Orleans Ward Non-Debate

Mercifully, with 15 candidates and two non-candidates, Rogers TV isn’t doing a proper debate for Orleans. Each candidate is going to get three minutes to give a statement, and that’s it. In a way, it sucks, because you can’t really hear them highlight their differences or demonstrate how their views are superior to others. It kind of feels useless.

But in another way, it doesn’t suck because, fuck, a 17-person debate? No thanks. So I’ll just re-cap each one (in order).

Rick Bedard

He didn’t really say very much. He likes communication, Bob Monette and learning from our mistakes for LRT Phase 2. He’ll get his hands dirty and the children are our future. He wants some parks and he likes organized activities. He is all about minor sports and volunteering in minor sports and making sure ice is good for minor sports. He’ll be your voice. He’ll leave no one behind. He will absolutely smother you in platitudes and cliches.

Toby Bossert

He spent a lot of time at first going over his background and how he fell in love with Orleans. He wants better transit–fixing routes, creating better routes, more frequent buses. He also want St. Joseph Blvd repaved and re-surfaced (that’s a big deal). He wants to implement ideas from the BIA. He’s going to listen to residents and he’s going to use his customer service skills. Then an interesting promise: he’s going to learn french by the end of his first term; his skills aren’t very good right now. He also says that residents deserve service in both languages (this is all commendable, but I don’t know if he can give them what he says they deserve, and if he can’t, then he probably shouldn’t be running, right?).

Mireille Brownhill

She begins by going over her background, and the skills it gives her for city council (communication, collaboration). Mentioning making Orleans sustainable and livable is a nice start. She moves on to some of the issues she likes: safe streets, St. Joseph rejuvenation, parks and stuff…and then safety, transit efficiency and waste management. She speaks of a cohesive and holistic vision for the city–CDPs, affordable transit and some other good stuff…

…but she spoke of “responsible development” around LRT stations, development that fits with the area. I’m not exactly sure what she means. LRT needs density. It needs lots of people. Is this code for scaling down transit-oriented development?

I’d been intrigued by her candidacy. Her statement was fine…but that “responsible development” part…I just…

Guy Desroches

He’s serving on the advisory accessibility committee (I may have flubbed the exact title). Accessibility is definitely an issue he’s passionate about, and this is a good perspective to have on council. He talks up his business experience, bilingualism and knowledge of how city council works. He closes out his statement with his background and re-inforcing his status as the candidate with experience at City Hall.

It was a fine statement, but it didn’t say a whole lot. I’d keep him in the race, but this didn’t make him standout.

Dina Epale

Epale speaks of his bilingualism and his commitment to the community. Interestingly, he starts talking up his experience working with all three levels of government, including working as part of a delegation with the mayor to speak with provincial governments.

Okay, I don’t know what he’s actually interested in doing (he likes LRT, but didn’t expand), so he may have the background, but I have no idea if he has the vision or ideas for city councillor.

Doug Feltmate

He’s not running anymore, so I’m going to skip him…there a 17 candidates, ok!?

Jarrod Goldsmith

Oh the hat. Nice hat. Goldsmith has more energy and animation than anyone, so far. He starts with an actual statement before actually introducing himself, I like that. He’s a musician and anthropologist. He has no experience with government, so he’s going to be learning everyday, taking notes and holding city staff accountable.

“This is not a retirement hobby for me. This is a full-time career.”

Is that a jab at some of the older candidates? (Also, I’m not sure declaring himself a career politician is exactly what he meant.)

He likes the arts and culture in his community. He wants people to treat their passion as a viable career. Okay…we’ll have to get a “how” though.

He likes LRT, and seems to want to re-balance transit modes away from total car dominance. He wants to re-juvenate St. Joe’s, and then there’s crime, he doesn’t like it. Also he wants more collaboration between local communities.

Ooh, a tagline: “So go for Goldsmith, because I’m going for you.” I actually kind of like this.

He may have no experience and be a complete neophyte, but I don’t hate him. He’s certainly stood out so far (though I don’t know that his schtick will play with a majority of voters…though, hey, it might only take 7% to win!

Miranda Gray

She does not have a schtick.

She loves Orleans. Everything about it. She likes the work Bob Monette did. She wants to keep bringing businesses and jobs to Orleans. She likes transit, but admits that it’ll take time for LRT to be complete…so she wants to focus on traffic mitigation.

(I’m not really sure what she means here–transit is the best means for traffic mitigation. Does she means more roads? Congestion pricing? Lower bus fares? Or is it more of a “we just have to do something” statement?)

