Monthly Archives: October 2018

Your new Ottawa Council (as I see it)

Andy Hayden Room

After weeks of intensive campaigning, debates and countless news coverage here’s what I think our City Council will look like by the counting is done. My predicted winners are in bold, I read profiles, news articles and questionnaires and I watched recorded debates. It was in no way scientific, all considerations were as if I were voting in the ward.

Ward 1 – Orleans

I watched and read about this race closely. The winner will get less than 18% of the vote, I think that will be Catherine Kitts.  UPDATE: I was wrong, Matthew Luloff was elected

Ward 2 – Innes

I hear a lot of talk about Laura Dudas, but when I watched the debate I found her to be pushy and ‘had’ to get her word in. A slight advantage might go to Tammy Lynch over Danna Leith-Gudbranson. UPDATE: Wrong again, Laura Dudas was elected.

Ward 3 – Barrhaven

Jan Harder, that’s it.

Ward 4 – Kanata North

This is tough to call, a Jim Watson loyalist and a Marianne Wilkinson endorsed candidate are squaring off. No one told 3rd time candidate Matt Muirhead he didn’t belong. The 3rd time will be the charm for Muirhead. UPDATE: Oops, Jenna Sudds is the new councillor in Kanata North.

Ward 5 – West Carleton March

Eli El-Chantiry has held the seat at council since 2003; he will still be the councillor for West Carleton – March after Monday’s election.

Ward 6 – Stittsville

Like his neighbour Eli El-Chantiry, Shad Qadri has held the ward for 15 years since being elected in 2003. In 2018 he is facing his toughest challenger in Glen Gower. But unlike his neighbour, Qadri will not be re-elected.

Ward 7 – Bay

The battle of political spouses; Theresa Kavanagh is political in her own right and Alex Cullen never sent a robocall out on her behalf.

Ward 8 – College

First elected to Nepean city council 30 years ago, Rick Chiarelli defies all challengers. He’ll do it again Monday.

Ward 9 – Knoxdale- Merivale

I can’t see or hear any reason that has given the voters not to give Keith Egli a 3rd term.

Ward 10 – Gloucester Southgate

It could be close with Diana Deans over Robert Swaita. This ward needed a good one on one contest to see any change.

Ward 11 – Beacon Hill – Cyrville

This ward had Tim Tierney’s name on it well before the last minute decision to avoid an acclamation.

Ward 12 – Rideau Vanier

Mathieu Fleury’s fight for Vanier over the Salvation Army will win over the voters. This election might make him a better councillor (and maybe candidate for Mayor).

Ward 13 – Rideau Rockcliffe

Toby Nussbaum is a tough one to knock off in a mano-a-mano battle.

Ward 14 – Somerset

I expect Catherine McKenney to return. There were no debates (other than the Rogers TV) in this ward and the only challenger I noticed was Jerry Kovacs. He ran a good campaign but his success will be in coming second.

Ward 15 – Kitchissippi

This is Jeff Leiper’s seat for another four years.

Ward 16 – River

Riley Brockington will not be re-elected; look for Fabien Kalala Cimankinda to carry his momentum, and Maria McCrae’s endorsement, through to the final ballot to council chambers. UPDATE:  This is one of two incorrect predictions I am happy with, Riley was re-elected.

Ward 17 – Capital

I could chicken out and call this too close to call. This is a Catherine McKenna MP Christine McAllister) vs Joel Harden MPP (Shawn Menard) battle of candidates with Anthony Carricato in the mix. With a recent provincial win, this will be a Team Harden victory for Shawn Menard.

Ward 18 – Alta Vista

Many challengers’ to Jean Cloutier’s position makes for an incumbent win.

Ward 19 – Cumberland

The challengers made this an easy win for Stephen Blais, welcome back Councillor.

Ward 20 – Osgoode

You would think ward would have been a really good race, it dod not turn out that way. George Darouze gets another term at council.

Ward 21 – Rideau Goulbourn

I like Scott Moffat, he’s done a good job but I hear far too much chatter about David Brown. I’ll take the chatter as the challenger’s advantage over the incumbent. UPDATE: The chatter was wrong, Moffat was re-elected, I am glad I was ‘inaccurate’ here as well.

Ward 22 – Gloucester South Nepean

With name, face and voice recognition, Carol Anne Meehan will make Michael Qaqish a one-term councillor. He will be back on the ballot in 2022 to challenge for the seat again.

Ward 23 – Kanata South

Another four years for Allan Hubley, though after that I don’t know – we’ll see how he does on council and if he increases his profile in the entire City

Mayor

Jim Watson will be re-elected. I am already looking forward the 2022 Municipal elections when there will be a real race for Mayor. Clive Doucet made it interesting. The big story coming out of this election is how the Jim Watson treats his public activities as a private citizen on a ‘personal’ Twitter.

UPDATE after the Votes were counted: I scored 18/23 Councillor races.  I was wrong in my selections in Orleans, Innes, Kanata North, River and Rideau Goulbourn. 

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: Breaking the Gender Barrier

Democracy is not easy 1There has been a lot of discussion on breaking the gender barrier at Ottawa City Hall with the results of the October 22ndelection.  Currently the council table has four female councillors.  With Marianne Wilkinson retiring the number of female councillors could drop to 3 if no others are elected.  This seems to be very unlikely as there are a number of wards where very strong female candidate are seeking a seat at the table.

Let’s address the one seat that in 2018 will not be filled by a woman, the Mayors chair.  Ottawa will have to wait four years to see if a woman will run for Mayor in 2022.  One name that continues to rise to the conversation is Diane Deans.  If Diane Deans wins re-election next week, 2022 might be the year she officially throws her hat in the ring to replace Jim Watson who I believe will not seek a fourth consecutive term as Ottawa’s Mayor.

