Councillors, reporters, and citizens, lend us your ears
2020 (and 2021) was a terrible year for any of us who were conscious, but in Regina, the one saving grace was the election of a new mayor and council. This included five new councillors, four of whom were endorsed by the Regina and District Labour Congress – people who, it was hoped, would support Andrew Stevens, who was, until then, the lone progressive voice in council meetings. With a new year starting, here’s a best and worst of Regina city council in 2021.
The best of councillors:
Dan Leblanc – Repping Ward 6, which includes Heritage, Eastview, and Al Ritchie, Leblanc, a lawyer who is arguably council’s MVP, has had several Best Of moments this past year.
In January 2021 Leblanc introduced an amendment to the city’s Sponsorship, Naming Rights, and Advertising policy that would see fossil fuel companies barred from advertising in the city. While the amendment failed (after a council meeting filled with hours of propagandizing from fossil fuel proponents like Craig Lothian) and Leblanc was fired without cause from Gerrand Rath Johnson shortly after, unlike John Findura, he never backed down, setting the tone for the rest of the year.
In April, after a brutal and disgraceful meeting about banning conversion therapy turned into a platform for hateful rhetoric, Leblanc apologized to Regina’s queer community, saying “I’m sorry that you’re not part of this city council that’s deciding fundamental rights about you…And apologies that these are the sorts of indignities that you have to suffer, without you here.”
In November, Leblanc proposed another amendment that would allow councillors to raise a point of order if they believed another councillor was disrespectful to city administration.
In December, Leblanc joined Andrew Stevens, Shanon Zachidniak, and Cheryl Stadnichuk in rejecting the $92.8 million operating budget for RPS, as well as drafting a motion to increase transparency at City Hall.
Honourable mention: Cheryl Stadnichuk
The best of reporters:
Paul Dechene: City Hall reporter for the Prairie Dog and one half of the Queen City Improvement Bureau, Dechene live tweets (sometimes rage tweets) most council meetings at @PDCityHall. Clever and acerbic, with something of a bend to the left, Dechene’s column and feed is a must-read if you’re wondering what’s going on in Regina.
Honourable mention: Also Paul Dechene
The best of citizens:
Florence Stratton: A local activist and retired English professor, Stratton understands the assignment. From homelessness to the police budget, if council is debating something, Stratton can be counted on to be there with her gravelly Bea Arthur voice, fighting for the underdog.
Kale MacLellan: A Cree, Saulteaux, St’at’imc and Scottish mother, MacLellan is soft-spoken but packs a heavy punch. She’s a frequent presenter before council and consistently shows up wherever people are in need, from Camp Hope to Defund the Police movements to mutual aid groups.
Honourable mentions: Rebecca Granovsky-Larsen
The worst of councillors:
Terina Shaw: Shaw is one of the five new candidates, and the only one who was not endorsed by the RDLC. She represents Ward 7. Shaw, who has spent the past year calling Councillor Andrew Stevens “Councillor Andrews,” has been relentless and unwavering in her commitment to being the worst person on council, as well as the councillor most likely to be ratioed on Twitter.
In January 2021, Shaw said, “My belief is until you turn off your heat and ride a bike you have absolutely no room to talk against fossil fuels,” literally becoming the meme about wanting to change society somewhat.
In an April 2021 meeting about conversion therapy, Shaw came close to conflating queerness with pedophilia (she later apologized for her comment coming out “the wrong way”).
In December Shaw asked municipal treasure Florence Stratton, who was speaking against the police budget, if she would put a price on her children’s lives. Shaw has also been consistently anti-poor, and that same month she argued that people can easily live off $860, that “money doesn’t fix money problems,” as well as asking, “what about the people who want to be homeless?”
Honourable mentions: Landon Mohl, John Findura; Lori Bresciani