Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Montague Election 6 - The First Salvos 2 : The Challengers

As promised, here's a look at the opening statements from the challengers running for Township Council - this post is a continuation from this earlier one.

Candidate for Reeve, John MacTavish:
"As Reeve of Montague Township, I would work on changing the Township's image to a more positive and productive Township, that is certainly missing with today's Council. Residents need respect, answers to their questions and confidence in their elected council. Contracts, procedures and bylaws need to be reviewed."
Mr. MacTavish ran unsuccessfully for Reeve in the last election here, and while I think he has a lot to offer, his campaign needs to be a little slicker, I think, and perhaps a little more punchy. This statement is on the right track - and like the tired Liberals, after 13 years as Reeve, Gary Doyle must surely be vulnerable to any movement for change - but I think residents want to know more about what Mr. MacTavish is really proposing to do.

Candidate for Deputy Reeve, Peter Kavanagh:
As your Deputy Reeve I will bring the years of leadership and consensus building experience I gained as a Naval officer and submarine captain, and work towards establishing an open and transparent Council that demands everyone in our community be treated with respect."
Hard to argue much with these sentiments; I have to say (declaring my own ex-military bias) that I certainly see a submariner as being much better prepared to lead pretty much any enterprise than, say, a drywaller. There's the transparency and respect that most of the challengers are promising, and that we know we won't get from the incumbents. Looks good to me.

Candidate for Deputy Reeve, Kenneth Hunter:
"The residents of Montague are the salt of the earth. 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.' - Margaret Meade"
This may be true, but what does it mean?

Candidates for Council:

Mark Baker:
"As a life long resident and farmer in Montague, I believe tax dollars belong to the residents and [should be] managed that way. Basic services (roads, garbage pickup, public safety) should always be our first priority. I will ensure open, honest communication when I bring your thoughts, ideas and concerns to council."
Again, there's the promise of openness and honesty. I think Mr. Baker is in tune with what most people in a place like Montague want - good, responsible, stable government, but with honesty, respect and integrity - we're all ordinary folk who work hard for a living and don't expect our tax dollars to be misused, or special perks to be given to some members of the community over others. Openess and honesty are required to let residents have confidence in council.

Bonnie Burson: No statement was received. We have not heard from Ms. Burson as yet.

Dianne Coates:
"As your councillor, I will ensure that your tax money is spent wisely and that the Township's resources are well managed. I will listen to your opinions, see that your issues are discussed fairly and give you feedback. We can work together to build a strong and active community"
Another candidate on the right track, with a promise to listen to residents and much more importantly to report back to residents. So many of the problems the township has, and the divisions that exist within the township have been caused by completely needless secrecy in council. A little honesty will go a long way in this township.

Bill Dobson:
"I will encourage council to be respectful and accountable, have fewer closed meetings, and cooperate with all groups, including neighboring municipalities. My agenda includes uniting our divided community, implementing the Fire Master Plan, preserving our heritage and environment, developing industrial and recreational parks, and a future for the Rideau Regional Centre."
Again, the same themes come out over and over from all the challengers. It will be interesting to see how the incumbents deal with the issues of openness, honesty and accountability, and how they explain away their fairly dismal record in this regard. Mr. Dobson must be a strong candidate - this summary shows what he's about both in approach and in concrete terms.

Hal MacGregor:
"Bring back common sense to Montague. We need to unite our community, cut council secrecy, reduce taxes, reflect a rural character, establish property rights, treat all residents with respect and compassion, and re-establish genuine support for our seniors. We have to rescind intrusive bylaws and the development tax."
Mr. MacGregor is a member of, and campaigns on behalf of the Lanark Landowners Association. The emphasis on property rights and reducing bylaws comes from this connection. Again, much of what he stands for makes sense and is needed in the township. I am not entirely comfortable with all the aims of the LLA, nor their methods, however, and in some areas such as animal welfare and the work of the SPCAs and animal welfare agencies, I would differ with Mr. MacGregor. So I cautiously endorse his point of view, but would like to make sure that property rights don't go too far.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 11th, is the first all-candidates meeting. The Doggerel Party will be there to record all the action...