My home ward has proven to be one of the most challenging decisions for me to make in this election. There are three strong and credible candidates in Terry Marr, Daniel Glenn-Graham and Denis Pellerin. Each has the potential to be a good city councillor but none of them share my perspectives as closely as I would prefer.

At the same time, I think that Glenn-Graham and Pellerin have the necessary experience to help me work with my neighbours to build a stronger sense of community in the east end of downtown Kitchener. While I could work with Marr too, I don’t believe that she is a contender in this ward. The contenders are Glenn-Graham and Pellerin and when looking at platforms and experience, I find myself torn between the two

Glenn-Graham is like an enigma, wrapped in a riddle to me. Just when I think I understand him, he surprises me for better or worse. What I like most about Glenn-Graham is his strong love of downtown Kitchener. I also greatly appreciate his extensive experience with neighbourhood associations. He clearly would be a passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated city councillor who will be there when needed by his constituents.

But I have some serious concerns.

The first is his position on the LRT. He’s not what I would describe as either an opponent or proponent of it. He prefers trying to educate the public starting with a debate and then holding a referendum. I am skeptical that an informed referendum on the subject is possible but for me that’s beside the point. I believe that we elect politicians so that they can have an in-depth understanding of issues and make an informed decisions that are in our best interests. Even active, engaged voters such as myself can never be expected to have all the information and context for making the best possible decisions. Elected politicians if they are doing their homework can have enough information to make the best decisions and that is why we elect them to represent us. As a result, I see referendums too often to be taking the easy way out of tough decisions.

I also find Stephen Woodworth’s endorsement of Glenn-Graham’s candidacy problematic. I reject the right wing approach to governing that he represents and would never vote for him, so by extension it’s difficult to see myself ever voting for someone that he supports. While Glenn-Graham must see some strategic advantage in this endorsement, it also works against him especially in this end of the ward where Karen Redman lives and has many friends and supporters.

These concerns have helped me to decide how I will vote.

In Ward 10, I will vote for Denis Pellerin.

While Pellerin is not a strong advocate for the LRT, he understands the importance of rapid transit and can see how light rail can have a positive effect on transforming our city. He seems to be keeping his options open but I suspect that if we identify an affordable, responsible way to cover the local portion of the costs that he will be supportive. That helps to give him an edge in my books.

His civic involvement helps give me confidence that he has a grasp of the issues facing the ward and the city and will be capable in handling them. His experience on the downtown advisory committee and arts and culture advisory committee should be particularly useful. I also like that he is one of the foundering members of the NMA (Neighbourhood Mobilization Alliance) designed to improve the quality of life in the Mount Hope-Breithaupt Park community and to keep it safe and continues to be active with this group.

What follows I added on the morning of October 22 based upon information contributed in the first comment below, it replaces my original concluding sentence:

I view Denis Pellerin as the clear choice for Ward 10. I strongly recommend that my neighbours across this ward vote for him.

12 thoughts on “How I will vote in Ward 10

  1. I’ve come to the same conclusion. My decision was made easier today when I saw Dan Glenn-Graham and contributors to his campaign at Ottawa and Weber waving big yellow signs saying “NO LRT WITHOUT A REFERENDUM” or something to that effect. The fact that he’s putting that kind of message front and centre speaks volumes to me. It even seems a little dishonest — is he trying to appeal to voters who don’t understand that light rail is a regional issue? I like a lot of other parts of his platform, but that right there is a dealbreaker.

    The Kitchener Citizen asked candidates to name what they felt were the top three issues facing Kitchener, and here is Denis Pellerin’s answer:
    “The priorities are; proper planning to manage growth, better co- operation/effectiveness of local governments and fiscal responsibility. Promoting a pedestrian friendly community and public transit. By working through the Mayor council will need to get a voice on Regional Council to assure that the proper balance of economic, location and viability are met for the LRT should the plan go forward.”

    That right there is about as good an answer as I could hope for.

    1. Thank you very much for this information Sylvan. Had I known about this information–especially about the signs–my original post would have been written differently. Based on this new information, I have revised the last sentence of my post as I believe Pellerin is clearly the best choice.

      The waving signs bother me for three reasons:
      – He appears to be trying to gain votes from people who oppose the LRT without opposing it himself because what people will see first and remember is the NO LRT.
      – I agree he seems to be promising to do something on a Regional issue that he can’t do. Yes, I have been evaluating city council candidate’s on their LRT positions but only within the context of what they can do and what it tells me about their approach to city building.
      – Referendums on issues like the LRT demonstrate to me a lack of leadership to make the touch decisions we elect politicians to make.

      I agree too that Pellerin’s answer on his priorities gives us a strong positive reason to support him.

      1. Hi. I was torn between Daniel and Denis. Terry lived in Waterloo for 15+ years, and only recently moved into the ‘hood, but I like her significant experience in Communication with the City of Kitchener – she know very well how City Hall works, which would be an advantage. However, I want to vote for a candidate who has recently lived in the ward, and for a long time. I decided not to vote for Daniel because of his association with Stephen Woodworth – that was the deal breaker for me. Plus I didn’t know about the LRT sign, and am really really frustrated so many people think city councillors have any say in this matter.

        We drove over to Denis’ house a picked up a sign – I hope lots of people see it, since we live beside a playground. Love your blog.

  2. Great coverage of the municipal election James! I had thought about voting for Gary because he does my taxes. As soon as I saw the Woodworth endorsement of Dan he lost my vote.

    Dennis will get my vote.

    Your synopsis has been very valuable!

  3. James, I’m glad to see you are supporting Denis Pellerin. I agree he is clearly the best choice for Ward 10. You give many good reasons to support him. I also agree on your points regarding Glenn-Graham. I am rather disappointed in how Glenn-Graham has chosen to handle the LRT issue especially with waving those signs. Someone mentioned that he was out again today waving signs with supporters about an LRT referendum. Like you, I’m not sure what message he is trying to get across to voters in the ward. I think it shows a lack of leadership and respect for a very important issue. I know it has convinced some of my undecided friends to vote for Pellerin. I hope more residents feel the same way. Thanks for providing a forum for election discussion, I enjoy reading yours and others thoughts. Here’s to a vibrant, safe and sustainable Kitchener!

  4. I would like to extend my most profound and sincere gratitude to all the voters for your support. It was an amazing race vying to represent you at city council. I am proud of my campaign, being true and unwavering to my priorities and to the commitments I made to you. I will continue to serve on community committees and I look forward to being of service to our city in this capacity. A special thank you to all those who helped with signs and donations and who worked with me on my quest.

    Kind regards, and I hope to be of service to you in other ways. – Denis

    Denis Pellerin

    1. Thank you Denis for having the courage to put your name forward and your ideas scrutinized. By doing so you’ve contributed to a better Kitchener and I’m glad to hear you will continue to find ways to contribute.

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