My picks for city’s top news­mak­ers

Edmonton Journal - - CITY & REGION - Paula S i mon s psi­mons @ed­mon­ton­jour­nal. com Twit­lat­ics ed­mon­ton­jour­ Paula Si­mons is on Fac ebook . To join th e con­ver­sa­tion , go to www.face­ EJPaulaSi­mons or visit h er blog at ed­mon­ton­jour­nal. com/Pau­lat­ics

As we pre­pare to ring in the new year, here’s my list of the Ed­mon­ton news­mak­ers of 2013 — the in­trigu­ing, ex­as­per­at­ing, in­spir­ing, in­fu­ri­at­ing or in­flu­en­tial peo­ple who helped shape the city.

Here, in rough chrono­log­i­cal or­der, are the dozen names — one for ev­ery month of the year, and ev­ery day of Christ­mas: 1) Man­war Khan — The slight gov­ern­ment IT guy’s ac­count of be­ing trapped on an LRT car, wit­ness­ing the beat­ing death of John “Jonny” Hol­lar, and his failed ef­forts to res­cue the vic­tim, touched the city. Khan went on to or­ga­nize pub­lic anti-bul­ly­ing ral­lies to em­power Ed­mon­to­ni­ans to in­ter­vene when they see some­one in trou­ble. 2) Thomas Lukaszuk — The Ed­mon­ton MLA be­gan the year as deputy pre­mier. In Fe­bru­ary he was named the new min­is­ter of Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion as well — a role which led to ma­jor con­flicts with Ed­mon­ton’s post-sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tions and a pub­lic “piss­ing” match with Mayor Stephen Man­del. By year’s end, the charis­matic but com­bat­ive min­is­ter had been re­placed as deputy pre­mier and ad­vanced ed min­is­ter by Dave Han­cock, and given re­spon­si­bil­ity for train­ing, skills and labour in­stead. 3) Tanya Kappo — The abo­rig­i­nal ac­tivist and so­cial me­dia provo­ca­teur was one of the found­ing forces of Idle No More, giv­ing pub­lic voice, in the news and on Face­book and Twit­ter, to the frus­tra­tions and as­pi­ra­tions of Ed­mon­ton’s na­tive com­mu­nity. In Novem­ber, Kappo made the news again with her out­rage over The­atre Net­work’s con­tro­ver­sial pro­duc­tion, Pig Girl. 4) Indira Sa­ma­rasek­era — The strong-willed pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity of Al­berta was in the spot­light in March when she had to de­fend her univer­sity against steep, shock­ing cuts to post-sec­ondary fund­ing, and against the Red­ford gov­ern­ment’s plan to im­pose man­date let­ters on the prov­ince’s uni­ver­si­ties. She also had to de­fend her­self against al­le­ga­tions she was spend­ing too much time away from Ed­mon­ton and spend­ing too much money on her own of­fice. 5) Guy Smith — The tena­cious leader of the Al­berta Union of Pro­vin­cial Em­ploy­ees was front and cen­tre in April, when AUPE cor­rec­tions work­ers and sher­iffs launched an il­le­gal wild­cat strike. But Smith and AUPE made head­lines, too, with cam­paigns to save the Mich­ener Cen­tre in Red Deer and to re­verse pri­va­ti­za­tion of home care, and with high­pro­file labour dis­putes at lo­cal se­niors home. The pay­back was harsh: In Novem­ber, the prov­ince in­tro­duced puni­tive leg­is­la­tion to deny AUPE’s right to col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing, and to in­crease penal­ties for il­le­gal labour ac­tion. 6) Daryl Katz — Ed­mon­ton’s in­ter­na­tional man of mys­tery made head­lines with­out ever ap­pear­ing in pub­lic, as the dif­fi­cult ne­go­ti­a­tions for a new down­town arena fi­nally reached their May con­clu­sion. The Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers owner ended 2013 in tri­umph, sell­ing the nam­ing rights to the new ice palace to Rogers. A week later, his fam­ily was back in the news when his wife, Renée Gouin-Katz, made a quiet but sub­stan­tive dona­tion which saved a WIN House shel­ter for im­mi­grant woman flee­ing abuse. 