About the Blog:

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Craig Chamberlain (Ward 3) - Candidate Questionnaire

Craig Chamberlain aims to fight an uphill battle, trying to unseat one of two incumbents in Ward 3. This isn't the first time that the husband, father, and property manager has run in his ward, but Chamberlain's running hard on the idea that his two councillors haven't been as representative as they should have to him and his fellow Ward 3-ians. He's advocated for the protection of our watershed, written about civic matters in the Guelph Mercury, and was named one of the paper's 40 Under 40. "Happiness is being impactful, making things better, now and into the future," Chamberlain says. "Accountability is important to me and it work hard to demonstrate it, beginning going on the record through blog comments and my past columns in the Guelph Mercury." Chamberlain hopes to demonstrate it again, by telling voters what he thinks on the issues in the Politico questionnaire.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Election Day Exactly One Month Away

It's the final (ish) countdown starting today, exactly one month until the Municipal Election here in Guelph (and many parts of Ontario). Practically speaking, I have about one-quarter of the candidates' responses to the Politico candidate questionnaire, and I expect that I'll be getting many more through the week. I have one mayoral candidate podcast in the bank, but I'm still chasing the two main competitors in the race to give them their 15 (or 30 to 40) minutes. As we enter October, I hope to put the emphasis on issues reporting, and less on information gathering, so there will hopefully be a chance to generate some good discussion. But as we're marking one month to Election Day, I thought I would post this little treat.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Guelph Politicast #4.3 - Andrew Donovan, Mayoral Candidate

Andrew Donovan has the distinction of being the youngest person in the Guelph Mayoral race, and although others in the race may certainly seem that way in terms of platform, he's also the race's only avowed libertarian. Entering the race late in August, Donovan, who graduated from the University of Guelph just this past spring, aimed to shed some light on issues other than the ones getting the most air this campaign, which is mostly tied to Urbacon and whether or not Guelph is overspent, and overtaxed.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mayoral Debate and Candidate Meet-and-Greet at U of G

The next big event on the Municipal Campaign trail is taking place next week on the University of Guelph campus. The Community Engagement and Global Citizenship wing of Student Life is hosting a mayoral debate and candidate meet and greet for those running in Wards 5 and 6 in the University Centre courtyard on Tuesday during the noon hour. This will be the first time the mayoral candidates will clash in the direct appeal for votes, and it will be a chance for those running in Ward 5 and 6 to get together prior to their separate October 3 Chamber of Commerce debates at City Hall.

City Warns of Door-to-Door Water Treatment Scammers

It's fall and the election is full swing, but the fall also seems to bring with it new opportunity for scammers and ne'er-do-wells looking to swindle hard working Guelphites out of a few bucks. The City of Guelph sent out a warning yesterday that the old water treatment system fraud is back in town going door-to-door in an attempt to bamboozle Royal City citizens. If you are approached, and you think there's something fishy about the offer, they're advising you to get in touch with Guelph Police.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jason Dodge (Ward 3) - Candidate Questionnaire

Jason Dodge is one of six very serious contenders in the Ward 3 race, a race that's attracted politicians of all interests and political stripes. A production manager for a maintenance firm, a venturing businessman working towards starting his own business and a married father of three, Dodge has called Guelph for almost 40 years. He's been fairly active in the community via sports, volunteer work for charities, and two terms as a member of the Community Editorial Board with the Guelph Mercury. Dodge has also become a strong advocate for children with special needs, a personal connection he feels through his autistic son. As for running in this election, Dodge says "representing Ward 3 is one of the highest honours that anyone could voluntarily take on. I also believe that it is a position that should be served with pride and respect, and it is one that should be transparent and accountable." Will the people of Ward 3 agree enough to unseat incumbents Maggie Laidlaw and June Hofland? Here's Dodge's responses to the Candidate Questionnaire.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guelph Politicast Episode #4.2 - Jason Blokhuis, Mayoral Candidate

Jason Blokhuis came into the Guelph Mayor's race hoping to shake things up, and break open what sometimes feels like a two man (so to speak) race. The University of Waterloo prof thinks that the choice in this election need not come down to one between the status quo of Karen Farbridge versus the populist appeal of Councillor Cam Guthrie. Instead, he wants to make an appeal for smarter government, a point of view that says maybe we can be the progressive city we know and love while still being shrewd and prudent with how we spend our tax money. A provocative opinion to be sure.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rob Dunn-Dufault (Ward 4) - Candidate Questionnaire

