About the Blog:

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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

GrassRoots Guelph Invites You For Burgers and Politics

Actual burgers may be different than pictured.

After a relatively quiet summer, GrassRoots Guelph is back on the stump, or maybe that's offering a stump, for local citizens to reach out to their politicians. In a few weeks time, the GRG will be hosting a "Meet the Candidates BBQ" at the Guelph Golf and Curling Club, and although they don't say who specifically will be, all registered candidates for all offices are invited to attend. Hopefully, there will be name tags.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Press Release - City Touts Continually Strong Credit Rating

Considering that financial prudence (or lack there of) is going to be an issue in the municipal election, it came as somewhat suspicious that the City of Guelph would release the following press release on the Friday before the long weekend that official launches the campaign in earnest. Yes, the city wants to remind citizens that Standards & Poor's has decided to continue our status as an AA+ credit rated municipality. That sounds pretty good, but will it be persuasive enough for city hall's critics endorse the current administration when it comes time to case ballots?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Furfaro Decides to Not Run for Re-Election

Another one bites the dust? Perhaps a cruel (or cruelly funny) way of putting that, but in week that's already seen two incumbent councillors decline the chance to run for re-election, first-term Ward 1 Councillor Jim Furfaro has decided to join them. All eyes now turn to Furfaro's Ward 1 colleague Bob Bell, will Bell ring up a re-election push, or has he tolled for the end of his time on city council?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Press Release - City of Guelph Invites You to Learn to Vote Online

Despite my personal opinion about the somewhat audacious idea of bringing online voting to the hometown of the robocall, the City of Guelph is moving full steam ahead with it in this year's municipal election. If you're at all interested in learning more about the nuts and bolts of the computer-assisted democracy, then city hall is having a tutorial next week and you're invited to bring your favourite device along to see how it's all going to work.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

James Gordon to Give Municipal Politics a Try

After two turns running for provincial office, James Gordon is throwing his hat into the Ward 2 race in this fall's municipal election. Gordon officially filed his papers yesterday joining a five person race (so far) that includes Ray Ferraro, Chris Keleher Sr., Sian Matwey, and Mark Paralovos. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Burcher Exits Ward 5 Race

Despite registering to run for re-election the first day that nominations were open, Ward 5 Councillor Lise Burcher has decided to withdraw her name from the ballot. Burcher's is the second departure from the Ward 5 race in the last two weeks as Robert Routledge withdrew his candidacy last week citing work commitments. If no other names join the race, this effectively makes the Ward 5 race a fait accompli with only two names on the ballot remaining: incumbent Leanna Piper and former councillor Cathy Downer. Burcher, who is also a landscape architecture professor at the University of Guelph, was elected to council in 2003, and has also served on the Board of Directors for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The last day to register as a candidate is September 12; the election takes place on October 27.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Safe Semester Kicks Off Next Weekend

From some it's a return to normalcy, for others its the deafening end to a precious few months of peace and quiet. However you see the start of a new school year, it's beginning again this weekend, and the city is responding to the influx with the implementation of the Safe Semester Program. Taken for a test drive last year and deemed a success, the program makes a comeback with one small change, and the hopes that the weekend flock to pub row downtown is run as smooth as humanly possible (given that many of those humans are deeply inebriated).

Saturday, August 23, 2014

More Candidates Enter Race as August Draws to Close

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.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Conservative EDA Says Oliver Visit a Success

A special guest came to town yesterday in the person of Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver. After a couple of meetings with local business leaders at the Holiday Inn, it was time for that annual summer tradition of the political barbeque, and from the sounds of it, at least according the Guelph Federal Conservation Electoral District Association (EDA), it was all a smash success.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Marty Says Mea Culpa

Yesterday's conviction of Michael Sona managed to do the impossible, prompt a response from Marty Burke. Burke was the Conservative candidate for Guelph in the 2011 Federal Election, and it was under his auspices that Sona, in party with others, allegedly launched the robocall scheme to misdirect nearly 7,000 to a fake polling station. Burke fought tooth and nail to keep himself and his name out of the media during the entirety of the investigation, arrest and trial of Sona and the robocall crimes, but now that it's all over (for now?) Burke is talking, and apologizing.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sona Found Guilty But May Not Have Acted Alone

Crown Prosecutor Croft Michaelson talks to media after the verdict

Wrapping up an odyssey that's been in play for over three years, Michael Sona was found guilty in a Guelph courtroom this morning of "willfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent an elector from voting." After a summation of the trial and the facts offered into evidence, Judge Gary Hearn rendered his judgment to a packed gallery of media and observers at the provincial courthouse on Wyndham Street. Hearn said that upon consideration of the "balance of evidence" he was satisfied that Sona had aided and abetted the May 2, 2011 robocall scheme to misdirect nearly 7,000 Guelph voters to different polling stations, and "was a party to it."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

