Oof. This race is a slog. I’m going to say it right up front: I’m not too enamoured with any of these candidates. Four years ago, Mathieu Fleury was an underwhelming incumbent. He was fine, but that was about it. He was challenged by two quality candidates, but held on. At times during his second term, he seemed like he was really turning into a solid civic leader. There were some questionable decisions, and his allegiance to the mayor got him badly, badly burned, but he seemed to be learning.
But, then there was Rideau Street, and all the surrounding issues. There’s still been no solution to the trucks downtown (FYI, the solution is banning them). Then there was the Salvation Army fiasco, and the question of what he knew and when (there have been a couple of instances in which Fleury has claimed ignorance over an issue, but was then proven to have had prior knowledge).
But, what are the options? I know basically nothing about Salar Changiz. Matt Lowe aped Donald Trump in the Rogers debate. Thierry Harris has been uninspiring–he seems focused explicitly on Vanier, and doesn’t offer a significantly better vision for the ward or the city.
Maybe Catherine Fortin LeFaivre will run again 2022.
So, yeah, what do we do with this?
Endorsement: Thierry Harris
This is really an anti-Mathieu Flery endorsement, to be clear, and I really went back-and-forth between choosing Fleury and choosing not-Fleury. Watching the Rogers debate, I’d say Fleury came out strongest, but not by much. His devotion to a truck tunnel downtown is folly, but not really a disqualifying position (especially no other candidate is willing to say what needs to happen–ban the trucks–they just bicker about bridges, or whatever).
So for me, this is close enough that I’m making this decision on one, singular issue: Safe Injection Sites.
Mathieu Fleury supports SIS, as does Thierry Harris. But when asked by CBC if they would support funding SIS if the province backed out, Fleury said, “no,” and Harris said, “yes”.
Fleury responded saying that, no, the city shouldn’t pay for it, because healthcare is a provincial issue. And, you know, he’s right. The province should be paying for this…but look at Queen’s Park. They’ve already halted SIS. Do you think we’re getting reasoned, compassionate government any time soon?
The guy dying from an overdose, the family burying their son, they don’t give a shit about jurisdiction.
People are dying and SIS saves lives. We know this. We’ve already seen it in this city. If the province isn’t willing to live up to their responsibility, then it’s up to us to step up and pay for SIS.
Anything less is just callous bean-counting.