First of all, congrats to all the candidates, for having the courage to put themselves out there and making an effort to reach out to the community. We had a slate of incredible and dedicated people, the ward was going to be in good hands no matter what.
And kudos to Brad Bradford, he certainly worked hard for it. I told more than a few of my friends and family throughout the election I would feel kinda bad if Brad didn’t win considering the herculean effort and amount of money spent. As stated, my ONLY beef with Brad’s campaign was the hypocrisy of calling for getting rid of single-use plastics and then printing hundreds of plastic signs (and using them twice doesn’t count because it was still producing new plastic that will never biodegrade, they will still be disposed of eventually, and can’t be recycled into what they once were).
Now, all that said, while no one could have predicted Ford’s meddling throwing a monkey wrench into everyone’s plans, I also did not expect the level of hyper-partisanship that came out. I knew Kellway would have the might of a party machine behind him, but I did not expect the anti-NDP to come out in force to thwart Kellway. Both Councillor McMahon and former MPP Arthur Potts were super invested in ensuring Kellway didn’t win, and I’d bet any money they helped convince Tory to back Brad to clinch the win. Which was a bit odd considering the conflict between Brad having both an endorsement from Keesmat earlier in his run, to be backed by Tory later. Strange politics indeed. It is my suspicion that in his heart of hearts Brad would love to have supported his former boss, but politically the way forward was to accept Tory’s support. I hope this does not mean he will become a yes man on Tory’s executive committee, and that he will stand for the ward’s residents.
My greatest concern after seeing the results however is that with the megaward structure, unless you have Big Money, Big Media, or Big Politics behind you there is little chance of a local grassroots candidate winning. I don’t know if such a consequence was intended by Ford, but it pretty much means municipal politics moved closer to the dynamic of the province and feds and is alot less about local support and more about external supports from politically connected or deep pocketed individuals. I really want to know the legalities of a mayoral candidate spending money on robo calls for their favoured councillor candidates. The huge size of the wards also means if you can’t afford to take the maximum amount of time off you are not likely to win because you will never get around to enough doors.
As for the results, 708 votes for me, I had hoped to do a little better, but knew when the big guns came out I was not a likely winner. I also know my biggest shortcoming was not getting to enough doors. When Ford first made his announcement on July 28 I was supposed to work all weekend on my website but instead took the time off to wrap my head around what I wanted to do, putting me behind right from the start. And then I got a throat infection a couple weeks ago whereby I had completely lost my voice for two days, and was out of commission for almost 4 days, which translates to a couple hundred doors I never got around to seeing. Really though, I just needed to start the whole process at least a month earlier.
All in all it was a very positive experience from which I learned alot. And not just about running a campaign, but about the neighbourhood. Talking to people you would not have met otherwise, learning their stories and struggles. I will follow-up this post with some of those lessons learned. And my community work will continue unabated, however I will likely alter my focus a bit, shifting towards more green and environmental initiatives.
This page and my website will continue to exist, mainly as a blog of sorts, detailing my various works in the community and calling on people to do the same. Thank you Ward 19, I look forward to doing my best for all of us.