About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Friday, October 31, 2014

12 Lessons From the 2014 Municipal Election

With the 2014 campaign officially over, it's time to take stock and consider some of the things we've learned from this election cycle, and how we might take them with us as we move on the next four years. It was a very electric election, I have to say, a lot of ideas and opinions were floating around, and there were high expectations for the candidates and for their political futures if they ended up on council. The people of Guelph made their choices, and now its time to look at the 12 lessons that the 2014 Municipal Election have taught us here in the Royal City.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Election Results Now Official, Recount to Come in Ward 3

The election results are now official. The tabulations have been checked, the numbers are confirmed and indeed, everyone that was elected Monday night has actually been elected. One sticking point remains in Ward 3 though because of the photo finish between second place June Hofland and third place Craig Chamberlain. Although Hofland has opened up her lead to five votes over Chamberlain, 2,050 to 2,045, the City Clerk is still recommending that a recount process begin when council next meets later this month. Full details on that, the the rest of the official results below.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guthrie Wins Handily, Becomes New Guelph Mayor

Courtesy of Guelph Mercury
For the next four years it's going to be a Cam, Cam, Cam, Cam World here in Guelph as the one-term Ward 4 Councillor now steps up into the role of mayor after defeating incumbent Karen Farbridge in yesterday's municipal election. With nearly 39,000 ballots cast, or 45 per cent of the electorate, Guthrie took an early lead with online voters and stayed out front till the moment all polls were tabulated. Guthrie will now be joined by as many as five incumbent councillors and seven rookie (or in some cases rookie-ish) politicians around the horseshoe to helm the Royal City for the next four years.

Monday, October 27, 2014

EDITORIAL: Tomorrow, We Will Still Be the City of Guelph

After nearly 10 months, the next four years of the City of Guelph, and the direction they may take, will be decided by voters. At my polling station today, I encountered something unusual: I had to wait to vote. About 10 minutes. Now 10 minutes is a small price to pay for democracy, but the question now is what impact does a higher than expected voter turnout have on the race? Is it a sign that Karen Farbridge supporters have got our the vote, or a sign that people are anxious for change and going out to their polling station to get. One thing is certain though, despite the polarizing campaign, tomorrow morning, no matter who wins, we will all have to find a way to work together for the good of the city.

Be Advised - Big Line-ups at the Polls

So much for apathy. The City of Guelph is reporting that some polling stations throughout the city are experiencing - wait for it! - a higher than expected voter turnout. Translation: long lines. If, like me, you left voting till today, then you, like me, might encounter a bit of a wait when you get to the polling station. Another part of the problem is technical (surprise.) as updates to voter lists have been slow to sync up between the main database and computers at polling stations. But on the upside, apparently a lot of us decided to get off our butts and vote!

Doug Ford Gets At Least One Endorsement

Last night, on his HBO series Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver gave the first and only endorsement for Doug Ford. I don't think it's to be taken seriously.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

VIDEOS - The U of G Mayoral Debate

The September 30 Mayoral Debate at the University of Guelph was the first big direct clash between mayoral candidates Jason Blokhuis, Andrew Donovan, Karen Farbrige, Cam Guthrie, John Legere and Joseph St. Denis (Nicholas Ross was not in attendance). The debate was hosted by U of G's Student Life office and took place in the University Centre courtyard over the lunch hour, so there's a good chance that many Guelphites weren't able to be there. If you're interested, below you will find the nearly complete video for the nearly 80 minute forum.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Guelph Politicast #4.6 - Councillor Cam Guthrie

He's was the first one in on January 2, and the momentum has been at his back for the 10 months that followed, and now, for Cam Guthrie, it all comes down to what happens on Election Day. The Ward 4 Councillor and insurance broker has been the presumed frontrunner in the race, holding a steady lead in both support and enthusiasm over the incumbent Mayor Karen Farbridge. But as they say, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day, and the question remains, in such a close race can the upstart Guthrie get our the vote and take over the city's top spot from the three-term Farbridge? Guthrie is banking on yes with his "A Better Guelph" plan.

