Monday, October 20, 2014

Greg Schirk (Ward 4) - Candidate Questionnaire

Like many candidates, Greg Schirk's pride and dedication to the Royal City comes from spending most of his life as a Guelphite. He grew up in Guelph and then studied carpentry and broadcasting at Conestoga College. Career-wise, Schirk is a licensed glazier metal mechanic and has a successful career selling energy efficient window and door products to home owners and property managers. It's green business, and that Schirk takes pride in the fact they do it on their own without government subsidies. Obviously, Schirk is a fiscal conservative, and his run for Ward 4 is his second turn on the ballot after running for the local Ontario PCs in 2011. He says his focus will be on on improving core services and maintaining our city’s infrastructure while carefully ensuring you get the best return on your tax dollars.On his website, Schirk says he's "committed to eliminating wasteful spending at City Hall and easing the tax burden on hardworking Guelph families." And now he takes a few moments to answer the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Artistic Critique of Guelph's Election Signs

After all the talk of negativity, maybe what we need is levity. And since there are, apparently, a lot of people in the city interested in collecting signs, I was forced wonder if there was some artistic significance to them. So I decided to consult an expert. Scott McGovern, the programming director of Ed Video Media Arts Centre knows art, and he knows what he likes. He's also politically astute, so when I reached out to Scott (who's currently in Paris where is wife in an artist-in-residence), he was more than happy to lend his keen eye for colour and composition to the concept, and I present his insights below.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Farbridge Campaign Takes Credit For Controversial Ad

It wasn't exactly a "whodunnit?" on par with Agatha Christie, but when the Guelph Tribune appeared on doorsteps across the Royal City Thursday, one ad in particular caught their eye, and it was unknown who might have placed such a provocative bit of negative advertising. The ad, pictured above, features a photo accredited to a Guelph Mercury photographer of Cam Guthrie in conversation with Michael Sona at a Federal Election debate at Lourdes in 2011. The photo is accompanied by the tagline, "A person is known by the company they keep." Although placement of the ad was next to one for the Farbridge campaign, there was nothing to say the two came from one and the same source. Until now. Last night, in a press release, the Farbridge campaign did confirm that they placed the controversial ad.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Quick Note About the Cam Guthrie Podcast

I mentioned this in the last episode of the Guelph Politicast, but in the wake of the incredible partisanship I've been seeing online, I thought it beared repeating. There will be a delay in the posting of the podcast interview with mayoral candidate Cam Guthrie. It will be posted in the afternoon of Friday October 24. It's no one's fault in particular, just one of those things. I was trying to secure a day and time since August, but the campaign schedule is can be very, very busy as we've learned again and again. Gladly, the podcast will be happening, and you will be able to listen to it this time next week. In the meantime, you can listen to all the previous Gulph Politicast episodes here.

Schreiner is Staying in Guelph for 2018

It's municipal election craziness time across Ontario so you might have missed the news, but at their recent annual general meeting, the Green Party of Ontario agreed by a margin of 96 per cent to keep Mike Schreiner as their leader. Coming out of that news though is that when the next provincial election comes around again in 2018, Schreiner will run again in Guelph.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bob Senechal (Ward 5) - Candidate Questionnaire

Active in politics for many years now, Bob Senechal hopes to now join city council and represent the people of Ward 5. If you know the name then you might remember the 2007 Provincial Election when Senechal ran locally for the Progress Conservatives under John Tory (who, as you may have heard, is also making a run at local politics). If you went to Parkview Church, you may also recognize Senechal as he was the lead pastor there. Now the chaplin at the Elliott Community Centre, and a small business owner, Senechal remains committed to Guelph politics, his wife of nearly four decades Gale, and his three children, and three grandchildren. "My entire working career has been focused on making a positive difference in people’s lives," says Senechal. "Listening carefully, and working together cooperatively to find solutions for a preferred future will enable city council to develop policy that will enhance and improve the quality of life for all the people of Guelph and its businesses that choose to live and work here." For now, Senechal enhances civic engagement by responding to the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire.

Scott Butler (Ward 5) - Candidate Questionnaire

First time candidate Scott Butler joins an active and accomplished slate in Ward 5 as one of six candidates looking to represent the voters in and around the University of Guelph neighbourhood on city council. Butler leads the Policy and Research Department at the Ontario Good Roads Association, one of Canada’s oldest and largest municipal organizations. In his job, he's responsible for all government relations pertaining to municipally-owned and municipally-managed infrastructure. According to Butler, he's been instrumental in negotiated with the provincial government around infrastructure funding, mandatory asset management and new revenue tools for municipalities, which would serve him well if he should be elected to city council. In his spare time, Butler sits on the Board of Guelph Soccer and is a member of the fund development committee of Hospice Wellington. Now, Butler hopes to lend his skills and experience to the horseshoe in city hall, and he took some time to answer the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire.

Martin Collier (Ward 2) - Candidate Questionnaire

Martin Collier says he could have moved anywhere in the world with his wife Mary, but they decided to settle in Guelph for its "progressive municipal government, unique and historic downtown, multitude of sports and cultural activities, array of wellness practitioners and programs, proximity to nature and, especially, the friendly people." In 2006, Collier established Healthy Transport Consulting, a group dedicated to providing government, private sector and non-profit organizations with sustainable transportation policy, planning, research and project/event management services whose clients have included the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Metrolinx/York Region Transit, the Niagara Escarpment Commission,  and Pollution Probe. Collier's other activities include co-founding the Toronto and Guelph chapters of the Centre for Active Transportation, being the first manager of  Ontario Smart Growth Network, being a project manager for Transportation Options, working as an Ontario Development Officer at the Nature Conservancy of Canada and being the first manager of the ReinCARnate Vehicle Recycling Project at the Recycling Council of Ontario. And now, we wants to represent Ward 2 saying, "I am fortunate that my diverse career, civic advocacy and volunteering, along with my education and love of music, has enabled me to make a difference to the livability of cities for people and other species." Here are Collier's responses to the candidate questionnaire.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guelph Politicast #4.5 - Mayor Karen Farbridge

The returning champion of the Guelph mayor's race in 2014 is Karen Farbridge, who's spent all but three years of the last two decades on city council. First elected as one of Ward 1's councillors in 1994, she served two terms before running to be mayor in 2000. She lost three years later to Kate Quarrie but was welcomed back to the top job just one term later, serving as mayor for the last eight years. Those eight years have not been without controversy, but Farbridge still has her supporters and the Mayor herself seems ready to make this race not a referendum about her past, but a proposal for the future.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Election Name Game - Who's Run Before When?

As I was buttoning up the candidate questionnaires and looking ahead to election night through past election stats, I hit upon a question that interested me: How many of this year's candidates have run before? Incumbency has been an occasional point of conversation this election: How many terms is too many? Maybe what council needs is new blood. Et cetera. I'm not sure where I lean on the issue of term limits. On the one hand suggesting that someone should hold an elected position for a set number of terms stifles democracy; if the people want to vote for a person beyond a predetermined number of terms, why shouldn't they be able to? On the other hand though, maybe we should be conscious that a career politician, no matter how well meaning, might become as concerned about getting re-elected as doing the things they get re-elected for. Without too much implied partisanship (I hope), I compiled a list of 2014 candidates in the Municipal Election who have been on the ballot before going all the way back to 1997.