About the Blog:

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Back on Crazy in 2014

Although in politics there always seems to be someone sticking their foot in their mouth, 2014 seemed particularly problematic on a number of levels. Whether it was a key member of the prime minister's party going way off track during Question Period, or a politician's supporter predicting doomsday scenarios because their candidate lost, 2014 was a prime year for crazy in politics. It seemed weird to not comment on it before the year was through, so let's relive the madness of some of the most truly bizarre political moments of the 2014. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Top 10 Local/Provincial Stories of 2014

In completing the two-part Top 10 list of the year's biggest political/news stories, we turn to the local scene and recount the doings that had us talking locally and provincially throughout 2014. We had back-to-back elections where no matter the side you were on, they both might have had surprising results. Court matters took up a good portion of the year as both the city and a young campaign worker had their days in front of a judge. We also said goodbye to a number of politicians leaving office (or who announced that they were leaving office in the future), we said hello to new people and new circumstances, and we all reveled, or were repelled by some damn, dirty campaigning. It was a year of great change to be sure. This was the year 2014, locally and provincially, at least according to me.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Top 10 National/International Stories of 2014

To borrow a Rocksidean phrase, it's been another busy year, and since I'm an internet journalist with a seasonal dearth of creativity, it's that time of the year for lists. Again, Guelph Politico will count down the stories of the year in two lists, the National/International stories and the Local/Provincial Stories. Going first is the Top 10 on all matters of federal and global importance, with wars and rumours of wars, pestilence and politicking, and political quakes in Alberta and Quebec all making the cut. To widdle this year 2014 down to just 10 big things was a bit of a chore, but I'll leave it you, the reader, to decide if its reflective of your experience.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PRESS RELEASE - Guelph Certified Age-Friendly

It's a terribly kept secret that the population of Canada is aging. Baby boomers are entering their retirement years, and that number has no where to go but up. So it begs the question, is your community ready to deal with a population that's getting an older, or, if you're getting older, is your community ready to deal with you? Well, if your community is Guelph, you'll be pleased to know that the World Health Organization has now certified the Royal City as a great place to live if you're old. Guelph  - like Brussels, Seoul, Tehran, New York City, and many more - is now a member of the Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

6.5 Tons of Food for Guelph After Ambulance Stuffed

Christmas is a time of giving and Guelph gave, and gave, and gave this year. The Guelph Police Service announced the results of their thrid annual Stuff and Ambulance campaign, and the results were impressive. I almost think that the Royal City should upgarde to a "Stuff a Bus" campaign a la Waterloo Region. That's not up to me, obviously, but what I can report is that the Guelph Food Bank, which I profiled in a recent Guelph Politicast, is getting about seven more tons of food soon. Just in time for the holidays. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Picks for the BTBB Awards 2015

It's that time of year again. Christmas! And the Beyond the Ballot Box Awards. Fitting for the final episode of the Gang of Four, we salute the real heroes: the politicians and news stories we talk about weekly. If you were listening to the radio, you will have heard my picks already, but in case my justifications weren't clear, I decided to write them out in long form below. It was a very busy year in politics, and there were a lot of darts and laurels (mostly darts) to go around, but after considering all the factors and contenders, here are my choices for Best Politician, Worst and Dumpster Fire of the Year. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Farewell to the Gang of Four

Sadly, tomorrow brings to a close a three year odyssey called "The Gang of Four," the little radio show that could. Honestly, looking back on the last three years working with the gang, it's a wonder not that it's coming to an end after three years, it's a wonder that it kept going week after week for this long. This a show, after all, that none of us get paid to do, and a lot of work goes into each and every show as we all seek to provide balanced and intelligent insight into the various issues of the day. But now the time has come to say goodbye. Sort of.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Who's Doing What on Committees and Boards at City Hall?

Being a part of city council isn't all galas and townhalls, you know. There's also a lot of committee work involved, AKA: where much of the real work of city hall gets done. As per usual at the beginning of a new term of council, new assignments for city council;s standing committees, board and agencies were organized at last night's meeting. The full list is provided below.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Guelph Politicast #4.9 - Tracy Marchesich, Guelph Food Bank

During this festive time of year it's important to remember that not everyone is gifted with a wonderful bounty of food and gifts. In fact, people struggle just as hard, if not harder, during the holidays as they do the rest of the year. The Guelph Food Bank is one of numerous organizations in the Royal City that aims to help those that need a hand, offering a monthly hamper of groceries, as well as other services, to those who struggle to make ends meet when a weekly salary, or lack of salary, just can't cover all the necessities. In this edition of the Guelph Politicast, we pay tribute to the hard workers of the Guelph Food Bank, who do their part year around to address the enormous wealth disparity in our society.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Press Release - Longfield to Official Make Move for Liberal Nom

