Monthly Archives: September 2018

Democracy is not easy

Democracy is not easy 1Political nomination races and party leadership races are the most divisive events in the life of a political party activist and member. Many who take part in them, as a candidate or a supporter of a candidate live to tell their stories after, but a few drop off the political map and are never heard from again.  For me, that’s the strangest part, the ones that just drop. I get why they might leave, grudges that are not forgotten; unhappiness with the results; and everything in some races, it gets personal.  The ones that drop didn’t anticipate it getting personal – it was all supposed to be easy, just politics.  We have followed examples the last couple of weeks of difficult political decisions based on principle.

The split of Maxime Bernier from the Conservative Party of is well known and was demonstrated twice.  The first was on the opening day of the Conservative Party convention and a second time on the Friday before the return to Ottawa by Members of Parliament.  Bernier announced the founding of the People’s Party of Canada, his party that he will lead into the next federal election next October, or as early as Spring 2019.

Bernier’s fundamental differences with the current political parties are of being ‘voteDemocracy is not easy 2 whipped’ and worrying about politics over people.  He will stand for mainly libertarian values but will accept all into his party, except for people who do not believe on what he hopes to achieve. He has not ruled out those who are disappointed with the NDP joining his party.  To make it clear that it was one of the main reasons for the creation of the PPC, Bernier stood in the House of Commons and asked for unanimous consent that the government policy of supporting Supply Management end. The motion did not receive unanimous consent.

The second and loudest difficult decision came as MP’s returned to the House days after Bernier’s announcement.  A Liberal MP crossed the floor and no one saw it coming.

democrasy is not easy 4Rising on a Point of Privilege in the House during the first hours of house business, Leona Alleslev, the Liberal MP for the riding of Aurora – Oak Ridges – Richmond Hill talked about the silence in which her questions and comments on government policy were answered.  Before she announced her crossing to the opposition Leona Alleslev stated that she serves her constituents, not a political party.  She went further to say that in order to be able to question the government about the issues she felt were important she could not do that from where she was sitting – she had to cross and join the Conservative opposition.  You can watch her speech here: Leona Alleslev crossing over speech

I don’t know Ms. Alleslev, but no one; I mean no one makes that decision without examining the risks and knowing the consequences of the act she was under taking. She leaves the Liberal Party where she had relationships that are likely broken and on the other hand Leona is moving to a party where she has to build new relationships.

The first positive is that she has established camaraderie with conservative leader Andrew Scheer the others will fall in.

This however leaves someone else to consider, another “democracy is not easy” casualty, democracy is not easy 5Costas Menegakis the Conservative Party candidate that lost to Alleslev in 2015 by fewer than 1100 votes. Menegakis had been re-nominated as the conservative candidate in the riding and was at the time of the Alleslev crossing campaigning against her.

My understanding is that Menegakis gladly stepped aside for Ms. Alleslev and will seek the nomination in the neighbouring riding of Richmond Hill, where, as I learned, he was the elected MP in Richmond Hill from 2011 to 2015.  Menegakis ran in the new Aurora – Oak Ridges – Richmond Hill riding in 2015.  In the last election the Liberals took Richmond Hill with a 1757 vote win. The percent difference in Richmond Hill was 3.58% while in the neighbouring riding the Liberals led the CPC by 2.15%.  With Ms. Alleslev as the Conservative MP in Aurora –Oak Ridges – Richmond Hill and Menegakis moving to what conservatives must feel is a winnable seat the CPC could steal two ridings from the
government.

Menegakis must have been shaking his head at the speed at which this happened thinking politics is a game you can never predict. Democracy is certainly never easy.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker,@rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Advertisements

Ottawa Election Primer, the final 5

Ottawa Vote 2

In a final instalment in the series, the candidates in the last of the 23 wards will be profiled.  The final five wards are River, Gloucester-Southgate, Kitchissippi, Kanata South and Rideau-Rockcliffe.

 

 

River

Of the wards where a sitting councillor is seeking re-election, River Ward is where I think the likelihood of an incumbent not returning to City Hall will happen. Riley Brockington won the ward in 2014 with 36% of the vote in a field split by nine other candidates. This time around Riley faces only three challengers; Fabien Kalala, Kerrie Keith and Hassib Reda.  My comments aren’t because Brockington hasn’t worked in the community, indeed he has to make roads safer as he has been a loud voice to reduce speeds in front of schools.  My thoughts are due to the quality of candidates he is facing.

