Rideau-Goulbourn is the 90210 race in Ottawa.
Theoretically inspired by serious issues in real people’s lives, it’s the high school gossip campaign, where people are talking more about apparent betrayal of incumbent Scott Moffatt by his former staffer, David Brown.
And it’s too bad, because municipal politics are important, and voters should be worrying about policy and competency of the candidates.
Endorsement: Scott Moffatt. Moffatt is one of the most confounding councillors at City Hall. Clearly conservative-leaning, he’ll pick a…I don’t want to say fight…debate? petty squabble? with just about anyone, left or right, which speaks to his fiercely independent nature.
If you watched the televised debate, you’d see that Moffatt has a clear idea of the work that needs to be done for his ward, and an thorough understanding of how things actually work in the city. It’d be easy to give in to populist rhetoric about cutting taxes, trimming waste and magically bringing transit to local sprawl, but he’s honest about his approach, about what can be done and, importantly, about what can’t be done.
Moffatt considers himself to be a councillor who wants to do right by his ward and by his city, as well as a councillor he makes reasoned decisions based on evidence rather than pre-formed biases. Now, at times, these self-descriptions have been more aspirational than actual, but in the debate he really did live up to them–speaking both about how to make the city as a whole work, and explaining an issue where he changed his initial stance after conducting more research. His performance in that debate was truly admirable.
Brown’s was not. It’s not clear that he has a vision for the ward or the city, other than popular but vacuous platitudes. It’s clear that he doesn’t have a solid grasp on how the city runs (despite having worked in Moffatt’s office), and it seems he may be running more for personal ambition than civic duty. What became clear in that debate is that he was definitely a top ten councillor in the last term of council, and it’d be a shame to lose him.
…but maybe don’t tell anyone I said that; I’m not sure my opinion will sway too many people in Rideau-Goulbourn.