City announces byelection candidates, election day - four candidates step forward

Four candidates are stepping forward to fill two vacant seats on Flin Flon's city council.

According to an official candidates' list released to press by the City of Flin Flon April 7, four people - Leslie Beck, Bill Hanson, Carrie Hume and Tom Therien - have stepped forward and will have their names on the ballot. The two top finishers by overall votes in the byelection will assume seats on city council.

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Three of the contenders - Beck, Hanson and Therien - have served previous stints on city council, while two of the contesting people - Hume and Therien - unsuccessfully ran for an open seat last year.

Two seats, formerly belonging to councillors Colleen McKee and Barry Kreller, are up for the two top finishers in the vote. Kreller, who won his seat in a similar byelection last year, stepped down from council March 3 for what he described to The Reminder at the time as "personal family reasons". McKee, who served on city council from 2006-2020, died after a battle with cancer last fall - McKee's former seat has remained vacant ever since.

Beck, a former RCMP officer and service provider for the Northern Manitoba Mining Academy, was elected to city council in 2014, stepping down midway through her first term to run for the Manitoba Liberal Party in Flin Flon in the 2016 provincial election. Beck, in a close race, finished third in the vote behind eventual NDP winner Tom Lindsey and Progressive Conservative candidate Angela Enright. After Beck's resignation from city council, Beck's seat was won in a byelection by Guy Rideout, who stepped down in 2020 and whose seat was then won by Kreller - giving Beck an unusual opportunity to win back the same seat she originally vacated. Beck also ran unsuccessfully for Flin Flon's mayorship in 2010, coming third in the voting.

Hanson was first elected to city council in 1992, leaving after one term before running again and winning in 2002. Hanson held that seat again until he stepped down from council in 2018. Hanson works as a carpenter, general repairman and trades lead with the Northern Health Region and is currently the chair of the Flin Flon Public Library board. During his political career, Hanson has served five non-consecutive terms with city council.

Hume has not served in elected office but did run in the 2020 byelection, coming second out of five candidates. A retired court clerk and employee of the Flin Flon Credit Union, Hume has also volunteered with local service groups. 

Therien was first elected to city council in 1995 and served as part of the group until 2010, including a stint as mayor for one term from 2006-2010. Therien also ran for the seat Kreller eventually won last year, finishing third in the voting behind both Kreller and Hume. Therien ran unsuccessfully as a Progressive Conservative candidate in Flin Flon in 1999, losing to Gerard Jennissen. Therien now works as the general manager of the North of 53 Consumers' Co-op in Flin Flon.

The winners of the byelection will hold their seats from May 2021 - likely being sworn in during the May 25 council meeting - until November 2022, the next regularly scheduled civic election. 

The vote itself will take place May 12 at Flin Flon City Hall in council chambers, following similar COVID-19 protocols as the byelection held last year that led to the election of now-former councillor Kreller. Votes can be cast at City Hall from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Identification may be needed in order to cast votes, including one piece of government-issued photo ID like a drivers' license or two other documents that could verify a person's identity.

An advance poll will be held at City Hall May 6 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. for people who wish to vote, but who may not be able to cast their ballot May 12. Mobile voting will be held May 12 at Northern Lights Manor, Flin Flon General Hospital, Rotary Court, Jubilee Residence and Hemlock Housing on election day, pending COVID-19 rules and regulations. Votes can also be cast by mail - mail-in voters can apply in writing to senior election official Katy Anderson by May 9 to being the process of casting a ballot.

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