Press Release - Books of Condolence Available to Sign at MP's Office

The events in Ottawa Wednesday had a traumatizing effect on the country, and as we struggle with the implications of a lone gunman and his insane suicide mission on Parliament Hill, two families are left struggling over the sudden and seemingly senseless loss of a son to the whims of madman. Doing, at least, some small part to help the healing process, Guelph Member of Parliament Frank Valeriote has two books of condolence available for people to sign in memory of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who was killed Monday in Quebec, and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was killed in Ottawa Wednesday. Details are below.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Guelph Citizen Sticks Up for Me and Every Media Outlet in Guelph

As they say, if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen, or in my case, if you can't take a little criticism, get out of politics and/or the writing of politics. There's fair criticism, there's constructive criticism, and then there's being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk. That's Gerry Barker. Barker is a former journalist who maintains his own blog called Guelph Speaks, but he's also the founder of GrassRoots Guelph, a purportedly non-partisan organization dedicated to getting out the vote no matter who you vote for. Supposedly. Apparently Gerry, unlike every other group no matter their interest in the Royal City, doesn't like the coverage he's got.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Local Reactions to Events on Parliament Hill

Today's events in Ottawa, which are still unfolding, is a startling reminder that shocking acts of violence can happen anywhere, even Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Even where we are, several miles away from the nation's capital, Guelphites are affected by events, glued to social media, glued to TVs, digesting any update great or small, rumor or fact. Here's some local reaction to the events.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Surveys from School Board Trustee Candidates

By popular demand, I decided to do a candidate survey for those running to represent Guelph's two school boards, the Upper Grand District School Board and the Wellington Catholic District School Board.  The trustee races are kind of the redheaded stepchildren of the municipal election race, and they don't get even a fraction as much attention as the council and mayoral races. That's kind of unfair, and having talked to numerous trustee candidates in person and through social media about closing the coverage gap, I decided to take a second look. I wasn't sure if I'd have the time, but sometimes it's worth making the time, so now I present the Guelph Politico Trustee Candidate Questionnaire.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Guelph Mercury Debate Draws Cheers and Jeers in Packed House

For the first time, to my knowledge, all seven of the mayoral candidates were together on one stage for the Guelph Mercury Candidate Forum Monday night. In the shadow of a now infamous partisan attack ad, it was a packed room at the Italian Canadian Club that came together to see the mayoral candidates clash for one last time before election day as Jason Blokhuis, Andrew Donovan, Karen Farbridge, Cam Guthrie, John Legere, Nicholas Ross and Joseph St. Denis all aimed to make a closing argument for their election. But with partisan politics in the back of everyone's mind, would the undecided get their chance for a clean, compelling argument?

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.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Who Endorses the Endorsers?

With Election Day coming up, and advanced voting already begun, people are going to have to start making up their minds about who they want to represent them on Guelph City Council, but if you're one of those indecisive types, perhaps you may be open to a few suggestions. Suggestions are not an issue this election, sorting through the bias and implications of said endorsements, is. There have been a few major endorsements by local political groups, and whether those endorsements speak to you will likely depend more on your personal politics than the more general criteria of who is the right fit for the job.

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.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Scott Tracey (Ward 4) - Candidate Questionnaire

Scott Tracey spent years in the council chambers watching the action from the press box, but now he aims to be the reported rather than doing the reporting. Like potential future council colleague Maggie Laidlaw, Tracey was born in Scotland, but moved to Canada with his family at the age of four. Settling in the Hamilton area, Tracey attended Niagara College's Journalism program and got his first job at the Niagara Falls Review before joining the staff of the Guelph Mercury in July 1991.While at the Mercury, he covered entertainment, education, police and courts and eventually City Hall, which Tracey says it allowed him to indulge his longtime passion for municipal politics. The husband and father of three says that those years on the city hall beat have given him the insight and experience needed to represent Ward 4. "I love this city, but I know it can be even better," he says. And now, Scott Tracey tells his answers to the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Ray Ferraro (Ward 2) Response to the Candidate Questionnaire

Ray Ferraro is the epitome of a life-long Guelphite. He was born and raised in the Royal City where he has raised two children and six grandchildren. He's worked over 40 years in the real estate construction and development industry, and has been a member of Guelph's storied Italian Canadian Club for 35 years. Previously serving as a city councillor during the mayoralty of Kate Quarrie from 2003 to 2006. Below is Ferraro's response to the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Alex Green (Ward 5) - Candidate Questionnaire

