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GTHA municipal election update: RACES TO WATCH

Sept. 3, 2014
By Leah Wong

With just over a week to go until nomination day, last minute candidates are getting ready to add their names to the ballots of this fall’s municipal elections.

The ripple effect is causing a lot of shifts on municipal slates this year. As several mayors and two regional chairs are stepping away and experienced councillors are looking for a promotion. There are also a few municipalities that will be affected by the upcoming 2015 federal election as mayors and councillors are seeking nominations as federal candidates.

Peel Region is likely going to see the most change following the municipal election. With long-time regional chair Emil Kolb, Caledon mayor Marilyn Morrison and Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion retiring and embattled Brampton mayor Susan Fennell facing tough competition, there may be a leadership change across the board in Peel.

In Brampton there are four councillor races to watch. Wards 3 &4 regional councillor John Sanderson is running for mayor, while Wards 2 & 6 city councillor John Hutton is running for a regional council seat. Wards 7 & 8 city councillor Sandra Hames is not seeking re-election, and Wards 3 & 4 city councillor Bob Callahan has yet to register.

Mississauga has three open council races, as Ward 2 councillor Patricia Mullin and Ward 8 councillor Katie Mahoney are not running and Ward 5 councillor Bonnie Crombie is in the race for mayor. Caledon has one open council race, as Ward 2 regional councillor Allan Thompson is running for mayor.

Halton Region may have the least change as the majority of incumbents are running again. The only open race in Halton Hills is Ward 2 where Councillor Joan Robson is retiring. In Oakville Ward 3 councillor Dave Gittings is running to replace Ward 3 regional councillor Keith Bird who is stepping down at the end of this term.

Burlington has no open races, while Milton currently has four. Appointed Wards 1, 6, 7, 8 regional councillor Brian Penman is keeping his word about not running, while Ward 6 councillor Mike Cluett is vying for his seat. Ward 2 councillor Greg Nelson has withdrawn from the race, while Ward 5 councillor Arnold Huff man has yet to register.

In York Region, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville is likely to see the most change on its council. With long-time regional chair Bill Fisch retiring, Mayor Wayne Emerson is eyeing the regional chair position rather than running for re-election, leaving the mayoral race open. Ward 2 councillor Phil Bannon and Ward 5 councillor Richard Bartley are both running for mayor, while Ward 3 councillor Clyde Smith and Ward 4 councillor Susanne Hilton are stepping down at the end of this term.

At this time there two confirmed open seats on Aurora’s elected-at-large council. Councillor John Gallo is contesting the mayoral race while Councillor Don Constable, who was appointed to fill the vacancy left by MPP Chris Ballard’s resignation, will not be running. It is unknown if councillors Evelyn Buck and Sandra Humfreys will register to run.

With ward boundary changes in effect for Markham there are two incumbent councillors running against each other. Ward 1 councillor Valerie Burke and Ward 2 councillor Howard Shore are facing off in Ward 1. As Ward 6 councillor Alan Ho’s boundary was also affected he is now running in Ward 2, leaving the Ward 6 race open.

Newmarket Ward 7 councillor Chris Emanuel is the only councillor in York Region who is confirmed to be stepping down at the end of the term. The plans of Georgina councillors Dave Szollosy (Ward 3) and Ken Hackenbrook (Ward 4) are still unknown. East Gwillimbury regional councillor Cathy Morton and Richmond Hill Ward 2 councillor Carmine Perrelli are both running against incumbent mayors leaving their seats open. While Vaughan mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua has yet to register, he is known to register late in the election period.

For the first time residents in Durham Region will vote directly for the regional chair. Incumbent chair Roger Anderson is running against three candidates. The only Durham mayor not seeking re-election is Whitby mayor Pat Perkins, who announced she is running for the Conservative Party nomination for Jim Flaherty’s seat. The Whitby-Oshawa federal by-election must be called by October 25. Whitby regional councillor Don Mitchell is running for mayor, while Ward 2 councillor Elizabeth Roy is making a run for regional council.

Brock regional councillor Debbie Bath is running for mayor, making four open races for council. Ward 5 councillor W.E. Ted Smith is running for regional councillor and Wards 1 and 3 councillors, Mike Manchester and Walter Schummer respectively, are not seeking re-election.

Clarington, Oshawa and Pickering each have one open race with local councillors contesting regional races. Clarington Ward 1 councillor Joe Neal, Oshawa councillor-at-large Roger Bouma, and Pickering Ward 3 councillor David Pickles are all running for regional council in their respective municipalities.

All Ajax councillors are registered to run again. Uxbridge has one open race as Ward 4 councillor Jacob Mantle is not running again. In Scugog Wards 1 and 3 councillors, Larry Corrigan and Jim Howard respectively, have yet to register.

Hamilton has five open races, including the race for mayor as Bob Bratina is stepping at the end of the term. Bratina is looking to become the federal Liberal Party’s candidate for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek. With Bratina out, Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie and Ward 9 councillor Brad Clark are running for mayor. Ward 13 councillor Russ Powers and Ward 3 councillor Bob Morrow, who was appointed in February 2014, are not running.

There are two open races in Barrie. Ward 2 councillor Lynn Strachan has withdrawn from the municipal election and Ward 10 councillor Alex Nuttall is leaving municipal politics to run federally for the Conservative Party in Barrie- Springwater-Oro-Medonte in 2015.

September 12 is the last day for candidates to register to stand for election October 27th. Currently there are a number of races where the incumbent is uncontested and if no additional candidates register, acclaimed candidates will be announced after nomination day.