Monthly Archives: October 2014

Ten little nudges to consider as encouragement to Vote

Top Ten

Everyone has heard that we should vote because our fathers and forefathers fought so we can have the right to vote. There are many who believe voting should be a law punishable by a fine.

In 2010 only less than 10,000 residents cast a ballot in Somerset Ward where 23,000 are registered. Will an open race encourage voters to come out? Will an open race put pressure on candidates to get their supporters to the polls?

Rather than the beat you down approach to vote, here are ten thoughts that I hope will encourage you to vote, in whatever ward you live in, on Monday in the 2014 Municipal Elections in Ottawa.

  1. Your ward is open because the incumbent is not running. This is your chance to avoid the “she (or he) will just get in again” excuse. Vote for the change you always wanted in your ward because this year there will be change.
  1. In the case that your Mayor/Councillor is the incumbent and is expected to win re-election, vote to display your dissatisfaction with their work (if that is the case). A smaller margin of victory does send a message to the re-elected candidate.
  1. In the case that your Mayor/Councillor is the incumbent and is expected to win re-election, vote to display your satisfaction with their work they have been doing (if that is the case). Every vote counts and a large margin of victory for the candidate will make them and YOU feel good about your decision.
  1. Not many candidates came to your door and you can’t make a 100% informed decision. Base your vote on WHO did come to your door – it’s the other candidate’s loss if they didn’t visit you.
  1. Platform, platform, platform – vote for the ideas that struck a chord with you.
  1. Friends of yours are working for a candidate. If you trust your friends, vote for the candidate they are working for.
  1. I have never been a supporter of a spoiled ballot, but they do count spoiled ballots on the final tally. It could be your way to send a message.
  1. It’s not the most scientific, try voting by signs, which candidate do you think ran a good campaign with the use of signs?
  1. A candidate asked you for your vote and you said yes but now you think time is an issue. The candidate is counting on your vote. Call their office and ask for a ride, Polls are open from 10am to 8pm – your candidate will do everything they can to get you to the poll to vote before polls close.
  2. You are not just voting for Mayor and Councillor and the future of your city, you are also voting for School Board Trustee and the future of education being delivered to the children where you live – it is just as important.

Whatever reason spoke to you and you go out to vote, congratulations! By voting you now have a moral reason to talk about the outcome and whatever happens in the next four years.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at

What is going on in College Ward?

Ottawa Election 2014

College Ward is proving to be a microcosm of what is right and wrong with this election.

In College Ward there are four candidates; the incumbent Rick Chiarelli and the challengers Guy Annable, Craig MacAulay and Scott McLarens.

This ward has four distinct categories of candidates.

Scott McLarens is ‘The Rookie’. I will never say a bad thing about anyone that puts their name forward for election; it takes guts to put your name on a ballot. Scott, with all the best intentions was not prepared and it showed in his debate performances. I hope that this has ignited a further fire inside to be a working part of his community.

I call Craig MacAulay ‘The Example’. The example of why we need more stringent rules and qualifications to be a candidate. In the debates I have seen, he is disruptive and comes with little in the way of a substantive platform. His antics take away from the debate that should be taking place. If you don’t believe me watch the College Ward debate that was aired on Rogers TV.

I give Guy Annable the name of ‘The Excitable’. Guy can be undisciplined in his presentation, but that comes from the enthusiasm he has in this campaign. He has presented his ideas about green bins, garbage and using existing rail infrastructure to expand the O-Train (Press Conference Oct 22nd City Hall 11am). He is holding Chiarelli to account for bad decisions (not reading contracts) and more importantly has promised to do what is expected of a Councillor – know what they are voting on.

For the incumbent Rick Chiarelli, I’ll call him ‘The Australian’. Why? Because it seems as if in this election he has gone on a walkabout. He casually strolls through this campaign uninspired looking tired and bored. Many see this as a walk in the park for the incumbent, but he should be reminded that he was once the newbie Councillor who defeated his own Goliath back in 1988 for a seat on the old Nepean City Council. It’s been proven time and time again, history does repeat itself.

“The Rookie”, “The Example”, “The Excitable” and “The Australian” won’t be on the ballot on Monday the 27th, but what the type of candidate they represent will be.

With all due respect to Scott and Craig, the vote comes down to who has worked hardest in this campaign for the vote in College Ward.

Who would you like to have represent you, the “same old same old” going through the motions or someone who is campaigning like they REALLY want your vote? College Ward, you get to decide.

Note: I personally know Guy Annable and have provided some advice to his campaign. My observations come after watching his progress in this election.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at

Three items that got my attention this past week in the 2014 Ottawa Election

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Finally, a Political Slate! Jim Watson says he does not believe in a slate of candidates. It’s a good thing others do – it’s made for some interesting election reporting.

The #PropertyOwnersSlate is comprised of 15 candidates led by Mark Scharfe, a Candidate in Osgoode Ward. The slate is made of all challengers, no incumbents – advocating for the return of weekly garbage pickup. Other issues in the group’s 4 point platform include the cancellation of the Green Bin program, giving Ottawa Hydro dividends back to its customers and the cancellation of the city biosolids program. However the return of weekly garbage pickup is the issue that is getting the traction that the group of 15 are looking for. Candidates in other wards, though not part of the slate including Matt Muirhead in Kanata North and Lili Weemen in Somerset have also come out in support of the idea.