All three challengers bring good ideas to the campaign; Fabien, from viewing his priorities, is presenting a socio-economic platform; Hassib has a platform that addresses traditional municipal concerns plus adds banning single use plastics and re-pricing transit fares (to the point of making OC Transpo a money losing city operation).  Kerrie Keith has presented a couple of priorities in her blog. She cites (so far) safe streets and planning around the new Civic hospital site, however she also stresses her use of an electric car and being cycle commuter being reasons to vote for her. If I lived in River ward it wouldn’t convince me to vote for her.

River Ward will be an interesting race, the debates will be where the race will be won or lost so if you live in River Ward don’t miss a single one.

Gloucester-Southgate

All though it never rose above a rumour, Diane Deans’ look at the running for the Mayor’s chair never took place.  But like Tobi Nussbaum in Rideau-Rockcliffe, Deans has found her voice against the ‘what Jim Watson wants, Jim Watson gets’ city leadership and it might be enough to give her an 8thterm on City Council. Her four qualified opponents know just what they are up against. My hope is that Alek Golijanin, Sam Soucy, Robert Swaita and Perry Sabourin learn from this campaign because 2022 just might be the year Deans’ decides to run for Mayor.

Kitchissippi 

In a ward where the sitting Councillor has been bounced after one term for the past four elections, Jeff Leiper may have found the secret to re-election.  Be one with the community.  He faces one other candidate, Daniel Stringer who ran in previous elections but he poses no threat to Jeff Leiper. With a stronger candidate who would promise to battle developers, as Leiper did in 2014, Leiper might have faced the same fate as Katherine Hobbs and Christine Leadman before him.  Alas, Leiper will have four more years to truly battle developers.

Kanata South

If you look at the ward map for Kanata South the one thing that strikes you is just how residentially heavy the ward is. Allan Hubley has been councillor since 2010. and he easily won re-election in 2014.

Issues in Kanata South, are repeated by all four candidates; roads, infrastructure, Transit/LRT and policing.  There are nuances from each.  Hubley promises to continue to the positive change in parks, roads and infrastructure.  Doug Large preaches the 4 R’s; River, Roads, Recreation and Responsibility. Looking to be the ‘community’ candidate Steve Anderson promises to bring a BIA to Kanata South and empower community associations to have a bigger impact on the lives of Kanata South families.  The third challenger is Mike Brown and he is campaigning on better care for Kanata South roads and wants to see greater accountability at city hall for the spending of tax dollars.  Brown is the only candidate that seems to think that 2% tax increases are not viable and wants to review tax increases and evaluate how those tax dollars are allocated in the city budget.

While I haven’t heard much of a roar for change for Kanata South, but that doesn’t mean Hubley is a sure thing.  Anderson, Brown and Large will have to work hard though to take the seat from the incumbent Allan Hubley.

Rideau-Rockcliffe

Another one on one ballot battle is taking place in Rideau-Rockcliffe and also another ballot that see the sitting councillor win re-election.  Councillor Tobi Nussbaum has been a loud advocate for following the city’s development rules and respecting community design plans and respecting a community’s voice.  I thought Nussbaum might be a one-term councillor only because I thought he would give a run at Watson for the Mayor’s chair this year.

Nussbaum’s lone competitor, Peter Heyck may only catch on in the Ward due to his objection to the move of the Salvation Army out of the Byward Market to Montreal Rd but it will not be enough to win.

In the end Nussbaum will take this because he unlike many others around the council table has lost his battles to Jim Watson – but at least he stood up and tried – voters like a person who stands up for what he believes in.

I hope you enjoyed reading this series of posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them for you.  More posts about the Ottawa election are coming. If you have any questions or comments or as a candidate would like a profile on this blog please contact me.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Ottawa Election Primer Part IV

This is my fourth of five in a series about the Ottawa Municipal elections taking place October 22, 2018.