In 2018 there is a good opportunity to double the count of women councillors to 8. Here is a run down of what could happen, this post will look at the 23 ward seats only.

The sure bets

Seats in Barrhaven, Somerset are a guaranteed win for incumbents Jan Harder and Catherine McKenney.  An almost sure bet is Diane Deans in Gloucester-Southgate. With these three the count is 3/3 for women councillors.

Guaranteed to have a man in the seat

The following wards will elect a male councillor (because there are no women candidates); Stittsville, Knoxdale-Merivale, Beacon Hill-Cyrville, Rideau Vanier, Rideau Rockcliffe, Kitchissippi, Rideau Goulbourn and Kanata South.  The council table now has 3/11 women councillors around it.

Likely to elect a woman councillor

There are wards that will likely elect a woman. Here I am going to lean towards a positive outcome for the ladies in a tight race.  Innes Ward has three female candidates.  No offence to Francois Trepenier, the three other women candidates are much stronger than he is.  In Ward 22, Gloucester-South Nepean, I don’t see voters passing on Carol Anne Meehan, she should get elected.  We are now up to 5/13 seats having a female councillors.

Likely to elect a male councillor

There a few wards where I expect to have a man elected, where there are female candidates running.  The elected will come from West Carleton-March, Capital, Alta Vista, Cumberland and Osgoode Wards.  The ratio drops to 5/18 with 5 wards left to look at.

Expect to elect a male councillor here

Even with good female candidates running, a male will represent these wards; College and River with the incumbents being re-elected giving council a 5/20 female/male ratio.

I think woman will have a good chance to be elected in these three wards

In Orleans with 17 candidates running, Catherine Kitts is the top woman candidate and she would be a good selection for voters in that ward if the voters wanted a woman councillor.  Kanata North has a 3-way race for the seat; Jenna Suds has as good a chance as David Gourlay and Matt Muirhead to win there.  The final female councillor will come from Bay Ward where Theresa Kavanagh will win the seat her husband Alex Cullen held a few terms ago. With these three ladies, City Council will double the number of female candidates from 4/23 to 8/23 (I have not included the Mayors chair).

With more female candidates, I expect decisions to be made differently.  Committees will also have a different make up which will change how they operate as well. The 8/23 is not 50-50 but it is a good start to smashing the glass ceiling that has been at Ottawa City Council since amalgamation in 2001.

I’ll have one more pre-election blog post on the Ottawa election posted before October 22nd with my look at the new council and who I believe will be sitting around it.

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

A Municipal Writ Drop

Amazon.jpg
“Re-election for a winning candidate starts the day after the election”

“Incumbency is an advantage”

“You can’t stop the business of City Hall”

These statements all came out of one tweet.

It is time for municipal elections to have a 28 day writ period. Having the Mayor and Councillors conduct business while campaigning for re-election is a conflict. We have fixed election dates, why not a fixed “writ” period as well.

It’s the rule federally and provincially, there’s an official writ period – a time when MP’s and MPP’s/MLA’s/MNA’s are not “in office”.  But while there are technically no elected representatives, the ‘running’ of the government never stops – not even during an election.  During the writ period elected officials running for re-election do not perform ‘official’ activities. Typically a writ period is between 28 and 36 days. There have been some exceptions though; in the 2015 federal election then Prime Minister Harper invoked a 78-day writ period. The 2006 election that was required because of a non-confidence vote against the Paul Martin government in November 2005 required an 8 week election period to accommodate a two week Christmas and New Year break.  During the break no campaigning took place. Surprising all parties adhered to that!

While fixed election dates are relatively new in federal and provincial elections, municipal elections have had fixed dates for some time.  The fixed dates allow for planning of elections and the planning of keeping the wheels of government turning during the writ periods.  It makes sense that the idea of the writ period is extended to municipal elections.  What has become clear is that without a writ period, any Mayor or Councillor can and does campaign while working.  How does this seem NOT to be a conflict of interest?

The arguments given against a dedicated campaign period include the time development applications have to be addressed.  People also cite the need for representation at the most local level is available at all times and others believe that the city would stop working if there were a writ period.

The writ period would only be 28 days (or so) every four years; I think developers and others can work around that especially since the dates would be clearly noted by the city.  Like federal and provincial elections provisions are made to have at east one person working in the office of the representative. Here in Ottawa, or in any other municipality if you call a Councillors office tomorrow (during the election) someone will answer the phone.  Because the election is on it doesn’t stop the councillor’s or the mayor’s office from talking to residents. Business as usual.

Recent changes altered the registration period for candidates from January 1st to May 1st and subsequently increased the incumbent advantage.  There has to be a time where incumbents cannot use their position to smudge the line between campaign activities and elected official duties.

One only needs to look at the social media accounts of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, he tweets that he has meetings and will attend a gala event (as a Mayor) and have a campaign event (as the Candidate for Mayor) all in ONE tweet.   Jim Watson found in a conflict?

For him and others there is no distinguishing official duty from a campaign activity. In the current Ottawa elections, the mayor has been caught in a conflict where it was seen he was using his elected duties to publicize a campaign announcement and using his social media doing it.

A 28-day writ period will level the playing field for 4 weeks, there would be no openings for the Mayor or Councillor to attend and then share on Facebook.  No Community fairs that would be part of duties as the elected official – just as a candidate looking for votes.  The province short changed challengers with a shorter period for campaigning – reducing the time a Mayor acts as Mayor during the campaign is a tiny consolation.

We ask for transparency in our elected officials every day when they’re in office, for 28 days every four years transparency should be even greater when elected officials are campaigning for re-election. All I suggest is that a 28 day writ period is fair – it works for MP’s and MPP’s and I don’t hear those elected officials complaining.  It should work for Municpalities.

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