Ward 5 candidate Alex Green grew up just south of Guelph, and went to high school at Centennial C.V.I. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Mathematics, where he also showed a talent for being funny, writing for a humour themed U of T student newspaper. He was also active in several organizations that attempted to increase student participation in the political process. Back home in Guelph, Green worked in manufacturing and then enjoyed a brief stint working for Statistics Canada on the 2011 census. Looking for a new field, he went into business for himself as a mobile app developer, creating custom apps for small businesses as well as game and puzzle apps for a broader audience. He also works as search engine analyst, helping the biggest names in the business improve the accuracy of their search results. Alex lives with his partner and her six-year-old son in the University Village neighbourhood, where when his not designing apps or politicking he can be found indulging his hobbies in photography, writing, and board games. Speaking of games, he took time out of his campaign schedule to answer the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Laurie Garbutt (Ward 4) - Candidate Questionnaire

Laurie Garbutt has taught in the public school system for 28 years, serving as  a Staff Officer and on the Executive of the Upper Grand Local of the Ontario Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) since 2011. Through her work with the ETFO, Garbutt helped to develop the CURB KIT (Common Use Resources for Bullying: A Prevention Toolkit for all Classrooms) for all schools in the Upper Grand District School Board, which was supported and endorsed by the Human Rights Commission of Ontario. Outside of school, Garbutt is heavily involved in the arts working with theatre groups, performing, musically directing, or working with various production teams and baords in the Royal City's artistic community. Garbutt says she, "strives to give endless volunteer hours and expertise to our growing city," and now she wants to include city council in that capacity. Her responses to the candidate questionnaire are below:

Maria Pezzano (Ward 1) - Candidate Questionnaire

Maria Pezzano was the last person to register for the election to run in Ward 1, but she's in it, as they say, to win it. A life long Guelphite, Pezzano grew up surrounded by her tight-knit Italian-Canadian family. "There was always the aroma of fine foods cooking," she says. "The main ingredient was always love." Working her way through Sacred Heart School, St. James School and Bishop Macdonell High School, Pezzano made her way to Fanshawe College and then came back to Guelph to start her career as an artist 27 years ago. She's had studios on Wyndham St., and in the Trafalgar Building, but he current artistic works can be seen and bought at Studio Boutique at 77 Suffolk St. W. Since 2010, she's been involved in mobilizing and organizing The Ward Residents’ Association, a group of citizens that came together to offer input and influence in regards to the development on 5 Arthur St. S. So what would Pezzano do for Ward 1? Read her candidate questionnaire below to find out.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Guelph Politicast #4.4 - Joseph St. Denis, Mayoral Candidate

Can a shoeless man become Mayor of Guelph? Joseph St. Denis is betting he can. St. Denis entered the race this past spring with a goal of shaking up the status quo. Regular politicians aren't good enough to represent us, he argues, and the poor voter turnout in the 2010 election reflects that. Maybe its not the quality of politics, he proposes, but the content of our politicians. He may not be as polished, he may not have a platform, and he may not have a pair of shoes, but that doesn't mean that St. Denis isn't in it to win it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Phil Allt (Ward 3) - Candidate Questionnaire

And now, a former colleague who had to be let go. Just kidding. Phil Allt left the Gang of Four voluntarily when he decided to run for city council earlier this year. Of course, Allt is no stranger to the campaign trail, he ran twice for the Federal NDP in the Royal City during the 2004 and 2006 elections. Allt is a born and bred Guelphite who just retired from teaching high school History, Philosophy and Political Science. He's the Former Chair Wellington and Guelph Housing Authority, Former Treasurer of Waterloo Ontario Secondary School Teacher's Federation, Former Treasurer of the Guelph Jazz Festival, and a volunteer at Onward Willow Better Beginnings. Along with his contributions to the Gang of Four on CFRU, he's also written articles for the Kitchener Record, Guelph Mercury, Toronto Star, and various other business and academic publications. In his spare time, Allt is also an avid Curler, Slopitch Player, Scuba Diver, and Skier. But on political matters, Allt recently turned his attention to answering the Guelph Politico Candidate Questionnaire.

Terry O'Connor (Ward 1) - Candidate Questionnaire

Terry O’Connor is a well-known figure to Guelph politicos, so it's almost hard to believe that he's never run for office before. The former Labour Council president came to Guelph in 1968 and worked for Bell Canada as a service technician. Retiring in 2009, he became Labour Co-ordinator for the Guelph Wellington Dufferin United Way to increase the participation of local unions in United Way fund raising campaigns. O’Connor was also a founding member of the Guelph-Wellington Task Force for the Elimination of Poverty and has worked with several social justice organizations including the Guelph-Wellington Social Justice Coalition and the Guelph Well-Being Initiative. But that's work, when it comes to play, O'Connor has coached in the Guelph Minor Hockey Association and the Guelph Minor Baseball Association, and he was the first president of the Guelph Girls Hockey Association. “I believe one of my strengths is bringing people together to successfully work through opportunities and difficulties,” O’Connor says. “I take a hands-on approach to dealing with both.” And so it is with the candidate questionnaire, as O'Connor takes a hands on approach to talking about the issues.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Chris Keleher Sr. (Ward 2) - Candidate Questionnaire

