July 31st I posted a look at 6 of the 24 election races that will be decided on October 22nd. I looked at races in Orleans, College, Beacon Hill-Cyrville, Rideau Goulbourn and Gloucester-South Nepean Wards and the race for Mayor. In part 2 of the Ottawa Election Primer series I look at Innes, Barrhaven, West Carleton-March and Stittsville wards.
I am including Innes Ward today as I was fortunate to be able to listen to CFRA’s Rob Snow have the four candidates vying to replace Jody Mitic on the air for my drive to Barrie. The biggest surprise to me in this race is that there are not more people running, especially if I look at the race in Orleans with 17 candidates running for a vacant seat.
Innes has two candidates that have City Hall experience. Tammy Lynch worked with Councillor Mitic since 2014 and Donna Leith-Gudbranson worked for the former Councillor Rainer Bloess, who has endorsed Leith-Gudbranson as has other area former representatives. Laura Dudas and Francois Lepranier round out the race. Listening to the candidates speak, all seem to be supporting the same ideals; a 2% property tax ceiling, better roads, access to transit and maintaining services as they are.
The issue of the 2% tax ceiling for me is a non-issue, I would have liked to hear about capping rate increases for water and sewer taxes, this is the expense of taxpayers that is never addressed – it was a missed opportunity for one of the four to include a cap on these city taxes with the 2% property tax.
All except Trepanier have City Hall experience; Trepanier however does count the experience of his years of service in the Canadian Forces as his reason for asking for the support of the voters.
However each seems to have different views of what is needed for Innes, voters will need to really look in to each candidate and ask important questions to set them apart not only at the doors but in the debates.
All four would serve the community well, but it comes down to the machine behind the candidates and with that the edge goes to Lynch and Leith-Gudbranson. Mitic was a loved councillor and sentimental vote may be what helps Lynch.
The Mayor of Barrhaven is not going to be dethroned anytime soon. Jan Harder won four years ago with 75% of the vote, that’s not going to change this year. A victory for her opponents would be that Jan Harder picks up on some good ideas from their campaigns and takes then back to City Hall with her in November.
The battle in Ward five just might be fought on the ward losing its rural voice and services that once were there, but are now gone. Eli El-Chantiry has held this ward since 2003 where he won by 29 votes. But now in his 4thre-election bid his will have to defend his representation of this rural ward against two would be councillors, James Parsons and Judy Varga-Toth. Parsons has not launched his website, but Varga-Toth is aiming straight at El-Chantiry on letting down the rural voters with reduced services in the ward and not doing a good enough job of grassroots representation. Reading between the lines, her assumption might be that his duties as the Chair of the Police Services board have taken him away from the ward far too often. El-Chantiry has won by defeating some high profile campaigns in the past; will Varga-Toth work under the radar and win?
Four years ago, Shad Qadri won with 60% of the vote, he faced only one challenger.
In 2018, it is the same scenario, but in this election I believe there is a chance that voters may look for something new. The challenger this year is Glen Gower, he is heavily involved in the community and as a member of Heritage Ottawa he will have had to work with the City on heritage files. Qadri is respected in city hall, is that enough to fight off another challenge? The outcome on this comes down to the work that Gower does reaching out and getting Stittsville voters to see him as he is advertising, that a fresh voice is needed. Going against Gower is history, this year is the 4thelection in a row no more that one other resident in Stittsville has felt the need to challenge Qadri who won the seat in 2003 in another one vs. one vote off. Does this underlay Qadri’s silent support in the ward? If there is a weakness to Qadri, I hope Gower has done his research and perhaps he has found it. Qadri seems unbeatable one on one.
I’ve now looked at 10/24 races, the next Ottawa Election Primer will put the spotlight on Kanata North, Bay, Knoxdale-Merivale and Rideau-Vanier wards.
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