Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2022/ Very Late Election Postblather

Very Late Election Postblather

The municipal election ended almost two months ago. I had been meaning to write some thoughts about it but I kept procrastinating. Part of my reluctance is that the election seems so futile; the provincial government has upended how municipalities work with Bills 23 and 39.

Regardless, here are some thoughts. Let us all hope it won't take 2000 words to get them out.

First and foremost, voter turnout was awful. Kitchener's turnout dropped from 28 to 20ish percent. The Region as a whole dropped from 36% to 25%. I am not surprised. I predicted Wilmot and Waterloo would have good turnouts, but instead Wilmot and Woolwich did. Despite a competitive race for mayor in the city of Waterloo, turnout dropped 7%. This makes me feel even more stupid for bothering with Waterloo Region Votes.

Having said that I was largely satisfied with the outcome. On the Regional Councillor front, I was pleased that Rob Deutschmann snagged the fourth seat. So far he has been making a splash, and it is good to see. I guess it is nice that Colleen James received the most votes of any candidate. Michael Harris was a disappointment but not a surprise. The surprise was Kari Williams. Clearly she built up support somewhere, because she got the third-highest number of votes, besting Matt Rodrigues (who ran a fairly visible campaign).

I was also quite surprised to see Chantal Huinink won a seat. She was solidly in second place (but nowhere near Jim Erb, who ran away with the vote tally and received more votes than any Waterloo mayoral candidate).

It is nice to see that out of the 16 seats on Regional Council, 10 of them were won by women. There is now a visibly disabled person and a person of colour on council. I do not think that identity should be more important than competence on council, but I feel that council is a pretty good mix. They will be dealing with some tumultuous issues, s let's hope they are cohesive and competent.

I will say that I am pretty unhappy with Karen Redman, and wish she had had credible competition during the campaign.

As usual, I am disappointed with Cambridge. I am not thrilled that Jan Liggett won over Kathryn McGarry. I am not thrilled Adam Cooper won his race in Ward 6, overthrowing Shannon Adshade. I am not mad that Doug Craig won a regional councillor seat, but it is unsurprising and depressing that both winners (Craig and Pam Wolf) were popular names. I am also sad for Ward 2, where Mike Devine won over Piyush Nanda. On the school board front, Cambridge managed to elect two candidates on the anti-woke slate. Then there was the fiasco around the Catholic school trustees -- they had to cancel the election because some genius forgot to list two of the candidate names, and the re-election had a whopping 5% turnout.

On the other hand, Sheri Roberts won in Ward 5, which means that council also has a councillor with a physical disability. Also, neither Karahalios won a seat.

I do not feel there were any surprises in Kitchener. In Ward 5 Ayo Owodunni won. So far he seems pretty good. Ward 10 went to Aislinn Clancy, but it was a tight race between her and Stephanie Stretch.

Wilmot was the biggest surprise for me. The whole council is new there. I am glad to see that after losing the mayorality Jenn Pfenning landed on her feet. I am hoping their new council will be competent, because I think Wilmot is in for some hard times too. Development pressures will be very strong there.

I did not pay a lot of attention to the Waterloo races, but overall I am happy McCabe won the mayorality.

In terms of the school board I was glad to see that Maedith Radlein and Meena Waseem won seats. I was also happy to see Joanne Weston return. These three all seemed strong in the all-candidates meeting I attended. Mike Ramsay got re-elected, but I am not surprised at that.

Outside of Cambridge (and Ramsay, I guess) the anti-woke takeover of the schoolboard seems to have failed. Furthermore things seem to have calmed down a little; Piatkowski stepped down as chair and Weston stepped in, and it seems the trustees were happy with that?

Thanks to the provincial government, it looks like area municipal councils will be much more important now, and regional council is much weaker. For all I know there might not be a regional council next election. I think that will make some voters pretty happy, but I will not be one of them.