Chris Keleher Sr. was born and raised in Guelph and currently resides in Ward 2 where he lives with his wife of 34 years; together they have five children and eight grandchildren. He's currently employed with a local liquid waste removal and disposal company. Keleher says that he decided to run for council noting the increasing dysfunction of the organization leading the city, a trend he started noticing back when he worked for the City of Guelph in the 90s. "I strongly feel we need common sense governance and we need to work together from council to the front line staff to provide the best possible city services to the taxpayers/residents, business owners and developers as efficiently and cost effective as possible," Keleher says. "By getting involved I hope to make a difference, it’s always gratifying to be part of the solution then to be part of the problem!" Will Ward 2 voters agree? Here's Chris Keleher Sr.'s candidate questionnaire.

Maggie Laidlaw (Ward 3) - Candidate Questionnaire

If re-elected, Maggie Laidlaw will be the longest serving member of city council, a political career that she started 20 years go when she was first elected school trustee. She was then elected to council for the first time in 2000, the start of an auspicious and occasionally controversial tenure around the horseshoe that has, regardless, seen her re-elected three time by now. Laidlaw was born in Scotland, but her family has deep roots in Guelph. The grandparents of her husband David (who was my high school art teacher by the way) owned a grocery store on Ontario Street for years; the future Mr. and Mrs.  Laidlaw met while taking part in a cross-Canada bicycle tour to promote the Olympics in Montreal. Settling in Guelph, the couple raise their two children here in the Royal City where Laidlaw still works as the Director of Scientific Affairs at Nutrasouce Diagnostics Inc., a private sector contract research organisation. Although she plans on retiring from her day job in the next couple of years, she remains dedicated to her work on council, and to help prove it she now asnwers the Guelph Politico Candidate Questionnaire.

Dimitrios “Jim” Galatianos (Ward 5) - Candidate Questionnaire

Dimitrios “Jim” Galatianos is running for city council in Ward 5, and to say that he has an axe to grind is something of an understatement. He's been fighting a legal battle the last four years with the City of Guelph over by-law enforcement on his property, which Galatianos feels was excessive in its reach and reaction. The son of Greek immigrants ("for me, My Great Big Fat Greek Wedding was a documentary," he says), Galatianos got into politics early serving as President of the College Of Social Science at U of G, where he was one of the organizers of the original Magic Bus. He's worked at Homewood Health Centre, one of the top mental health and addiction facilities in North America and a Guelph institution, for over 25 years. In 2007, Galatianos received his certificate as a Family Mediator, and as a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, he's assisted in the negotiation of a few collective bargaining agreements. "I am passionate about my family, I am passionate about my city and I am passionate about returning ownership back to the taxpayer," he says. Here is Galatianos responses to the candidate questionnaire.

Karolyne Pickett (Ward 1) - Candidate Questionnaire

Karolyne Pickett ran for Ward 1 in 2010, and she's back again for 2014. It could be argued that politics is in her blood, as she was born in the nation's capital, and is proudly bilingual. She studied biology at the University of Ottawa, and later obtained a Master's Degree in ecology from the University of Toronto before going to work at the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. But later she moved to Guelph to work for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, where she analyzed projects such as new subdivisions, bridge repairs and wind turbine installations for impacts on species at risk, and developed mitigation measures to protect their habitat. When Pickett leaves work, the environment is still on her mind as she sits on the Board of Directors for the local not-for-profit organization Pollination Guelph, whose most well known project is the pollinator garden on the Eastview landfill. And on top of it all, she gave birth to a son just last December. It seems like she's got more than enough on her plate already, but she really wants to be a Ward 1 councillor, and she took the time to answer the Guelph Politico Candidate Questionnaire.

Friday, October 3, 2014

VIDEO - Highlights from the GrassRoots Guelph Barbeque

Election Candidates including (from l to r) Jason Dodge, Bob Bell, Scott Tracey, Dan Gibson and Andy Van Hellemond

GrassRoots Guelph came into 2014 looking to shake up election race by creating more civic engagement, which is no mean feat when the voter turnout in the 2010 Municipal Election was at an all-time low garnering a slim one-third. But will GRG been able to live up to those ambitions, especially when being chased by rumors and accusations that they're Tea Party Light and concerned merely with taxes and supporting politicians who put the word "low" in front of it? Which GRG was hosting the barbeque they put together on September 18? Good question.

