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Colleen Smook re-elected as Thompson mayor

All four incumbent councillors were also re-elected but two of the top three vote-getters were first-time candidates.
Colleen Smook checks Oct. 26 election results on a monitor at the Thompson Regional Community Centre. Smook was re-elected as Thompson’s mayor, taking about 250 more votes than runner-up Les Ellsworth.

Colleen Smook was re-elected as mayor of Thompson by voters in the Northern Manitoba city on Oct. 26, receiving 964 votes in unofficial election night results to defeat Les Ellsworth and Ron Matechuk.

Smook received just under 47 per cent of the votes cast for mayor while Ellsworth, who was elected to council in October 2018, received 711, about 35 per cent.

Frequent mayoral candidate and former city councillor Ron Matechuk got 388 votes, about 19 per cent of the 2,063 votes cast for mayor.

“I’m ecstatic,” Smook said shortly after learning the final results. “It think this shows that I am on the right track and I will continue listening to people to stay on this track.”

The incumbent says she is glad there will be continuity in the work that began when she was elected as Thompson’s first female mayor in 2018.

“I can just continue on with the things I’ve been doing tomorrow,” she said. “We’ve got grants for the streets, we’ve got grants to help with our crime and safety. We’re at the point that we’re moving ahead and the projects are just now there to be done. We’re on the cusp of great things happening in Thompson. I just can’t thank the community support enough.”

All four incumbent councillors who sought re-election achieved their goal. Kathy Valentino got the most votes of any council candidate with 1,394 while Brian Lundmark was fourth with 1,135 and Duncan Wong fifth with 949. Earl Colbourne was seventh with 857 votes in his re-election bid.

About to begin his third term as a councillor, Duncan Wong said it’s always a mystery what a council will achieve when a new term begins.

“It’s always a learning process, doesn’t matter how many terms you’ve been there,” he said.

Two of the top three vote-getters among council candidates were people running for the first time.

Former School District of mystery Lake trustee Sandra Oberdorfer finished second behind Valentino with 1,222 votes, while Louis Fitzpatrick, her uncle, was third with 1,145 votes.

“It’s exciting and refreshing,” Oberdofer said of getting elected. “I didn’t know how the citizens of Thompson would be receptive to someone my age running for council. It’s nice to know that people have that much confidence in me.”

Fitzpatrick said he thought he had a good chance of getting elected.

“I do know a lot of people and I am the kind of person that talks to everybody,” he said. “Hopefully we can be productive.”

“It’s kind of exciting,” said Chiew Chong, who has run twice before, once in a general election and once in a byelection. In 2018, he finished tied with Andre Proulx for eighth place and later lost to him in a byelection.

Chong and Fitzpatrick know they can work together, having done so for Inco and Vale. Chong also has a connection with Wong, who is his nephew.

Joyce McIvor was eighth in votes among council candidates, with 833, but finished more than 100 votes ahead of ninth-place Addie Colbourne. She said she was relaxed all day, not because she was confident that she would be elected but because the results were out of her hands.

“It’s a new adventure, a new challenge and I’m very excited,” she said.

Many voters clearly did not choose eight names from among the council candidates, as there were only 11,105 votes in total for all 12 candidates. 

Voter turnout was about 27 per cent, 10 percentage points lower than in 2018, when 37.5 per cent of eligible residents and property owners cast ballots. In 2014 the turnout was 31 per cent while in 2010 it exceeded 40 per cent.

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