By Gerry Barker
July 11, 2018
Recently, I have been pressed to run for Mayor of the City of Guelph
Supporters want to prevent another four-year term of Mayor Guthrie who, they feel, has failed to meet his promises made when elected in 2014.
I am still considering making a decision to tackle the job of changing and reforming the administration’s spending on failed projects. This has painted a political picture of the Mayor whose trust of the city staff is suffocating the public trust.
My wife and I voted for him in 2014, as did most people who voted in record numbers.
We all had such high hopes for the energetic new mayor to clean up the fiscal debris of the previous administration.
But that did not happen. Instead, in the first four months in office, his election promise of keeping property taxes pegged to the Consumer Price Index (1.99 per cent in 2014) failed. The 2015 property tax approved by the Guthrie Council in March 2015, peaked at 3.96 per cent.
I’m not going to pursue the mismanagement, pandering to the staff, giving away Guelph Hydro, and holding all those closed-session meetings to prevent the public knowing the conduct of its business.
No, I’ve exposed much of it and picked up a lawsuit, still not concluded, for my trouble.
Instead, it’s time to end Guelph’s reality show. The attempt by the Mayor and his supporters to stage a well-planned coup to take control of council has now been exposed.
Introducing the Cam-ettes
It started early this week with a meeting between two councillors and me.
The only thing I can reveal, as the meeting was off the record, was the enthusiasm expressed in describing the new candidates for council. One of the councillors said he had been working hard to recruit and consult with a group that he predicted would change the composition of council and get rid of the controlling socialist majority.
I was excited at the prospect of new, bright candidates to finally start the process of reform and the reduction of overhead of city operations.
What I did not tell them at the time, concerned a meeting the next night of folks wanting me to take on Mr. Guthrie. At that meeting, we discussed the pros and cons of my candidacy.
Then I told them of my meeting, the night before, and the proposal to introduce qualified candidates to eliminate the socialist majority on council. As much as I have been critical of this “Gang of Seven,” politically, all that was needed was to defeat just two, Coun. Wettstein and Coun. Hofland.
But then things don’t always work as planned.
Both these councillors were on the Board of Directors of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. for four years. In my opinion, both failed to carry out their sworn fiduciary responsibilities by not revealing the failed operations of GMHI that cost the citizens millions.
Now here is the Guthrie team plan
So far there are four Cam-ettes running: In Ward 6, Stacy Cooper and Dominique O’Rourke; in Ward 4 Indu Arora, friend of the Mayor’s wife; in Ward 1 Charlene Downey. All of these women were nominated May1st along with the Mayor. Fact checking indicates none have been elected to a municipal council.
Coincidence? Perhaps, but remains a strong indicates collusion. There’s nothing wrong with that except that these four have been groomed to support Cam Guthrie as dedicated councillors voting for the Guthrie agenda.
Here’s the rub. Any attempt to elect a majority to gain control results, in this case, of Cam Guthrie gaining a majority of councillors for the next four years.
I find that undemocratic and manipulative. No surprise there, considering Mayor Guthrie’s penchant to use people then discarding them when they are no longer useful.
The political world of Cam Guthrie
Here’s a sample of how the Mayor says one thing and conceals his real intent. In the recent provincial election, the Mayor denied he was a candidate representing the P.C.’s. Guelphspeaks announced in August 2017, he was the chosen candidate to represent Guelph throwing the P.C riding association into administrative chaos.
Candidates who indicated they would run had to be put aside while P.C. headquarters told the riding association that they had a candidate and not to pursue a nomination meeting. This all occurred following the Patrick Brown dismissal.
Bob Coole, the Guelph P.C. Association president, received a call from Cam Guthrie inviting him to lunch at a pizzeria on Stone Road. At that meeting, Guthrie said he was the P.C. headquarter’s choice as the candidate. Coole was told not to agree holding a nomination convention, as Guthrie wanted an acclamation. There were more delays and finally Doug Ford named Ray Ferraro the Guelph candidate.
The mayor’s back door interference created an organization nightmare of which the Association did not recover.
The irony is the Guthrie interference in the process was accompanied by the Mayor’s crocodile tears that he loved Guelph and would be a candidate for re-election in October.
There is no nice way to put this but Cam Guthrie’s behind the scenes duplicity in sabotaging the Guelph P.C. campaign reflects the blind ambition and self-absorbed character of our mayor.
Let’s move on
Don’t you think that 12 years of the domination of council, by the extremist left that controlled our city administration could deter re-election of some of the incumbents? Social engineering projects wasted millions on waste management, staff salaries and benefits, the new city hall complex, GMHI failure to impose energy policies that didn’t work and now the giveaway of Guelph Hydro.
If all four of the Cam-ette newbie’s are elected, they will join incumbent Guthrie councillors, Dan Gibson, Andy Van Hellemond, Christine Billings and the Mayor. That would give the Mayor complete control of council.
Then there are the wild cards
In Ward 6, Mark MacKinnon has the advantage of being an incumbent. I would be the last to support him as he stated that paying taxes is the price of living in Guelph. He further opined that because your house increased in value, you should borrow money to pay your property taxes.
Bob Bell, the veteran councillor in Ward 1 has yet to declare. I’m told that his business of building bicycle accessories has created opportunities in China and The Czech Republic.
Incumbent members of the “Gang of Seven” who are running again include James Gordon, Phil Allt, June Hofland, Mike Salisbury, Cathy Downer, and Leanne Piper. Karl Wettstein, the seventh member, has not filed his papers. In Ward 6, former Farbridge councillor, Lise Burcher ,is attempting a comeback.
Who is vulnerable in this group? In my opinion, I’d pick June Hofland, Mike Salisbury, James Gordon. Mark MacKinnon and Karl Wettstein if he runs.
On paper it looks that Mayor Guthrie, so far unopposed, will have a comfortable majority in the next council.
As for me, I have the support of a seasoned campaign team, plus a platform that is extensive and is described in detail in the No Frills Action Plan to be published next week.
My inclination is to run but the task is great and there are serious mitigating facts to be considered.
Predicted surprises will occur before the close of nominations July 27 at 2 p.m.
In the meantime, pencil me in.