Need to get the provincial election done with before you can focus on city hall. Just what is happening in that campaign anyway?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 25, 2014


All the election signs are either for Eleanor McMahon, the Liberal candidate or Jane McKenna, the Progressive Conservative incumbent seeking re-election.  Have yet to see a sign for the New Democratic candidate.  All those signs make it hard to appreciate that there is a municipal election working its way towards the day everyone will cast a ballot in October.

An exceptionally well connected business person, sometimes described as a pundit, was approached by a member of one of the city’s advisory committees and asked how the pundit would rank things in each of the wards.  The member of the city advisory committee had decided that it was time in his career to get involved in local politics and make a contribution at the city council level.

Our potential candidate at first thought he would take a shot at the job of Mayor but decided that he needed to learn to walk first before starting to run.

Councillor Blair Lancaster" not a big fan of public meetings.

There are at least five people who want to eat her lunch: Councillor Blair Lancaster has a fight on her hands – if she runs again.

The pundit ranked things this way:  Ward 6 is going to have a different council member come October he is reported to have said.  Given that there are now five people seeking that seat – the incumbent has yet to file nomination papers – that would seem to be a safe assumption.  A lot of people seem to feel Blair Lancaster can be beaten.  With a possible six candidates on the ballot it would be a mistake to count the former beauty queen out just yet – name recognition will take a candidate a long way.

Ward 5 is the next easiest to win in opined the pundit.  The sense of the pundit was that the incumbent Paul Sharman doesn’t own his ward yet.  

Ward 4 is still a tossup, the Roseland Community Organization doesn’t like any of the people who have their hat in the ring and they dearly want to see a strong candidate defeat the incumbent Jack Dennison who will be at his Ontario Municipal Board hearing Thursday and Friday of this week.  Dennison has yet to file nomination papers but then he always waits until June to do so.

"I don't want to hear anymore delegations" said Councillor Jack Dennison.

Councillor Jack Dennison: is he running again?

Councillor Dennison asked the Committee of Adjustment to allow him to sever his Lakeshore property into two pieces so he could sell off a part for a reported $900,000.  Many in Roseland thought that was an atrocious thing to do and took exception to their Councillor doing something that would lessen the value of properties along Lakeshore Road.

Ward 3 is going to be a fight for anyone who decides to take on 22 year veteran John Taylor.  He can be beaten but it will take a candidate with a lot of energy and a strong start to topple Taylor.

Ward 2 is thought to be suicide territory for anyone who decides to run against Marianne Meed Ward.  She is certainly popular – but she has yet to be tested.  If she is re-elected by a significant majority – and she should win – she will be a leading candidate for the office of Mayor in 2018

Ward 1 – Rick Craven has a tight grip on that ward – nothing happens in Aldershot without Craven knowing about it and giving it his blessing.  He goes bananas when Meed Ward buts in on his territory.

Of the two newbies running in ward 1 Katherine Henshell is the only one that can give   Craven any kind of a run for his money.  The woman is focused, does her homework and is also very pregnant.  Will that make any difference?  Shouldn’t – might even get her the Mommy vote – and in Aldershot that counts for quite a bit. 

Councillor Rick Craven, centre, with a copy of the 2013 budget on a memory stick. Craven did a superb job of chairing the budget committee last year.  He will have no argument with candidate Henshell over the need for additional shopping facilities in Aldershot - getting themt there has been the challenge.

Councillor Rick Craven, centre, managed to hide behind a council chamber partition while a vote on an Aldershot matter was being debated. Here he sits with Councillors Dennison and Taylor during a budget meeting.  The three are the most experienced members of Council.

Henshell did tweak Craven’s nose when she told a city council meeting she was the only person speaking for Aldershot and the Bridgeview development brought to a Standing Committee meeting at which Craven didn’t say a word – he wasn’t even in the council chamber – he remained outside the room for all of the more than an hour long debate – walking in seconds after the vote was cast.

One political observer we hear from regularly asked how much the developer had donated to the various election campaigns – we weren’t able to find that information on the city web site.  While city hall has the data they don’t put it up on the web site where people can look at the file and learn who gave and how much did they give.  This kind of information should be available for every member of council for every election then ran in.

Wonder what the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has to say about that kind of information net being available.  A good city Clerk would have ensured the information was readily available.

For anyone to actually beat Craven would be an upset – but then that is what politics is all about.

His worship appears to be heading for an acclamation which is unfortunate.  Rick Goldring needs a strong contender to stiffen him up.  He’s not a bad mayor, many see him as a weak leader but a closer look, particularly at the way he handled the bringing in of an interim city manager when Burlington got dumped by then city manager Jeff Fielding showed some really good leadership on the part of the Mayor.  Maybe he is growing into the office.  Nevertheless, a good stiff competition would keep him on his toes.

You won’t be seeing city council candidates at your door until the provincial election is over – could that be a blessing?

There will be plenty for you to ask questions about as we wind our way through the summer.

Mayor Goldring picking up donation in the Santa Claus parade - met with other GTA Mayors to pick up provincial finds to help with the ice storm damage.  Maybe he should have taken the hockey stick and the sock with him?

Mayor Rick Goldring.  He is in the race – just doesn’t have anyone to race against right now.  Early in this term of office Goldring said he wasn’t going to go the getting his picture in the paper route.  Here he collects funds in a parade for the Old Timers hockey league.

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3 comments to Need to get the provincial election done with before you can focus on city hall. Just what is happening in that campaign anyway?

  • greg.fabian

    I completely agree and have asked this question several times.

    A 6 week blitz is more than sufficient

    The process is far too long. We are completely exhausted after 6-8 weeks of provincial or federal electioneering. Why 8+ months for municipal? Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the voter apathy.

    It seems to me that the long process might favour the incumbent as they have the benefit of working as a councilor and campaigning at the same time.

    I question whether they are fully committed to working while campaigning.

  • Hey wood

    Omg you need to talk to REAL strategists!

  • Blair Smith


    The real question with all of this is why we need an eleven month process to select our municipal representatives? Wouldn’t a short, focused campaign of those truly committed to serve be preferable to the “serial snore” that we currently experience? Just a thought.