Takeaways from the Meet the Candidates night in Grantham Ward:
1. I could not possibly have been more disgusted with what I heard. For all the talk about change and fresh ideas, everyone at the table was parroting the same Liberal ideals as our hard-left mayor and the current council, one that has been far too obedient of said mayor. They also emphasized how they’re here to listen to and represent our views, yet they were much more interested in representing their extremist left-wing views to us. All in all, I felt like I had attended a Liberal Party nomination meeting instead of a city council candidate debate.
2. The common theme all night long was low-cost housing and safe injection sites as if they were the solutions to every one of the city’s problems. Never mind the fact that low-cost housing isn’t even a city responsibility. Or what the people think of those safe injection sites. Yes, finding needles in parks is a problem. But writing permission slips for druggies is not the answer.
2a. I refuse to use the euphemism “affordable housing.” It’s low-cost housing.
3. I found Alan Ziemianin’s arrogant dismissal of critics of safe injection sites particularly offensive. Excuuuuse me for having a different opinion.
4. Coming in, I was hopeful that Jeff Brooks, a teacher at a nearby Christian school, might have been candidate with whom I could park a vote. Until he opened his mouth and confirmed that he was another one who had been drinking too much of the Sendzik Kool-Aid.
5. Having not handled myself well in front of a camera in years past, I can excuse a newbie like Rob Gill for bumbling and stumbling through his opening address. But not so for Dawn Dodge, who lost her train of thought near the end of hers. She’s been in public office for too many years for that to happen.
6. Dear Bill Phillips: Mayor Sendzik sees you as a “voice of reason” only because you’re a fellow Liberal. Stop patting yourself on the back.
7. Phillips pompously boasted about a recent council resolution he supported requiring a housing developer to set aside 10% of the units for government-subsidized rentals. So while Niagara’s unemployment rate continues to outpace the national average, he and the rest of council are more concerned with social engineering. Priorities.
7a. Phillips is a walking argument in favor of term limits.
8. I nearly burst out laughing when the NDP/union hack Dennis Van Meer started going on about overspending on projects. And again when he talked about keeping life affordable for the people in St. Catharines. This from a man whose party has become synonymous with spending wildly beyond its means and taxing both the rich and poor out of house and home.
9. Matthew Bastead said he was 35 years old, but he looks closer to 15.
10. I don’t relish any of the candidates becoming my councilor and “None of the above,” if only it was available, would be by far the most preferable option, but for what it’s worth, I found Bastead and Mark Stevens to be the two least unattractive candidates. At least Stevens said he was “torn” over the safe injection sites. No doubt, the other candidates would have been throwing rotten tomatoes at him if he dared to suggest he was against them.