Cartoon Wars

The discussion about election matters in the last couple of weeks has turned nasty. Well, the conversation is about nastiness, not necessarily that people talking about it are being nasty to each other (although from what I've heard there's some of that too). Since I'm a lover of all things cultural, one recent trend in particular caught my eye, and that was a pair of cartoons by noted Guelph cartoonists that have headed waist deep into the campaign, and they seem to have a common target in mind.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Leanne Piper (Ward 5) - Candidate Questionnaire

Leanne Piper has been a city coucillor for Ward 5 since 2006, and is the only incumbent from that ward running for re-election. Starting her political career as a Trustee on the Upper Grand District School Board, Piper splits her time working on council, working as the Manager in Admissions and Marketing in the department of Student Housing Services at the University of Guelph, and being a masters student at the U of G pursuing her MA Leadership. Among her committee and board work, Piper has worked with several including the Guelph Junction Railway, Guelph Police Services, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Board of Health, Guelph Historical Society, Family and Children’s Services, Career Education Council, and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. She's currently the chair of the Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment committee and sits as a member on the Operations, Transit and Emergency Services committee. And if all that isn't already enough, she also owns her own book publishing business called Log Cabin Press, which has published books on local history including Fingerprints Through Time: History of Guelph Police (authors Bob Rutter, John D’Alton and Leanne Piper), and Barns and Coach Houses of Guelph (by Evelyn Bird). Piper certainly hopes that Ward 5 voters won't be closing the book on her time on council, and has taken the time to answer Politico's candidate questionnaire.

Cathy Downer (Ward 5) - Candidate Questionnaire

Cathy Downer was first elected to city council by Ward 5 in 1994, and served for four terms working on committees and boards like including Planning, Works and Environment, Heritage Guelph, Family and Children’s Services, Loretto Convent Task Force and Guelph Non-Profit Housing. She was also chair of the City Hall/Courthouse Redevelopment Committee. Since leaving council in 2006 she's been on the Boards of the Guelph Community Health Centre and the Guelph Youth Music Centre, and was Elections Ontario Returning Officer for Guelph from January 2011 till December 2013. Downer has also served as a volunteer mediator with Community Justice Initiatives and the John Howard Society, and has received her Advanced Mediation and Conflict Management Certification from the University of Waterloo-Conrad Grebel Peace and Conflict Studies. She also holds a Chartered Mediator designation from the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Ontario/Canada and currently works in private practice as a mediator. Finally, Downer was awarded with a Guelph YM-YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Public Service in 2007. And now she's back! Ready to rejoin council and answering the questions in the candidate questionnaire.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

June Hofland (Ward 3) - Candidate Questionnaire

June Hofland is hoping that the voters of Ward 3 like her past eight years of work on city council so much, that they're ready to give her four more. Born and raised in Guelph, Hofland was first elected to city council in 2006, but before that she worked in banking for 25 years, and had a successful downtown Guelph business until 2012. Since then, she's dedicated herself to helping her husband run his local renovation company, and working on council, and in her free time, she enjoys being in the outdoors, gardening, cycling, canoeing, and skiing, or just reading a good mystery novel. On her website, Hofland says, "As a dedicated volunteer, community advocate and successful businesswoman, she honours and learns from the past, lives fully in the present and continually works towards a sustainable and prosperous future." But will Hofland be prosperous at the ballot box? Perhaps her responses to the candidate questionnaire will help you decide.

Bob Moore (Ward 3) - Candidate Questionnaire

Although they came to the Royal City via Stoney Creek, Lindsay, Ottawa and Kingston, Bob Moore and his wife, Jane, have called Guelph home for 10 years now, living near the intersection of London and Edinburgh in the middle of Ward 3. Moore recently retired after more than 25 years of experience as an administrator in both secondary and elementary schools. He has also served on the Boards and Committees of a wide range of community and educational organizations, such as Hope House, and the Julien Project. When he's not serving on committees, or building furniture, Bob researches and writes articles of historic interest, and has published articles on pioneer immigration, genealogical searches, colonial government, and Quaker history. He recently published an article on the University of Guelph's Professor Zavitz for the Guelph Historical Society. Now he's making a run for a seat on city council, and he took some time to answer the Guelph Politico Candidate Quesitonnaire.