If you were listening to "The Gang of Four" yesterday on CFRU, then you know it was the last appearance (for a while?) for "The Philosopher" Phil Allt. Allt has been a staple of the Gang since "Beyond the Ballot Box" began two and a half years ago, but he's decided to give up political punditry for a shot at being a politician once again by announcing his intention to run for city council in Ward 3. In the already busy election year so far, Allt's is just one of several knew names who have thrown themselves into the hat.
Among the new names is Linda Busuttil, who opened up the Ward 4 race on Friday by filing her papers. Busuttil is currently a trustee with the Upper Grand District School Board covering schools in Ward 1 and 5 in Guelph and is also the Board's Vice-Chair. Another new name in the race is Robert Routledge, who is actually a very familiar name if you frequent the numerous Guelph political blogs. Routledge, who was campaign manager for Ward 1 candidate Karolyne Pickett in the 2010 election, is an experienced and accomplished campaign organizer and consultant who's worked with numerous local, provincial and federal candidates.
Also joining the race today was Leanne Piper, who will join fellow incumbent Lise Burcher in the race to keep their seats in Ward 5. Piper was first elected in 2006 coming in first place with 37 per cent of the vote; she was re-elected in 2010 with an even bigger share of the vote with nearly 40 per cent. Piper's entry makes Ward 5 the most competitive race so far with four candidates, a reversal on the 2010 trend which saw Ward 5 as one of the least competitive with only three candidates on the ballot.
To date, Ward 1 and Ward 6 have had no nominees officially file, not even the incumbents.
As for my former, fellow Gang member Allt, he's most well-known for his two Federal campaigns in the mid-aughts, running as the NDP candidate for Guelph in the 2004 and 2006 elections and although Allt finished in third place both times, he increased his share of the vote by 3,000 ballots between races. In a press release declaring his entry into the Ward 3 race, Allt cited leadership, collaboration, engagement and dedication as the attributes he brings to his candidacy, a theme he calls, “Moving Forward for Guelph” or “Phil Allt - forWard 3.”
"Guelph is a wonderful city," Allt says. "We can be proud of our 'Historic Past' but it is our 'Progressive Future' that matters in this election. Moving 'forWard in Ward 3' with positive results for all of Guelph requires community experience, dedication to Guelph, engagement with Guelph, and consensus building that respects all points of view."
Allt joins Craig Chamberlain and Bob Moore in the always competitive Ward 3 race. Incumbent Ward 3 Councillor Maggie Laidlaw has previously stated her intention to run again, but has not yet filed. Her fellow incumbent, June Hofland, has not yet said publicly if she plans on running for re-election.
More election as it comes in next week.