Ex-warden mum on future
Posted By RAYMOND BOWE
Municipal elections are still nine months away, but several politicians have already filed the paperwork and hit the ground running.
One of the more interesting races to watch could be Springwater Township.
Mayor Tony Guergis, who took a lot of heat from the public during the protracted Site 41 debate, surprised many in December when he declined a nomination to seek an unprecedented fourth term as Simcoe County warden. He has yet to publicly declare whether he will seek another mayoral term.
“I’ve decided, I just haven’t announced it yet,” said Guergis, who also declined the opportunity to say, definitively, whether he planned to run again. “I’m in the category of people who think we have a really important job to do, so I want to continue to do that job.”
Municipal elections will be held Oct. 25. The term of office goes from Dec. 1 until Nov. 30, 2014.
Guergis said he doesn’t think campaigning should interfere with the business of governance, which is what can happen by opening the nomination wickets so far in advance of a municipal election.
“People certainly have their opinions on it,” he said, “but everyone knows that elections are divisive.
“These elections are too long and the real campaigning really starts even before these dates, although they may be invisible,” Guergis added.
Only Deputy Mayor Tony Hope has filed in Springwater, where the Elmvale resident has designs on keeping his current seat.
In Essa Township, Mayor David Guergis and Deputy Mayor Terry Dowdall are both vying for the mayor’s chain of office, while Ward 1 Coun. Sandie Macdonald aspires to fill the vacated deputy-mayor’s chair.
In Barrie, former city councillor and MPP Joe Tascona is the only person to officially enter the race for mayor, although former Barrie mayor Rob Hamilton (2003-2006) publicly stated several months ago that he intended to make a comeback. However, he hasn’t officially filed his nomination papers at city hall.
“I think it’s a wise decision to get out there earlier,” Tascona said. “It’s important when you have a fixed-date election to gain support.”
Provincial and municipal elections are different kettles of fish, he added.
“When you’re running municipally, you’re running as an individual on your own name,” Tascona said, adding it comes without any of the “party apparatus. You can promote your individual ideas versus those of the party.”
Mayor Dave Aspden hasn’t said publicly whether he intends to run again.
Rumours have also swirled that Barrie Police Chief Wayne Frechette, who will retire in September, could take a run at becoming the city’s mayor.
“I’m out. I was never in,” said Frechette, adding the same question was posed to him at least three times yesterday. “I just don’t have the burning desire.”
Frechette, who has been assured that he could run in Barrie even though he lives in Innisfil, said he has been asked to run at all three levels of government, but if he ever decided to get into politics, it would most likely be at the municipal level, simply due to the lack of travel.
There are two phases to any election, Tascona said. The first essentially ends with the deadline for nominations, which is Sept. 10. Afterwards, the process becomes more intense, including all-candidates debates.
“Prior to that, it’s all organizational,” he said. “After that, it’s strategy and keeping a good, close eye on what’s happening at council.”
Tascona said it doesn’t feel strange coming back to municipal politics.
“I’ve always enjoyed municipal politics from a personal point of view,” he said, adding it would also keep him closer to home.
Barrie incumbents Rodney Jackson (Ward 3), John Brassard (Ward 7) and Alex Nuttall (Ward 10) have all filed, while current Ward 5 Coun. Lynn Strachan looks to move into the Ward 2 seat, currently held by Jeff Lehman, where she’ll be up against newcomer Rose Romita.
Jackson will battle Doug Shipley in Ward 3, while Ward 5 includes Michael Tuck and Peter Silveira.
Another new face is Patrick Hebert, who will look to usurp incumbent Barry Ward in Ward 4, who has yet to officially enter the race.
Wards 7, 8, 9 and 10 in Barrie’s south end have been extended to accommodate the land that was annexed from Innisfil.