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!
Perhaps unexpectedly, Ward 6 Councillor Dominique O’Rourke filed her re-election papers this past Monday. One of only two members of the current council elected for the first time in 2018, O’Rourke won an outstanding 36.57 per of the vote in a very difficult race in the south end to succeed Karl Wettstein in 2018. O’Rourke got nearly 1,000 votes more than her wardmate Mark MacKinnon in his second election.
Perhaps in more surprising incumbent news, two-term Ward 2 Councillor James Gordon announced in his June newsletter that he will be taking his leave of the council chambers this fall. “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the city I love as Ward 2 councillor for the past 8 years. I hold the hope that the contribution I’ve made in this role has made a positive difference to this wonderful community,” Gordon said.
Gordon gave a number of reasons for his retirement from city council including his desire to return to music full-time, and his desire to make room on council for “younger voices, people with different life experiences and backgrounds.” Gordon said it felt “disingenuous” to say, “Let’s make change” and then not step aside himself to foster that change, but that doesn’t mean he won’t stay involved.
“While I’m flattered that some have considered my role to be vital, I also have faith that there are others who can step up to fill that role,” he said. “I am committed to nurturing and supporting those new voices. I wouldn’t step aside without doing all that I can to assure that those progressive leaders waiting in the wings are given the support they need to be elected.”
Gordon joins Ward 1 Council Bob Bell and Ward 4 Councillor Mike Salisbury in announcing their retirement from council this fall.
There were no new faces this week, but 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.
Look for interest in the Municipal Election start to go up now that the Provincial Election is over. So far, only 14 people have filed their papers in the first five weeks of nominations; one candidate for mayor, four for Ward 1 councillor, two for Ward 2 councillor, one for Ward 3 councillor, two for Ward 4 councillor, three for Ward 6 councillor, and one for the Upper Grand School Board.
With now three councillors announcing their intentional to step down at the end of this term, the lame-duck rules of city governance will come into play if one more member of council decides that their not running again this fall. (That means the City of Guelph executive team will be given some delegated authority from August 19 to November 15 when the new council is sworn in (which was approved at council last month).
As of Friday, the fates of Dan Gibson, Phil Allt, June Hofland, Christine Billings, Leanne Caron and Cathy Downer remain unknown.
In terms of our first Municipal Election even for 2022, Cam Guthrie announced he’s sponsoring a Rollerskating Party next weekend.
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.