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Bortolin mulls running for mayor, Kaschak considers switch to provincial politics ahead of Oct. 24 municipal election – Windsor Star

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With one Windsor councillor weighing a run for mayor and another hoping to run in the June provincial election, a rundown of who on council intends to seek re-election on Oct. 24 remains — at this point — imprecise.

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What is clear following a survey of all 10 councillors and Mayor Drew Dilkens is: No one is saying they’re NOT running. Ward 3 Coun. Rino Bortolin intends to run but hasn’t yet determined whether it will be for mayor or his current seat. Ward 8 Coun. Gary Kaschak has put his name in to run provincially in Windsor-Tecumseh but would otherwise seek council re-election. Four or five say they’re still undecided and a similar number say they intend to run again barring any major roadblock such as a health issue.

“Yes, I do plan to run for another term, I’m not keeping it any kind of secret,” Ward 10 Coun. Jim Morrison said this week in the most definitive comment from an incumbent councillor. In his first term, Morrison said he found the workload more than he expected, but “very gratifying.”

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Councillors, from left, Fabio Costante, Kieran McKenzie, Jo-Anne Gignac, and Jim Morrison, listen to a delegate speak during a special city council meeting on the 2019 operating and capital budget, Monday, April 1, 2019.
Councillors, from left, Fabio Costante, Kieran McKenzie, Jo-Anne Gignac, and Jim Morrison, listen to a delegate speak during a special city council meeting on the 2019 operating and capital budget, Monday, April 1, 2019. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Other councillors answering in the affirmative or almost-certain affirmative included Ward 5’s Ed Sleiman, who suffered a serious health setback two years ago (a brain bleed) and says he’s thought hard and consulted with constituents about whether to run again. First elected in 2010, he said he’s been invigorated by the ongoing revitalization of areas within his ward like Ford City.

“I thought about it and I really would like to be part of the revitalization,” he said. “And as of this minute, I say yes, I’m running.”

Bortolin also said he can “confidently” say he’s running, but is yet to decide whether to run again for the downtown councillor seat he’s held since 2014, or for mayor, which could set up a major battle with Dilkens, a high-profile incumbent who has yet to say whether he’ll seek re-election.

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“I’m telling you I’m considering (running for mayor),” Bortolin said. “This is not an ‘I’m running,’ because there are still a lot of boxes to check.”

Windsor’s Ward 8 Coun. Gary Kaschak, left, shares a word with his city council table seatmate, Ward 3’s Rino Bortolin, during the Dec. 2, 2019, debate on the Windsor and Essex 10-year housing and homelessness master plan.
Windsor’s Ward 8 Coun. Gary Kaschak, left, shares a word with his city council table seatmate, Ward 3’s Rino Bortolin, during the Dec. 2, 2019, debate on the Windsor and Essex 10-year housing and homelessness master plan. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Some of those factors include whether Dilkens seeks re-election and the prospect being off council for the next four-year term if he were to lose. Other considerations involve the mood of the electorate, he said. He said after more than seven years on council, people know what he stands for — making the city a more desirable, walkable, prosperous place to live, as opposed to delivering a “hold the line on taxes” budget every year. He’s in the process of finding out if voters believe in his vision.

“It’s really doing a scan of the landscape and seeing if there’s an appetite for change to a different vision of the city,” he said.

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Kaschak said he is awaiting word from the Ontario Liberal Party on whether he’ll be its candidate for Windsor-Tecumseh in the June 2 provincial election. It’s a seat without an incumbent with the retirement of longtime MPP Percy Hatfield (NDP).

“If I don’t do that, I’d certainly be running again for city council, sure,” Kaschak said.

“I’m torn. I really like being on city council, I think I’ve really come into my own over the last 18 months or so.”

But the prospect of representing the interests of people in Ward 8 as well as people all around Windsor-Tecumseh at the provincial level is “intriguing,” he said.

Kaschak said if he runs provincially and loses, he’d still “absolutely” be able to run for city council re-election in the fall.

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According to council watcher and campaign manager Paul Synnott, Windsor is a “real incumbent town” meaning incumbents’ name recognition and high profile gives them a tremendous advantage over challengers.

“To really seriously challenge an incumbent you really have to spend the limit,” he said, referring to the maximum dollars allowed for campaign expenses. “You’re talking $17,000 to $18,000, which is really hard to raise at the municipal level.”

