Should our local politicians openly support political candidates and parties?

An interesting debate broke out in the comment section of my ‘VFAN supports Chris Carrier’ blog post a week or so ago. It was in relation to provincial/federal political affiliations having any place in municipal politics. I feel very strongly that they do not. I really don’t want my municipal politicians attending political fundraisers, endorsing candidates or engaging in any type of party political activities while they are in office locally. My simple reasoning behind this is if you are endorsing and supporting one party or candidate you are turning your back on another, which can end up with dire consequences to the town, if the person or party that you spurn gets elected into a different level of government.
Take the Cooper/Carrier situation as an example. Because Carrier openly supported Guergis and the Conservative party against Coopers brother, imcumbant Federal Liberal MP Paul Bonwick. It led to a political rift and municipal infighting that proliferates through our municipal political system to this day. Politics in Collingwood could have been much easier without this dynamic permeating constantly in the background.
Another little tidbit that should be noted in respect to the above is. Cooper, Chadwick and a few other prominent life long local liberals. Joined the Conservative Party of Canada back in 2010 just so that they could vote against Chris Carriers nomination for Simcoe federal seat. That is how deep that particular dynamic runs. Its a complete distraction from the local political scene and has no place in it.

The following is how the comment debate played out:

on September 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm said:

One of the great things about Canadian municipal politics is that it is not structured around parties (as opposed to Federal and Provincial). So, Chris, if you support the Conservative Federal candidate, the Liberal, the NDP or the Screaming Elephant party, then that’s your opinion and you are entitled to your vote. But I don’t particularly want to hear about it. If you get in again, can we leave party political endorsements out of things? Thank you.

on September 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm said:

I actually agree with you Bill. Chris should not have been endorsing any political candidate provincial or federal . Also as Mayor of this town Cooper should not have been attending a fundraiser for Kathleen Wynne.

Chris Carrier
on September 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm said:

Hi Bill the reference Colin made was the 2004 campaign when a few members of council were campaigning for our then Liberal MP, I introduced the conservative candidate to several groups. I agree with your view that the local level should distance itself and I have friends from all 4 main political parties whose company and advice I like and not because of their party but because they look for solutions. I will do my best to be less overtly favourable to any political party. I do not believe I have ever had a Federal or Provincial party sign on our lawn as Colleen often cancels my vote or I her. I will take your advice to heart and action.
Thank you. Chris

Chris Bone
on September 13, 2014 at 9:57 am said:

I disagree, I like to know what my municipal politician party affiliations are because it dictates their mindset and approach to governing. I want to know if the Mayor is a fiscal Conservative or a tax and spend public union supporting Liberal. I want to know if the politicians practice sole source purchasing strategies or tendered RFP associated with each of their party brands. I want to know if the Mayor is a socialist or a greener. I want to know how they vote in provincial and federal elections because it indicates biases, values and tendencies. I want to know if my Mayor supports Wynne, it matters to me.

on September 13, 2014 at 10:31 am said:

I understand what you’re saying Chris (Bone) but it is not as cut and dried as that. I am a right wing libertarian when it comes to provincial and federal politics. But more centrist and statist when it comes to local municipal politics. An example for you: Our mayor and Chadwick are card carrying liberals both provincially and federally, but when it comes to local politics they are the worst type of crony capitalists going.

Chris Carrier
on September 13, 2014 at 2:01 pm said:

There are policies put forth by different parties that both help local government and others that do not and the party affiliation does not matter when you are the Mayor. I worked very well with Ministry of Transportation Minister Donna Cannsfield (Liberal)(and Donna is just one example), she was a strong advocate for Collingwood and area at the cabinet table. Federally I worked very well with several conservative Cabinet Ministers. Party politics may have some influence with some Ministers but the really good ones do their job well based on the need presented at that moment in time. Jim Wilson both in and out of government has been a great voice for our area. I am not sure how I vote party affiliation wise is really relevant; it is more important how I worked with the other levels of government. Working with our staff and political colleagues both here in Collingwood and our neighbours, Collingwood really benefited from the strength of about 20 million dollars of federal and provincial investment (not counting the Hwy 26 realignment project). I hope to rebuild those relationships again for the betterment of our community.


2 thoughts on “Should our local politicians openly support political candidates and parties?

  1. This is how it works in the UK:

    Municipal politics is party political. You vote for a Conservative, Liberal or Labour candidate. The party with the most councillors gets to run things. Guess what happens then! The ‘leader’ of the ruling group makes all the decisions and the others do what they are told. Its just like federal or provincial politics in that respect. Often the leader of the council has political aspirations beyond the municipal level, and will be unduly influenced by outsiders. You can vote for an independent candidate or one from a smaller party, but dont expect him/her to have any say even if elected.

    In this scenario the vast majority of council members are simply voting machines. Their skills and experience are wasted, not to mention the expenses (to the rate-payers) associated with their existance.

    The Canadian municipal scene is clearly superior, in that party politics is largely kept out. I dont mind councillors having federal/political opinions of course. Thats a normal part of being a Canadian. But I dont like to see ‘endorsements’ or brazen shows of support. I like some separation.

    And Chris Carrier, if you are elected: No more slipping Conservative Federal election flyers into the Town’s offcial correspondance! Its innappropriate and silly.

    • As usual great commentary Bill. I think Chris might have learned his lesson in that regard now. If not guess who will be around to remind him of this? You and I.

      One thing that you must give Chris Carrier credit for he does stand up to be counted. The current Mayor sits in her ivory tower blocking and not dealing with or responding to any criticism.

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