Home › Forums › Bulldog Forum: Ottawa, National And International Debate › Which Council Members Could Lose in 2018?
This topic contains 14 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Chaz 8 months, 2 weeks ago.
September 19, 2017 at 9:34 AM #736477
Your agent’s picks at present are Rideau-Vanier’s Mathieu Fleury for botching the Salvation Army file and for the divisiveness that will be created on either side of the official bilingualism issue?
And of course in River, Riley Brockington who screwed up the Mooney’s Bay playground question.
Poor Riley. He must be yearning for the old days when The Bulldog didn’t mention him.
Anyone else?September 19, 2017 at 9:59 AM #736478September 19, 2017 at 2:51 PM #736486
Fed Up VoterSeptember 20, 2017 at 6:56 AM #736517
The VoterParticipantSeptember 20, 2017 at 6:57 AM #736516
We need to do more than just replace councillors.
Independent discussion and debate need to return to Standing Committees and Council.
The budget process needs to be opened up so it’s not in any one person’s control. By controlling the purse strings, Watson can decide virtually all city policies and programming. He also has the ability to rein in councillors who oppose him by denying their ward resources, kiboshing any projects they bring forward and removing perqs.
Committees should be electing their own chairs and the deputy mayor position should return to a rotation-based backup for the mayor, not a way to reward his flunkies and create a heirarchy at Council.
‘Consultation’ needs to be open and transparent, done in a timely manner before decisions are made and genuinely engage the public.
I wouldn’t say all councillors need to go since some are doing their best within the strictures placed on them in a Watson administration. Some of the others just need to be educated about the role of a councillor and that of a mayor.September 20, 2017 at 8:38 AM #736528
ChazSeptember 20, 2017 at 4:25 PM #736540
At the beginning of Watson’s first term as mayor (some seven years ago), the mayor proposed the concept of requiring a councillor who wants to add a spending item to the draft budget must simultaneously identify an equal amount to be removed.
This policy was repeated three years ago, binding council for the full four years of its term in office. This means that the two issues are linked. They cannot evaluate the merits of the proposed addition without comparing it to the merits of the deletion. It limits the opportunity to agree to the addition, while selecting (perhaps) a different line item reduction.
That any councillor, let alone all of them, agreed to abide by this charade, whereby they agreed to abdicate their authority on matters related to the budget, but they not their responsibilities to the residents of Ottawa speaks volumes about the quality of our councillors.September 20, 2017 at 4:28 PM #736542
Thank you for this. The usual outstanding comment.
Now where do we get the better councillors and who recruits them. Community associations, activists, developers, politicians?
In many wards, the only reasonable candidate is the incumbent councillor … sometimes not a great choice.
kgraySeptember 20, 2017 at 8:06 PM #736545
Ken, I have pondered that dilemma, not just at a municipal level, but also at the provincial and federal levels.
I see a few constraints to attracting quality candidates: candidates who view public service as a service, not a career; candidates who have a breadth of experience to bring to the table; candidates who are confident in the capabilities; candidates who are willing to speak up once elected; candidates who are more concerned with toeing the party line than they are about voting on matters of principle.
The first constraint is that there is a significant time commitment required from an elected official, at least if they plan on being effective. I was at an event a couple of weekends ago where Mayor Watson made a brief appearance around 1:00 p.m. I overheard him say that it was one of 17 appearances he was scheduled to attend that day. That evening, we were at a dinner party and one of the other guests mentioned that the mayor had spoken at a noon hour event she was at. I am not about to stand up and say that attending either or any of these events were part of his being effective, I am merely pointing out the demands on their time. I note that Councillor Chiarelli is also constantly moving from event to event in the evenings and on weekends, so these demands are not unique to the mayor. This can lead to challenges on the home front, especially if the candidate has a younger family. An additional element of demand on the candidate’s time can be travel, especially if they are an MPP and having to be in Toronto/Queen’s Park during the week.
The second challenge is one of compensation. While most of our elected officials (putting aside Board of Education Trustees) receive reasonable compensation, $150K a year may represent a pay cut for some highly qualified candidates. I don’t expect much sympathy on this point, but for those who earn >$200K, this represents a 25% pay cut.
The third challenge falls in squarely in the lap of the media and those who chose to use the media to make personal attacks. Some people have some baggage in their past, baggage that they would prefer not to have as part of the public domain, let alone have to explain. It may be a past personal or business relationship that did not end well, it may have been a relatively minor spat with a colleague, neighbour or whomever that was posted to someone’s Facebook account. I think back to the ridiculous questions posed during the early 1990s about whether someone had or had not smoked marijuana during their youth, and the “you can’t seriously expect us to believe your “Yes, but I didn’t inhale”” response from Bill Clinton. Thankfully we appear to have moved past that level of stupidity, but with an internet filled with unsubstantiated allegations or quotes that are purposely cited out of context who wants to expose themselves to the hassle?
The fourth challenge is whether they are prepared to play with the current group of elected officials. Elected officials who are more concerned with currying favour with the mayor, party whip, cabinet minister … than with voting on matters of principle, who take joy out of creating obstacles rather than solutions, of scoring points rather than making points. Who wants to be in an environment where staff spend far too much time not disclosing what they know (or don’t know) instead of providing useful information to support their recommendations. Who wants to enter that play pen on a daily basis?
Candidates who need their egos massaged need not apply. Candidates who enter the room with a closed mind need not apply. Candidates who think they know all the answers need not apply. To quote Charles Darwin, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence that does knowledge, it is those who know little, not those who know much who so positively asset that this or that problem” can be solved easily.
