Accompanied by chamber music and a drum circle, Regina’s new city council was sworn in before a packed gallery.
Mayor Michael Fougere was sworn in first, with the chain of office placed around his neck. Then each councillor was called up to recite the oath and then sign it, some with a big grin on their faces.
The oaths were followed by a short council meeting to decide on the order councillors would serve as deputy mayor and accept the results of the election.
After everything was said and done, Fougere said he thinks they have a good group.
“We have many councillors who returned, we know each other very well. The new councillors are keen, they’ve got great ideas, they’ve got lots of energy.”
Fougere said the first order of business will be to get ready for the council meeting later this month, as he explained city business doesn’t stop for an election.
Council has already had one briefing session, and Fougere said they’ll have another later this week, and they’ll do a teambuilding session as well.
Jason Mancinelli was one of those who signed his oath with a smile as well as a signature. He was voted into the Ward 9 seat.
“I did attend some meetings before I ran for council – very different sitting on that side of the chair, for sure,” said Mancinelli.
He said there’s a lot to take in very quickly, but he’s looking forward to the work.
Mancinelli is one of four new councillors who were elected, but he said he’s glad there are incumbents on council as well.
“I wouldn’t want to step into this fresh and not knowing, ‘cuz it’s kind of nice to have come educated voices around you to lead the way a little bit.”
Mancinelli said he has several priorities and ideas he wants to put forward, but for now, he’s going to sit back and learn how things work so he can put them forward most effectively.
Joel Murray is another new councillor sworn in on Monday night, with his father looking on from the gallery and beaming.
“I didn’t think I’d have to wipe any tears away, but unfortunately there were a couple of them there. It was amazing,” said Wade Murray.
Wade was councillor for Ward 6 for 13 years but decided not to run in this past election. He said it felt good to see his son in his old seat.
“You pour your heart and soul into your community, and the last thing you want to do is to just hand the baton to a stranger that you don’t know.”
Wade said whomever the voter chose would likely have been fine, but he’s most comfortable with his son there because he knows Joel is committed to the ward.
Only about 20 per cent of eligible voters in Regina turned up on election day to have a say in the council that was sworn in on Monday.
Fougere believes it’s because there wasn’t any one big issue to motivate people.
“So because of that, I think we’re comfortable and felt ‘we like the direction of the city’. We don’t have the clash of ideas of people that you have in provincial or federal legislatures – this is more of a congenial gathering of people.”
However, Fougere acknowledged 20 per cent is not a great number.
Either way, Fougere said he always makes an effort to represent everyone – whether they didn’t vote for him, or didn’t vote at all.