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Title - The View from Dundas
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Politics heating up in Dundas
By Phillip Blancher
OurHometown.ca

Politics heating up in Dundas
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.
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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.

Follow Me on TwitterPhillip Blancher is a writer, web geek and communications professional by trade. He has written for a number of publications in Eastern Ontario and Northern New York State and also was a weekly morning show contributor for two area radio stations. As a resident of South Dundas for the last seven years, this long-time political buff has taken on an appreciation of small-town/rural life while also being a father of four and a soccer coach. Blancher's columns on OurHometown.ca will cover a range of his interests from politics, parenthood, local history and on his favourite NHL team, the Buffalo Sabres. If you have questions or wish to contact Phillip, you can email him at pblancher@ourhometown.ca






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