Thursday, September 23, 2010

Debates Yes, Signs No

Are You Ready to Debate?

With just a little over a month left before the Municipal Election on October 25 (I know, where does the time go?), it’s time to start the debating… In an official way, of course.The debates are being sponsored by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and Rogers TV and got underway yesterday with the candidates for Ward 4 city councillors.

Missing the debates? Well you shouldn’t. Our local Rogers station is covering them each live-to-air, direct from the debating ground at the City Hall Council Chambers at 1 Carden St. The format of each debate will be a combination of questions by written submission from the audience, as well as submissions received in advance from the business community. Candidates will be given one minute to answer each question, as well each candidate will be given the opportunity for a one and half minute opening statement and a one minute closing statement. This should make for an interesting Ward 1 debate. Considering that there are 11 candidates there should be just enough time for a total of three questions. But I kid Ward 1.

As for the rest of the schedule, the debates will continue tonight with a double header featuring Ward 3 at 6 pm and Ward 6 at 8 pm. The Ward 1 debate will go down next Thursday, September 30 with the Mayoral debate to follow on Tuesday October 5. The final two debates will be another double feature on October 7 with Ward 2 taking place at 6 pm and Ward 5 taking place at 8 pm. For full debate coverage, keep your eyes peeled to my Guelph Politico blog at
Sign-less of the Times

In the midst of our heightened awareness of these more environmentally-mined times, a number of candidates in this election have decided to go “sign-less.” That is their campaign will not be putting up any signs in favour of social media and old-fashioned door-to-door campaigning. Ward 3 candidate Craig Chamberlain was one of the first to declare that he was going sign free so that he could “lead by example” when it comes to focusing on an affordable approach to city government. “My campaign is simple and direct, and I have cut out the excesses of electioneering,” said a Chamberlain news release.

Ward 1 candidate Allan Boynton declared last week that he will also be going sign-less saying that he will “not be doing signs on the side of the road, because I believe they are not environmentally friendly and an eyesore to our great community.” Additionally, another Ward 3 candidate, Missy Tolton is also reportedly not putting up signs, and, like Boynton, she’s running a campaign for under $1,000.

In the mayoral race, one candidate has also taken the no-sign pledge. Ray Mitchell, former owner of the Family Thrift Store and current owner of a downtown antiques store, joined the election race on the final day of nominations. In what he calls a social experiment, Mitchell says that he’s running a campaign without signs and without donations. “I believe that election signs should be outlawed, as they serve no useful purpose and give the rich an unfair advantage over the poor,” he told the Guelph Tribune.

Mitchell added that in our media savvy world he hoped that modern technology and the media can help candidates overcome a lack of campaign money. “In an increasingly tech-savvy world, and with widespread media events like debates, I believe that a candidate can get their message out at little or no cost, which will hopefully allow the participation in future of more candidates who are limited financially,” he said.

For full election coverage, check out Guelph Politico at

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