Bay

Bay ward became open when Councillor Mark Taylor honoured his pledge to only sit on council for two terms. The list of candidates includes a School Board Trustee (Theresa Kavanagh), someone who has worked in the financial industry (Erica Dath), a business management consultant (Don Dransfield), a community activist (Marc Lugert) and a 2104 candidate giving it another run (Trevor Robinson). The one person who is not running, but who looms large is former councillor Alex Cullen. He is often sought out by Ottawa media to comment on issues from the ward and Ottawa.

Bay is a ward on the verge of change with LRT moving west to Bayshore and beyond and what could be important redevelopment of Lincoln Fields. But there is the challenge of increased crime in the area – of all the candidates; only Lugert mentions public safety and police services in his campaign priorities. I am sure the others are aware of the problem; the plan not to address it is a curious one especially from Kavanagh whose husband (Cullen) would have had to deal with similar issues.   But that being said, Kavanagh’s eight years on Ottawa Carleton District School Board give her the ‘governing’ experience edge that would get her up and running quickly. However here is but here, Cullen ran in the past two elections and lost to Taylor, in 2018 will voters decide for REAL change and opt for one of the four others running?

Somerset

Somerset is my ‘home’ ward and after running twice as the PC Candidate in the riding that contains Somerset Ward, I know just how tough and “left” this ward is. Catherine McKenney is seeking re-election for the first time since claiming the seat after her former boss Diane Holmes retired. In 2014 she ran away with the win after facing ten opponents. This election cycle there are three challengers, creating an atmosphere that with the right campaign for one of the three to could strongly challenge McKenney. However, the task will be tough as McKenney has the legacy of Diane Holmes in her corner. Can Merdod Zopyrus, Jerry Kovacs or Arthur David mount the campaign needed to win? Zopyrus and David have outlines of their platforms on their websites that provide a glimpse into how their term as Councillor could go.

The problem with Somerset ward, as in other urban wards, is that there are issues a candidate CANNOT be against and in Somerset, of the Candidates I could read up on they all are similar on Green space, development and planning. Zopyrus though does have plans to assist youth and identifies heritage as a key issue for him.

The voters of the ward have a selection of candidates with similar views to choose from. I will wait and see how these campaigns unfold before deciding where to place my “X”.

Osgoode

In an eleven-person race, George Darouze won in 2014 with 21% of the vote. In 2018 the field is narrowed to five candidates, Kim Sheldrick and Mark Scharfe are back and are joined by Auguste Banvalvi and Jay Tysick. Of all the candidates Darouze faces Tysick has the largest profile following a try as a Ontario PC Nomination Candidate, the founding of the Ontario Alliance Party and running in the Ontario election in the riding of Carleton (in which Osgoode Ward is located).

Darouze and Tysick will duke it out. I expect Darouze should win with much more than 21% of the vote.

Alta Vista

There was a time when the Councillor for Alta Vista spoke, the city listened; that was before 2014 when Peter Hume represented the voters of that ward. Since 2014, can anyone tell me when Jean Cloutier has said anything that made the same impact Hume would’ve? Does it matter? Friends I speak to say Cloutier’s soft-spoken approach to the job has made him well liked.

Cloutier’s re-election is being challenged by 5 candidates including two returning candidates; Clinton Cowen who ran in 2010 and 2014 and John Redins who is making a second run for the seat. Jumping in in the 2018 election is Kevin Kit, Mike McHarg and Raylene Lang-Dion. The impressive backgrounds of some of these candidates is let down by the lack of priorities and platform, including from the sitting councillor. I give credit to McHarg for having more ideas than all of the others but in a ward that is heavily residential he does not address taxes, water/sewage fees and roads – these will be priorities of the families that call Alta Vista home.

I guess voters will have to question the candidates at the doors and make their decisions based on that.

Cumberland

Stephen Blais’ recovery from his heart attack in 2013 has rejuvenated his life, he has learned his work life balance – but he still knows how to work for the constituents of Cumberland ward. With two challengers (Cameron Rose Jette and Jensen Boire) in this election Blais should get re-elected as he will continue to work towards an LRT extending to Trim Road in 2023. I expect that if Jette and Boire have good campaigns they will run again in 2022 when Blais may seek a higher seat.

I would like to thank the readers of this blog for their comments stating how much they are enjoying this series of posts. In the next post, I’ll wrap up with the final 5 wards.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net