Politics in Ward Races

Council races in Toronto

Let’s take a moment and really analyze what being a candidate means for this upcoming election.  There are 303 candidates for the 44 council positions (as of Sept 3).  There are TEN wards with double digit candidates vying for a chance to represent their community.  That’s approximately a 14.5% chance of successfully winning one of the council seats (actually higher or lower percentile on individual ward and candidate count).  Given that incumbents have a re-election rate of 90% since 2003, the real challenge is what incumbents will possibly lose their job.  There are currently seven open races without an incumbent: Wards 2, 3, 4, 5, 16, 20 & 39.  Councillors for Wards 27 & 44 have also not put in their nomination papers to run.

The unfortunate aspect of such a long election is that there are plenty of candidates who have not been active either online or at the doors.  Many professions use elections as a way to gain name recognition for their business at almost no cost.  They are generally disinterested in the political process and take advantage of the democratic process.  Take a moment to look at the candidates in your ward; are all of the candidates active?  Do they have a website, a phone number, an email address, a physical or P.O. Box address?  Have you received their literature or had someone knock on the door?  Can you Google their name and find relevant ELECTION material? 

Candidates with no interest in the process are in a sense part of the problem.  With wards that have up to 27 candidates, what is the margin of victory?  Do residents see though the obvious nature of self promotion or are they victims overwhelmed with too many names, not enough information?  Do candidates with alphabetical last names have an advantage in wards with a large amount of candidates versus a candidate with a name that may appear at the end? 

Why go into so much detail about so many races that are not my own, because over the next nine days many conversations will likely be held.  The conversations will be between candidates within ward races that will focus on having a candidate drop out and support another campaign.  With a “First passed the post” election system, Toronto has seen Councillors elected with as low as 20% of votes.  The small percentage of votes many candidates garner may give an incumbent enough to win re-election and not bring the change I believe this city needs.  This brings up a question if candidates should drop out and support another?  

Ward 3 had a stable amount of candidates from the beginning of the campaign period of January.  There have been several candidates that have been active both online and at the doors.  My campaign team has been to thousands of doors either knocking or dropping off literature in an attempt to increase name recognition.  Our goal was to have residents make an informed decision in electing a NEW representative for Etobicoke Centre.  With Doug Holyday stepping down last year and Peter Leon being an appointed caretaker, there is a great possibility for change in Ward 3.  As stated above, 4 of the 7 open seats are in Etobicoke.  This means many fresh faces with new ideas may help bring a different direction to local politics.

Ward 3 has added another candidate to the race on September 3rd, the son of former Councillor Doug Holyday.  It would be another example of candidates of political lineage to run in this election; where name recognition itself could be enough of a push to pass the torch.  I welcome the challenge and will not concede defeat in my campaign.  My campaign was never about who I know, who I'm connected to or who my family is.  I have prided myself on my campaign slogan of POLICY OVER POLITICS because it shouldn't matter about the politics.  I realize the difference between hopes and dreams and the cold hard truth of reality.  I believe whoever wins the trace for our ward will have to address serious problems and be a strong stable voice in solving them.   I've been upfront about what I support, what my policies are and my political position as a “Progressive”. 

My campaign has attempted to stay positive, focus on listening to residents and representing a different type of campaign.  I do not believe it is naive to expect a small but focused campaign to be able to win in Etobicoke.  I will maintain a positive campaign because I know it is better to have residents vote for what you believe rather than what you’re against.  My campaign has led me across Toronto in support of organizations that help those in need.  My campaign has seen me support and promote local businesses and promoting and attending local events.  My campaign has allowed me to connect with other great candidates from many wards also in need of change.  It is that sense of being able to converse with residents and possible future Councillors that shows the importance of this race. 

I was told that “elections aren’t won on policy”.  I would rather wait until late October 27th to see if that is true than take away an opportunity to discuss great policy with residents.  I will push forward with my campaign and will need your continued support in putting up lawn signs or volunteering to bring a message of policy to our community.  Expect more from your representatives; take this opportunity to vote in a candidate that will listen. 

PETER FENECH
COUNCIL CANDIDATE – WARD 3

Posted on September 4, 2014 .