Counting Down the Days to a Better Niagara

 Come this October’s Municipal Elections, We’ve Got A Lot of House Cleaning To Do!

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted April 25th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

One Hundred and Eighty Days!

That is how many days we now have left to go in Niagara, Ontario before we, the people, get to exercise our hiring and firing rights this October 22nd’s municipal elections.

It is home many days we have left to go before we, the people, get our chance to clean house!

One hundred and eighty days may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t that much time at all when you consider all of the work we have to do in finding good candidates, get our fellow citizens more informed and engaged so that can vote on to our regional and local councils the best people possible to build A Better Niagara.

As I have written before and I will continue to write again and again, Niagara At Large is fully supporting the growing, grassroots, non-partisan ‘A Better Niagara’ campaign that is catching fire across this region because I believe that this coming October’s municipal elections may be the most important ones for our region and all of us who live and work here in the last 30 or 40 years.

If you have been following the news and commentary here and in other media across Niagara over the past three and a half years then you, like many others, have probably already had it up to here with all of the bullying and lack of civility, not to mention the lawsuits and insulting and sliming of political opponents and private citizens, and of all the other divisive and disturbing conduct our communities have repeatedly been subjected to, especially at the regional government level.

It has cost Niagara precious time and money that we could and should be investing in programs and plans that foster prosperity for our communities and businesses, and protects and preserves our region’s natural heritage too.

There is no reason why we have to make a false choice between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. We have people in this Niagara region – people in private business and public life, and dedicated volunteers in our communities – with the will and the intelligence and the imagination, to deliver both.

We can get there if we make a pledge to ourselves and each other to use the next 180 days to get engaged, stay informed and to find and support good people to run for municipal office across this region.

And a special message to all of the young people out there who have been notorious for not voting in very large numbers in the past. It is your future – far  more than what is left of this 60-somethng year old journalist’s – that is most at stake here.

Gather all of your friends together. Get involved and, when the time comes, vote as if your whole future depends on it – because it does!

On the house cleaning front, it can certainly start here with the elected municipal politicians pictured immediately below who sit on the board of directors and in administrative positions on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Now here is some recent information that came in the form of a news release from Niagara’s regional government on deadlines and other details around what is involved in registering as a candidate to run in this October’s municipal elections –

Candidate nominations and third party advertiser registration opens May 1

​Starting May 1, candidates interested in running in the 2018 municipal or school board elections will be able to file their nomination papers with the clerk of the appropriate municipality. 

In addition to the mayor, regional councillor, councillor/alderman or school board trustee positions, the regional chair will now be an elected position. Nomination papers for the Regional Chair position will need to be filed with the Regional Clerk’s Office. 

Nomination papers can be picked up at any municipal (or the Regional) Clerk’s Office or downloaded at www.niagaravotes.ca. The following information applies to candidates looking to file nomination papers:

Nomination papers can be filed during business hours from May 1 to July 26, 2018, and between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on July 27, 2018

Nomination papers must be signed by the candidate and filed in person or by an agent with the clerk of the appropriate municipality

A filing fee of $200 for the head of council (regional chair or mayor) and $100 for all other offices (regional councillor, councillor/alderman or school board trustee) will be required at the time of filing 

Each nomination paper must be endorsed by 25 eligible voters supporting the nomination (excluding school board trustee candidates)

A candidate must be registered before he/she spends any money on a campaign or accepts any contributions

In the event there is an insufficient number of certified candidates to fill the positions available in each municipality, nominations will be reopened by the appropriate clerk, for the vacant positions only ​

New Rules for Third Party Advertising 

In addition, due to recent changes made to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, the 2018 municipal election will be the first time that third party advertising is regulated.

Third party advertising is any paid advertising that supports or opposes a candidate running in the election. It can be in any format, including paid social media, website advertisements, billboards, signage, TV, newspapers and radio.

Individuals, corporations and trade unions may register as third party advertisers (TPAs) and may also make contributions to TPAs. TPAs must first register with the municipal clerk in each municipality that they plan to advertise in. Registration opens May 1 and closes on Oct. 19, 2018. TPAs must register before they spend any money or accept any contributions. In addition, all third party advertising must be independent and cannot be directed by any candidate. 

For more information about becoming a candidate or third party advertising, please visit www.niagaravotes.ca.

About Niagara Votes 2018

Election staff from the Region and all 12 Local Area Municipalities have partnered to streamline communications. This partnership is the first of its kind, designed to ensure candidates and electors across Niagara are aware of key dates and information for the 2018 Municipal and School Board Election. 

Just as one end note from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – , I would be more than remiss if I did not point out that there are some people on Niagara’s regional council I could certainly vote for should they choose to run again this October.)

They are councillors Brian Heit, Kelly Edgar, Debbie MacGregor and Tim Rigby from St. Catharines, Bill Hodgson from Lincoln, Grimsby Mayor Bob Bentley, Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn, Niagara-on-the-Lake regional councillor Gary Burroughs, Welland regional councillor George Marshall, Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop, and Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani and a regional councillor from Thorold, Henry D’Angela, and that is about it. (Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani has recently announced that he does not plan to run this October.)

Find out more about the ‘A Better Niagara’ campaign and how you can support it by clicking onhttps://www.abetterniagara.com/ .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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