Rob Dunn-Dufault grew up in Hamilton, but he's made Guelph home for over 20 years now. After studying Chemistry at the University of Guelph, he stayed in town, married and is currently raising his three children in Ward 4. Working as an Automation Product Manager at ThermoFisher Scientific, Dunn-Dufault balances his professional life with volunteer commitments like sitting on the board of the Guelph Community Health Centre, acting as a Big Brother, and mentoring youth at the Guelph Karate Club. He's also a scout leader for the 6th Guelph. In running for city council, Dunn-Dufault says that his career as a scientist will help assist his deliberations as a city councillor by being "critical and inventive," he says. "Even complex problems can have simple solutions when explored from different points of view. I hope to bring this open minded reasoning to city planning." Will the voters of Ward 4 agree? Here are Dunn-Dufault's responses to the Guelph Politico Candidate Questionnaire.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Keith Poore (Ward 6) - Candidate Questionnaire

Keith Poore is notable as a candidate, if for no other reason, than for being the election's only student candidate, currently studying for his Masters in Computational Biophysics researching health care and immunization of infectious diseases. At the University of Guelph, Poore served on the Board of Directors for the Graduate Student Association including the By-Laws committee, Awards committee, Honouraria committee, and the Information Technology Student Advisory Committee (ITSAC). Before coming to Guelph, Poore was an executive of the Ryerson Student Union as well as the Chair of the Department of Physics at Ryerson University, and before that, at the age of 17, he sat on TD's Friends of the Environment Board as a Board Member. Outside of school, Poore was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the Unitarian Congregation of Guelph. Now, Poore hopes that people of Ward 6 find him sufficiently accomplished and engaged to represent them on city council.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dan Gibson (Ward 1) - Candidate Questionnaire

In his campaign for Ward 1, Dan Gibson is making it clear that he thinks his ward is being ignored, and he's not going to take it anymore! A senior environmental scientist with over 15 years experience working in both the private and public sector, Gibson has focused on sustainable development and seeking innovative ways to resolve complex issues. He's been a guest lecturer, a published author, contributed to federal and provincial socio/economic impact studies, and has been a part of over 50 environmental assessments for land use planning/development across Canada. Personally, Gibson and his wife volunteer for International Children’s Aid Organization and are committed financial partners of Lakeside Hope House in Downtown Guelph. Gibson has also served as a volunteer at a Salvation Army men’s shelter in downtown Toronto. Now, he hopes to represent Ward 1 in the very contentious race in Guelph's original ward.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dates for Chamber Debates Set

Along with signs and canvassing, one of the sure indications that you're in the middle of an election season is the announcement of debates. As per usual, the Guelph Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a series of debates for all the candidates from the various wards and the mayor races. In addition, the University of Guelph will be hosting its own electoral debate/get-together at the end of the month. Below find the details of the upcoming announced debates.

Mike Salisbury (Ward 4) - Candidate Questionnaire

Mike Salisbury loved being city councillor so much that even though he lost his seat to now-mayoral candidate Cam Guthrie in the 2010 municipal election, he's rolling the dice again in the open field of the Ward 4 race. Mike Salisbury lives and works in ward 4 and has extensive business development, financial management and project planning experience across a broad range of business and not-for-profit endeavours that he brings to City Hall. (You also might have seen him on CBC's Dragon's Den a couple of years ago with a decomposable casket.) In a ward without an incumbent, Salisbury might have the experience for the job Ward 4-ians might be looking for.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mark MacKinnon (Ward 6) - Candidate Questionnaire

Ward 6 is only one of two wards in the city of Guelph where both incumbents are running for re-election, and Mark MacKinnon hopes that there's room for an upset in his backyard. MacKinnon has a diverse business interest, he owns the Guelph-based board game publisher Dyskami, and he's a real estate broker with Peak Precision Realty and mortgage broker with Mortgage Alliance – Bildwell Financial. As for public service, he's been a member of the Upper Grand District School Board’s Parent Involvement Committee (PIC), member and former playground committee chair of Westminster Wood Pubic School’s Parent Council, board member of the Westminster Woods Mutual Use Committee (MUC), Wellington Common Element Condominium Corporation (WCEC) 155 board president (and former WCEC 112 board president), board member Guelph Spoken Word and Creative Director of Guelph’s $10,000 Ontario International Poetry Slam competition festival. MacKinnon's made his home in Ward 6 for the last decade with his wife Karen and his two sons.

