Posted April 15, 2015
It appears that the application to audit the campaign financial report delivered by ward six candidate, Glen Tolhurst, was submitted by Farbridge activist, apologist and core supporter, Susan Watson.
Throughout the recent civic election campaign, Ms. Watson stoutly defended the Farbridge administration usually through the Mercury’s 59 Carden Street blog.
Her views closely followed the platform of the pro-Farbridge website “We Are Guelph” (WAG). It was sponsored by The Guelph and District Labour Council who financed the site and selected the candidates.
A picture on the website of their choice for mayor was Karen Farbridge. It has been taken down from the site.
Here’s how WAG stickhandled its way to naming only those candidates who supported WAG’s “Stronger Together” platform.
It’s called endorsement by coercion.
Here’s the list of those candidates endorsing the WAG platform: Ward one – Terry O’Connor and Maria Pezzano; ward two – James Gordon and Sian Matwey; ward three – Phil Allt, June Hofland, Maggie Laidlaw; ward four – Mike Salisbury and Laurie Garbutt; ward five- Leanne Piper and Cathy Downer; ward six – Keith Poore.
Remember these candidates supported the WAG platform. In the public election post mortem interests, here is a WAG platform synopsis taken from its website:
“Guiding Philosophy: Invest to implement a strategy and vision for a future that meets the needs of Guelph. Investment projects will be paid for by a combination of economic growth and responsible tax rates. All residents, present and future, should be engaged in a review process of Guelph’s priorities and needs.”
Six of those who supported the WAG platform voted to approve the 2015 budget that included a 3.55 per cent property tax increase. Three other elected councillors Karl Wettstein, Mark McKinnon and Bob Bell also voted for the budget.
Do they really believe what they passed was a “responsible tax rate”?
For Susan Watson to hire Toronto lawyer Ed Gillespie’s firm to represent her demand for an audit of Mr. Tolhurst’s election finance report is a sham and a subterfuge to discredit GrassRoots Guelph. You may remember that ten years ago Mr. Gillespie was engaged by the unions to stop Wal-Mart from building a store on Woodlawn Road. He and Ben Bennett, the union front man, ultimately failed to stop Wal-Mart whose application had been hung-up for 11 years at a cost of more than a million dollars.
The union-sponsored WAG that openly advocated supporting its candidates is not a smidge different from what GrassRoots Guelph did in supporting its list of candidates.
The hipocracy is stunning.
It is a basic right to support certain candidates and its called democracy. This case may evolve into a Charter of Human Rights issue that could result in a rebuke of the Watson claim that third parties cannot represent the people during an election campaign.
The strangest aspect of all this is why now? One explanation is that in 2006 the Farbridge team attempted to conduct an election campaign audit of former Mayor Kate Quarrie. It was turned down by the compliance committee and council.
If it didn’t work before, let’s try it again.
So who are the sore losers now?