South Dundas - January 20, 2014 - We are barely two weeks into 2014, and few weeks into
nominations for this year's Municipal Elections. Yet things are
already heating up here in Dundas County. Already some interesting
announcements have taken place making this election some political
theater that will be interesting to watch.
First to the Municipality(not a township) of South Dundas. Deputy
Mayor Jim Locke surprised most political watchers by being the first
to file his papers just after the nominations opened. The 2010-14 term
was Locke's first since amalgamation, however Locke previously served
on Matilda Township council. Locke's early filing strategy might be to
make potential challengers think twice before running for the number
two chair at the council table. A good strategy that might just pay
off for him.
None of the three councilors at the table have committed to running as
of yet. Evonne Delegarde, currently serving her first full term at the
table, has said she is going to run this fall. What she has not said
is which of the three spots she may take a crack at. Delegarde has
gained some notoriety for not voting with the masses around the
council table, preferring to vote how she feels about an issue,
instead of seeing what way the political winds are blowing that night.
With a term-and-a-half sitting at the table, will she take the plunge
and vie for the Deputy-Mayor or Mayor position?
The other incumbents have not stated which way they are going yet.
Mayor Steven Byvelds has indicated he will let everyone know towards
summer, while Councilors Archie Mellon and Jim Graham are undecided.
With an ear to the ground, the rumblings do sounds like all current
sitting members may end up running in 2014. This makes getting new
people into the elected government a bit of a challenge.
Late in 2013, vocal windmill opponent, Leslie Dishaw, announced her
intention to run for council. No other new people have announced, but
a few perennial also-rans have filed their papers so far. None of
2010's mayoral candidates have indicated that they will vie again for
the top chair as of yet either.
One challenge this time around to newcomers is what do they run on?
Some candidates run with a platform of ideas of values, others for a
single issue or an axe to grind. Meanwhile others run just for the
sake of running. A lesson out of the 2010 election should be to
remember that too many people running for a position tends to favour
the incumbent. 2010's mayoral race saw the deputy mayor win the top
job with 30 per cent of the vote, based on voter turnout of less than
60%. There were five candidates. The perceived incumbent won. A
narrower field, at least for the Mayor and Deputy-Mayor position, may
make for an easier choice and more engagement in the voting process.
Switching to North Dundas. Indications are that Mayor Eric Duncan and
the entire council will be running for the same positions, again this
time around. This may make the race a boring one to watch, except for
the position of Deputy-Mayor. Here's why. Current Mayor, Eric Duncan,
is the heir-apparent for carrying the federal Conservative banner in
the local riding, Stormont, Dundas & South Glengarry. Current Member
of Parliament for the riding, Guy Lauzon, has not yet stated whither
he would run for another term in the elections scheduled for the fall
of 2015. If not, the nomination will be Duncan's. In that event, and
if Eric Duncan is elected to the House of Commons, the Deputy Mayor of
North Dundas would be promoted to the position of Mayor. Now the
Deputy-Mayor's race looks a bit more interesting.
None-the-less, the 2014 writ period is upon us, and if you like
political theater, it should be a very interesting year indeed.