Voters gave incumbent Mayor Greg Dionne another mandate on a snow-filled Election Day in Prince Albert.
Dionne edged out former MLA and retired police officer Darryl Hickie by 245 votes to win his third consecutive term in office. Former Ward 7 Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky finished in third, while project manager Josh Morrow finished fourth.
Afterwards, Dionne said Prince Albert residents sent a message this election, and he heard it loud and clear.
“I do read the polls and I do get the messages, and I think the message I got today was ‘deal with law and order,’” he told reports. “Gangs and guns and drugs are not acceptable, and so I’ll be coming out of the gate flying on those (issues).”
Dionne gave police chief Jon Bergen and Board of Police Commissioners chair Sheryl Kimbley a vote of confidence. He said they have a strong plan moving forward that will help address crime in the City.
Dionne also vowed that this election would be the last on held in November. He plans to lobby the provincial government to change the municipal election dates to early September.
A total of 3,303 voters cast their ballots in advanced polls this year, but Election Day turnout plummeted. Only 7,236 votes were cast in 2020, a 29 per cent decrease over 2016.
“The weather did effect the vote,” Dionne said. “I heard from lots of my supporters, who I arranged lots of rides for, seniors, that were all in a panic. They couldn’t get out and didn’t want to drive in this weather. The government come up in the 11th hour (and said) well you can postpone it. Well, what’s that going to do? We’re supposed to get another storm on Wednesday.”
Hickie led Dionne by a slim margin through the first three polls, and trailed by as little as nine votes at one point. However, the 11th and final poll broke for Dionne, giving him a 245 vote win.
Hickie made no excuses after the final result. He thanked poll workers and his supporters, congratulated Dionne, and told reporters he had no regrets about his campaign.
“I’m happy. If nothing else, I put everything out there. I never hid anything,” he said. “I was very upfront and honest about what I wanted to do in the city involving the police board, involving the police force, involving the issue with the land development, involving the two rinks and the aquatics centre.”
“We had a good campaign,” he added. “It shows that the people of Prince Albert were ready to come out and try to make a change, and that’s all that matters to me.”
When asked about requesting a recount, Hickie said he was waiting until Tuesday to make a final decision. However, he acknowledged it would be unlikely.
“With a split of 250 it doesn’t seem to make sense, but I’ll regroup tomorrow morning, I’ll talk to the returning officer and see what kind of procedures that going into it,” he told reporters. “As we sit tonight, I don’t think it’s probably going to be something we look at doing.”
The Daily Herald was unable to get in touch with Nowoselsky or Morrow before deadline.
Prince Albert Votes – Final Results
11/11 polls reporting
Greg Dionne – 3322
Darryl Hickie – 3077
Dennis Nowoselsky – 439
Josh Morrow — 398