“Bruce Timms represents to us exactly what is broken in Niagara politics. Under no circumstances does he represent A Better Niagara.” – Ed Smith, a St. Catharines resident and executive director of the Niagara-wide group, A Better Niagara.
A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted September 10th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Veteran St. Catharines regional councillor Bruce Timms may have been making the pitch that he’s been working for “a better Niagara” for years now, but a Niagara-wide group called “A Better Niagara” is taking issue with him using “a better Niagara” in his pitch in the weeks leading up to this October’s municipal elections.
“A Better Niagara (the group) is concerned that voters may construe the fact that Bruce Timms’ advertisements prominently feature the term “A Better Niagara” to mean that our organization endorses him, which we do not,” said Ed Smith, a St. Catharines resident and executive director of the group, in a statement shared with Niagara At Large this September 10th.
“We do recognize that the term is not copyrighted by us, nor would we want it to be,” Smith said. “However it is important for us to ensure that a politician such as Bruce Timms is not confused as representing us, or as being endorsed by us.”
“The political behaviour demonstrated by Bruce Timms and many others like him at Regional Council these past four years is what led to the creation of A Better Niagara,” Smith continued.
“We exist to ensure Niagara is not represented by politicians like Bruce Timms who would use public funds for $744 lunches at the Keg, or who would launch lawsuits against citizens in an attempt to silence them, or who would hire lobbyists at taxpayer expense in an attempt to facilitate a private development on protected lands.”
“Bruce Timms represents to us exactly what is broken in Niagara politics,” concluded Smith, and “under no circumstances does he represent A Better Niagara.”
In a response to the group’s statement, emailed to Niagara At Large, Timms said that “building a better Niagara was and is my mission and slogan in the last election, and continues in this election, and has been on Brucetimes.com (one of the St. Catharines regional councillor’s online sites) for the last four years.”
“It is about building a better Niagara through restructuring council with double duty city councillors at the Region,” Timms continued. “We thought the Regional chair at large issue was settled, but we tried (at a meeting of regional councillors on) Oct. 23, 2015 and council said no.”
“For the second time,” added Timms on the question of Niagara-wide elections for the Chair position at regional council (and Niagara At Large is quoting Timms verbatim here), “(former Ontario Liberal premier Kathleen) Wynne said yes, (current Tory Premier Doug) Ford said no, judge has said no to a stay, so it’s time to ask the people. I say yes to chair at large. What do the people say?”
“Building a better Niagara has been my mission for a couple of elections now,” repeated Timms. “Check my last campaign and my website. We share a common goal, building a better Niagara It is a good goal (and) the more people that share that goal the better.”
“Sorry about any confusion but I have been using that mission statement longer than “A Better Niagara” group has been using the term (and) I am not presenting any suggestion that A Better Niagara endorsed my candidacy.”
A Better Niagara, the group, describes itself as “a non-partisan, non-profit organization with a mandate to encourage civic engagement and municipal public participation in Niagara (and) founded by a coalition of local residents frustrated by the nature of politics in Niagara who joined together to offer a new vision for politics in our communities.”
Earlier this September, the group circulated a news release listing which ones of the current Niagara regional councillors running this fall for another term on the council it endorses, and which ones it does not.
On the list of incumbent candidates it does not endorse is Bruce Timms, along with the Region’s current Chair, Al Caslin, who is now running for a regional council seat in St. Catharines.
The list of incumbents the group also isn’t endorsing include Niagara Falls’ Bob Gale Selina Volpatti and Jim Diodati, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Pat Darte, Pelham’s Brian Baty, Grimsby’s Tony Quirk, Fort Erie’s Sandy Annunziata, West Lincoln’s Doug Joyner and Welland’s Paul Grenier.
The list of Niagara regional councillors and mayors running for re-election that A Better Niagara does endorse includes Pelham’s Dave Augustyn, St. Catharines’ Kelly Edgar, Brian Heit and Debbie MacGregor, Thorold’s Henry D’Angela and Ted Luciani, and Welland’s George Marshall.
To read a recent Niagara At Large post on incumbent candidates the group A Better Niagara is endorsing and not endorsing for a new term on the Region’s council, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/09/06/better-niagara-group-makes-its-endorsements-of-regional-council-candidates-who-believe-in-integrity-transparency-and-accountability/ .
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