Tag Archives: municipal politics

A Discussion on How (But Not For Whom) to Vote Tomorrow

By Jay Menard,

This isn’t going to be a blog telling you for whom you should vote.

In fact, if you read someone presenting a list of “who you should vote for” — especially if he or she is advocating outside of their Ward — I’d take that with a very large grain of salt and ask yourself, “In whose interests is this list truly made for?”

Chances are those interests aren’t yours.

It’s not even a post suggesting that you should vote (I’ve talked about my feelings on that for years). 

No, for this post I just want to share my process. And encourage you, if you choose to vote, to consider the same factors when you cast your ballot.

Ultimately, I hope you ignore the advocates and those pushing a cause or a “side.” Instead, just focus on your needs, who you feel best represents your ward, and who has a platform and ideas that align with what you want. Remember, you are giving your “voice” to someone to use (hopefully with ongoing interaction — but that’s rarely the case), so make sure you choose someone worthy of that responsibility. Continue reading

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Lessons Learned: When You Turn Bridges into Pulpits or Planks, Divides Form

By Jay Menard

[Note: I wrote this the day after the provincial election, but sat on it as an experiment… hoping the narrative it discusses would change and render it moot. It hasn’t.]

If you’ll indulge me for stepping away from the “Chicken Little” narrative that has dominated the social media universe since the Conservative majority election (and, let’s face it, even before), I honestly believe that Thursday night’s result offers liberals — both small and large-L — an incredible opportunity.

The opportunity? To build bridges.

The challenge is, the very behaviour and beliefs that led to the Conservative majority are precisely the things that may prevent them from seizing that opportunity. This year, I avoided discussing the elections online because I knew it was fruitless — there was no room for debate or discussion and no minds would be changed — but now, in “The Aftermath,” I hope there are are some lessons that can be learned for the betterment of us all.

In London, this is especially true with a municipal election coming up that I fear will just build upon the arrogance, intolerance, and division that we saw at the provincial election. Continue reading

Accessibility in Elections: Where Were You When Barriers were Built, Maintained?

By Jay Menard

Accessibility is a great buzz word. And having people with disabilities on stage with you or featured on your campaign literature sure makes for a good photo op. But far too often, a commitment to accessibility extends beyond nothing more than tokenism — and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to develop a plan that addresses everyone’s needs.

Today I had the honour of representing the Accessibility Advisory Committee at the Candidate Information Session for the 2018 Municipal Election. My topic was “Running an Accessible and Engaging Campaign.”

Much of the presentation was prepared in a document called “Count Us In: Removing Barriers to Political Participation,” which focused on how to interact and engage with people with disabilities during campaigning. But I firmly believe the majority of the work needs to be done well before you hit the campaign trail. The presentation focused on the campaign, after the fact, but if you’re going to truly embrace accessibility, that inclusion should be undertaken right from the start when you’re developing your platform.

If you were in this room talking with me, that’s a start. But I’m going to ask another question: “Where were you?” Continue reading

My Minimum Expectations to Earn My Vote

By Jay Menard

We’re fast approaching London’s municipal election date. Though some have already made up their minds, I remain firmly in the camp of thinking there’s a lot of time. Things change, positions get analyzed, but — most importantly — there are plenty of opportunities for someone to prove to me that they meet the minimum expectations to earn my vote.

But that term “minimum” is a tricky word. After all, just because it’s my lowest threshold doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with lofty expectations. And, in my case, my minimum is held to a very high standard — the same standard I put on myself as a voter and an involved citizen of London. Continue reading

Worst Hyperbole Ever?

By Jason Menard

Worst council ever? One could argue that. Hyperbolic and misleading statement? Most definitely.

Our main local newspaper, The London Free Press, recently posted a Tweet that read, “Do we really have the worst council ever? Poll results going to city hall seem to suggest it” with a link to its article — on that leads with the vaguely referenced, “They don’t call it London’s worst council for nothing.”

Could this be London’s worst council? Possibly? It certainly has been one riddled with negativity. But worst ever? I don’t know if you can make that claim using anything but anecdotal evidence.

And to use the poll referenced here as ‘proof’ is just inflammatory and irresponsible. Continue reading

Parrotus Downtownicus

By Jason Menard

There’s an interesting species of bird that’s taken root in the Forest City. It appears benign and works, but left unchecked its territorial obsession can serve to prevent other areas from flourishing.

The species? Parrotus Downtownicus. Continue reading