Monday, May 31, 2010

City Election

The upcoming election this fall looked like it was mostly going to be same old, same old.

Now, it looks like there will be change in terms of city councillors. Some of that has come has a result of retirements as in the case of Lillian Thomas who appears to be leaving after 21 years in council. Her ward, Elmwood-East Kildonan, which she has held since 1989 looks to be highly sough after.

In Old Kildonan ward Mike O'Shaughnessy is retiring as well. He was the longest serving councillor with nearly 30 years on and off as a representative at City Hall. It is not hard to imagine that his riding won't be fought for my multiple candidates.

One unexpected loss has been Bill Clement. His sudden death as a result of a long battle with cancer and a weakened immune system, throws open Tuxedo-Charleswood that has not had any real challengers since Clement was elected in 1983. The 27 year run that Clement looked to stretch to 30 years with the coming election. For many residents of the ward, they have never known another representative.

Another long time representative Harry Smith faced a challenge from the NDP who seemed to want to remove him from Daniel McIntyre after 18 years in city politics. He chose retirement rather than running as an independent.

It is hard to know the future of Harry Lazarenko. He remains hospitalized.

In terms of mayor, there is a credible challenger in Judy Wasylycia-Leis moving from federal politics to city politics. It remains to be seen whether there is any way a sitting mayor in Winnipeg can be defeated. As with city councillors, the mayor's incumbency has played a strong factor in past re-elections. Add the impediment of a city councillor actually having to decide to quit his ward to run as mayor and you remove possible challengers.

The rules don't allow for other politicians to run for office unless they quit 42 days before the civic election. To put that into perspective, John McCain and Barack Obama would not have been able to run in the last U.S. presidential election unless they quit their Senate seats first if Winnipeg rules applied.

You gotta figure that if the U.S. allows for such things that Winnipeg might be able to do it as well.

hit counter javascript

myspace hit counter


Anonymous said...

So who did you vote for last time and why ?

Anonymous said...

It remains to be seen whether there is any way a sitting mayor in Winnipeg can be defeated. As with "city councillors, the mayor's incumbency has played a strong factor in past re-elections."

its called TERM LIMTIS. These limits trump apathy.

There must be a way to protect the institution from the notion of a democratic election when in fact the apathetic vote suggests people have tuned off and it is they that really represent the Vote, or lack of. For an incumbent the best scenario is a strong sense of apathy to permeate. The incumbent is assured ( unless he really screws up )of a block of voted from the start. Any challenger is facing an uphill battle regardless of platform.

The rules don't allow for other politicians to run for office unless they quit 42 days before the civic election.

Now why would you want "another" politician to run for office. Wasn't he already elected to do something ? Why should he be able to run for another office while employed by the public in his current capacity.

Seems to me that puts him in the advantage over any challenger as well as impact his current "employment". Running for office takes alot of time and concentration. personally i wouldn't be happy if my elected official was busy running for office somewhere else while I paid his tab.

"You gotta figure that if the U.S. allows for such things that Winnipeg might be able to do it as well "

In the Presidents case...Term limits trump his ability to reign forever.

John Dobbin said...

I haven't voted for Sam Katz in any election in part because I never really saw a plan in any campaign.

I still don't see a real plan and often things seem to be done on the fly or without full details revealed.

The problem with term limits is lame duck aspects of it. That example is well shown in the U.S. where the second term for a President is often marked by the lack of progress on a host of issues.

I wonder if our council or mayor would be run into complete blocks on getting stuff done.

I don't believe politicians from elsewhere should be banned from running if they haven't resigned their other elected position. As I said, if they can do it for Presidential elections in the U.S. why not city elections in Winnipeg?

A Senator can run for President and not have to resign unless they win the Presidency. At the very least, a city councillor should be able to run for mayor and not have to resign unless they become mayor.

Anonymous said...

Agree, city councillors should be able to run for mayor as an option to being retired after their 2 terms.

We see lame ducks sit for years. I'd much prefer having their ability snipped rather than a block of votes guaranteeing them election wins.

As for collecting a paycheque from the public purse rather than suffering the same conditions a challenger experiences while running for office, I'' agree to disagree.

John Dobbin said...

The laws to create term limits are in provincial hands. The city cannot do change the act themselves.

In fact, any and all rules changing how city governance is done lays in the hands of the province.

If the province created term limits for cities, the question would then be: why not for provinces as well.

I don't necessarily think term limits completely benefits the electorate since experience can matter in governance.

I'd like to make it possible for more challenges in actual elections to be the first choice for change.

Anonymous said...

yes, the province controls most of the rules. But i still think its a policy that should be approved.

And yes , experience is important but thats why we are supposed to hire competent people. Councillors should generally take care of their wards and approve /request plans drawn up by the civil service.

It is possible that the role of councillor has changed to a point where people expect council to "design " and manage everything. That shouldn't be their role.

People who wish to run for council should be afforded every opportunity and as level playing field as possible.

In my Ward, the incumbent is assured of at least 9000 Votes. Its a slam dunk that any opponent has a long hill to climb. His task is to get the roughly 18000 who don't vote, out to vote. A near impossible task leaving only about 4000 votes to dispute.

We'll see what happens in this election. If a hand picked succesor gets the 9000 block of votes or the voter participation increases to over 16000 maybe closer to 20000

I'm not sure I understand your last point.

Care to debate this at Cosmo's - Rula could whip us up a nice pizza on me.

John Dobbin said...

If you could convince the province to do, I'd be surprised. I think the province finds it in its interest to ensure the city is dysfunctional and doesn't challenge the province.

Civic politicians do let the civil service draw up a lot of the planning of the city. The problem is that there is so much politics that goes into every decision that it requires elected officials to be accountable for those choices.

Experience is often important in helping the city councillor make a decision. I'd hate to think that every 8 years we have complete neophytes in office. Still, I am sympathetic to the argument that multiple councillors serving three decades in office makes things stale.

I want sitting councillors to be able to challenge a mayor and not have to quite their office to run. I want the same restrictions removed from other elected officials.

Since I don't believe the province will ever introduce term limits, this might be the best way to challenge sitting councillors.

As for the pizza, sounds like a great idea. Have to figure a time out.

Anonymous said...

name a couple of times and its a go.

John Dobbin said...

My email is

I might have some time in the next days. Might be good on a Sunday day time.