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Innisfail’s Jean Barclay wins landslide mayoral election victory

Town’s new council is decidedly progressive and retains experience; Donnie Hill loses council seat
MVT Barclay election victory
Jean Barclay receives a congratulatory hug from Don Harrison following the municipal election results on Oct. 18. Barclay is the new mayor of Innisfail, and Harrison retained his seat on council. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – There were many cheers outside the Innisfail Library/Learning Centre.

Supporters of Jean Barclay gathered outside the town’s polling station celebrating in victory.

Their candidate for mayor claimed a resounding victory on Oct. 18 over opponent Glen Carritt by a margin of 2,025 votes to 626.

“I feel awesome. I am so excited. I think there is a great team that has been elected. I can’t wait to get to work,” said Barclay following the vote count.

She added that a priority for her will be to do whatever she can to help the community heal due to the rigours of the pandemic and a long, tough and increasingly testy campaign over Carritt.

“Yes, we have gone through a lot,” she said. “It’s not just up to seven council members to help the community heal. It’s up to every person to help the community heal. The voters have now decided, so let’s get back to work and move on with things and reach our full potential because we have so much potential in this town.

“And we have to portray the kind of image where investors want to invest and people want to move to.”

.As for Carritt, he was gracious in defeat and offered his congratulations to Barclay through The Albertan. He added his team worked hard throughout the campaign.

“We have been running a clean and respectful campaign since January,” said Carritt. “Team Carritt worked very hard. I am concerned about our freedoms and the future of our small businesses.”

Meanwhile, Barclay, who just finished her first term as a town councillor, will have a much different council to work with. Of the three incumbent councillors running in the election, Gavin Bates and Don Harrison were both re-elected. Bates earned 1,325 votes, while Harrison picked up 1,228. Donnie Hill received 827 and was not re-elected.

Bates and Harrison will be joined by former three-term councillor Jason Heistad who collected 1,520 votes, Dale Dunham who earned 1,183, Cindy Messaros who had 923 and Janice Wing who received 1,369.

Innisfail established a record voter turnout for a municipal election on Oct. 18. The total vote count was 2,679. That was 41 per cent of 6,520 total eligible voters. In 2017, the total vote count was 1,967, 33 per cent of 5,932 total eligible voters.

“The voter turnout was huge this year. It is a record for the Town of Innisfail,” said Erica Vickers, the returning officer for Innisfail. The line-ups were out the door, down the sidewalk for the entire day. People waited upwards to 30 to 45 minutes to stay in line and vote.”

Editor's note: This article has been updated from the original to include updated information from the Town of Innisfail on the total number of eligible voters in 2021 and the percentage of eligible voters who voted.


Johnnie Bachusky

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