Category Archives: Politics

Digital Disruption

Liz and I have started attending #WalrusTalks, evenings put on the Walrus magazine.  Our first was October 16thof this year and the topic was Cannabis – 7 speakers talking for 7 minutes.  Why October 16th?   The next day was unique for on October 17thmarijuana was legal.  Fast forward to last week and we attended our next Walrus talk, an evening of disruption.  

I’ve heard of these disruption nights but never took part, but in our efforts to learn from listening to others; we couldn’t resist the opportunity to be part of a disruption. We didn’t know what the disruption would be or how it would be sound.  The ‘disruptors’ included a Librarian, Radio Producer, a Doctor, Cannabis expert, a Daemon follower and a mentor to tech girls.

On this evening this was a digital disruption.

Of the six speakers (one was unable to attend) I’ll focus on the disruptors that brought the left the greatest impression on me, and it doesn’t mean the impression was good.  But the overall message of the speakers was that of how disruption makes us think differently. 

The Librarian

Books and the written word have been disrupting the world since the printing press was invented.  The public library as we know it, courtesy of Andrew Carnegie, has been a disruptor giving everyone who dared to enter the doors of a Carnegie Library knowledge, imagination and dreams.  Guylaine Beaudry (@GuylaineBeaudry) is the Librarian of Concordia University and was responsible transformation of the university’s library. 

Guylaine’s message was, the library is not dead, it continues to disrupt, and that alone should change what some may think of the future of the library.  Whether you read from a bound book, take in a visualization of a story or listen to an audio book libraries will continue to create the change it has since ink first made it to paper.  

Beaudry insists that the library evolves as we evolve and how we communicate changes.  Paper and digital co-exist, or rather can and should.  Though she didn’t mention it, the new Calgary Library could be an example of the disruption that a library can cause in the 21stcentury.

The Cannabis Expert

As I mentioned earlier, our first #WalrusTalks was on the eve of legalization on marijuana. I was surprised to see another cannabis speaker, or a disruptor.  I won’t take anything away from Lisa Campbell (@qnp); she is very accomplished and is now assisting others through the new reality of a marijuana consumer.  Her experience of helping those who needed marijuana for medical purposes had led her though to where she is today.   

Through her seven minutes the highlight of her talk was her epiphany that she had to break the law to make good happen.  I don’t begrudge her success or the good work she is doing – but I do oppose her view that breaking the law makes all things good.  Her disruption of challenging the laws in place is noble – but it should always be the exception not the rule.  If it becomes the rule, disruption turns into disorder. 

The Mentor

The final speaker was Saadia Muzaffar, a tech mentor for girls, a promoter of an inclusive future and advisor to the Canadian government for access to skilled talent.  Take the time to scroll through her @ThisTechGirl Twitter feed and you’ll find someone that talks about fairness in a world of digital growth. 

This evening though Saadia focused on tech, the boom of tech and of tech jobs that might not be all that they seem.  On this evening her message left the greatest impression on me.  

In a digital world of apps and online business; owners, shareholders, investors and customers are the winners.  I compare the digital revolution to the industrial revolution of earlier last century.  The bosses were the winners, the workers not so much.  It took decades for workers to gain equality and earn a salary that were not ‘slave wages’. Flash forward to the explosion of apps that control our lives from our phones.  The new digital revolution has had the same effect on workers as 100 years ago.  Low wages without benefits, today people work for themselves and not for a company on a contract workers and in some cases working conditions that lack humane concern.  

In an era where contract workers are becoming a larger part of the workforce Saadia suggests that we need to recognize that the moves cost us and governments.  Social programs lose revenue from corporations that would pay into CPP, EI, and other programs that Canada has been praised for.  That government will rely more on revenues on contract workers is a concern future governments must be aware of.   Contract workers relying on the digital economy now have a greater reliance on themselves to be able to save for retirement.  

Her message should echo with us when we hear of large companies like Amazon come to town promising jobs, we should be asking not only about the number of job but also about the quality of the jobs and working conditions.  Are these the skilled jobs we need?   These questions remain with me weeks after this #WalrusTalks, the need to dig deep and question what communities receives when a company comes to town.

I don’t know that I will ever fit into a mould of being a disruptor, but I do know that I will always consider where my #RedHeartBlueSign values stand. 

