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Ready or not, Municipal Elections to be held October 22
It is election time again. Running for London’s mayor are 14 candidates all seeking to replace Matt Brown who is not running for re-election. Matt was the subject of a sex scandal with a City Councillor member and has decided to step aside. I have written articles on London elections in the past and was asked to prepare this review.
A total of 50 candidates are running for 14 council positions. A complete list of candidates can be found on the City of London election website found here.
Several incumbents are not running for re-election. Harold Usher in Ward 12 is stepping aside after serving on City Council for 18 years. Paul Hubert is also not seeking re-election in Ward 8. He served 12 years on Council. Tanya Park, the councilor for Ward 13, is running for mayor. So there will be a least 3 new faces on City Council.
In the mayoral contest 14 are running. However, serious contenders number 4 or 5. In my opinion the following are the more serious and qualified candidates.
Paul Cheng who ran in the 2014 losing to Matt Brown. He is a businessman who worked in Saudi Arabia in the oil sector and a resident of Old London North. In the 2014 election he had trouble understanding the different levels of government and their responsibilities. He does have his supporters and is campaigning on a policy of change. He came second in the 2014 mayoral contest.
Ed Holder is a long time London resident, businessman and has held many positions in charitable organizations and community organizations including being President of the London Chamber of Commerce and President of the Sunshine Foundation of Canada. Holder also stepped up and helped lead a group to continue the “Rockin’ New Year’s Eve” in Victoria Park when the City could no longer sponsor the event. Holder also served as Member of Parliament for London West and then was appointed Minister of Science & Technology.
Mohammed Mousa. He is trained as a doctor and a lawyer. He is well educated but does not have any political experience. To date his campaign is low profile. It is, however, a positive step that he is putting his name forward.
Paul Paolatto is a London Businessman who has extensive business experience but is new to politics. He currently is the Executive Director of Western Research Park. His wife works for Sifton Properties which means he would have a significant number of conflicts of interest with one of London’s major developers as well on planning issues in general.
Tanya Park – She is currently the Ward 13 councilor. She only has one term on City Council under her belt but is running for Mayor. She is a full time councilor and also a real estate agent. She was president of the Soho Community organization.
Other candidates for mayor include Vahide Bahramporian, Ali Hamadi, Dan Lenart, Nina McCutcheson, David Millie, Jordan Minter, Carlos Murry and Jonas White. None of these individuals responded to the London Free Press survey on the 2018 Municipal election. Sean M. O’Conell is also running for Mayor did respond to the London Free Press survey. The survey can be found on line at the London Free Press website.
The big issue that seems to be attracting a lot of attention is the London Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and traffic congestion. Tanya Park is the only major candidate running for mayor that supports the BRT.
Supporters of BRT note that it is a way to access Federal and Provincial money already paid by the tax payer and London, roads will need repair and expansion which will cost the London tax payers directly. The remainder of the funding for BRT will supposedly come from development charges. We will have to see how this issue is responded to by the voter.
Back in the 1970s’ the Ontario government offer to pay 80% of the cost of building a freeway system in London. The City’s elected representatives declined the provincial offer because they did not want to cover the extra 20%. Many other cities accepted the offer and built express ways which helped alleviate traffic congestion. Many people think that refusing this proposal and funding was a mistake.
London is also the first City in Canada that is trying the “Ranked Ballot” system. Voters can select up to 3 candidates in a ranked order. You can chose to vote for 1 candidate or up to 3. This means that the candidate that comes last their second choice will be added to the tally. Whoever gets 50 % plus one will be the winner.
Since all of the major candidates have right-wing views it will be interesting how this Ranked Ballot will play out. Tanya Parks is the only candidate that is left leaning. It will be interesting how much second and third ballot support Park will receive.
In my opinion the qualification to be mayor include relevant political experience. The only two candidates who have the necessary experience are Ed Holder and Tanya Park.
Ed Holder is a former Conservative MP and Cabinet Minister and has considerable experience in the political arena and also in community organizations. Tanya is a community activist and one term councilor who leans to the left side of politics. All other main candidates for Mayor lean to the right. Tanya is a nice person but in my view lacks the experience and presence to be London’s mayor. Ed Holder has the experience and community involvement to be an effective Mayor.
Edward C. Corrigan is a London lawyer who specializes in Citizenship and Immigration law. He served on London City Council from 2000 to 2003.