Now On To Appointing A New Niagara Regional Chair And Rebuilding Public Trust In Region’s Council
And A Few Words On Why Jim Bradley Should Be The Region’s Next Chair
A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted October 24th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
The following image, posted on Facebook this October 24th by former St. Catharines regional council candidate Peter Gill, captures the way many of us across Niagara feel about the defeat of outgoing Niagara regional chair Al Caslin and so many members of his cabal on the Region’s council in this past Monday’s municipal elections.
Gill, a retired Niagara Regional Services Police officer, fell short of winning one of the six seats available to St. Catharines on the Region’s council, but he deserves a great deal of thanks from everyone who have shared concerns about the conduct of Caslin and too many on the outgoing regional council for using social media to continually shine a light on their misdeeds.
Now on to the job of witnessing a new Niagara regional council sworn in with more new faces than have ever begun a term of the Region’s council in its almost five decade long history, and of witnessing members of that same council appoint a new chair.
Thanks to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the choice of a new regional chair was taken out of the hands of the general electorate across Niagara this past July when he took it upon himself to cancel region-wide elections for that position. But to the extent that any of us outside of the new council have anything to say about who should get that job, I have already have someone firmly in mind.
I have no idea how interested he may be in the job and I have not had a chance to ask him yet – so maybe he will get upset with me for putting his name forward like this – but my choice is former St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley, who received the most votes of 23 candidates in St. Catharines for six seats the city holds on the Region’s council.
I’ve known Jim Bradley professionally through my years as a journalist for almost 40 years now and covered his ups and downs and all arounds in politics, including five years in the 1980s when he proved himself as the best environment minister Ontario has ever had.
Jim Bradley is intelligent, and his honesty and integrity are unimpeachable. He has been a long-time member of the Liberal Party but has always shown a willingness to reach across party lines and put partisan politics aside for the greater interest of the community.
Just as importantly, Jim Bradley has the right temperament to chair a council that works together for the good of all and does not engage in the bullying and insults that too many in the outgoing bunch engaged in routinely
I know from past conversations with Bradley that he is so well aware of the problems and the challenges facing Niagara and already has a pretty good idea of what needs to be done to fix agencies like the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, and to more generally move our region forward in concert with key parties and the public at large.
I will have more to say on why Jim Bradley should be Niagara Region’s next chair and on what needs to be done to address the challenges facing our region in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, on the question of who should be Niagara’s next regional chair, here is a message of warning from Niagara resident Linda Manson, who sent it out as a “concerned voters.”
As you read it, keep in mind that when the new regional council picks a chair from among its members, whichever local municipality that member of council comes from, the most likely person that would fill his or her council seat would the candidate that polled second for that seat in the municipal elections.
Depending on the municipality, that candidate that came in second for the regional council seat could be a member of the cabal that so much of us are now so happy to wave goodbye to.
In other words, we might end up with someone like Sandy Annunziata from Fort Erie or Selina Volpatti from Niagara Falls back in a regional council seat – just in time for Halloween! Who needs Dracula or Frankenstein?
Here is Linda Manson’s message of warning –
The next Regional Chair MUST NOT be from the following …
Because ‘Caslin Cabal left-overs’ are next in line for a Regional Council seat!
- Niagara Falls: Selina Volpatti
- Fort Erie: Sandy Annunziata
- Grimsby: Tony Quirk
- Welland: Paul Grenier
- West Lincoln: Doug Joyner
- Pelham: Brian Baty
By contrast, next in line for St. Catharines is Kelly Edgar — a great move!
A few after words from Niagara At Large – There is another reason to appoint St. Catharines regional councillor-elect Jim Bradley to the chair’s job. Kelly Edgar, who was one of the more outspoken critics of the cabal during the past term of regional council, is next in line to fill a regional council seat in St. Catharines, should one be vacated by any of the six elected to serve for the city now.
This reporter, for one, believes it would be great for St. Catharines and all of Niagara to have Kelly Edgar back.
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