Thursday, September 15, 2011

Garvie's Back, Sign Issues and Debate Prep

Fourth Try for Fifth Party Candidate

The day after the writ was officially dropped for the 2011 Ontario Provincial Election, Communist Party candidate Drew Garvie announced his intention to once again run to represent Guelphites.

“Youth and working-people in Ontario are justifiably angry at the Liberal Government for protecting corporate wealth and privilege while real wages and living standards are falling, real unemployment is rising and the real economy is tottering on the edge of another deep recession,” said Garvie in a press release. “But voting Tory to punish the Liberals is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.”

Garvie first ran in the 2007 Provincial Election, eventually winning .4 per cent of the vote. Running the next fall in the Federal Election, he didn't finish as well with only .13 per cent of the popular vote, but he did however capitalize on that in this past spring's Federal Election, increasing his vote share to .17 per cent. True it doesn't sound like much, but for a so-called third party candidate, literally every vote counts. Garvie’s entry into the race takes the slate up to five, although potential candidates have until 2 pm today (Thursday) to file their nomination papers.

Fun fact: the Communist Party of Canada was actually founded just outside Guelph in 1921. Of course, “just outside Guelph” is relative because what was outside of Guelph 90 years ago is now way inside the city limits. Some may say Garvie’s being a nuisance, but to the rest of us he’s keeping up a proud Royal City tradition. Welcome back to the race, Drew.

Sign Language

A bit of controversy to kick off the election as the Liz Sandals campaign put up election signs on Tuesday afternoon, several hours before the writ was official dropped for the start of the campaign. This is a bit of a murky area because while limitations for fundraising for a campaign are very well defined, advertising your campaign with the placement of signs is not. “Our read of Elections Ontario is that there is not a distinction,” between pre-writ and post writ advertising with signs, Sandals told the Guelph Mercury. She added that the reason her campaign didn’t put out signs earlier is out of respect for the public. “It’s more a case of respecting the public’s tolerance for wanting to look at signs, as opposed to any particular legal rule,” she said. An Elections Ontario official said that elections signs can appear anytime before the writ so long as the campaign can identify who paid for the signs.

Opening Arguments

The first all-candidate meet of the election happened last Thursday at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. Liberal Liz Sandals, NDP James Gordon and the Green Party’s Steve Dyck were each in attendance, while the PC’s Greg Schirk and Communist Drew Garvie were unable to attend.

Not surprisingly, one of the major issues discussed was library funding, a hot button for library-lovers given Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s recent efforts to cut the municipal library budget in that city. Gordon was quite adamant in his support saying, “Investing in libraries and cultural activities brings money to a community. It’s not ‘throwing money at a problem.’ Libraries are income generators.”

Gordon then promised to cut the wait time for the construction of a new library in half saying that 10 years is too long a time to wait. But Sandals rebutted that while libraries are a good thing, the library funding isn’t really a matter for the provincial government. Dyck, meanwhile, wanted to talk about the provincial budget and getting Ontario out of the red, which means not much room for new spending. “The Green party would hold the spending in all ministries except health care,” he said. “We can’t tax more and we need to get our debt in line. So we’d have to hold the spending for now.”

Look for several debates and candidates forums in the next couple of weeks. Two of the biggest ones will be the University of Guelph debate on September 28th, which will feature questions from students, and the Guelph Chamber of Commerce debate, which took place this past Tuesday, but will probably be repeated ad nauseum on Rogers TV.

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