11 Comments
Nov 18, 2023Liked by Melissa Bowman

For me, this byelection has many issues to consider.

I supported Aislinn for city council because I liked her combativeness and compassion. Since that election I've contacted her a couple of times regarding municipal issues and it is clear she is still on a steep learning curve for how the city (and region) works. So I was disappointed that she jumped into another election campaign months before the writ was actually dropped. And the 'elephant in the room' is: is the Green Party actually "a thing"? It seems to be several 'independent candidates' who use the "Green" branding. But their national party imploded over the leadership of Annamie Paul and would barely exist as a party unless Elizabeth May had come back. I supported Mike Morrice and believe he is doing a great job in Ottawa. But I see him as an "independant". The Greens even pride themselves on being able to vote independently which further weakens their impact as a provincial or federal "force". Can anyone (who is not an insider policy wonk) really point out three clear differences in Green versus NDP policies? I didn't think so.

I agree with your frustration over Debbie Chapman's inconsistent voting and messaging over developments and I've contacted her about that a few times. But I admire how she has posted to her followers in social media when meetings etc. are upcoming and she has been genuinely engaged with her constituents. I also feel she has done "her time" at the municipal level so jumping into provincial politics is not so jarring. And the NDP held the riding through two elections, so they have a good chance for this one. However, I'm very unhappy with the way their leader handled the Sarah Jama affair. If they cannot even work with one of their members to resolve contentious issues, how does that bode for running a province?

Finally, there is the issue of Kelly Steiss. I like her as a candidate and think she has many good skills. And the fact is: in the entire modern history of politics in Ontario, the Liberal Party is the only party (other than the Cons) to have won multiple elections. Other than the Bob Rae election (which we voted in, and were excited by!) the NDP has constantly failed to impress. So I have a huge soft spot for the Liberals and they implemented several progressive policies in education, green energy and the 'basic income' study. However, I don't think Steiss has a real chance given the (exceedingly) long campaign of the Greens and the NDP's current position as (sort of) incumbent.

I won't bother discussing Mr. Keswick. I just wish him well with whatever he is doing in that place.

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Nov 17, 2023Liked by Melissa Bowman

Thanks for your well-reasoned argument, Melissa. Aislinn will be a great MPP. Thanks for doing some analysis on the byelection. I wish someone would do a story on how few of the fringe candidates (including Rob the Parachute Candidate from Keswick) actually live in the riding. If there was a law requiring people to live in the community they hope to represent, the ballot would be a lot shorter. Keep up the good work on the municipal scene as well.

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Nov 17, 2023·edited Nov 17, 2023Liked by Melissa Bowman

We wish vote-splitting was an impossibility, as it would be with any alternative voting system. It is a concern in our household too.

Appreciate your critical look at the real candidates for this by-election. Clancy is best aligned with my priorities and concerns as a voter and it's nice to get to know her a little better through this post, I haven't had the opportunity to meet her yet.

The parachuted PC candidate is just so ... guh. What does it say for our local conservatives that not one, within the whole region even, bothered to step up and represent their party. Doug Ford is awful but that doesn't dictate every member or even the future of the party. Disengagement from their community however is not good at all.

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Nov 21, 2023Liked by Melissa Bowman

After talking with my wife and a couple of engaged neighbours, we've decided to support Debbie Chapman, the NDP candidate and will get a sign! We believe the only way to an "alternative" to the CONs is to build a real opposition party. The Greens split the centre/left vote even further than the Liberal/NDP vote and they will never be more than a fringe party (once Elizabeth May retires I'm not sure if they will exist nationally). Yes, they have good candidates at the Federal and Provincial level, but I look at politics from the perspective of "the party". It is the Ontario conservative party that has worked to strip away rights from municipalities, closed down the Basic Income study, deep-sixed the existing "Green" policies and went to court against the Federal government's Carbon tax. I'm certainly not excited voting NDP, but we believe it is the best choice from a "party" perspective.

Perhaps, after the Liberals elect a leader, we can re-asses for the next election.

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Nov 21, 2023Liked by Melissa Bowman

Thanks so much -- including the trends to the candidates' past voting history is helpful, and inexplicably the local paper hasn't done it. I have the same conclusions, and the same worry about vote splitting -- the last time a Conservative candidate was elected here, that's exactly what happened. It really feels like the whole riding is willing to vote for either candidate, but is holding its collective breath waiting for some impactful sign to say 'let's go with this one' so we can avoid that split.

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Nov 19, 2023Liked by Melissa Bowman

Thanks for this summary, Melissa! Good perspectives & info.

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It seems racism has been eliminated in Kitchener. I seem to have missed that notification. Well done.

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