It’s been the persistent question since the start of the 2022 Municipal election in May: IS there anyone in Guelph willing to challenge Cam Guthrie in the mayoral race? It turns out, in this last week of the campaign, there is. If you’re looking for something completely different in a mayor, you may have found your best option in the “local non-binary communist” who just threw his hat in the ring.
“Elections aren’t the only the times we ought to debate issues and hold politicians to
account for their records, but they do guarantee visibility for things that matter to people, and having an incumbent mayor acclaimed would be a disaster for Guelph,” candidate Danny Drew said in a media release.
Drew might be a recognizable name from his recent battle with City of Guelph Bylaw. Last year, they started the Ward’s Library of Things which offered free items and food from a picnic table outside 178 Alice Street. Drew sought official sanction from the City to keep the Library of Things open, and even had a good Samaritan who paid for an application of encroachment but it was ultimately turned down by city hall.
According to Drew, helping people is one of the reasons they’re running for mayor.
“I see so many people who can’t find places to live -let alone decent ones- or proper mental health services. I’m running to represent the interests of that majority of people who are unheard or ignored in our society,” they said.
Drew has seven pillars for his campaign including more police oversight and accountability, supporting community efforts to reduce waste, and managing growth through an environmental focus. He also wants to create an accessible and free transit service, to address the housing affordability crisis through actions like a vacancy tax, and to enact an “integrated community wealth” model for the Guelph economy.
Drew said in his his media release that he wants to deliver on Guthrie’s 2014 campaign promise for “A Better Guelph.”
“Mayor Guthrie sat on the Police Services Board while they utilized illegal tools of mass surveillance and the Police Station reno turned into Urbacon 2.0 – over time, over budget and now a $7 million lawsuit against the City,” Drew said. “Guthrie claimed the buck stopped with Karen Farbridge over Urbacon, and he was right. It must then stop with Cam for the Police Station fiasco.”
Strong words from Drew who will face stiff competition from the man himself. Guthrie won re-election in 2018 with 66.57 per cent of the vote over his only competition, Aggie Mlynarz. Seven candidates ran for mayor in 2014 when Guthrie defeated his predecessor Karen Farbridge 50.75 per cent to 36.57.
UPDATED – August 16, 4:30 pm: A third mayoral candidate entered the race on Tuesday. Nicholas A. Ross became the second challenger to incumbent Cam Guthrie, but it’s not the first time they’ve faced off. Ross was once of the seven candidates that ran for mayor in 2014, but he finished in last place with 0.29 per cent of the vote.
Ross has experience with homelessness and living with a disability. He has dystonia, which is a muscular disorder that makes him unable to speak.
UPDATED – August 21, 12 pm: Danny Drew was accidentally misgendered in a previous version of this article. Guelph Politico regret the error.