Posted October 19, 2014
It is a given that Mayor Karen Farbridge is in charge of her campaign. She is responsible for what is said and what is published on her behalf. Last Thursday an ad appeared in the Guelph Tribune that linked mayoralty candidate, Cam Guthrie, with convicted robocall defendant Michael Sona, now awaiting sentencing. The copy stated that: “A person is known by the company they keep,” carried under the photo.
The ad also asked the question: “Is this the leadership and transparency YOU want at City Hall.” There was no attribution or source identification of the ad.
It was an American-style attack ad focused on character assassination. Mayor Farbridge suggested it was done to counter alleged toxic politicking. She then said this was caused by opponent, Cam Guthrie, and his supporters (unnamed). She artfully avoided specifics but one thing is certain, there have been no character assassination ads produced by any of her opponents.
Adjacent to the Tribune ad was a Farbridge campaign ad alleging that property tax rates were going down. To where? Does that infer they have been too high for the past eight years? Guelph property taxes have increased 38 per cent, compounded, in seven years and you can take that to the bank.
Then something happened. The Guelph Mercury said the Tribune used a photo taken in 2011, owned by the Mercury, and used without permission. The source of the photo has not been disclosed.
With this revelation, the Mercury was feeling heat from readers as to why they allowed the photo to be used in such a manner. They didn’t allow it. Obviously, someone in the Farbridge campaign had a copy and used it.
Finally, in the Saturday edition of the Mercury, Mayor Farbridge admitted that her campaign placed the ad. Regardless, she is still responsible for the actions of her campaign. But the mayor is expert at deflecting criticism of her record by pointing the finger at someone else. In this case, she focused on the federal and provincial conservative parties, collectively the Tories, blaming them for her charge of toxic politicking.
In the Saturday Mercury’s page one story, the Mayor went on an unbelievable rant: “I have never faced such a nasty and bitter and toxic campaign.” Excuse me mayor, does that include your anonymous character assassination ad aimed at your opponent, Cam Guthrie?
She dredged up all the catch phrases such as bullying of women candidates, hateful messages and displays. She then blames the conservatives for the so-called toxic campaign attempting to tie the current opposition to the robocall scandal. Now that’s desperation.
Mayor Farbridge has made a colossal blunder. She is now portraying herself as the victim instead of the perpetrator. Her problem, for the second time in her political career, is she faces a determined opposition that has ignited the public’s interest and concerns.
She still refuses to take full responsibility for the Urbacon $15 million and counting financial mess. Instead, she says there has been too many mis-statements made that fail to understand what happened. Really? It happened mayor, and it was on your watch.
Let’s look at the recent election numbers. By last Thursday morning some 4,000 Internet votes had been made plus 780 in the first day of the advance poll. These numbers are staggering in comparison of voter turnouts in previous Guelph municipal elections.
The Farbridge campaign team already knows what is happening to their candidate and her supporters. Their own polling is telling them.
This is why this “Hail Mary” character assassination ad was placed to knock down Guthrie. Instead, it has created an enormous backlash by citizens appalled at the tactic employed by the Farbridge campaign.
Finally, that friend of Farbridge, Andy Best, former head of the now defunct Guelph Civic League, described the ad as “unfortunate.” He said: “The fact that the ad with the image of Guthrie and Sona was unattributed leaves the impression it was not part of the official Farbridge Campaign.”
Andy, Why did she finally admit it was part of her campaign?
This election is not about crazed right-wing Tories as the Farbridge campaign would like you to believe. It is about Mayor Farbridge, her cast of hardcore council supporters’, and their record of running the city.
What this city needs is a political enema to return the public trust and power to the people.
Read the New Directions Guelph series in the Guelph Tribune every Thursday. If you missed the first three parts drop into grassrootsguelph.com for details The final part is scheduled for Thursday, October 23.