Because of that incumbent advantage, when a seat becomes open there tends to be close to a dozen candidates vying for it. That was the case in the Ward 7 by-election in 2020, when Jeewen Gill defeated 11 other candidates with less than 20 per cent of the vote. Reached this week, Gill said he’s “most probably going to run” again.

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In this file photo from October 2020, newly elected Ward 7 Coun. Jeewen Gill, left, is shown meeting with Mayor Drew Dilkens in the mayor’s office.
In this file photo from October 2020, newly elected Ward 7 Coun. Jeewen Gill, left, is shown meeting with Mayor Drew Dilkens in the mayor’s office. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

Synnott is managing Morrison’s campaign as well as Darcy Renaud’s, who is challenging incumbent Fred Francis in Ward 1 for the second time. In 2018, Francis received 53 per cent of the votes compared to 33 per cent for Renaud.

Francis appears to be grappling with whether to run for a third term in the South Windsor ward. He was recently announced as the new executive director of the Multicultural Council, and he said running would be a mutual decision with his new wife Carolyn.

“I’m not being political, I don’t know,” he said when asked this week. He also expressed his frustration during this 2018-2022 term, when he said a changed council makeup weakened the influence of the “fiscally responsible” councillors like him, whose priorities centre on low taxes, paying off debt and keeping Windsor affordable.

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“It’s been hard, it’s been frustrating to deal with that,” he said. “That is going to go into my decision-making. If I run and if I win, do I want to be part of the next term that is like this term?”

Ward 1 Coun. Fred Francis was recently announced as the new executive director of the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County.
Ward 1 Coun. Fred Francis was recently announced as the new executive director of the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

At the same time, he said he feels compelled to run again to push for the new acute care hospital. In 2020, council voted 7-4 in support of the proposed location on County Road 42. Francis said fears what would happen to the ongoing campaign to get the $2-billion hospital built if two more opponents were elected and council support for the hospital location collapsed.

“A big motivation to put my name back in the ring is the hospital — that frightens me where we’re at with that.”

Ward 6’s Jo-Anne Gignac, one of the other fiscal conservatives on council, agreed with Francis that the hospital project is one of the “scary issues” moving into the next term. Windsor’s longest-serving councillor at 19 years, she remains undecided on whether to run again.

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“I generally don’t focus on the election until it gets closer to the date where you have to file those papers (nominations open May 2 and close Aug. 19 at 2 p.m.), because I like to give residents an opportunity to think about it a little bit and then I speak to them,” said Gignac, who usually wins her Riverside ward by wide margins. “If I get a strong indication that they’re strongly supporting me as I have in the past then I throw my hat in the ring.”

Another undecided is Ward 4 Coun. Chris Holt, who works full-time at Ford, co-owns a business and has one of the busiest schedules among councillors. He told the Star this week it’s still too early to say.

Ward 4 Coun. Chris Holt is pictured in this 2017 file photo.
Ward 4 Coun. Chris Holt is pictured in this 2017 file photo. Photo by Tyler Brownbridge /Windsor Star

First-term councillors Kieran McKenzie in Ward 9 and Fabio Costante in Ward 2 were sounding pretty positive about running again. McKenzie was effusive in how much he loves the job.

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“It’s been a dream come true to serve in this role and it would take a lot for me to walk away at this point because I think there are a lot of great things this council has been able to achieve in the last four years,” said McKenzie, who previously worked as MP Brian Masse’s constituency assistant. “I don’t think I’ve ever had in my professional endeavours a greater opportunity to serve the community.”

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Costante said he’s still undecided, but then talked about the “ton of advocacy” still needed for such issues as the upcoming rental licencing regime, rat control bylaw, vacant home tax and redevelopment of the Adie Knox Recreation Complex. The dilemma of the boarded-up homes in his west-side ward is also a big issue that still needs tackling, he said.

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“I’ll turn my mind to the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ closer to springtime,” Costante said. “But there’s a lot of work I’m excited about.”

The mayor, meanwhile, is not yet saying whether he’s running for re-election. “I’m not focused on running for mayor,” he said in a statement. “There will be plenty of time later this year to contemplate the future — including my potential candidacy in the 2022 municipal election.”

