EDMONTON -- Former Edmonton city councillor and businessman Michael Oshry took to Zoom from his living room Wednesday morning to officially launch his campaign as part of his bid to become the city's next mayor.

"There is no question that this has been the strangest campaign already," said Oshry. "I've talked to hundreds of people over the past few months, and I have yet to shake a single hand."

Oshry served one term on city council from 2013 to 2017, and chose not to run for a second.

During Wednesday's official campaign launch, the Edmonton businessman touted his private-sector experience – which includes the establishment of local businesses in the retail and hospitality industries, as well as FIRMA, a foreign exchange company - as one of the reasons Edmontonians should choose him as their mayor.

"We are an entrepreneurial city and this region drives so much of Alberta's success," Oshry said. "We build things here, we innovate, we adapt." 

The mayoral candidate promised a more competitive mindset that he said is needed to attract new business to the city.

"I will ensure that the business community knows that City Hall cares about their success," he said.

Oshry stressed the importance of a post-COVID-19 economic recovery, saying his leadership is what's needed to help guide the city through that phase.

"I have had many people share their thoughts with me about our city and its future, and of the kind of leadership we do need," Oshry said. "As I've prepared my campaign, I have drawn themes from these messages and my campaign will champion these themes: economic recovery, technology, and jobs."

"How we emerge from some pretty terrible times is top of mind for all of us."  


The Edmonton entrepreneur also pitched a shift in the city's spending habits and what he called a focus on the most pressing problems facing Edmonton.

"Reigniting and diversifying the economy, addressing homelessness effectively, and finding important strategies to provide excellent core services, all while stopping endless tax increases, supporting community builders and local neighbourhoods," said Oshry.

The new mayoral candidate said he wants to see investments put into previously neglected communities.

"For the last 20 years we've built so many things, big things like LRT and large scale recreation centres," he said. "So many communities have in turn waited to get support for some of the small things that can enrich those communities, whether it be bike parks or dog parks."

"These items are not items that will break the bank, and they do so much for our communities," he said.  


Oshry's campaign launch included endorsements from three prominent community members.

Former Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference joined the call to throw his support behind his friend, who he met through their kids' summer camp.

"When Michael reached out to call me about running for mayor," said Ference, "the one thing that really stood out to me was the fact that he called to listen. He didn't call to pitch me on anything, he didn't call to tell me his platform -- he called to listen."

"I think that Edmonton needs pragmatic leadership, especially in post-COVID."

Edmonton small business owner and optometrist Dr. Holly Mah also threw her support behind Oshry.

"I know he will work to build a socially inclusive city that ensures both newcomers as well as people who have lived here for generations are involved in all aspects of the city's economic, social, and cultural prosperity," she said.

President and CEO of PCL Construction Dave Filipchuk also attended the campaign launch to reinforce Oshry's business credentials.

"Michael has started and grown several successful businesses in Edmonton," said Filipchuk. "As a proven entrepreneur himself, he knows what it takes to help local entrepreneurs succeed and spur job growth even more Edmontonians."


Oshry joins an already fulsome roster of mayor hopefuls in Edmonton and is the third candidate with previous council experience.

With several months still to go until the Oct. 18 municipal election, Oshry said further details on his campaign platform were still to come.