The close of nominations for the 2014 Municipal Election is fast approaching, and with only a couple of weeks left to file papers, the ballots in races for the City of Guelph have seen quite a few new additions in the last couple of weeks. In brief, a new name makes the mayor's race even more competitive, the ranks of the Ward 4 contest swell, and a couple of new old names are making their play in another election run.
First, a seventh name has joined the mayor's race in the form of Andrew Donovan. Donovan is an alum of the University of Guelph and of the U of G's student paper The Ontarion. According to his website, Donovan says he's been spurned to run for mayor out of a desire to being fiscal conservative ideals and integrity back to 1 Carden St.
"I'm running for the Mayor of Guelph because I believe we're in an age where rampant spending, big government, and the same suit-and-tie politicians are coming to an end," he says. "I believe we're in an age where young and hungry people like me are set to climb the ladder to better serve people like you."
The highlights of Donovan's platform includes a four-year process to privatize Guelph Transit by turning the service into a P3 (public/private partnership), re-organizing the way Guelph taxis are licensed, eliminating several by-laws including the Nuisance Party by-law, privatizing city road maintenance, and creating something called "Open Source Democracy" to create better communication between citizens and their representatives.
"I love the City of Guelph; vibrant in its culture, political activism, and geography, it’s become my home," said Donovan. "It is for those reasons that, despite my relatively young age, I am dedicated to the task of helping to progress this city into a new age of fiscal responsibility, social activism, and free market competition. While it is my ambition to serve the community of Guelph as its Mayor, I make no mistake that it is first and foremost my position to be a public servant."
Competition for Donovan will be tight as he's up against six others for the job of Guelph's mayor including Jason Blokhuis, John Legere, Nicholas Ross, Joesph St. Denis, and the two widely considered front-runners for the job: Ward 4 Councillor Cam Guthrie, and incumbent Mayor Karen Farbridge.
In the ward races, a familiar name has jumped in to the Ward 2 race, former city councillor Ray Ferraro. A real estate developer by trade, Ferraro ran for council and won in 2003, but was swept out of power again in the 2006 election. In 2010, he tried running for office again, but finished a close third behind Andy Van Hellemond and Ian Findlay.
Mark Briestensky and Rob Dunn-Dufault, meanwhile, join a crowded Ward 4 race that already has five other declared candidates. Briestensky is no stranger to local politics, he ran for mayor in 2006 against Farbridge and then-incumbent Kate Quarrie, coming in third place with just over 12 per cent of the vote. Dunn-Dufault seems to a political novice though, he's a University of Guelph grad and according to the Guelph Mercury owns a number of patents.
In an interesting addition to the school board races, Juanita Burnett, the Communist Party candidate for Guelph in this past spring's provincial election, has entered her name for Trustee to the Upper Grand District School Board for Wards 1 and 5.
Nominations for all council seats, and trustee positions are open until September 12. The Municipal Election will take place on October 27.