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Bubbles for mayor

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In Orillia
Sep 29th, 2010
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By JENNIFER BURDEN, THE Orillia PACKET & TIMES September 29 201
If you have a soft spot for kitties, are addicted to Tim Hortons coffee, and have an iPod full of Rush tunes, there is an unofficial mayoral candidate for you.
Bubbles, popularized by the hit Canadian comedy series Trailer Park Boys, is unofficially running for mayor in Orillia and Severn Township. “I figure if I don’t get elected in Orillia, maybe I could get elected out (in Severn) or maybe I’ll get elected in both and get two pay-cheques,” Bubbles said outside of the Severn Township municipal office in his election campaign video. “I mean, it’s the same job anyways. And pretty soon this is all going to be part of Orillia anyways, so maybe I’m getting a head start.”
Steve Lewis, a local piano technician who was nicknamed Bubbles while fostering kittens for the SPCA and because of his thick spectacles, has jumped right into character for the upcoming election. He’s created a Facebook page under the name of Steve French (Bubbles’ mountain lion,) which now has more than 18 friends including real mayoral candidate Angelo Orsi. He has also filmed an election campaign video, put up signs, and handed out informational brochures.
You may have also seen him cruising around in his red SUV with a “Bubbles for Mayor” sign on the roof or met him on Saturday morning at the Orillia Farmers’ Market.
His ideas are wacky, and his platform simple, but it’s all in the name of humour.
“I think a lot of people in Orillia take the election way too seriously. This is just to add a little comic relief,” Lewis said.
Bubbles’ election platform as listed on Facebook is made up of 12 points. It includes turning the Orillia Central School owned by the city into a homeless shelter for abandoned kittens and converting the multi-use recreation facility (MURF) brownfield site into a giant litter box.
“The other thing we could do, we could take MURF mountain and we could turn it into a giant litter box because it’s already full of crap,” Lewis, in the character of Bubbles, said in his election video posted on YouTube.
He would also like to provide free Tim Hortons coffee to all local residents every Sunday.
“Tim Hortons is, you know, probably the most popular place in Orillia. It’s where everybody goes, so I thought what better place to talk to people and tell them what we’re all about,” he said in his video while standing in front of the Colborne Street Timmy’s with a hot cup of coffee in hand. “I think if I get elected mayor, I’m going to pass a bylaw saying free coffee on Sundays. For everybody. Why not?”
Other election priorities, posted on his Facebook site, are relocating the new library to the city hall building and adding a wet bar, serving free beer and bologna at council meetings, adding a beer tent to the farmers’ market, and having Rush concerts on Canada Day instead of speeches.
With the election less than a month away, official mayoral candidates aren’t feeling threat-e ned by the bug-eyed new-comer.
“I don’t see him as a major threat, but you never know,” candidate Tim Lauer said, adding that he saw the Bubbles sign at the farmers’ market on Saturday morning. “I don’t mind it all. I think it’s fun… If you can’t laugh at yourself, it’s no fun.”
Candidate Ralph Cipolla said he thinks the gimmick is great.
“It brings a little bit of humour into politics, even though politics is a very serious thing… If it’s done in good humour and in polite humour, that’s great. If it’s done to insult the people of Orillia, then I think that’s bad.”
Orsi, who is friends with Orillia’s Bubbles on Facebook, met Lewis in full character on Mississaga Street over the weekend and made a point of going up to him and shaking his hand.
Having admittedly not read Bubbles platform, he could not comment on specific issues, but hopes Bubbles is in favour of jobs in Orillia.
“I think it’s fun to add a little bit of political humour once in a while,” Orsi said. “We need a little bit of entertainment.”
Lewis said Orillia’s response to the Bubbles campaign has been amazing, but his reasoning behind the gimmick goes deeper than wanting to make people laugh and smile. He said he hopes to get more young people out to vote and increase the overall turnout.
Although too late to officially run in the Oct. 25 election, Lewis plans on continuing to get out into the community as Bubbles, talking to people, and doing his best to make people happy.
“I’ve see more smiles in the last week than I’ve seen in the last 10 years in Orillia. Driving around, people wave at me, give me the thumbs up, (and yell) ‘Go Bubbles,'” he said.

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