It’s a sad day for democracy in Simcoe-Grey
Brian Saunderson, who is in his first term as Collingwood mayor
From Simcoe.com June 9 2021
By Ted Rowe
Re: “Saunderson named PC candidate for Simcoe-Grey,” The Connection, June 10.
After living a year and a half with COVID in our presence, we have been asked to make many sacrifices. But one thing that remained steadfast during the pandemic was our democratic right to vote — until today.
Premier Doug Ford put a stop to the democratic process taking place right here in Simcoe-Grey. After almost a year of candidates signing up new members for support — 783 to be exact — Ford inserted himself into the nomination race and selected which candidate would represent the Progressive Conservative party in next year’s election.
Stripping us of our voting rights, Ford announced he was appointing Brian Saunderson — a half-term mayor of Collingwood — to be the candidate. This decision gave no regard for the democratic process or paid any respect to the efforts of the three other candidates.
This is not the first time a premier has appointed a candidate; however, it is typically reserved for a candidate of distinction. The sum total of Saunderson’s political career is one complete term as deputy mayor and half a term as mayor.
Since Ford’s announcement, the chairman of the riding association’s nominating committee has resigned. I ask myself: what is behind Ford’s strategy to alienate so many longtime Conservatives? Both Ford and Saunderson’s father’s were in Premier Mike Harris’s cabinet; is this all it takes for an invite into Ford’s political circle?
Unfortunately, Ford has the power to shield Saunderson from having to face his political baggage. But should we be forced to watch, as not only our town, but our riding, continues to crumble? How can we expect Saunderson to continue to dedicate 100 per cent to his mayoral duties whilst campaigning to be the MPP of Simcoe-Grey?
Why not have the decency to resign in your current mayoral role so the town you’ve represented for the past two-plus years can start to pick up the pieces?
I, and the other 783 members, want our membership fees back.
Ted Rowe, Collingwood
See original letter here