All of this to say that my ideal candidate has already accomplished a lot in their life, and as a consequence brings valuable, varied experience to the table, and is prepared to make significant sacrifices (see all the above) in a valiant attempt to change the status quo. That candidate is a rare bird indeed, one who should be embraced for offering their services to the benefit of the public. I, for one, would be reluctant to recommend that such a qualified person expose themselves to what can often be a thankless role, and that is why I, from time to time, sign off as a Member Emeritus, Cynics Club.September 20, 2017 at 8:08 PM #736549September 20, 2017 at 10:10 PM #736571
I know of one person say they once considered entering politics after a career as a lawyer, as a way of doing something meaningful to them, but that the current media landscape leaves no room for a private life. There’s no line between private life and public life for a politician on social media. And even if they chose to make that sacrifice, it also puts their loved ones under the microscope.September 21, 2017 at 9:50 PM #736612
Ron BennSeptember 21, 2017 at 9:52 PM #736608
If party politics was removed, I would hope for an improvement.
If politicians stayed at work from 9 to 5, I would hope for an improvement.
If politicians did not need to run mega-dollar campaigns, I would hope for an improvement.
If politicians stopped attending dinners and meet-and-greets, and ribbon cuttings, I would hope for an improvement.
If the public would keep their religious standards of character judgment out of the picture, I would hope for an improvement.
If we could get 75% of the electorate out to vote, I would hope for an improvement.
These hopes seem unattainable. I guess that’s why guys from Marx to Shakespeare have written about the stupidity of politics but solved nothing. I know that’s why I am just a curmudgeon.
(only possible solution might be a great flood that covers the earth for forty days and nights. Nah — someone already tried that and it didn’t work either)September 21, 2017 at 9:58 PM #736605
Ken, some community associations are reactive, responding to issues affecting their communities as they arise, while others are proactive, at times addressing issues that do not directly affect their community. The style of the community association is often driven by the leadership group, and sometimes that leadership group is a de facto group of one.
As is so often the case, your specific question about whether community associations should be recruiting potential candidates now is straight forward, but the answer is not.
I think there are three parts to the answer. As I mention in my preamble, some community associations are proactive by virtue of their leadership, and if they think that their councillor is not effective in his role, then they will look for a candidate, and that candidate may be from within the community association leadership.
The second part is one of timing. If the current councillor is not expected to stand for re-election, then there is a greater opportunity for success. If the current councillor is expected to stand for re-election, then the opportunity for success will be less. The current councillor has a number of elements working in their favour. There is the name recognition factor within the ward that you have talked about in the past. The incumbent usually has an organizational structure behind him/her, often in the form of the same bodies that populate the provincial or federal riding association. The combination of the two provides greater access to an organization team and fund raising.
The final piece of the puzzle goes back to my earlier comment regarding an ideal candidate. If the community association can identify someone who has most of the characteristics I talked about, they should embrace her/him and provide as much support as possible for that person’s candidacy. The problem is that the ideal candidate will be smart enough to objectively assess their chances of success, and if they consider their chances to be at the lower end of the spectrum, rather than be cannon fodder like so many candidates are, will decline the invitation.
By virtue of my geography (Centrepointe), I pay more attention to the wards in the near west, than I do the other wards in the city, so I will restrict my thoughts to those wards.
Looking back seven years ago, Keith Egli, the current councillor for Knoxdale-Merivale, siezed an opportunity to run for council. It is my recollection that he was a long standing member of the leadership group of the Craig Henry community association. The incumbent, Gord Hunter, had decided that running in the woods (he is a renowned orienteer) was more appealing than running for re-election. It is also my understanding that Keith Egli had the support of the Ottawa West Nepean Liberal riding association, and those feet on the ground were valuable when it came to stuffing mailboxes, working the fund raising desks, and asking lob ball questions at all candidates meetings. He won in 2010, and again in 2014. I am not enamoured with his unwavering allegience to Mayor Jim Watson, sometimes at the expense of the residents of his ward and of the city, but I don’t see him as vulnerable at next year’s municipal polls.
Assuming that Councillor Rick Chiarelli runs again in College ward, I don’t see a viable chance of anyone defeating him at the polls. While I believe that Rick Chiarelli has been an effective councillor, I think he needs a new challenge. I would have preferred that Bob Chiarelli decided to fade into the sunset in 2018. This would have created an opportunity for Rick Chiarelli to seek the Liberal nomination for MPP for Ottawa West Nepean, and by extension, if Rick Chiarelli sought and won that nomination, College ward would be open territory.
Bay ward is interesting. It has been reported that Councillor Mark Taylor stated that he would only serve two terms, and he is nearing the end of his second term. It has also been reported that he was upset that Bob Chiarelli has decided to continue to hold the Liberal banner into next year’s provincial election. Will Taylor live up to his promise and not seek re-election, or will he renege? Could Alex Cullen, who is a proactive community leader, has name recognition, and should be able to draw some support from the NDP riding associations, take a run at that ward seat? I do not consider him an ideal candidate, but I think he is more than willing and able to upset the apple cart on Laurier Avenue, which I do view as a positive. What about Mike Patton? He has had political aspirations in the past, and I don’t think those aspirations have abated over the last decade or two. Jay Tysick comes to mind as well, for many of the same reasons as Mike Patton?
To close, now is the time to evaluate the existing councillor, and if he/she is found wanting, to identify and support people who have many of the characteristics of the ideal candidate and who have a reasonable expectation of winning the election. The election is but 13 months away, and there is a lot of work to be done.September 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM #737201