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!
Marino Gazzola joined the anaemic race for the Wellington Catholic District School Board this week, second only to Vikki Dupuis in filing to run for re-election in that board. Gazzola was the chair of the Catholic board until July 2020 when complaints about the content of one or more social media posts forced him to step down. Dupuis then took over as the chair and was re-elected by the board last fall.
There are only two candidates for the Wellington Catholic Board race now, and there are four spots to fill from Guelph. Incumbents Sebastian Dal Bo and Joe Tersigni have yet to publicly announce whether they’re running for re-election for the next term.
Things were a little hotter in the Upper Grand District School Board race this week. Mark Paralovos, who may be recognized as the People’s Party of Canada candidate for Guelph in 2019, became the third-person to run for one of the Wards 1 and 5 seat, while Charles Albert, who may be a retired Canada Post worker, is now the fourth person to run for a spot in Wards 2, 3 and 4.
Things were also heating up in some of the council races. In Ward 2 there were two new candidates to bring the total there up to seven. The new additions were Jason Provencal, who appears to be a body modification artist at Piercings by J, and Billy Cottrell, who might be an actor that appeared in the independent action/horror movie For the Sake of the Vicious, which was directed by Guelph filmmakers Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen.
South of the river in Ward 5 the race there finally became a race in the last week. Until Friday, only the incumbents – Leanne Caron and Cathy Downer – were running, but three more people filled up the ballot on the last day of the week.
First, Denese Renaud withdrew her candidacy in Ward 1 and filed again in Ward 5, and according to her new website, she’s running on a platform of improving affordable housing options. Next was Hesham Genidy, who seems to be an insurance agent for the World Financial Group based downtown. And finally, Lana Haines filed her papers, but she didn’t leave anywhere we could get some more information about who she is.
So there are now races for all the council seats with the biggest race being in Ward 2 with seven candidates, followed by Ward 3 with six, and then Ward 1 and Ward 5 tied with five each and Wards 4 and 6 are in last place with three candidates each.
Here are the questions for the last week of nominations:
1) Will anyone step up and run for mayor against Cam Guthrie?
2) Will Ward 4 Councillor Christine Billings run for re-election? If she doesn’t, then Ward 4 will be a truly open race this election. Will anyone else step up and run in, what is right now, a three-person race?
3) There are still four incumbents in the two English school board races who have yet to declare, will they?
4) Will there be enough candidates to fill the four spots for the Wellington Catholic District School Board, and if there is, will there be enough candidates to make it an actual election race?
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.
Photo courtesy of Denese Renaud’s campaign Facebook page.