Politics – a career or a calling?

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Chaz 11 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #735821 Reply

    Ron Benn

    Within the next 14 months, we will be going to the polls to elect first a provincial government, then our municipal councillors, mayors, trustees etc. In 2019, we can expect a federal election.

    Sitting around council chambers are a number of councillors whose resumes have but a few entries, including that stint behind the counter at McDonald’s during their high school years. We have a mayor who has moved from elected position to elected position to elected position over the course of a couple decades or more, returning to the same office (nominally at least) a few times. Jim Watson and Bob Chiarelli have played musical chairs with the positions of Mayor of Ottawa and MPP for Ottawa West Nepean over the last two decades (or more).

    Is it time to set term limits for elected officials? Given the significant advantage of an incumbent at the municipal level, should we limit a person to two consecutive terms in the same seat, or perhaps three? Would the introduction of fresh ideas be better than the same old same old, with the trade off being a steep learning curve (although not as steep as the learning curve for cyclists) of how to maneuver around city hall?

    #735832 Reply


    You make a great point about elected officials that lack adequate life or professional experience to serve effectively in a leadership role.

    I wonder if term limits deal with the symptom of bad leadership, leaving aside what enables it. I would like to see an independent and effective Auditor General before anything.

    But more generally, something needs to change so that elected office attracts more qualified candidates. How did Fleury get elected at 25 with no professional experience, didn’t do much for his ward after being elected and was still re-elected. Is there nobody better qualified to challenge him?

    #735834 Reply

    Ken Gray


    Thank you for this.

    I’m dubious about term limits though I see the value of turnover on council.

    We had a fair amount of turnover in the last election on council but I would hazard a guess that we don’t have a better council.

    Just changing chairs doesn’t mean the situation at city hall improves.

    You might just get inexperienced marginal councillors.



    #735897 Reply


    If a government has good staff with firm rules and a stringent chain of command, then the city can run quite well without any politicians present.

    Why do we assume that a new law, bylaw, rule, regulation is required every time someone hiccups?

    Elect a board one every six years, have them sit for a month or two, see if new technology or social attitudes demand any new rules then send them home and let management run the machinery.


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