Three-way council byelection race confirmed as deadline for candidates to withdraw passed Feb. 5

Blake Ellis will be at the top of the ballot for Thompson’s March 11 byelection, followed by Chiew Chong and Andre Proulx

A three-way race for the eighth and final seat on Thompson’s city council was confirmed Feb. 5 when none of the candidates who registered by the Feb. 4 nomination deadline withdrew before 4 p.m. the following day.

The field consists of two political wannabes who hope to become rookie politicians in the March 11 byelection as well as the only incumbent who ran in the Oct. 24 general election who did not win re-election.

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Blake Ellis, who served on council from 2014 to 2018, will appear at the top of the ballot, after having been selected first in a random draw.

A resident of Thompson for more than 20 years as well as a former reporter and editor at the Thompson Citizen and Nickel Belt News, Ellis said before the general election in the fall that he wanted to run again because the previous council had done a lot of good work and he wanted to ensure the city kept moving in the direction it had been going. The priority local issues he identified at that time were economic diversification and inclusiveness.

Chong, a heavy-duty mechanic and owner of a Chinese restaurant, has filed a court challenge of the results of the Oct. 24 municipal election – which saw him and Proulx tie for the final seat. He has lived in Thompson for more than 40 years and been a business owner for more than two decades. He said in the fall that he wanted to scrutinize the city’s finances if elected and make sure that there are things for young people to do so they don’t resort to vandalism for kicks. Chong also said that another priority area for him would be improving the state of Thompson’s streets.

Proulx, who will be last on the ballot, is the newest arrival to Thompson of the three candidates, having moved to the city in 2008. He is a mechanic and has owned AMP Industries for the past four years. Proulx said that, if elected, he wanted to improve communication between the city, its residents and surrounding communities as well as to work with First Nations and other levels of government to address addictions, crime and homelessness issues in Thompson’s downtown area. He also said that he would put some of the onus to help improve Thompson on the citizens themselves because eight people can not make it happen by themselves.

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