Interested in more of what the Walrus magazine presents across Canada?  Visit the Walrus on You Tube to view previous #WalrusTalks presentations or visit http://www.walrus.ca/video

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

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People get Ready

In a twist on the phrase “when one door closes another one opens”  I say “When one election finishes another one is around the corner”.  The Ontario Municipal elections are done, the Ontario election is way back in the rear-view mirror and in New Brunswick we finally have the party with the most seats in government.   So for those of us that are political, what’s next?  Where DO we focus our attentions?  

Checking the election calendar, in BC there’s a plebiscite on electoral reform.  Remember when Justin Trudeau said “2015 will be the last election using first past the post (FPTP)’?  Mail in voting on moving past FPTP to a proportional representation system in BC ends November 30thwith result anticipated shortly after that. The referendum was an election promise made in the 2017 election made the BC NDP and subsequently repeated in defeated throne speech by BC Liberal Premier Christie Clark in an effort to remain in power.

This is not the first referendum on the subject in BC and there have been other votes on the subject in other provinces.  The first vote on electoral change in BC in 2005 saw a majority of ballots cast for a change to a BC version of a Single Transferable Vote system (did you just say “huh” like me?) however the vote did not make the 60% threshold required, 57.7% vote in favour of change.  

Ontario had a ballot question on electoral reform in the 2007 election asking Ontarians to adopt a Mixed Member Proportional system. The vote for MMP failed dramatically as 63% of Ontarians voted to maintain FPTP.  The subject has not been brought up since in the province.

Two years ago, PEI held their referendum. Their vote was a five option ballot with Islanders voting on keeping FPTP, adopting a Dual Member Representation, moving to a MMP system, a FPTP plus Leaders system or going to Preferential Voting.  Too many options and having some of them being confusing caused a split in the results with FPTP finishing with 31% of the vote, second was MMP at 29%.  This vote demonstrates that too many options just muddy the water – a simple question of change, a yes or no vote makes for a simple and clear question.

Here we are today, with a referendum that asks a somewhat simple question – do you want FPTP or a Proportional Representation (PR) election system? If you vote for FPTP, that’s it you are done – seal the envelope and drop it in the mail and hope Canada Post rotating strikes don’t delay your ballot getting delivered.  If you say yes to PR you have to make a choice of what change you want.  Here it’s tricky; there’s Mixed Member Proportional representation, Dual-Member Proportional representation and the third option is Rural-Urban Proportional Representation.   To make this more complicated, the second question of the ballot will be ranked, a preferential ballot if you like.  The system that garners 50% plus one vote of the PR vote becomes the electoral reform in BC.  This entire exercise means nothing if a majority of voters say they want to keep FPTP.

All of this demonstrates that change is difficult; getting people to agree on change is another, it’s a greater challenge when what the change looks like needs to be chosen. 

At some point there will be a change in how we vote, and the change will start in a province before a change is made nationally. Whatever reason Trudeau gave to  “can” electoral reform, it was clear that the reform Canadians wanted was something other than what Justin Trudeau wanted.  

It may take several provinces to adopt electoral reform before this can be a national discussion.   In fact the push for electoral reform may have to start municipally. In Ontario, municipalities were given the right to decide what type of electoral reform to adopt; only one municipality really took a chance in 2018.  

London Ontario moved to a preferential ballot for all seats on their city council this fall.  In the end the only complaint about the preferential ballot was the length of time it took to decide the winners.  Candidates and voters waited almost 18 hours to have all the winners decided; and in the case of the Mayor’s race it was 13 rounds of counting before former Conservative MP Ed Holder was declared the winner and elected Mayor.  A faster computing system easily fixes the issue of time – something I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that London is looking into fixing for 2022. 

For the supporters of electoral reform, change rests on not only the outcome of the BC referendum but on which province(s) follow a successful challenge to FPTP on the west coast.  Nationally, can Justin Trudeau ever be trusted again to be sincere about electoral reform? Who will be the national catalyst for change nationally? 

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

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

A Municipal Writ Drop

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“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

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

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

2018 Ottawa Elections, here’s four more wards for you…

Ottawa Vote 2

This is a third in a series about the Ottawa Municipal elections taking place October 22, 2018.  I have covered 10 of the seats around council and in this post I will consider four more. In the last post I mentioned I would write about Kanata North, Bay, Knoxdale-Merivale and Rideau-Vanier wards. I am going to make a small change and save Bay Ward for next week and talk about Capital ward, as something recently happened that could have an impact on both the sitting Councillor and the Mayor.

