The inside view of how some 10,352 votes were killed by the council’s progressive majority

By Gerry Barker

October 23, 2018

Analysis and Opinion

First, congratulations to the seven incumbent councillors who were re-elected to represent the citizens for the next four years. Also, congratulations, to Mayor Guthrie who doubled the result over his opponent, Aggie Mlyarz 22K to 11K.

Impressive wins that left this observer, well, flummoxed.

But let’s examine how it occurred.

Here are important numbers and factors leading to the election result.

The first is the refusal by these same progressive councillors to allow online voting in 2018.

In 2018, there are 90,786 eligible voters in The City of Guelph. This would be greater than 2014 as the population grew, according to Stats Canada, by some 10,000 newcomers to the city in four years.

Election 2014

43 percent of eligible electors voted

Advance poll walk-ins – 2,985

Online voters – 12,767

Total – 15,752

Election 2018

37.16 per cent of eligible electors voted

Advance poll walk-ins – 5,400

Online voters – 0

Total 5,400

Comparing the numbers, apples to apples, there is a huge number of eligible voters, some 10,352 who voted using Online voting in 2014 did not vote in 2018.

Council’s decision to disallow Online voting has deliberately skewed the outcome.

Consider, more residents were eligible to vote in 2018 but the percentage dropped dramatically. Where did those 10,352 eligible voters go?

In my opinion this was a deliberate action by the progressive majority on council all of who, except one, were re-elected by substantial margins. It is beyond belief that the performance record over the past four years of these incumbents warranted re-election.

The intrusion of the Ontario New Democratic Party to support the majority of progressive councillors contributed to the election win. Candidate’s financial statements must include the cost of support by the Ontario NDP, either in cash or in kind.

They voted to suppress the number of voters by denying Online voting. And it worked.

For the next four years nothing will change to permit Online voting in Guelph. The new council, I predict, will vote to ban it.

One of the factors involved see a return of the progressive majority of seven councillors, this is what I call the ‘Schreiner effect.” The MPP built a strong core of supporters to sweep the June 7 provincial election, gaining 29,000 votes.

If just half of those votes consorted to support the progressive civic incumbents, it gives them another advantage over challengers.

I don’t know about you but I cannot tell the difference between the Green Party, the NDP or Liberals. To me, their agenda’s are similar. In Guelph, a progressive majority on council has dominated and from 2007 to 2022.

The effect of this is negative. It discourages good candidates to run for office. The pay for ward councillors is another reason to discourage good candidates who want to contribute to their community. The progressive majority of the new council reveals only one of the seven progressives has a full-time job. Yet they are considered to be part-timers being paid $40,000 a year.

The system is dated and flawed and reform is needed.

The progressives are able to keep control of city council due to the ward system. It is relatively inexpensive for a ward candidate to seek election. Yet the majority of the 12 part-time councillors control the council agenda, particularly when they share the beliefs of the progressive movement. Velia! Because some 57,054 eligible Guelph voters failed to participate by voting in this election, it sets the stage for manipulation of the system including preventing people from voting Online.

On Ontario, some 191 municipalities allowed Online voting this year, but not in Guelph.

Now you know why.

The last check on the outcome lies when all candidates submit their election financial statements that must concur with the new regulation of the Municipal Elections Act. These are public statement; available from the City Clerk’s office sometime next month.

Unfortunately, there is faint hope that there will be reform enacted by a majority of city council who cling to their failed concepts that have already wasted millions on projects such as the new city hall, the Organic Waste Processing Facility, Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc., Downtown parking, bicycle lanes and shrinking pf vehicle lanes, downtown Fire Department Headquarters, Clair Road police /fire station.

The list goes on and we still don’t have a modern main branch library; a South End Recreation Centre because of money being spent on environmental and fails energy efficiency projects and multi-million dollars plus the renovation of the Baker Street parking lot and preparing a plan for the 10070-acre Reformatory lands, owned by the province.

But some 57,054 eligible voters did not turn up Monday, would it be true that Online voting may have changed the outcome?

It was not a great day for Guelph.



Filed under Between the Lines

8 responses to “The inside view of how some 10,352 votes were killed by the council’s progressive majority

  1. Joe Black

    Well I elected not to vote for he first time in my life ,I could not bring myself to vote for these crooks again.

  2. Karl Wettstein

    Interesting spin – Another way to spin it was Cam actually did better last time – running against experienced candidates! Major issues hotly debated (though he conveniently left some key facts out especially regarding Urbacon)! Signs & advertising was pretty even in 2014 but in 2018 I suspect he out spent her by a minimum of 3 or 4 to 1. I would also suggest that a good part of the 7% turnout drop was due to the lackluster campaign and the number of people like Joe Black we didn’t think either candidate was qualified. Your blog had others who said the same thing, including you.

    • Karl Wettstein: Good to hear your point of view. I did not vote for Cam or Aggie. I decided, based on Cam’s performance over the past four years and Aggie’s inexperience in municipal politics, negated my vote for either. He was re-elected as the candidate of default. The Mayor is in exactly the same position as he was in the last four years. Creek, paddle anyone?

  3. Sue

    Grammar error spotted – agenda’s should be agendas. Assume you know that by now : )

    Also, I’m still not convinced of the security of on-line voting, and several of the communities using it had problems on election night. Nothing to do with politics, just common sense caution.

    I’d guess the bigger factors influencing turnout are voter apathy and the lack of a good community newspaper to enable people to feel informed about their choices. The 2014 election was a ‘change’ election locally; this one wasn’t.

    • Sue: I agree about the apathy part. Also the progressive candidates were better organized to get out their vote. I think it’s appalling that more than 57,000 eligible voters stayed home. It indicates that either they are satisfied the way the city is being run, or they don’t understand their city or they are lazy. The election was a lesson in numbing the electorate. Your example was the sad sack newspaper that rewrites city press releases passing it off as news even though the paper receives an estimated $500,000 a year in paid advertising from the city.. It’s not. newspaper, it’s a commercial enterprise that drains money from the community and does not give back. Is this a great country or not?

  4. Does this mean Guelph will be voted as a sanctuary city?


    Not to mention the voters who were denied their vote as the election poll staff gave out incorrect information.For a city that’s sign crazy you’d think that there would have been a sign indicating ID required at each poll !?Were the “teachers” of those chosen as election officials properly trained themselves?

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