It is difficult to determine how this will play out in the end, but at least it’s given the voters and the reporters something to talk about.

Let’s show School Board Trustee Candidates some of the electoral spotlight

Each property owner pays taxes that support the activity of the City; they also pay taxes that go to one of four school boards that educate the children of Ottawa. So quick tell me…who is running to be the school board trustee in in your zone for your school board? Do you know what zone you are voting in? Do you know what board you pay taxes to? I hope you can at least answer the third question.

But what about numbers one and two, can you answer them?

The Board Trustee Candidates in most wards have not had the opportunity to debate in front of those they are trying to get support from. Community Associations are focused on Council Candidates, as they should – the councillors will have to work closely with these communities. So who can organize these public forums and debates? How about the people closest to the schools, the Parent Councils in each of the schools?

If you have children in any of the four school boards, even if you don’t and are concerned about our education systems contact the Parent Council of your school, encourage them to work with other councils in your zone and organize a public meeting. Have the questions you need answered asked. Let the candidates tell you why they are seeking your vote – they need to do that and deserve the chance to have that opportunity.

#OttVote Advance Polls

I can now say I voted!

I voted last week at the Advance Poll that was in my building in Somerset Ward. The City estimates that over four days (the first three days to vote were October 1-3 in a special poll and Advance Poll October 9th) more than 28,000 people voted. In 2010, in just two advanced poll days 42,178 people took advantage of the early voting.

The poll clerks working in my building said that turnout was slow when Liz and I voted around 6pm. It did not surprise me that the election staff were not busy, the only signage announcing that the building was a poll location was inside, there were no signs or ‘sandwich boards’ outside inviting the public to vote indeed. To be fair, voters would have known about the location on the voters’ cards and via the city website – but I know a visible reminder does more than an unopened piece of mail with a voters’ card.

The next scheduled Advance Poll is Saturday October 18 2014. If you know you can’t vote on the 27th – vote on the 18th from 10am to 5pm. I await the final number of ballots cast in the five days of advance polls. The five are up from last year, but far below the 11 days of polls that the City of Mississauga (a city of 713,000 residents compared to Ottawa’s 900,000) has before election day.

But please, make sure you vote!

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at

The Known and Unknown of the 2014 Ottawa Election

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In Project Management there are knowns and unknowns. In the Risk Management of a project the known risks and unknown risks are considered into the mitigation of these risks to ensure a project is a success.

There has been much said about 25% of Council seats changing. We have ‘known’ that 6 wards will have new representation because of incumbents stepping down.

The ‘unknown’ is how many current Councillors could be unseated? In the 2010 Ottawa Municipal Elections six incumbent councillors were defeated. That election saw Stephen Blais, Tim Tierney, Mathieu Fleury, Katherine Hobbs, Scott Moffatt and Mark Taylor beat the incumbent advantage. Jim Watson also defeated incumbent Larry O’Brien to take over the Mayors’ chair. The 2010 vote saw a 48% change in people sitting around the council table.

Who are the unknowns of the 2014 Ottawa Election that could unseat an incumbent?

Here are the Wards where the threats of the unknown taking over are greatest.

Kanata North: Marianne Wilkinson promised in 2010 she would not run again, she changed her mind. In 2010 she took half the vote, but Jeff Seeton also took 45%. This time around Jeff is back and Matt Muirhead is challenging Ms. Wilkinson as well. The three way split could see a change in the Kanata North.

West Carleton – March: Of all the wards that could turn, this has the smallest chance but I include it because the wildly popular Eli El-Chantiry is going up against the wildly popular Jonathan Mark. It’s a small chance, but I like Jonathan’s chances here, it will depend on his organization and his ability to get his supporters to vote.

Stittsville: A two person race can be an incumbent’s worst scenario. In Ward 6 the outcome here this will depend on how unhappy Stittsville residents are with garbage, Orgaworld and transit. There could be a new Councillor for the residents of Stittsville.

Bay: It was only four years ago that Alex Cullen lost this seat to Mark Taylor. Cullen is back and could take this back if voters are looking for someone to put up more of a fight at council.

Gloucester – Southgate: Has the Ward had enough of Diane Deans? This question has been asked many times. Will 2014 be the year Ms. Deans is retired by the voters? Just like in Kanata North, the split caused by having strong candidates running usually saves the incumbent, I think 2014 the outcome might be different.

Rideau-Vanier: Mathieu Fleury has his work cut out for him this year; he is up against some stiff competition.

Rideau – Rockcliffe: Peter Clarke won this Ward with only 25% of the vote in a field of 10. There are 5 candidates challenging Clark this time around. 25% of the vote could win the election this time around again – I don’t think it will be Peter Clark with the 25%.

Kitchissippi: This is an interesting Ward, with 3 of the 4 challengers all vying for the same anti-development vote. I expect that Katherine Hobbs will keep her seat and serve for another 4 years.

Rideau-Goulbourn: Scott Moffatt took this seat in ’10 because Glen Brook was complacent. There is a lot of talk that the rural vote will go elsewhere. I don’t see it happening in 2014. Scott has stood his ground at council supporting the rural vote.

With these nine ‘unknown’ outcomes, council could again see an almost 50% changeover in councillors. My guess is that as many as five incumbents will go down to defeat with almost a cleaning of house in the west end with the exception Kanata South.

On the night of October 27th we see how many unknowns become a known.

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at