It’s election season here in Guelph! The nominations are open for this fall’s Municipal Election, and interested residents are filing their papers to run for positions as mayor, for city council and for a spot on one of the local school boards. Each week, this space will break down who’s new to the race, who’s running again, and where we’re still waiting for someone to show an interest!
There were no returning champions signing up for re-election over the past few weeks. There are still eight members of the current city council who have yet to announce their intentions for this fall, whether they’re running again, or taking their leave of local politics. At the same time, no one from any of the local school boards has yet to announce their intentions for the fall.
Having said that, we do have our first candidate for a school board trustee position. Jamal Nasir filed his papers last week for one of the trustee positions for Wards 2, 3 and 4 in the Upper Grand District School Board. Currently, Mike Foley and Board Chair Linda Busutill are the elected trustees for Wards 2,3 and 4.
Another first for this race is a candidate running in Ward 3. Michele Richardson is the first person to sign up for Guelph’s centre-most ward, which was probably the one ward most unchanged in the recent boundary realignment. Not much is known about Richardson, but it’s also not yet known whether current Ward 3 councillors Phil Allt and June Hofland will stand for re-election. Both were re-elected handily in 2018 with 36.74 per cent and 31.86 per cent respectively. Allt has been a councillor since 2014 and Hofland has held her seat since 2006.
The other new nominee this week is Chidi Nwene, who has filed his papers to run in Ward 1. Nwene is fairly well known as both a community activist and as a Green Party supporter, while his day job involves helping businesses diversify and work towards environmental sustainability. Nwene joins an already crowded Ward 1 field that includes accessibility advocate Erin Canton, marketing and promotions expert Thai Mac, and Denese Renaud.
This may be of interest if you’re a woman looking to get involved in local politics, but there will be a Guelph Women’s Municipal Campaign School on Saturday June 18 at 10C Shared Space downtown. The point of the school is information-sharing and networking for women who are running – or thinking about running – in the upcoming municipal election, plus there will be a panel discussion of the issues that are most important to Guelph citizens. You can get your tickets here.
So far, no one has filed to run in Ward 5, which may be the toughest ward depending on whether or not incumbents Leanne Caron and Cathy Downer are running for re-election. Only three candidates ran in Ward 5 in 2018, with Caron securing 41.29 per cent of the vote, and Downer receiving 39.14 per cent.
So far, Mayor Cam Guthrie, Ward 2 Councillor Rodrigo Goller and Ward 6 Councillor Mark MacKinnon are so far the only current members of council to have filed their nominations papers. Ward 1 Councillor Bob Bell and Ward 4 Councillor Mike Salisbury have both announced their intention to retire from city council at the end of this term.
The deadline for applying to run for mayor, city council, or any of the school board positions is August 19 at 2 pm. Election Day is October 24.