She likes the parks and trees in her wards, and wants to maintain them. That’s cool. I like that.

All right, we’re getting into development. We need affordable housing around transit hubs, and we need to understand that LRT will change how development happens…but doesn’t have many details about that (other than affordable housing…which is big, granted).

Speaking about train transit, she says, “We’re lucky to be the first, but we won’t be the last community to get it…,” uh…what? Many communities are getting LRT before Orleans. Those other areas do count as communities, right?

She closes off talking about her work with the Federation for Citizens Associations, so hopefully she does have a decent handle on city issues.

Geoffrey Nicholas Griplas

He starts by rapping. Then stops. Come on, man.

He wants more diversity–he’s been a business man, he’s been homeless and a criminal. So, yeah, more diverse than most city councillors.

He was brainwashed to perform an act of terrorism. He’s come around, and he’s found his purpose: he makes people’s day.

Here’s what he’s about: senior care, landlord licensing, affordable housing, reefer madness. He’s “got a P-H-D in la dee da dee da”. Again, come on, man, the better line would be, “I’ve got a P-H-D in T-H-C.”

He gets into questions of accountability, transparency, smart development… he’s swinging back and forth between the outlandish and the serious.

Catherine Kitts

She loves Orleans and she was the editor of the Orleans Star newspaper. That’s not a bad background, especially in this crop, so far. She speaking about knowledge jobs in the east end and playing to the public servant crowd.

She wants smart development around LRT: sound barriers, pedestrian access and ensuring new and existing routes work in conjunction with LRT.

Then there’s neighbourhood watch, more snow removal, St. Joe’s, traffic calming and fixing up Petrie Island.

She closes out with an appeal for more women on city council (yes!) and more youth on city council (sure, I guess?).

All in all, not bad. (I was about to write, “fine”, but I’ve written that a few times, and she was a bit better than the other “fine”s.)

Shannon Kramer

She starts off with an appeal to walkability, playing up the benefits to property values. She wants to transform Orleans into a walkable ward. She wants to offer options, then quickly offer the caveat that she’s not trying to get rid of cars (she knows her audience), she just wants choice.

Moving on to LRT…she wants stations sealed off from the elements, heated and cooled. They need pedestrian and bike access, and safe drop-off areas. She points out that a lot of LRT stations are currently being built exposed to the weather. This is a very good point.

She wants more cops.

She has a two-part plan for affordable housing: (1) inclusionary zoning; (2) support development of income properties, allowing small rental apartments for more rentals and second incomes, and we’ll spread them out.

She wants diversity working at City Hall.

Yeah, pretty good. She’s quite young and she supports walkability, so I doubt she has a chance out there, but this was one of the more impressive presentations.

Matthew Luloff

He grew up in Orleans. He joined the armed forces and went to Afghanistan. Then he worked on the Hill, and now he wants to serve people in Orleans.

He’s a mental health advocate and an advocate for the arts. He has a three-part plan: (1) build community; (2) build the economy; and (3) build support for those who serve Canadians. (Yeah, I remember this from his website. It wasn’t well thought out, and it prioritized people working in the public sector over those working in the private sector…which is actually kind of a weird stance for a conservative.)

Community–infrastructure, widen the 174 and also improve LRT…god, yeah, this is why we don’t really need to listen to his ideas. They’re poorly thought-out and self-contradictory.

Economy–low taxes, even though we’re doing a ton of spending.

Support–lots of mental health service for first responders, soldiers and public servants. FUCK YOU, PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS, SUFFER!

Look, I’d say this guy would be a disaster at City Hall, but that’s not quite right. His platform would be a disaster, but there’s little chance it would really get enacted. Still, don’t vote for him.

Qamar Massod

It’s the guy from Chopped! Seriously, how is this not part of his pitch?

He wants to amalgamate Hydro One and Hydro Ottawa.

Next, have a watchful eye on Phase 2 of LRT. We need sound barriers.

Zero increase in taxes! But we want to spend money! So we’ll have to cut down!

He supports MIFO

We’ve forgotten St. Joe’s, time to rejuvenate. And we’re going to look after roads, so we’re going to cut down on other things. We need carpooling on the 174, at least until LRT opens.

I mean, it could be worse, he could be Luloff, but, yeah, I’m not loving his vision.

Kevin Tetrault

He wants to expand post-secondary education in Orleans. He has a four-step plan. It’s not bad. Use it to build up Trim Road. Build up Petrie Island (I don’t really get how that works for education), next is cleaning up the river. The third pillar is St. Joe’s.

Wait, are his pillars actually about education? Maybe I misunderstood?