Bob Bell (Ward 1) - Candidate Questionnaire

Bob Bell is an engineer and entrepreneur that owns and operates Wike Bicycle Trailers. Growing from a small basement operation to a thriving local manufacturer, Wike is the largest manufacturer of bicycle trailers in North America. Every trailer that Wike sells is made in Guelph. In 2006, Bell was first elected to Guelph City Council, and in his role as a councillor he's served on the Solid Waste Master Plan Committee, the Composting Steering Committee, the Grand River Conservation Authority, Guelph Non-Profit Housing Corporation and the several Standing Committees. Before council wrapped before the election, he was Chair of the Planning, Engineering, Environment, and Building Committee. He also boasts the best attendance record of any city councillor, and Bell hopes that because of his track record of voting and acting independently, his constituents will return him to council for a third term.

Monday, September 15, 2014

VIDEO - Guthrie Official Launches Campaign with Barbeque

The last time Cam Guthrie called all his supporters together for a campaign event, it was a blizzard-y day in January to announce his intention to run to become Mayor of Guelph. On this Thursday evening in September though, the weather was better, but the crowd wasn't any less enthusiastic nine months later about supporting their man Guthrie in his bid. With camera in hand, I went to Guthrie's official opening of his new campaign HQ on Wyndham St. S. and talked to some of the people who were there to celebrate the occasion, what their issues were and why they're supporting Guelph. Both of the main contenders have officially launched their campaign now, so it's a race to Election Day now, everyone. Watch the video below.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Karl Wettstein (Ward 6) - Candidate Questionnaire

Karl Wettstein has been a city concillor in Ward 6 for 11 years, and while some people might look at over a decade of public service as  a job well done, Wettstein is looking to bank four more.Wettstein has been a Guelph resident for over 30 years, and during his time on council he's beem Chair of Finance and Audit committees, one of the executive on the Corporate Strategic Planning, Human Resources, Real state Management/Development committees and sat on Governance, Community Services, PBBE, River Run, Guelph Junction Railway and many more. He's sat on the boards for Downtown Board of Management, Chamber of Commerce, Meridian Credit Union, Guelph & Wellington Credit Union, Cooperators Dev. Corp. Ltd. and volunteered with the Rotary Club of Guelph, the United Way and Guelph Minor Baseball and Hockey. Now, he wants to make a case for his re-election to city council.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Guelph Ballot for the 2014 Municipal Election

As compared to evenst in Toronto, it was a fairly quiet final day to add one's name to the ballot for next month's municipal election. But as of 2 pm today, the ballot is set, and for better or worse, this is the slate of candidates for all positions - mayor, city councillor, and school board trustee. Here's the final ballot for the election in all positions:

Familiar Names Join Local Races in Final Hours

Friday at 1:59 pm was literally the last minute someone in the City of Guelph could submit their papers for election, and while it's been a very busy couple of days at the clerk's office, the final countdown seemed to come and go with only a couple of people racing to beat the clock. And they were some actual big names too, at least if you're following local politics. A couple of former provincial candidates, a former city councillor and an alternative transit advocate have all joined the ranks of the ready, willing and able for Guelph 2014.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Todd Dennis (Ward 6) - Candidate Questionnaire

Todd Dennis first came to city council in 2010, and he's hoping that the people in Ward 6 liked what he did so much over the last four years that they give him their vote again. A graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland with a Bachelor of Science degree, Dennis has made a 25 year career in the transportation industry. When not working, Dennis is actively involved in several community, professional and volunteer organizations, or spending time with his wife of 11 years Lynda and his two step-children. He loves to travel and is an avid runner of the exercise variety, and he's hoping that he finishes this political in either first or second place.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

City Hall Reporter Wants to Become the Reported

All those years of reporting and blogging about local issues and the business of City Hall apparently gave former Guelph Mercury journalist Scott Tracey a kind of Stockholm syndrome. Or maybe he's just now of the opinion that if he can't beat them, join them. Or, the more likely, he's being driven by a sense of civic pride and commitment. Regardless of the reason why, Tracey is throwing his hat into the ring for this fall's municipal election running in the very busy Ward 4 race.

James Gordon (Ward 2) - Candidates Questionnaire

If you haven't heard of James Gordon then welcome to Guelph. After two turns at running in provincial politics, Gordon is now running for city council in Ward 2. Amongst his accolades, Gordon was the first President of the Guelph Civic League, the first Artistic Director of the Hillside Festival, a co-founder of the Wellington Water Watchers, the Founding Chair of the Family Mental Health Network, and winner of Mayor’s Award in 2008 for community service. Above and beyond that, he's well-known for his contributions to the arts and his career as a singer-songwriter. And now, he's the first respondent of Guelph Politico's 2014 Municipal Election candidate questionnaire.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Press Release - City and Urbacon Settle Out of Court for Over $6.5 Million

If you're running for re-election to city council this is probably both good news and bad news. Good news because with the announcement of a settlement marks the end of what can liberally be called a debacle for the City of Guelph; but on the other hand it puts the issue right back on the front page as it were. The sunny side up statement from the city below goes out of its way to point out that the $6.635 million settlement will not impact property taxes in the City of Guelph, but Royal City citizens have got to be left scratching their heads as to what exactly will be delayed and/or cancelled with nearly $7 million going to pay off Urbacon. In the end, look for this to remain a fairly pointed election issue over the next several weeks.

