Are y’all getting tired of these yet?
Innes Ward is an interesting race. With Jody Mitic not seeking re-election, you might think it’d be a bit of a free-for-all. With no incumbent running four years ago, eight residents threw in their name.
But no, this year, we have four candidates. More noteworthy, perhaps, is that they’re all fairly reasonable candidates. I wouldn’t call any of them crackpots or fringe candidates. This makes for an interesting race, where you’ll be able to learn about each, and each will be worth learning about.
The make-up of the contestants is interesting, too. You have Tammy Lynch, who worked for Mitic; Donna Leith-Gudbranson, who worked for the previous councillor Rainer Bloess, and more recently, for Beacon-Hill Cyrville councillor Tim Tierney; Laura Dudas, a community association president who probably should have been elected four years ago; and Francois Trepanier, an active community member who came in third behind Mitic and Dudas four years ago.
The televised debate helped to differentiate the candidates a good bit. At first, it was a little–George RR Martin writing in molasses slow–with each candidate re-iterating their preferred talking about LRT, traffic and transit (we need the Brian Cobourn extension! we need LRT to go to Orleans south! we need better bus service! we need a north-south bus route to the LRT station!).
But as things went along, different things started to stick out.
First and foremost, Dudas and Leith-Gudranson are the two best candidates. They’re the most thoughtful and have the best policy proposals.
Francois Trepanier came off as pretty condescending, mostly to Dudas–taking a shot about people smoking weed in her neighbourhood and then implying that she was talking too much.
Tammy Lynch came a bit snide, too. At one point trying to trap Dudas on a question about safe injection sites (and Lynch’s gotcha was a sly admission that she wouldn’t do much about overdoses in Orleans if it became a significant problem). In her closing statements, Lynch implied that a parent of a young family wouldn’t really be able to do the job of councillor, since it’s a 24/7 job. That’s not a good look.
It was interesting the way both Lynch and Trepanier took shots at Dudas, but not at Leith-Gudranson or each other in the same way. It makes me think they think Dudas is out ahead (and, certainly, she beat Trepanier last time, so there’s no reason to think she couldn’t be ahead of him this time).
Endorsement: Laura Dudas
Dudas had a bit of an advantage here. She ran last time, and she’s remained heavily involved in local and city-wide politics, so it’s easier to have a full understanding of her and what kind of councillor she would be (I say this is an advantage, but it’s only an advantage if you come off well). Throughout the campaign, she has presented solid ideas and worthwhile, but grounded, vision. She’s had the most balanced approach to spending, taxes and public health. She hasn’t always come off as the strongest candidate in one particular question in a debate, but she has been consistently good, and at times has greatly outshone her opponents.
The others have significant, glaring problems. Trepanier does not have the holistic view of city issues, and his condescending demeanour is not exactly what one would desire in a councillor. Leith-Gudbranson is clearly dedicated, has thought out a number of issues, but also has some fatal flaws when it comes to taxation and spending. Lynch has those same flaws, but without Leith-Gudranson’s upside. She’s also pretty callous about people suffering from addiction.
I was corresponding with a reader on this issue, and she noted that it is disappointing that I’m not inclined to choose one of the bilingual candidates in this race (and, to be clear, if I were, it would be Leith-Gudranson). And, you know, I get that. I think that’s a worthy consideration in this ward, but I think that Dudas is sufficiently on another level from Leith-Gudranson, that bilingualism can’t sway my decision.
(That said, if it’s Leith-Gudranson who winds up winning, I wouldn’t be too upset.)