Jackson ‘seriously considering’ running for re-election
Innisfil mayor deplores “absurd” statements by mayoral rivals
By Chris Simon Innisfil Scope August 25 2010
Brian Jackson was hoping to quietly walk away from Innisfil’s political scene.
But recent comments made by the town’s mayoral candidates in local media could sway the current mayor to participate in the grind of another election campaign.
Mayor Brian Jackson says he is ‘seriously considering’ running for mayoral re-election this fall, mostly to defend his name and provide clarity on the major issues dealt with over the last term. He will have until Sept. 10 to file nomination papers.
“I’ve approached both (mayoral) candidates, to express my displeasure with some of the absurd statements they had made,” Jackson told The Scope, in an interview Wednesday. “If (they’re) going to continue to make statement like that about mayor and council decisions, I have no choice to run, to somewhat clarify and add knowledge to some of the statements. I did want to retire quietly and peacefully; I’ve had 13 years (as mayor), and we’ve accomplished a lot of things. But I just can’t let these candidates beat up myself and my council. I’m frustrated, confused and disappointed that they’d make these absurd statements.”
Jackson was responding to comments made by mayoral candidates Gord Wauchope and Barb Baguley at a recent debate, which suggested the relationship between members of council had become ‘fractured’ over the last few years.
He says some candidates and current councillors have inaccurately criticized the role the mayor’s office played in the annexation, the Fair Growth Campaign, and many of the other key decisions made over the last four years.
“I thought they would have dealt with some of the more serious issues the town has, and how to deal with good local government,” he said, noting plans for employment lands, roads, servicing and population growth should be the focus of the campaign. “These are critical things they should be looking at, not talking about things that are done in the past. It’s not the way I would do business. I have a great deal of displeasure with the way they’ve conducted themselves so far.
“Council’s done a lot of things, some good, some not so good. But they should be dealing with how we move forward.”
Council was kept fully aware throughout the annexation battle, which concluded with nearly 2,300 hectares of Innisfil land being allocated to Barrie by the provincial government. Each of the nine council members has a vote equal to the mayor’s, but decisions on many of the major issues were supported in near unison, he said.
“I can’t run the town by myself,” said Jackson. “Council makes the decisions, I conduct meetings and don’t set the policy. Council set the policy for annexation, they were apprised on an ongoing basis. I found it odd that (Wauchope) would say he was going to try and (mend) fences when he was one of the proponents for a more aggressive campaign, especially against … (Barrie MPP) Aileen Carroll.”
Now, many council members are choosing to distance themselves from the decisions they had previously approved, he said.
“I have to support council. If I have the greatest displeasure with what they want to do, I still have to support them. I can’t speak contrary to council,” he said, referring to provisions in the town’s procedural bylaw. “Stop backing away from the decisions (they) helped to make.”