Lloyd Longfield has spent the last couple of weeks letting the people tell him if he should run for the Liberal Party of Canada, and it appears that the opinion is an affirmative. Longfield intends to make his entry into federal politics official tomorrow night, kicking off the race to succeed Frank Valeriote as the Liberal nominee and, hopefully, Guelph's Member of Parliament. Below is the press release announcing the former President of the Chamber of Commerce's intention to run. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Feds Approve January 21 as Lincoln Alexander Day Too

Following up on a 2013 vote in Queens Park to make January 21 Lincoln Alexander Day, the politicians of Parliament Hill have decided to follow suit with their own pronouncement. The former Member of Parliament, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, and Chancellor of the University of Guelph passed away a little over two years ago now, and while he may not rank a national holiday (yet?), it's still some quality recognition for a great man.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

December 6, 1989

EDITORIAL - Still a Long Way to Go on Violence Against Women

Like the Fall of Berlin Wall, which was commemorated last month, the murder of 14 women at L'École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989 is a news story I remember experiencing in real time. I was 11 at the time, so old enough that some of those memories still reach me a quarter of a century later. By then I knew enough French that "L'École" meant "school," and as much the seriousness of the situation resonated, so did the question: Why would anyone want to shoot up a school? Of course Marc Lépine was not there to shoot up a school, we was there to shoot and kill women. And 25 years later we're still struggling with a society where women feel like they're under attack, and where mistakes of the past seem far too easily repeated.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Local Youth Runner-Up for Citizenship Award

And they say young people are too apathetic/don't care about politics. Pshaw! Tia Carey blows all those theories away, and she can't even vote for another six years. The local office of the Green Party of Ontario, also known as the home base of GPO leader Mike Schreiner, sent out accolades today for young Ms. Carey, who was an active volunteer for Schreiner in this past spring's Provincial Election and has now been recognized for that volunteerism with a silver medal in Samara Canada's Everyday Political Citizen Youth Award. The finalists were announced the other night on Rick Mercer Reports.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Scenes from a Swearing In

Mayor Cam Guthrie being sworn in by City Clerk Stephen O'Brien
With the dulcet tones of the Guelph Youth Singers, a song by new Ward 2 Councillor James Gordon and a declaration of intent by the new Mayor of Guelph Cam Guthrie, the next term of council was called to order tonight at the council chambers of 1 Carden St. In front of a packed house, platitudes were offered, and promises were made as Mayor Guthrie and a team of seven new councillors and five veterans embark on a quest to guide the City of Guelph well over the next four years. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Remember World AIDS Day Tomorrow

Marking Worlds AIDS Day tomorrow, I thought I would repost this video I made in 2011/2012 for the Guelph Volunteer Centre and the AIDS Committee of Guelph. When I was making it a few years ago, it was the 30th anniversary of the identification of HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS; 30 years ago from today in 1984, conditions were getting close to crisis proportion as there was still a lot unknown about the disease, and there was still no sign of a treatment or a cure. A lot's changed in the last three decades, and looking back to when I made this video, I'm still humbled by the experience and realizing both how far we've come since those early days, and how far we still have to go. The AIDS Committee of Guelph is now the HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health (ARCH), but they're still doing good work for those in our community with HIV, as well as promoting education and sexual health. You can watch the five minute video below.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Editorial - Final Thoughts About Sona Trial

A week ago today, Michael Sona was sentenced to nine months in prison and one year of probation. From all accounts it was an emotional affair for Sona's family as he was lead away in cuffs, remanded to begin his jail sentence, which could be as short as three months ultimately. In a sense, Sona was sentenced in this case long before last Thursday. Once a valued political operative in the party that so thoroughly stuffed hum under the bus to be run over again and again, he's lost friends, respect, and a career that could have taken him all the way to party leadership or his own elected position in Parliament. Now he's a machinist's apprentice going to prison for a crime that was much bigger than himself. Ultimately, Sona's biggest crimes were foolishness and naivety.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Guelph Politicast #4.8 - "Fireside Chat" with Phil Allt and James Gordon

October 27 marked a bold new venture for the City of Guelph with the election of seven new councillors and a brand new mayor. But campaigns are one thing, how does our city council, new and old members alike, intend to work together? That's one of many questions I put to Ward 2 Councillor-Elect James Gordon and Ward 3 Councillor-Elect Phil Allt when we met recently for a series I'm calling "Fireside Chats," the first of which forms the basis for this latest entry in the Guelph Politicast.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Former Chamber Boss Longfield Looking at Federal Run