Mayor Drew Dilkens, with Ward 7 Coun. Jeewen Gill in the background, provides an update on parks infrastructure spending at Cora Greenwood Park, in this Nov. 29, 2021 file photo.
Mayor Drew Dilkens, with Ward 7 Coun. Jeewen Gill in the background, provides an update on parks infrastructure spending at Cora Greenwood Park, in this Nov. 29, 2021 file photo. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Dilkens, mayor since 2014, took the same approach leading up to the 2018 election. He declared his candidacy on July 24.

“I love what I do. I care deeply about the City of Windsor, its residents and our collective future,” he said last week. “I’m focused on being mayor and delivering on the commitments I made to residents in 2018.”

bcross@postmedia.com

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Opinion: The vacuum at the centre of Canadian politics: an incompetent, unethical government faces an intemperate, unhinged opposition – The Globe and Mail

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Over the last few weeks and months it has become impossible to escape the feeling that Canadian politics has come loose from its moorings. There is a manic edge to it, as if the inmates had suddenly and collectively declared themselves absolved of any remaining obligations to common sense, or the ordinary routines of democratic politics, or the rule of law.

On the one hand, you have a Liberal government that is now embroiled in half a dozen crises of its own making, the fruit of a peculiar mix of cynicism, moral vanity, incompetence, doctrinaire ideology and apparently habitual abuse of power – a culture that originates with the leader, to be sure, but which appears to have spread throughout the party.

Thus you have, simultaneously, the airport mess, the passport mess, and the Russian embassy party mess; the abject retreat on vaccine mandates, in the face of a panicky Liberal backbench; the revelations that its centrepiece climate plan is in disarray, its 2030 carbon emissions reductions targets acknowledged, within government, to be a distant fantasy; all while it is engaged in the utter madness of attempting to regulate the internet, through no fewer than three separate bills.

That’s four or five ministers in trouble, and we haven’t even got to the matter of the Public Safety Minister, Marco Mendicino – and, let us not forget, the Prime Minister – apparently lying to Parliament about why they invoked the Emergencies Act, and on whose advice.

Or, worst yet, the jaw-dropping allegation that the Prime Minister’s Office, and the then Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair, prevailed upon the commissioner of the RCMP, Brenda Lucki, to interfere in the investigation of the murder of 22 people by a gunman in Nova Scotia two years ago, for the purpose of selling gun control legislation the government had planned.

The allegation, that Ms. Lucki demanded local RCMP officers reveal to the public, contrary to procedure and at the risk of compromising the investigation, the precise make and model of the guns the killer used, has been officially denied. Nevertheless it is hard to shake: the allegation is precise, detailed, and contained in a contemporaneous note by the officer involved.

More to the point, whether or not the allegation is true, it is easy to believe this government, and this Prime Minister, would be capable of it. Seize on a horrible crime to unveil showboating legislation, cooked up on the fly, to no apparent public benefit? Checks out. Lean on a law enforcement official to meddle in what is supposed to be an independent legal process, wholly off limits to politicians? What was SNC-Lavalin about?

So much for the government: tired, directionless, massively overcentralized, coasting on self-satisfaction and increasingly overwhelmed by the actual business of governing, including the tiresome necessity of respecting the rights of Parliament and the principle of the rule of law.

But what lurks across the aisle? What of the government-in-waiting, Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the Conservative Party of Canada? How are they shaping up as an alternative?

Funny you should ask. The party is just now in the throes of a leadership race – the traditional opportunity for a party in opposition to define itself, and its core beliefs. What, by the lights of the current campaign, are the core beliefs of the Conservative Party? On matters of ordinary policy, things like deficits and taxes and foreign policy, we are not much further ahead than when we started.

But if it’s lunatic conspiracy theories you would like to know about, on these the Conservatives have plenty to say, ranging from unfounded fears about the health effects of vaccines, to paranoia about the baleful influence of the World Economic Forum, to the dystopian possibilities of central bank digital currencies, as a means of surveilling and controlling the population – or if you really want to know the “truth,” how all of these are bound up together.

On the day after the allegation surfaced, earlier this week, that the government had interfered in a murder investigation for political ends – a day that ought to have been reserved for asking the most searching questions of those involved – several Conservative MPs were feting the organizers of a new anti-vaccine, anti-government, anti-everything rally planned for Ottawa this summer, some of whom were involved in the one that paralyzed the capital for three weeks earlier this year. Just in case anyone had forgotten the party’s disgraceful cheerleading for that particular outbreak of lawlessness.

