About the no-show candidates
We realize that AWARE Simcoe was the intended target of the snub delivered by candidates Tony Guergis, Linda Collins and Dan McLean, who chose not to show up at the all-candidates’ meeting held in Minesing on Monday night. Unfortunately those whose interests were hurt were the 200-plus electors who turned out to hear what the candidates for political office in this election had to say for themselves. We know that Collins and McLean, at least, had supporters in the crowd who were disappointed that their candidates were no-shows.
AWARE Simcoe is an activist group that takes positions on issues. We make no apology for that. We agreed to sponsor the two all-candidates’ meetings in the south end of the township because no other organizations stepped forward. We knew we had to switch from activism to a neutral public-interest role for the purposes of the all-candidates meeting, out of respect for the Wards 3 and 4 residents who deserved their opportunity to participate in the democratic process.
We were disappointed by the bizarre and unwarranted charges levelled against us by Brenda Stanley, who was the spokesperson for Guergis, Collins and McLean at Monday’s meeting. Contrary to her allegations, the moderator was not a member of AWARE, nor even a Springwater resident, and no advance questions were shown to selected candidates to give them an advantage. Also contrary to Stanley’s allegations, while the Midhurst Ratepayers Association (which did not sponsor the meeting) chose to select a slate of candidates – as is their right – AWARE Simcoe has not done so and took no part in the MRA’s decision. Subsequent to the Monday meeting, we have announced our endorsement of Bill French for mayor.
The third Springwater all-candidates’ meeting is to be held in Midhurst on Wednesday October 15. Midhurst is the community where Guergis, Collins and McLean should feel the most obligated to explain their position on the Midhurst Secondary Plan (since it was not explained by any candidate in the last election). Yes, there are many in Midhurst who may disagree with Guergis, Collins and McLean, but a politician who lacks the courage to engage with a roomful of people who disagree with him or her should stay out of politics. AWARE Simcoe intends to ensure that the Midhurst meeting will be run in the same impartial and open manner as the one in Minesing and invites all candidates to attend.
I would like to conclude by extending the thanks of our organization to moderator Rudy Chernecki, who handled a difficult situation with grace and tact, and to Snow Valley Ski Resort, whose attractive facility and cordial hospitality was appreciated by all who attended. Thanks most of all to all the candidates – for mayor, deputy mayor, and for the ward positions across the township. They all turned out and participated, except for the three represented by Stanley and one other who sent regrets. The democratic process was well served.
Postscript. After writing the above as a letter to the Springwater News, I was forwarded the content of Stanlley’s statement in an attachment entitled ‘Dan McLean’s response to all-candidates’ meeting for wards 3 and 4′, apparently from McLean’s blog. It looks like the deputy mayor wrote this and published it without making any effort to verify these claims. I find that very strange. Just for the record, AWARE Simcoe doesn’t engage in public bullying. We are passionate about issues we consider important, we are forceful in stating our position, but we always have respect for those who disagree. Anyhow, here’s the statement. Dan McLean?s Response