Guelph Politicast #4.1 - John Legere, Mayoral Candidate

The election season officially gets underway on Guelph Politico today with the launch of season four of the Guelph Politicast. This season will deal with the 2014 Municipal Election, and will predominately focus on interviews with the candidates running for Mayor of Guelph. At bat first is John Legere, a local businessman and family man who was one of the first ones in the race this past January. Legere's main issue is the promotion of transparency in government, and creating what he calls a "a truly representative government," and he's launched a grassroots campaign to test the waters for his idea.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Elections Canada Now Collecting Victim Impact Statements

Al Mathews arrives at Guelph Court last month to hear Sona verdict.

If you talked to Elections Canada about getting a robocall referring you to Old Quebec Street as your polling place on May 2, 2011, then you might have gotten an e-mail like the one below. Senior Investigator Al Mathews is now gathering victim impact statements to present to Guelph Judge Gary Hearn when the Sona trial reconvenes next month for the the sentencing portion. It's uncertain how the statements will impact the sentencing, and its uncertain what kind of sentence that Michael Sona might get considering that he's the first person to be convicted under the Elections Act, but it will be interesting to see how many statements that the Crown gets back. Is there enough lingering anger about robocalls to create tremendous response? Will people be eager to see anyone punished, even if it's Sona, and only Sona, that's being punished? Court is back in session October 17.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

With VIDEO - Farbridge Launches Campaign with Broadsides Against Front-runner

Being ushered to the train station on the corner of Carden and Wyndham Streets by a brass quartet, one might be confused as to whether or not Mayor Karen Farbridge was kicking off her campaign with a joyful tone or with a New Orleans-style funeral procession. When she began to speak, however, there was no doubt that Farbridge is in it to win it. Ferociously defensive of her leadership-style and he vision as mayor, Farbridge made it perfectly clear that she's out to secure her fourth term in office despite the polls or the perceptions of the pundit class.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Guelph's New MedCannAccess Solution Centre Welcomed with Open Arms

It was just four years ago that the Medical Cannabis Club of Guelph was shuttered following a police raid that saw many of its staff arrested and its clientele forced to look elsewhere for their medication. Today though, for the opening of the new Guelph office of the MedCannAccess Solution Centres, the tone was quite different.  
Several local politicians including Ward 3 Councillor Maggie Laidlaw, Ward 2 candidates James Gordon and Sian Matwey, Ward 6 candidate Keith Poore, and Guelph Member of Parliament Frank Valeriote, were all on hand to welcome the opening of this third MedCannAccess Centre in Ontario with open arms. The Centre's goal: to provide a one-stop shop for consultation, information and referral for patients seeking medicinal marijuana options to treat what ails them.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Guthrie Leads Farbridge in Forum Poll

It must be an election because we now have polling data. In a Forum Poll released Tuesday looking at the Guelph Mayoral race, it seems as if current mayor, Karen Farbridge, had best be prepared to look for new work on October 28. Of course, this poll comes fairly early in the (real) campaign, and we all know the unreliability of polling in the last couple of years, but is it an indication that Farbridge may come up short for a fourth term in office, and that Cam Guthrie's gambit to trade his Ward 4 seat for the mayor's chain will work out?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bell and Van Hellemond Confirm Re-Election Bids

The final two questions marks on the current city council have been erased today with Ward 1's Bob Bell and Ward 2's Andy Van Hellemond both filing their papers to run for re-election in the October 27 Municipal Election. Bell and Van Hellemond were the last two undeclared members of council, which regardless of whether or not all the incumbents are re-elected next month will see a serious turnover of new faces at the first council meeting in November.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Politics, Comic Books and Coins

The intermittent silence on Politico over the weekend stemmed from my time covering the National Fan Expo in Toronto for one of the culture vulture websites I get paid to write for. For those unfamiliar with Fan Expo, I basically describe it to the less nerdy as Canada's Comic Con, an expansive event for all things nerdy including science fiction, horror, comic books, and video games. But since synergy is synergy, the occasion offered a compelling opportunity, for politics and nerdery to mix.