Well that didn't take long. Less than two weeks after Guelph MP and presumptive Liberal candidate for the 2015 Federal Election Frank Valeriote announced that he was not going to seek a third term, one well-known member of the Royal City community is exploring the possibility of filling Valeriote's shoes. Although the concept of an exploratory committee is largely an American political phenomenon, former Guelph Chamber of Commerce President Lloyd Longfield is hoping to crowd source some feedback as to whether or not he should step up for local Liberals leading in to next year's election.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Press Release - Tests Complete on Mysterious Drums

Lost somewhere in the heat of the local election was the fascinating and disturbing discovery of eight drums with an unknown, possibly toxic chemicals, near Howitt Creek at the corner of Wellington St. and the Hanlon. Watermain maintenance led to the discovery of the drums and a scramble to determine if any contaminants were in the environment began, and construction in the area came to a halt as tests were undertaken by government agencies. But examination of the site is now complete and plans have begun to have all the remaining drums removed, the contents dealt with, and construction to continue on the project.

Friday, November 21, 2014

MedCannAccess Giving Back for the Holidays

'Tis the season for giving, but it's also the season for AIDS Awareness. Next week marks AIDS Awareness Week here in Guelph and around the world, culminating in World AIDS Day on December 1. The new MedCannAccess Center in Old Quebec Street is doing its part by promoting involvement in the Red Scarf Project, a new endeavour of HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health or ARCH, the new name for the former AIDS Committee of Guelph. How can you help out? Details are below.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Guelph Police Tips for Hazardous Winter Driving

23. There were 23 collisions on Guelph roads in a 22-hour stretch yesterday. Granted, the blizzard-like conditions came early this year, or at least earlier than we're used to, and while it hasn't been quite like what Buffalo is facing here in southern Ontario, it's still a cause for caution when you're out on the roads today. Courtesy of your local boys in blue, there are ways to stay safe while you're out driving to and from, stuff you can keep in mind all winter long. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Press Release - Recount Confirms It's Allt and Hofland for Ward 3

The final dangling thread from the October 27 Municipal Election has been tied off. Last night, city council voted in favour of a recount to be performed for Guelph's Ward 3 after five votes separated the second place June Hofland and the third place Craig Chamberlain. The result at stake was the second council seat in Ward 3, the first one already secured by Phil Allt. In the end, it looks like the original count was correct, and Hofland is the winner of that second Ward 3 seat, beating Chamberlain by just five votes.

Friday, November 14, 2014

VIDEO - Valeriote Will Not Seek Re-Election as Guelph's MP

"Representing the people of Guelph is a great privilege. Service is an honour, but family is paramount. Indeed, fatherhood is a greater honour. It is for that reason that while I will continue to represent Guelph as its Member of Parliament until the next election is called, I will not be seeking re-election."
With those words, Frank Valeriote, the Liberal Party Member of Parliament for Guelph, laid out the new political reality for the Federal Election here in Guelph next year. It is now an open race with no incumbent running in the Royal City, as Valeriote in an emotional address shared with the media his desire to re-focus his attention to his family and find new ways to serve the Guelph community here are home.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Guelph Politicast #4.7 - Dave Regos, Producer of DIVIDE IN CONCORD

We are no strangers to water issues here in Guelph. Whether it's our system of water use monitoring, or the ongoing battle between local conservationists and a certain bottling plant south of the city, Guelph has been at the forefront of the debate in the ways we use, protect, and replenish the world's most valuable resource: drinking water. At the intersection of municipal politics and water protection is a new documentary called Divide in Concord, which chronicles one woman's quest to ban single-serve, non-reusable bottles of water in her hometown Concord, Mass. That struggle is coming to Guelph this weekend when Divide in Concord screens at the Guelph Film Festival.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Press Release - Remembrance Day Plans for Guelph

Courtesy of Flickr

With recent attacks on Canadian Forces soldiers in Quebec and Ottawa still fresh in everyone's minds, not to mention the 100th anniversary of the start of World Ward I, Remembrance Day will carry significant recognition with this year's commemoration. The City of Guelph has many activities to mark the day, from McCrae House to Sleeman Centre to the Cenotaph to Woodlawn Cemetery, it seems like the whole city will mark the occasion, even under the blanket of enhanced security and greater security concerns. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Valeriote Organizes Townhall About Suicide Prevention

Mental health has become an issue of increasing urgency, and one of the some symptoms of that is the alarming increase in the number of suicides in Canada. A report earlier this year traced a 4.5 per cent increase to struggles created by the recent economic recession, but there was also the rate of suicide amongst Canadidan Forces personal, which one expert recently said had reached "epidemic" proportions. With all that under consideration, Guelph MP Frank Valeriote is hosting a townhall on the subject of suicide prevention next week at the Italian Canadian Club.

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.