PIllar four, connect the various communities, including bike lanes, Petrie Island, connecting LRT.

You know, this is ok. Though he says it’s exciting, but he doesn’t actually sound excited. I’ll chalk that up to nerves.

(I went back to re-listen, he says that he wants to improve the economy and stuff, and he says he’ll do that by improving post-secondary education, and that’s do-able with a four-pillar plan…and I guess he sort of ties the first two pillars, maybe the other two, as well, to post-secondary education…but it’s a weird formulation to wedge it all under education.)

Don Yetman

Don! Yeah! I kind of love his odd, old-school website, so I want to hear what he has to say? (Also wondering if Jarrod Goldsmith was taking a jab at Don with the “retirement” comment.)

He’s a newfie! And, yes, he’s retired. He tells us this twice.

Okay, he’s a former business man, in logistics. He’s done a lot volunteering. He’s been in project management (or something) work. His background seems decent, I guess. A bit of a mix.

Platform includes: maintaining level of response to constituents that Monette had. He wants St. Joe’s more bike- and ped-friendly. We can do long-term and short-term stuff. Yeah! Don! Yeah!

Then it’s on to crime and LRT. He’s fine on these, but not particularity imaginary.

Finally, he wants better zoning plans that are better communicated.

That was pretty good. Not stellar, but decent.

That’s it

And with that, oof, we’re done.

Okay, so this was not the dynamic race you’d hope when there’s no incumbent. Of course, the necessary format didn’t really allow for people to really demonstrate the contrasts between them and their opponents. There is pretty much no way you could make an informed decision based on this debate, alone.

But who cares about informed decisions!? (Kidding, sort of…)

Judging just by this debate, here’s how I’d classify the candidates. There are probably three classifications I’d have for candidates who I’m not prepared to disqualify:

Inexperienced but Interesting

There are a number of younger (or seemingly younger…or younger acting?) candidates. They projected the most vibrancy and, actually, the most visionary-ness. (Look, it’s late; I’m making up words.) I don’t mean this to sound all cranky-old-man, and I don’t think I should, because though I’m acknowledging age/experience, I’m looking past it (sorta).

So this category includes (in no particular order): Catherine Kitts, Jarrod Goldsmith, Shannon Kramer and Kevin Tetrault. In this group, Goldsmith seems the most out of his depth..but, hey!, he admitted that, and that’s almost kinda a point in his favour.

Grounded, Thoughtful but…yeah…

These are probably the candidates I should be considering the frontrunners (for my endorsement; I don’t assume the voters will demonstrate similar preferences), but I just couldn’t get enthused about. Maybe it was the format or nerves or overthinking it, but they just weren’t on in the debate. I wasn’t really getting the ideas or even as much of the passion.

This category would be: Miranda GrayMireille BrownhillGuy Desroches (though I wouldn’t include him in the “lack of passion” description) and Dina Epale…and, honestly, I’m being generous throwing Epale in there (and if I were to be really generous, I’d include Rick Bedard and Toby Bossert).

Going into the non-debate, I had thought one of these candidates would have stood out for me as the best choice, but, really, none of them did. I might be choosing interesting over experience in this race.

Don! Yeah!

This category consists of: Don Yetman.

Seriously, check out his website. It’s fun. In some ways, he wasn’t as polished as the other “grown ups” (honestly, I’m using that term more to disparage the “grown ups” rather than the younger challengers), but he also seemed more interested, and he offered up more of a vision. I really think people should seriously consider him.

Sell! Sell! Sell!

Okay, we’ve talked about who’s in the running, now let’s talk about those who you shouldn’t–absolutely shouldn’t–consider voting for:

Matthew Luloff: His platform doesn’t make sense. It’s fiscally irresponsible, despite how he fancies himself. And I don’t like candidates that try to elevate some residents over others.

Qamar Masood: You’re Chopped! (Haha, get it? Okay, I might be a little punchy right now…I blame the endless list of candidates). Like Luloff, he doesn’t have a coherent platform. Unlike Luloff, it’s not totally wacky and insulting. Don’t vote for him…but definitely vote for him over Luloff.

Geoffrey Nicholas Griplas: I don’t really know his story, but it sure sounds like he’s been through a lot. I love redemption stories, and if he really can find meaning in making people happy, then that’s fantastic. I’m just not prepared to put him on council.

All right, so that’s it. I’m done here. At some point, I may review my earlier post about Orleans Ward and try to figure out an actual endorsement. We’ll see.s

One thought on “Orleans Ward Non-Debate

  1. Pingback: Orleans Ward Endorsement | Steps from the Canal

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