor and councillor position on town council. The event only happened because mayoral candidate Ron Gariepy made the effort to arrange it. According to Gariepy’s social media post announcing the forum, there wasn’t even going to be a moderator, but Jim Sparks stepped in at the last minute to do that important job.

In their opening statements, the four candidates more or less emphasized the same things as they had in interviews with the Lakeside Leader.

Council candidate Ali Mouallem led off, followed by his opponent Mike Loroff, who had arrived a bit late and evidently straight from a job.

Francesca (Frankie) Ward was next, with her mayoral opponent Ron Gariepy finishing off the first round.

Mouallem talked about wanting to be a positive role model for his kids, about his business and volunteer experience and his keen interest in economic development and diversification for Slave Lake.

Loroff only used about a quarter of his allotted time for his introductory remarks. He thinks a younger voice on council would be good, and that his engineering and construction experience would be an asset to the town.

Ward promised a continued emphasis on economic development if she’s elected mayor. She spoke about her experience on council (about a year-and-a-half of it), as a business owner and as president of the chamber of commerce as assets in her favour.

Gariepy pitched his idea about setting up a system whereby citizens could be more involved in the decisions of council. First there would be a referendum on whether Slave Lakers wanted to adopt such a method of what might be called ‘participatory government.’ If the answer was ‘yes,’ Gariepy said the technology exists to allow citizen voting to be done electronically, via a downloadable app. Thus, the people “would have a vote on what we’re spending our money on.”

The first question from the audience was on that topic, for the candidates for mayor. It gave Gariepy a chance to reinforce what he’d just said, although some audience members had a hard time hearing him.

Ward came prepared and used the opportunity to say Gariepy’s idea is “in direct violation of the Municipal Government Act.”

Asked their position on dealing with the homeless, all the candidates said they were in favour of some form of town support. What form that should take they weren’t exactly clear on.

Advance voting is on Wednesday Mar. 29. Saturday, Apr. 3 is the main voting day.

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One thought on “Candidates make their pitch at forum

  1. I bet most of you never even heard about this New “Alberta Recall Act from April 7, 2022” Recalling a municipal official
    An Albertan would apply to their municipality’s Chief Administrative Officer for a petition to recall the municipal official they feel is not upholding their responsibilities.

    If approved, the applicant would have 60 days to gather signatures from eligible voters comprising 40% of the population of the municipality or ward.

    If the petition is successful, the Chief Administrative Officer would make a declaration at the next council meeting. The official would be removed at that time. Obviously Francesca Ward never did her homework.

    We could use this New Act to set up a voting system for the citizens to vote on the removal of an elected official, and also use the same platform for non unanimous votes in council, which would go for vote back to the citizens.


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