Over the last month, I have been taken aside by a number of locals who want to share with me something they “know” about one of the candidates for Mayor. I assume they are sharing this “inside information” with me in the hope that I will write a story validating their uninformed speculations as truth.
You can certainly tell this is a competitive race for the mayoral chair as the whisper campaign surrounding the two perceived front runners, Andy Letham and Gord James, has escalated exponentially since Labour Day.
There is a good chance that neither candidate has officially sanctioned their supporters to plant these doubts about their opponent, but that is what is happening.
Nothing appears to be out of bounds as personal foibles, family, business success/failures and who is bankrolling who have reached a fever pitch.
It is a sad statement that people engaged and involved in local politics have stooped to this level. Letham, James, and Brian Junkin have very public records as long serving local councillors and Mayor. Peter Weygang is very public both online and at meetings with his political beliefs. The public discourse should be focusing on these issues only.
The next Mayor of CKL has an immense task on his hands. Infrastructure, taxation, public debt, funding for heritage and cultural groups, development, and staff management all await. It even gets better as the next Mayor is going to have to deal with a council with only half the councillors of the previous one. You would have to be naive, or foolhardy, to believe that transition will be seamless.
I have had a number of Ward Five candidates knock on my door and we have talked issues, not innuendos. I have been gratified to discover that not only our incumbent councillor, but a number of his challengers, have thoughtful and well reasoned stands on important issues, and have not descended to the National Enquirer School of Politics.
On line voting has begun. Hopefully our next Mayor is chosen based on platform and record, and the majority of the voters in the City will shut out the noise others are spreading which only weakens democracy in the long run.