October 13, 2010

For your consideration

Civic elections are looming across the province and in the effort to promote democracy and informed decision-making, herewith I present the lowdown on Kingston's mayoral candidates.

The Front Runners

Mark Gerretsen
Son of former Kingston mayor and current MPP for Kingston and the Islands and Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, Mark has most recently served as the councillor for the Portsmouth District. His last name provides him with strong brand recognition by association, but this is both a positive and negative attribute, depending on one's view of the McGuinty government. Gerretsen will likely enjoy the support of the local establishment and prominent members of the city's business class.

Rob Matheson 
The vocal councillor for the Loyalist-Cataraqui District, Matheson was born in Africa and lived around the world before his family settled in my former home town of Aylmer, Quebec. Matheson moved to Kingston in 1997, and he has taken a keen interest in public service and has been involved in many service organizations. Matheson will attract voters keen on his mantra of sustainability and those who are wary of political dynasties.

The Outsider

Barrie Chalmers
A longtime local business owner, Chalmers has not held public office before and is thus unknown to most Kingstonians. He brings a business orientation to how he views the issues and fixes for Kingston, and he prides himself on not being a politician. Chalmers' straight-talk apprach will appeal to those who think governments tend to get in the way, and those who distrust most politicians. Ironically, Chalmers' relative lack of name recognition could help him pick up the undecided who are wary of the career politicians. 

The Social Network

John Last/Kevin Lavelly/Nathaniel Wilson
With their snazzy web site "Run this Town", Last, Lavelly, and Wilson are three 20 year-olds running a mayoral campaign to eat away at voter apathy. Their approach is to tackle the cynicism of elections and to try and influence folks to get to the polls; that our civic duty is to be involved citizens in our electoral process. Their main audience is the younger demographic, who tend to shy away from municipal politics and elections. They don't expect votes but surely they will stoke the passions of a few citizens in the 18-25 age range.

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