Kanata North

Kanata North supposedly was to be vacant in 2014, Marianne Wilkinson had alluded to the fact that she was done, she then changed her mind and what could have been an interesting race turned into a re-election romp.  This election Wilkinson is out, at least she is not running.

I have a belief that elected officials that are not seeking re-election should stay quiet and not get involved in the race for their replacement. In Kanata North Wilkinson has endorsed Jenna Sudds – however that does not guarantee a victory for Wilkinson’s favourite.  Kanata North with the incumbent Wilkinson out has a good list of candidates to replace her.   There are five names on the ballot in Kanata North.  Matt Muirhead is back for his third attempt at the seat. The profile names on the ballot however are David Gourley and Jenna Sudds; Gourley is no stranger to the goings on at City Hall having worked in Mayor Watson’s office and Sudds is the first Executive Director of the Kanata North BIA, stepping down to run for council.

From the outside looking in (from the downtown core) it looks to be a Gourley and Sudds race and likely a Watson machine vs. a Wilkinson machine type of campaign.  May the best political machine win!

Knoxdale-Merivale

Unless residents of Knoxdale-Merivale are extremely unhappy with Ottawa roads, potholes, the upcoming delays in LRT and other transportation issues the quiet Keith Egli may just as quietly keep his seat.

Unlike 2014, when Egli faced one challenger, this election sees four others that want to represent the ward.  Back after sitting out 2014 is James Dean who, according to his website compares the current tax policy of the current council to that of a Ford Pinto. He says that council has cut services to pay more than $200 Million for the city debt, that the cuts will cause trouble for the city as citizens lose the services and programs they rely on. The current 2% tax policy may blow up and hurt the city if the debate on services vs. tax hikes continues to be won by a cap on taxes that according to Dean unfairly increases burden of the tax debt on taxpayers.  Unlike James Dean, the two other candidates have not fully laid out their plans for the city though transparency, tax spending and their community involvement are mentioned.

Though Egli has serviced the ward competently for two terms and incumbents are tough to defeat, of the three challengers James Dean has the best opportunity to shake things up in Knoxdale-Merivale.

Rideau Vanier

Was Mathieu Fleury in a sophomore slump in the first half of his second term as the Rideau Vanier councillor?  If he had been he must be extremely happy that the arrangement to move the Salvation Army to Montreal Road from the By-Ward market can along.  In it he found a voice for an issue that has united Vanier communities and has shown Fleury is someone who will fight Mayor Watson.   Since the inception of the SOS Vanier campaign, Fleury has lent his name to the fight and has spoken publicly about the Mayor giving public support for the move before the application from the Salvation Army was off the printer and emailed to the city planning committee.

While being able to show he will fight for Vanier, Vanier also is home to many qualified community activists that choose to fun for council come election time.  This time around Fleury has fewer challengers, and of the three other candidates only Thierry Harris seems capable of mounting a challenge that could topple Fleury come October 22nd. Will Fleury and SOS Vanier be the one thing that saves him and keeps him fighting Watson for another 4 years?

Capital

Long ago, Capital ward was where Jim Watson was first elected to the old un-amalgamated Ottawa City Council.  So it makes sense that the ward still holds a special place in his heart.  This was demonstrated a few weeks ago when Capital ward candidate Shawn Menard acted, along with other community members to save century trees from being cut down. The city was expected to issue the cut permit by mid-august.  With no action from City Hall being taken Menard took up the fight and started a petition to prevent the cut.  In his actions, Menard seems to have awoken Watson and David Chernushenko, the current councillor.  In a series of tweets on August 8th, the Mayor and Councillor celebrated the saving of the trees while ignoring the work that Menard did on bringing the issue forward.

With three other candidates vying for the seat, they will have to so something short of canvassing while standing on their heads to take the attention away from a Chernushenko vs. Menard race.  Chernushenko doesn’t make the loudest noise at council and the voters in the ward want the same type of leadership that Watson gave them as a councillor in the 80’s Menard could be joining the current “Urban Caucus” of Leiper, McKenney, Fleury and Tobi Nussbaum, which would certainly turn the volume up on urban issues.

With this post you now have my thoughts on 14 of 24 races.  My next Ottawa Election Primer will focus on Bay, Somerset, Alta Vista, Cumberland and Osgoode Wards.

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