It isn’t only at the federal level that Conservatives seem to have abandoned their traditional belief in law and order. The Alberta Conservative leadership race has barely begun, yet has already featured proposals either to ignore the Constitution altogether – that is, to refuse to enforce federal laws the provincial government dislikes – or to dictate constitutional changes to the rest of the country that have no actual hope of passing.

There is precedent for this, of course, notably in the revolutionary fantasies of certain Quebec separatist leaders. But given how signally these have failed, and how much worse it would have been for the province if they had succeeded, it’s hard to imagine anyone citing them as an example to follow, rather than avoid. Yet that is where we have arrived, in both Quebec and Alberta – with political leaders pretending they can rewrite the Constitution unilaterally.

At the federal level we would seem to be left with something of a vacuum, with neither main party displaying much interest in governing responsibly. This is sometimes described as “polarization,” as if the problem could be solved by everyone agreeing to meet in the centre. Not so: this country has big, challenging issues confronting it, some of which may require radical changes in policy. Radicalism is not the same as extremism.

What’s needed is not centrism, if that is interpreted to mean blindly hugging the middle on every issue. Neither is pragmatism the answer, if that means governing without an ideological compass, but merely blowing this way and that according to the latest poll or interest group lobby.

What’s needed – what is sorely lacking – is judgment: political, moral, intellectual. Judgment is the foundation of leadership, and leadership is the only way we’re going to get back to something resembling functional politics.

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Are Politics A Problem For The Markets? – Forbes

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As an economist and market analyst, I try to shy away from politics and focus on the facts. Nonetheless, I often receive politically charged questions that are usually some variation of the following: “With X party in office, the country is doomed. How can you say otherwise?” I have heard this in every presidential election from George W. Bush to Joe Biden. But the truth of the matter is this: both the economy and the markets grew during all of those administrations. Of course, each one had its own challenges and problems, but as a country we continued to move forward. Companies found ways to grow and make money. Given this, are politics really a problem for the markets?

A Limited Effect

No matter which side, the administration actually has a very limited effect on the national economy and on the financial markets. In fact, if you look at a chart of the economy or of the markets, and cover up the dates, you really can’t pick out when your party was in charge. Similarly, when you look at economic and market performance under various permutations of which party is in charge, there are differences, but they are not consistent over time. For all of the headlines and the fearmongering, politics and governance don’t make a significant difference.

Who’s In Control?

How can that be? Simple. Every president and Congress would like to have control—but they don’t. States push back. The Supreme Court pushes back. Municipalities push back. It is rare that something significant actually gets through. And even when it does? The genius of the American system is that companies then set their collective minds on how to avoid it, if they don’t like it, and/or how to make money off it. For example, look at literally any tax bill ever passed.

Fundamentally, that is the strength of the American system. When you say that Washington will derail the economy or the markets, you are saying that it really controls all of the shoppers and the companies, which simply isn’t true. It is certainly in the interest of politicians to exaggerate their power (to motivate their supporters) and to exaggerate their opponents’ powers (again, to motivate their supporters). But the fact of the matter is that the U.S. economy is driven by millions of profit-motivated companies that will find ways to work around or profit from pretty much anything the politicians can do. Thank goodness for that.

Which doesn’t answer those who maintain that this time is different. That somehow today’s problems are worse than they have ever been before. There is always a constituency for panic. But if you really believe that, if you really believe that Washington—of one party or the other—can derail the country, then what you are saying is that Washington already has full control. That is not what I see when I look around.

This Too Will Pass

What I see is the same vivid debate on policy we have always had and the same back-and-forth that ultimately results in a reasonable solution. Perhaps it is louder now, but it is still the same process.

One of my favorite quotes, from Winston Churchill, notes that you can always count on Americans to do the right thing once they have tried all the alternatives. I would argue that is what is happening now and that despite the short-term damage, which can be real, ultimately we will move ahead again.

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'We need a fresh approach': Harvey wants to do politics differently if she heads NDP – News Talk 980 CJME

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Sitting on the patio of a Regina coffee shop, Kaitlyn Harvey was animated and passionate, talking about what she feels are the problems in Saskatchewan politics and how they should be fixed.

Harvey answered questions in a wide-ranging way, cramming in a TedTalk’s worth of information in a way that only people excited by their topic do.

