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!
The number of councillors with an uncertain future got smaller this week with Ward 5 Councillor Leanne Caron announcing her intention to run for re-election. Ward 5 now joins Ward 6 as the only two wards in this election where both incumbents are running for re-election after Caron’s wardmate Cathy Downer filed her nomination papers last week.
Caron – like outgoing councillors June Hofland, Mike Salisbury, and Bob Bell – was part of the “clean sweep” of 2006 when over half of council was voted out and replaced with a more progressive slate of councillors. Caron, who at the time was running under her old married name Leanne Piper, won with 36.88 per cent of the vote. In the last election, Caron won 41.29 per cent and has finished in first place in Ward 5 in every election since 2006.
There were two new faces on the ballot this week. It’s now officially a race in Ward 3 with Sam Elmslie becoming the second person to file their papers in the city’s centre most ward. There’s not much to Google about Elmslie, so they seem to be relatively new to city politics, but there’s at least one guaranteed open seat in Ward 3 after Hofland announced her intention to step down last week.
The other new candidate this week was Amelia Meister, who is now the fourth person running in Ward 2. Meister is a local writer and poet, and she’s also been an environmental activist, but she faces a tough race in Ward 2 where fellow environmental activist Morgan Dandie and videographer/promoter Rob Osburn are running for the open seat there. Rodrigio Goller is also running to defend his seat in the newly redistricted Ward 2, which now includes downtown and covers everything north of the river between Woolwich and Victoria.
The fates of Dan Gibson, Phil Allt, and Christine Billings, are still unknown. Billings usually breaks late and has been known to take a term off as she did in 2000 and 2010, but Allt has been a relative early bird in past elections, and today marks exactly two months before the close of nominations on August 19.
It’s also worth noting that there is still only one nominee in any of the school board races. Perhaps the pressures of finishing the school year have taken a toll on the trustees, but the last Upper Grand District School Board meeting of the year is on June 28, so these trustees are going to have more free time to think about their future.
There is also still only one nominee for mayor, Guelph’s current head of council Cam Guthrie. The question now is whether there’s anyone in Guelph willing to take on Guthrie even if they know it’s a proverbial suicide mission.
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.