7) Amar­jeet Sohi — Would he or wouldn’t he? In late May, Sohi ended the sus­pense and bowed out of the mayoral race, a move that proved one key fac­tor in Don Ive­son’s stun­ning vic­tory. With his coun­cil ex­pe­ri­ence and quiet au­thor­ity, Sohi is well-po­si­tioned to take on a role as Ive­son’s in­flu­en­tial lieu­tenant and ally. 8) Janet David­son — In June, Health Min­is­ter Fred Horne fired the en­tire Al­berta Health Ser­vices board and hired David­son as in­terim ad­min­is­tra­tor to re­place the board. David­son swept house, cre­at­ing a new stream­lined man­age­ment struc­ture. The re­sult? Horne ap­pointed her deputy min­is­ter, Al­berta’s most pow­er­ful health bu­reau­crat — al­low­ing her to keep her hand­some AHS salary. 9) Brent Rathge­ber — The out­spo­ken MP for Ed­mon­ton-St. Al­bert was never shy and re­tir­ing, but he made se­ri­ous waves when he left the fed­eral Con­ser­va­tive cau­cus in June to sit as an in­de­pen­dent. He has con­tin­ued to make waves and serve the city as a co­gent critic of Con­ser­va­tive pol­icy and of Stephen Harper’s rigid lead­er­ship. 10) Don Ive­son — Ed­mon­ton’s young mayor spent his sum­mer and fall cam­paign­ing hard and strate­gi­cally, an ef­fort that paid off hugely in Oc­to­ber, when he won vir­tu­ally ever poll, leav­ing his clos­est ri­vals, Karen Lei­bovici and Kerry Diotte, in the dust. Smart, suave and so­cial-me­dia savvy, Ive­son has cre­ated high ex­pec­ta­tions. The test for 2014 will be to see if he can live up to his own hype. 11) Danielle Smith — Sure, the Wil­drose leader is the MLA for High River. But this fall, she went on a re­mark­able Ed­mon­ton charm of­fen­sive. In Oc­to­ber, her party re­launched as WRP 2.0, a party that sud­denly ac­knowl­edged cli­mate change, cham­pi­oned gay rights and fought for or­ga­nized labour. Then Smith set out to court Ed­mon­ton, mak­ing a high-pro­file speech pro­fess­ing her new ad­mi­ra­tion and af­fec­tion for the city. Will Ed­mon­ton al­low it­self to be wooed? That’s the hot ques­tion of 2014. 12) Lynn Coady — In Novem­ber, Coady scooped the $50,000 Giller Prize, Canada’s rich­est literary award, with her ac­claimed short story col­lec­tion, Hell­go­ing. It was the first time an Ed­mon­to­nian has scored the Giller in the award’s 20-year his­tory, a nice coup for the city, the short story genre and of course, for Coady her­self, who ac­tu­ally knocked Toronto mayor Rob Ford right off the Jour­nal front page.

Ed­mon­ton Jour­nal/ Files

Man­war Khan launched an anti-bul­ly­ing cam­paign af­ter wit­ness­ing a man’s beat­ing death.

T h e C a na d i a n P r e ss/ f i l e s

Writer Lynn Coady was the up­set win­ner of the lu­cra­tive Giller Prize, and the first Ed­mon­to­nian to win the award.

Ed­mon­ton Jour­nal/ Files

When Health Min­is­ter Fred Horne fired the en­tire AHS board, Janet David­son took over. She’s now deputy health min­is­ter

T h e C a na d i a n P r e ss/ f i l e s

Wil­drose leader Danielle Smith set out this year to charm Ed­mon­ton. Is her WRP 2.0 cam­paign work­ing?

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