A few weeks back, a story appeared in the Barrhaven Independent claiming that candidate Hadi Wess was acting inappropriately and aggressively at the door while canvassing. Allegedly, he stuck his foot in a woman’s door to prevent her from closing it and then argued with her about her support for Jan Harder and his right to knock on her door (I’m not really explaining this well).
It was a pretty bad allegation, and one that, if true, would make someone unfit to be councillor.
Now, I have no reason to think the Barrhaven Independent made this story up. Yes, they have a particular editorial view and the headline of the story was pretty slanted against Wess, but it’d be pretty shocking if they’d made this up.
It is possible, too, that their reporting (headline aside) was true, but that the alleged victim was making it all up.
Last week, Wess came out with a statement saying that the police confirmed that there was no complaint or no investigation or something. The Barrhaven Independent released their own statement, and, well…it was a big mess. I didn’t want to take any one party’s word as gospel, so I felt it behooved me to do my own digging.
You see, Wess had been a very intriguing candidate. On social media, he seemed to be saying the right things. He seemed to be working hard. Four years ago, Harder had no real competition and was clearly the only reasonable candidate in the race (which is saying something). This year, Wess seemed to be a much more worthy opponent.
I have no love for Jan Harder’s politics and I don’t think she’s been a good councillor for this city, so, naturally, I was very intrigued by Wess’s candidacy…but I couldn’t in good conscience endorse him with these allegations hanging over his head (compare this to Tierney…I think voter intimidation is far worse and Michaeld Schurter is an abysmal candidate).
That is, in part, why I’d been holding off on doing this. I don’t have a lot of time to do my own investigation of the Wess situation, and I don’t even know if I’d be able to find out any additional information.
So tonight, I watched the debate, figuring I was going to have to do it sometime, and I didn’t want to watch the mayoral debate, yet. Well, here’s what I learned.
Wess is a terrible candidate.
This is such a goddamned relief. I was sort of hoping he wouldn’t be my preferred candidate, but I’d felt really strongly that he would be, and then I’d be forced to try to figure this whole mess out. But his performance at the debate ended all that.
Look, Jan Harder is going to win, anyway, and I’m not going to endorse Wess, so I feel absolutely no duty to try to dig out the truth.
Endorsement: Franklin Epape
Ha ha! Didn’t see that one coming, did you!?
This was the ugliest, most childish debate in the last two cycles. Early on, Mark Sutcliffe actually had to scold Jan Harder for her behaviour and unwillingness to stop talking over him, and it only got worse from there. All of them spoke over each other. All of them complained about the time other people were getting. All of them were petty and snide.
But Harder and Wess were clearly the worst. Neither one has the temperament or, hell, the manners to be a civic leader. They were bickering and talking over each other. At times, it seemed Wess was making things up, but at other times he was telling the truth and Harder claimed he was lying. Children. Spoiled little children.
It’s an absolute shame that this seems to be the best that Barrhaven can wretch out this year.
So this one’s a process-of-elimination endorsement.
Epape doesn’t quite have the handle on things that Harder does (this is one thing to giver her credit for: she knows how the city works and doesn’t make too many baseless claims about what can be done at council), but he seems quite committed to his community. He was easily the most positive and the most calm of the four.
So, yeah, we’ll be getting four more years of Harder, and all the pettiness that seems to come along with that.
P.S. In case you’re wondering, I’d probably vote for Harder over Wess, if it was a two-person race.