Let's make sure the candidates are 'n sync with Kitchener Centre's priorities
Of course councillors are free to run for any positions they believe in. I know some of the impetus to run is due to the Ford government stripping municipalities of their power to affect development with Bill 23. It is a *lot* of work to knock on doors, engage volunteers etc.
However, I was part of a committee from three Neighbourhood Associations who met several times and organized a "meet the candidates" event for Ward 10. It took a great deal of work and we posted it to YouTube where it had almost 300 views. All candidates were serious contenders and well spoken. We believed we had helped democracy and that whomever was elected could serve the Ward for several years. Many other volunteers organized an event for Ward 9. I guess we will know within 6 months if we need to elect another candidate for either of those Wards. If a separate by-election is called to fill a municipal vacancy some of us will have to ask "is it worth organizing another all-candidates event"? Election exhaustion affects many people who participate in this 'democracy thing'.
As a liberal-minded, democratic, conservatory progressive, I could support any of the candidates currently in the running for Kitchener Centre. Since two of them constitute 100% of the representation for Kitchener's downtown and its neighbourhoods on City Council, having them both on leave of absence at the same time would leave a serious gap at a critical time: Decisions made over the next 6-12 months could determine the very existence of the City, it's historic centre and it's place as part of Waterloo the County/Region, Ontario and Canada. Of course they're entitled to go on leave of absence or even resign if they saw fit. But given current circumstances, I would encourage them both to stay on the job. Meanwhile, we, meaning anyone and everyone who cares about what's at stake for Ward 9 and 10, can step up with an extra effort to help them do their work, which is essentially making key decisions, while they're campaigning for the role of representing us in Queen's Park. Now is the time for coming forward to serve our city and our neighbourhoods in any we can, especially through imagining, deliberating and speaking up about the best way for us to move forward.
First, the title and subtitle are THE best! I love some Y2K nostalgia in the morning :)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and keeping us informed on this. It does feel like so much turnover and not a lot of attention being paid to the harder conversation of city councillors perceivably dismissing their constituents and the municipal concerns of their wards. Commitment goes a long way with folks and building trust. I acknowledge these aren't pleasant questions or assumptions, but as a voter this is where my thoughts on who I'm going to vote for begin.
There's much work for the candidates to do and it's more than just getting one's name out there, people in general are burnt out or on the verge and at capacity in so many regards. Voter apathy and record low turnout were the hallmarks of the last municipal election. I'm looking forward to hearing platforms, intended work for Kitchener Centre as our MPP, strategies and fair solutions for those communities in Kitchener who elected one councillor and may end up represented by another.
Edited to add - I'm so glad Laura Mae Lindo is moving into a position where her life is more balanced and she is supported but I will miss her leadership.
There are so many implications for however this is handled. As a resident in ward 10, the ongoing property development matters in the downtown core have a big effect on us and I would like our elected city councilor present and voting. And yet, it also feels ethical for the councilor to be clear on where their focus is for a campaign period. Mostly, I am very encouraged to see multiple candidates who have strong community ties willing to step up and offer their visions for our city. Grateful for Laura Mae Lindo's exceptional leadership these past years and sorry to see her go!
The fact that we have no idea who the PCs will be running suggests to me that Ford will take his time in calling this by-election. While I support the idea of the leave-of-absence generally speaking, I'd like to echo the fact that both downtown councillors taking a leave of absence to run for another office leaves the downtown perilously exposed to the interests of the suburbs. I mean, I'm not thrilled with the performance of our downtown councillors anyway - stop coming up with reasons not to build housing, and effing build housing! - but having both councllors gone for 6 months isn't optimal either.
well at least it wasnt backstreet boys
We were just having the conversation yesterday that we were wondering what was going on with the election. I saw signs at the corner of Park and Victoria yesterday and had a door knocker from the Green Party this week. Thanks for keeping us informed! In regards to your husbands opinions you can just say “I want it that way” (I know the band is different but it’s the same vibe)
I love your title and subtitle (and ALL of your posts). Thanks for helping to keep me on top of things.
I wonder how much a by-election would cost; down the highway here in London, our city loathes them and appoints someone
Are you planning a follow-up column now that the Kitchener Centre by-election's been called, Melissa? I find your coverage -- and the comments section as well! - very enlightening, and well-informed. I'm glad for the access!
Because counting is fun... in the time between the 2021 federal election and the 2022 municipal elections there were 306 candidates for an elected office in Waterloo Region!
5 Federal MPs with 29 candidates
5 Provinical MPPs with 31 candidates
City/Township elections with 136 candidates for ward councillor and 15 for mayor
Regional elections with 30 candidates for councillor and 3 for Chair
4 School boards with 62 candidates for trustee
But to the provincial byelection, and the candidates that are also city councillors... something we don't talk about enough is that these coucillors are not expected to be full time. Ever. Every one that I've tried to look up has a significant side gig going on. So... how can we worry about their commitment to the Council during a byelection when we don't worry about it the rest of the time?
Great title/subtitle. I'm sticking around, this I promise you.