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. In the last update, we will look at the last minute break down of who’s new to the race, who’s running again, and who decided that they’re done with politics (for now?)
It was a good week for the stragglers. Starting with the very last person to sign up, we now know that Ward 4 Councillor Christine Billings intends on running for re-election in Ward 4. Billings is one of the longest serving members of city council. She was first elected to represent Ward 6 in 1997 and then returned in 2003 after skipping the 2000 election. She continued as one of the Ward 6 councillors until 2010 when she took another term off and then she returned as a Ward 4 councillor in 2014.
With Billings opting in, that means there are just four councillors in total who are retiring at the end of this term: Bob Bell from Ward 1, James Gordon from Ward 2, June Hofland from Ward 3, and Billings’ wardmate Mike Salisbury.
Over in the English school boards, both Sebastian Dal Bo and Joe Tersigni joined their colleagues from Guelph to run for re-election to the Wellington Catholic District School Board. In the Upper Grand District School Board, both Mike Foley and Jolly Bedi opted not to run for re-election this year even though they were both only elected in 2018. Along with Ward 1 and 5 trustee Mark Baily, there are now three open seats on the Upper Grand Board out of a possible five.
Going in order around the horseshoe, we start with the sixth person to join the race in Ward 1. Michelle Bowman is an environmental educator and she ran in Guelph for the Federal Green Party in 2019.
In Ward 2, one of the city’s two busiest races with eight candidates, the ballot got smaller before it got bigger. John Provencal withdrew from the election, but then two more joined it. Elia Morrison, who’s projects include the Alice Steet Clubhouse and Hooligan Press, is one of the new candidates, and Carly Klassen of the Sage Soap Company is the other.
Other race with eight candidates is in Ward 3. Two new candidates signed up this week including Dallas Green, who is not the Canadian musician known as City and Colour, but is a WestJet flight attendant and First Aid instructor. The other new candidate is Luc Cousineau, who may be the former director of YMCA-YWCA Guelph Camp Nagiwa and is now a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo’s recreation and leisure studies program.
Along with Billings, a total of four new candidates joined the race to represent Ward 4 this week. Brendan Clark, who finished in second-to-last place in the 2018 municipal election with just 0ver 8 per cent of the vote, is going to try again in 2022. There’s also Anne-Marie Blackadar, whose son Max made news a few years ago as an environmentally conscious 5-year-old and one man (kid) neighbourhood cleaning crew. Justin Van Daele, a marketing specialist, owner of Guelph Auto Cleaners and patron of the arts, is also in the running.
In Ward 5, Alex Green signed up as the sixth person in that race. The recent accounting grad from the Lang Business School at the University of Guelph secured a respectable 19.6 per cent of the vote against Ward 5 incumbents Leanne Caron and Cathy Downer in the 2018 election.
Ward 6 has the smallest race this election with just five candidates, and two of them joined in the last couple of days. Chetna Robinson is one of the candidates, but not much information can be found about them online. Craig DiSero, an administrator at the Credit Valley Golf and Country Club and a current board member for Guelph Soccer, is the other new candidate running in Guelph’s southern most ward.
There were also a number of new candidates in the Upper Grand District School Board races. Luke Weiler, who ran for the board in 2018, is trying his luck again along with first-time candidate Victor Ehikwe in Wards 1 and 5. In Ward 2, 3 and 4 Laurie Whyte and James Gollinger both filed their papers while the biggest boom this week was for the Ward 6 and Puslinch seat where three new candidates join in the last three days: Lily Klammer-Tsuji, Katherine Hauser, and Cliff Pereira.
There are three new candidates running to unseat the incumbents in the Wellington Catholic Board. Steve Petric, recognizable for previous council runs and as chair of the Transit Action Alliance of Guelph, is one of them, and he’s joined by Robert Higgins and Patrick MacCarthy. There are seven people running for the four local seats on the Catholic Board.
In the French school boards, Patrick O’Neil is running against incumbent Genevieve Grenier for the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir seat, while David O’Hara and Joseph Vandermeer will face off for the open seat in Conseil scolaire Viamonde.
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.