For the longest time it looked like Cam Guthrie was going to run unopposed this election, but in the last week something happened. Guthrie filed his papers to run for re-election way back on May 3, the second day that candidates could submit their nomination, and suddenly, this week, there were five competitors for the role. Who are these new faces that want to the head of Guelph city council?
Cam Guthrie – By the numbers, this will be Guthrie’s toughest race since 2014 when compared to the two-person race in 2018 where we won two-thirds of the vote. Even with five competitors though, Guthrie has a pretty strong hand to play. His years as the chair of the Ontario Big City Mayors caucus in the midst of the pandemic gave him a huge platform beyond Guelph, but within the city he’s got a pretty big platform too thanks to a folksy image and top-notch engagement on social media. He’s a formidable opponent no matter how good the opposition, so how good is it?
Danny Drew – A “local non-binary communist”, Drew was the first person to come in to the mayor’s race to take on Guthrie. They were the person behind the Library of Things, which was shutdown by the City and refused a permit to continue operation, so Drew brings a very counterculture vibe to the race that might be appealing to the left or far-left branch of Guelph, the ones just looking for an alternative to Guthrie and his middle of the road centrism.
Nicholas A. Ross – The 2022 election will represent the second time that Ross has faced off against Guthrie after being one of seven people vying for the mayor’s chair in 2014. In that election, Ross finished in last place with 0.29 per cent of the vote, but he was an important candidate given the fact that he has experience with homelessness and living with a disability, in this case dystonia, which is a muscular disorder that makes him unable to speak. Given the emphasis on homeless issues as of late, and the discussions at council about accessibility, Ross could make a very big impact in this election.
John Edward Krusky – The director of Golden Triangle Investigations, Security Consulting, and Guard Services, Krusky lists himself as a private investigator and professional bodyguard. Not much is known about his politics though, or the issues he intends to run on, but his Twitter page shows that he’s not a fan of either Prime Minster Justin Trudeau or Premier Doug Ford.
William Albabish – Like Krusky not much is known so far about Albabish’s politics, but what we do know is that he’s a sessional lecturer at the University of Guelph-Humber, that he previously worked in communication at the University of Guelph itself, and that his LinkedIn page also lists him as an anatomist, scientist, entrepreneur, photographer, vdeographer, pilot, aircraft builder, and hobbyist engineer. It’s a small wonder that he has time for politics.
Shelagh McFarlane – If you don’t recognize her by this name, you might by her online identity, SheLaw Hunter. As SheLaw, McFarlane has been one of the leaders of the local anti-mask and vaccine hesitancy movements, and at a rally in March 2021 she accused Guthrie and City of Guelph staff of colluding with the United Nations for nefarious purposes tied to government COVID restrictions. She does have some political experience though. She was elected the Ward 3 councillor in Kincardine in 2014, but her still active campaign website is filled with misinformation about the ill-health effects of wind turbines, and allegations that the 2014 municipal election in Kincardine was invalid.
Election Day is October 24, but there will be advanced polls on October 8-10 and October 14-16. There will also be mail-in voting this election, and you can get information about those opportunities here. Also, make sure you’re on the voters list by clicking here.