When asked what she was reading or watching these days, Harvey didn’t name a book but instead began talking about research and reports she has been going through both as part of her political aspirations and her day job as a lawyer.

“I’ve got a lot of research that I’m doing, so I don’t really read a whole lot of fiction. Lots of non-fiction, lots of news but then also looking at reports — that’s what I read for fun,” she said, then started laughing. “I’m a bit of a nerd.”

Getting down to the brass tacks of her run to lead the Saskatchewan NDP, Harvey got more serious.

“What I’m offering is a different approach than what the NDP has offered in the past,” she said. “It still recognizes those values of community, those values of taking care of our most vulnerable … and so that’s why I am running for the NDP because of those values. But the way that I am proposing to do politics is different.”

Harvey said the old approach of politics as performance, of talking but not getting anything done, isn’t working.

“When I say we need to do things different, I mean we need to do things differently,” said Harvey.

Right now, Harvey believes that when young people watch the proceedings in the legislature — if they do — all they’re seeing is people shouting.

“(It’s) a bunch of people just standing there, yelling back and forth at each other and spitting things and not actually addressing these very real issues. And then people wonder why our youth don’t go out and vote,” said Harvey.

Harvey believes people are sick of the status quo and that things will look a lot different in the legislature come the next election in 2024.

“I don’t know what it’ll look like but I’m pretty confident that if I’m successful in this NDP race, there’ll be a lot more NDP seats,” said Harvey.

Harvey doesn’t like the idea of left or right in politics. What she wants is for people to come together to seriously tackle the issues.

The biggest issue for Harvey is climate change; it’s what spurred her into politics in the first place.

The reality hit home for Harvey 10 years ago when she was in a co-op program at Environment Canada and was working on a mapping project with climate data.

“The numbers that I was seeing (and) that I was coming across … (it) was just terrifying to see what our future is going to look like, and the range of possibilities ranging from scary to catastrophic,” said Harvey.

Harvey went into law to study policy and is now making the push into politics because she doesn’t see the action needed to deal with climate change.

“We are two decades, easily, behind other countries (and) other places in the world in terms of our acceptance of the very real risks to our people (and) to our society from climate change. We aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities that we have to be leaders. We’re wasting opportunities and potential,” said Harvey.

Harvey said climate change is a fact and shouldn’t be politicized, but it is in Saskatchewan and it’s tearing apart the province.

“When they tell us that we have no choice, that we have to settle for this conflict, that we are divided, that we are an oil and gas-only type of place, like, are you kidding me?” said Harvey.

However, Harvey said she’s not anti-oil and she’s not looking to kill industry and put people out on the street.

“When people use the term ‘just transition,’ that actually means something. It means that the people who are going to be asked to transition to local renewable, sustainable, good-paying jobs are given the supports that they need to make that transition,” said Harvey.

“It’s not a negative attack on anybody’s personal identity or I’m trying to blame them for climate change or something like that. It’s nothing personal, it’s just a fact that we need to start doing things differently.”

Harvey said there are a lot of other ways Saskatchewan could bring in money and other industries to expand into that won’t contribute to climate change, and she knows that’s something youth of this province want.

“We need a fresh approach and I think that will resonate with people and get more people to come out and support the party when they see that we’ve actually got some really good ideas and they’re backed up by science. They’re backed up with the numbers,” said Harvey.

Unlike her competitor, Carla Beck, Harvey hasn’t held provincial office before — she ran as an NDP candidate in the 2020 election but lost. However, she doesn’t see that as a problem.

Harvey points to her work as a lawyer, putting herself through law school as a single mother and the volunteer and community work she’s done, saying she’s good at handling a lot of things and learns quickly.

“When I see what our politicians are doing I think, ‘Oh boy, I could do that.’ It’s not that hard, it’s not rocket science … it’ll be new but I’m a pretty quick study,” said Harvey.

Harvey said she does have respect for everyone in the NDP caucus and the work they’re doing.

A win for Harvey in the leadership race would be historic on two fronts: She would be the first woman elected to the NDP leadership in Saskatchewan and the first Metis leader of a major party in the province.

“It would be just the greatest opportunity of my life to be able to serve and provide my skills, my energy, my experience, to the people of Saskatchewan,” said Harvey.

If she doesn’t win, the province won’t have heard the last of Harvey. She has announced her intention to seek the NDP nomination to run in the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection which will be held at some point soon.

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