EDITORIAL - Council Leadership Pitiful During Lockout

Since last Friday, Guelphites from Watson Parkway to Elmira Road, from Woodlawn to Claire, have all enjoyed the renewed freedom of movement and cost efficiency of riding Guelph Transit. Both the Guelph City Council and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 moved quickly last Tuesday to ratify the negotiated agreement, and city hall offered a small token of peace to transit users by making buses free for a week. So to quote the song from a popular animated movie, "Everything is Awesome," right?
Well let's ask Ray Sheppard, who had to spend $50 in cab fare per day to get to and from work. Or Jackie Mahony, who spend $40 in cabs everyday to visit loved ones in the hospital. Or personal support worker June Loughed who put $400 in the coffers of Canadian Cab, Red Top and Guelph Taxi. Jonathan Ridgeway doesn't think it's awesome, as he had to shell out cab fare so that his employees could make it to work to assist fewer customers, since walk-in traffic took a hit with fewer than normal people moving around. Poor Ryan Fowler wishes his boss was altruistic enough to give out cab fare, he lost his job when the two hour walk to and from work proved cumbersome.
Those were the five people featured in the Guelph Tribune's weekly streeter and asked the question how they coped with the transit lockout. I have a feeling that these five are a small sample of the thousands who had similar struggles for nearly three weeks in the Royal City when the sour negotiations with transit workers took an even more sour turn with the threat, revoking and implementation of the lockout. The question is though, will Ray, Jackie, June, Jonathan and Ryan make city council pay for it at the ballot box on October 27? I don't know if they will, but I can think of a compelling case why they should think about it.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Artist/Activist Sue Richards Passes Away

It was sudden though not terribly surprising last week when it was announced that local arts scion Sue Richards had passed away. She had been suffering from Parkinson's Disease since 2007, but kept up the good fight up until last Saturday when she couldn't outpace her illness anymore. Richards was only 56, but her legacy and contributions to the culture of the Royal City will be felt for years to come. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

New Candidate Aims to Shake Up Mayor's Race

A new candidate who entered the mayoral race this week hopes to shake things up, and he's making a pretty big noise as he's filing his papers. University of Waterloo professor Jason Blokhuis is the sixth candidate to declare for the mayor's race in Guelph this election cycle, and he's making a play to position himself as a middle path between incumbent Karen Farbridge and her immediate challenger Cam Guthrie.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Guelph Transit Back Friday; ATU & City Both Ratify Agreement

August 8 has always been a politically significant day, in 1942 it was the start of the Quiet India movement, in 1974 it was the day that Richard Nixon announced he was stepping down from the presidency, and in 1990 it was the day that Iraq invaded Kuwait, setting off a series of events that would lead to the Gulf War. Now August 8 is the date when the Guelph Transit lockout ended and the buses will start rolling out onto city roads once more. The City of Guelph and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 have both ratified a new contract and service will be restored once schedules are made and the bus fleet is inspected, which should be Friday at the earliest. What's in the agreement, and what's next for riders? Read on...

Monday, August 4, 2014

This Municipal Election Year is an Animal Farm

From CTV Kitchener
 George Orwell's 1945 political satire Animal Farm was about a group of animals who take over their farm from the drunk and inept Mr. Jones and enjoy success until the pigs that led the revolution become corrupt and human-like. Orwell was commenting on the Russian Revolution, but Animal Farm may be somewhat prescient in terms of the way the municipal election is shaking out in some quarters. You see, the animals are making a play to take over.

Friday, August 1, 2014

UPDATE: City & Union Voting on Agreement Tuesday; Buses Could Be Back Friday

For the TL;DR set, both the Guelph City Council and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 will be voting Tuesday to ratify the tentative agreement reached late last night. If it's passed by both parties, City of Guelph buses could be back on the road as early as Friday allowing for at least two days for inspection of the vehicles and for transit services to make sure all routes and positions are properly scheduled.

City & ATU Reach Tentative Agreement; Bus Service to be Restored After Ratification

As the lockout of Guelph Transit nears the end of its second week, there's a sign of hope that this time next week we may be able to get back on the buses again. Word came in late last night that the City of Guelph and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 have reached a tentative agreement. The key point is that this means there's no immediate end to the lockout. The ATU members will vote this coming Thursday, August 7, and if they vote to ratify, council will hold a special meeting to vote it through on their end. Meeting day and time to confirmed soon. Now the question is, for the union, will the third time be the charm?