Ontario municipal elections roundup: Upsets, comebacks and malfunctions
|National Post 22 Oct 2018 at 20:43|
The city of London became the first Canadian municipality to run a ranked-ballot election, abandoning the first-past-the-post system that is commonplace throughout the country. With incumbent mayor Matt Brown opting not to run for reelection, 14 candidates vied to replace him, though as of Monday only four front-runners appeared to have a real shot. But the new system meant official election results were not expected until lunchtime Tuesday. On London’s ranked ballot, voters choose their first, second and third picks rather than making a single choice. If a candidate doesn’t earn movre than 50 per cent after first choices are counted, the last-place candidate is eliminated and their supporters’ second-choice votes are added to the other candidates’ totals. The process repeats until one candidate clears 50 per cent. London was the only municipality to opt for ranked ballots, though an Ontario government decision gave every local government the option. Kingston, however, voted 63 per cent in favour of adopting a ranked ballot system on a referendum question included on the ballot Monday. In Cambridge, which also held a referendum, 56 per cent of the vote was in favour ranked ballots, with 48 of 60 polls reporting, as of 11:30 p.m. Monday.
Tory takes second term in Toronto
John Tory won a second term as Toronto mayor, delivering an utterly predictable end to a race upended by Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s decision to reduce the size of city council. Tory trounced Jennifer Keesmaat, the former Toronto chief planner who became the candidate closest resembling a challenger to the incumbent. “We’ll eventually figure out ways for people to afford to live here,” Keesmaat said in her concession speech. As of 9:30 p.m., Tory had won 63 per cent of the vote, vastly improving on the 40 per cent with which he defeated Ford and Olivia Chow in 2014. Keesmaat, meantime, had only 23 per cent. “That’s quite an evening, isn’t it?” Tory told supporters in his acceptance speech. “Let’s get to it. Let’s get at it.” Tory made sure to thank the number of councillors who lost their jobs in tight campaign races that pitted them against council colleagues in the new, larger wards. Among the veteran councillors defeated was the incendiary Giorgio Mammoliti, once a staunch ally to Ford’s brother, the former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Mammoliti – who drew ire for his campaign rhetoric, including calls to knock down social housing – lost to Anthony Perruzza in the Humber River-Black Creek ward. Sandro Lisi, Rob Ford’s former driver who became one of the main characters in the infamous crack tape drama, was unsuccessful in his bid for a school board trustee position. Ford’s nephew, Michael Ford, was re-elected as a councillor in Etobicoke North.
Stouffville’s strange saga comes to an end
The bizarre political career of Justin Altmann, the embattled mayor of Stouffville, Ont., appears finally to be over. Unofficial election results late Monday showed Altmann at a distant third in the mayor’s race. His quest for re-election had seemed quixotic, given that much of his term has been overshadowed by a council revolt against him following a bizarre series of events — including his being sanctioned after the discovery in his office bathroom of a bizarre montage of photos of town councillors, civic employees and political rivals, and his choice to hang the chain of office on a dog.
Stouffville Mayor Justin Altmann in December 2017. Tyler Anderson/National Post
Online voting issues
Complications with online voting systems caused delays across the province, with municipalities forced to extend voting for hours, if not into Tuesday. Nearly half of Ontario’s 444 municipalities offered e-voting — more than 150 of them conducting voting entirely online, TVO reported. But problems with e-voting caused dozens of regions to extend voting hours, including Peterborough, Sudbury, Cambridge, Prince Edward County, Pickering, Kingston, Napanee and Port Hope — though most only for an additional hour. Greater Sudbury, however, said on Twitter that it was extending voting for 24 hours, to 8 p.m. Tuesday, “due to province wide issues with the election server.” Five eastern-Ontario municipalities went so far as to declare an emergency over the state of the election, adding that voting would be open for an additional 24 hours in Laurentian Valley, Pembroke, Petawawa, Renfrew, and Whitewater Region.
“We are joining numerous other municipalities in the province, to ensure that our electors get the opportunity to vote,” said a joint statement from the municipalities.
Patrick Brown’s wild return
Patrick Brown resuscitated his political career on Monday, wresting the Brampton mayor’s office from a popular incumbent. “I’ve got so much hope in my heart for what’s ahead for Brampton,” he told supporters Monday night. At the beginning of the year, Brown was leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, on the cusp of a provincial election with a clear path to the premier’s office, but was forced to resign his post amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Brown denied the allegations – describing his downfall as a “political assassination” – and moved to reinsert himself into politics, first with a short-lived run to retake the Tory leadership in campaign that was launched to replace him, then later as the chair of Peel Region. But when Premier Doug Ford (the man who succeeded Brown as Tory leader) changed the regional board chairs to appointed positions, Brown – once again ejected suddenly from a political race – chose to run in Brampton, turning the local mayoral race into a tight contest between Brown and incumbent mayor Linda Jeffrey. Jeffrey accused Brown of parachuting into the Brampton election his own image, since Brown spent his entire career representing regions in and around Barrie, Ont., — nearly 100 kilometres from Brampton — at the federal, provincial and municipal level. But Brown had recently moved to Brampton. “The ink barely dried on his lease before he decided to seek our city’s highest office,” Jeffrey said when Brown entered the race. And on Monday night, Jeffrey appeared shocked. “Tonight’s results were not what, I think, any of us expected,” she said in her concession speech. “I can confidently say that our city is in better shape than when I found it.”
Ontario’s longest serving mayor extends career to 42 years
Gordon Krantz extended his run as the longest-serving mayor in Ontario. Since 1980, Krantz, 81, has been the mayor of Milton, Ont., a suburb northwest of Toronto — a 38-year career that outshines Ontario’s far more famous long-serving mayor, 97-year-old Hazel McCallion, who was mayor of Mississauga, Ont., from 1978 to 2014.
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