In its dying days perhaps the election campaign for regional councillor is coming alive.  

Newmarket Today prints a trenchant letter from William Dyer who tells their readers why he will not be voting for me.

Good for him!

He has at least been in touch - unlike my opponent, Tom Vegh, who is afraid to debate with me.

William Dyer had an email exchange with me a few days ago, asking me to comment on a vandalised election sign. Here it is:

October 16 – 6.27pm - William Dyer to me

Hello, Mr. Prentice. 

My name is William Dyer and, save for an eleven-month stretch 15 years ago, I am a life-long resident of Newmarket. You knocked on my door the other week and we had what I would characterize as a bizarre interaction. You initiated the conversation by telling me how you wanted more of your signs on Gorham Street because of the traffic, somehow assuming that I'd let you utilize my lawn for your campaign with neither a hint as to what you might do as Deputy Mayor and Regional Councillor nor an acknowledgement that my lawn already featured a Tom Vegh campaign sign. Furthermore, while you didn't mention a single issue or policy for which you stood, you did assert that Mr. Vegh's campaign was routinely placing their signs on lawns of people who had not agreed to having such. I had already visited your blog a handful of times before you came knocking and could see that you are a single-issue candidate and that issue is beating your opponent. Frankly, that strikes me as a terrible issue on which to run, especially at the municipal level. Mr. McFadden, the editor at The Era, seemed to understand this when he rejected your attempt to submit a written statement and platform, something that you don't seem to understand as you wear that rejection as a badge of honour on your blog. You're also oddly comfortable explaining away your own expressly fraudulent expenses scandal while hammering on Mr. Vegh's less-that-obviously-wrong expenses issue from the last election cycle.

Now, to the primary reason for this email message: I wonder if you care to comment on this sign placement (image attached). I came across it this afternoon at the corner of Gorham and Hamilton Streets. It seems to be on a public street corner as the adjacent house has positioned their Ward Councillor sign on the other side of the driveway, separated from where these two signs were placed. It also seems unlikely to me that this house would agree to both a Vegh and a Prentice sign. It does seem to me like something someone who wants more visibility than their opponent on Gorham Street might do.

Frankly, I find this appalling (and, if my understanding of municipal election rules serves, illegal). Your obsession with Mr. Vegh has been apparent for months now, but this goes a bit far, wouldn't you say? I wonder: is this how campaigns are conducted in Lancashire? 

Take care,

William Dyer.

October 16 – 9.07pm - Me to William Dyer

Good evening Mr Dyer

Lots of people have taken my signs to go up alongside ones placed earlier by Tom Vegh’s people.

I don’t see that as a problem.

Gordon Prentice

October 16 – 10.12pm - William Dyer to me

Hello, Mr. Prentice.

Just so we're clear: when asked to comment on a photograph of your campaign sign impaling the campaign sign of your political opponent, pinning it to the ground, your response is that you don't see a problem.

This strikes me as, well, a problem.

William.

October 16 – 10.15pm - me to William Dyer

You are being totally ridiculous. I am not responsible for the damage to Tom Vegh’s sign and I totally deplore what happened.

Contact the police if you see anyone vandalising signs but do not, absurdly, try to pin the responsibility on me.

October 16 – 11.21pm - William Dyer to me

Hello, Mr. Prentice.

I am not being "totally ridiculous". You passed on an opportunity to condemn an instance of dirty pool engaged in against your political opponent. That strikes me as totally ridiculous. A campaign operating in good faith would take the first opportunity to condemn partisan vandalism, don't you think?

William.

Gordon Prentice 18 October 2022

Across Ontario’s municipalities, 19% of elected officials were returned to office this year unopposed with no need for an election.  

One third of all Mayors have been returned unopposed.

Astonishingly, entire councils have been acclaimed. About 8% of the total (32 municipalities) have no elections. The largest is the Township of Tay whose population is 11,000. (We in Newmarket are linked with Tay through our Hydro company.)

Two thirds of people – probably more – will not vote in this election. The move to (almost exclusively) on-line voting will be a further deterrent. Many people who are not internet savvy simply won’t vote. It is possible to vote in person with a paper ballot but an appointment must be booked to vote at the Municipal Offices. There is no Polling Station around the corner.

Why don’t more people run for election? 

For a start, the costs are huge.

In the last election in 2018, my opponent Tom Vegh took out a $27,000 bank loan and it still wasn’t enough. And, as we all now know, he had to be bailed out after the election by benefactors in the development industry to save him from being disqualified from office for overspending.

We are both running for Regional Councillor and we can both spend up to $52,166 on our respective campaigns. Within this total we can spend up to $16,098 of our own money, known as "self-funding".  These are huge sums that would deter most people from running.

I am only going to spend a fraction of that sum – probably about $7,000 in total with my personal contribution about $3,500. Unlike my opponent, I refuse to take money from people in the development industry. Vegh says he will self-fund his campaign this time (unlike 2018) and he will not take money from people who do business with the Town but his assurances are worthless. I wait to see his Financial Statement which he has to file with the Town after the election. He is under a legal obligation to report truthfully his campaign expenses.

Unsatisfying election

This must be the most unsatisfying election I have ever run in.

My opponent refuses to engage with me. 

Instead of relishing a public debate, he cowers under a table.

Exhilaration

I miss the exhilaration and the adrenaline rush of debating with an opponent on a public platform, taking the questions as they come. I am pretty sure I would have eviscerated Tom Vegh, just by focussing of his fabricated record. He claims authorship – at least in part – for all the good things that are happening in Town. But, in reality, he’s just a spectator.

Our MPP, Dawn Gallagher-Murphy, also refused to participate in the debates in the recent Provincial Election and she wasn’t punished by the voters. The Ford Government was returned on the lowest vote ever recorded in Ontario.

Vegh’s strategy is to get his voters out and to ignore me - and the local media.

He has yet to return his candidate questionnaire to Newmarket Today so he calculates that won’t do him any electoral damage.

Running as "independents"

We are all running as “independents” because the system demands it. I’ve got to spend a long time on each doorstep explaining who I am and why I am running for office. No rosette. No Party colours to help me out. But why can’t like-minded people set up their own mini parties, share costs and campaign on the same set of pledges? We could call it, for example, the Newmarket First Party. They could campaign for a new library. You get the idea.

We need to find new ways of engaging with the voters. Capturing their attention without breaking the bank.

A lot of the people I meet are totally disinterested. Some are deeply alienated. The system doesn’t work for them. They are disillusioned.

The simple answer may be to elect politicians who say what they mean and mean what they say.

Otherwise, what is the point of it all?

Gordon Prentice 18 October 2022

Lots of people like the idea of a 15-minute all-day two-way GO train service to and from Newmarket. 

But they are understandably worried about the deafening train horns continuing throughout the day.

Are they going to suffer from dawn to midnight?

Trumpet Blasts

I shall do all I can to get rid of these ear-splitting trumpet blasts.

This is what the Canadian Transportation Agency says:

2. Train Whistling At Crossings

Train whistles are sounded for safety purposes to alert motorists, pedestrians, and railway workers of an approaching train. Whistling is a legal requirement under the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) pursuant to the Railway Safety Act (RSA) and is administered by Transport Canada (TC). Under the CROR, trains exceeding 44 mph must sound the whistle ¼ mile before the crossing, to be prolonged or repeated, until the crossing is fully occupied. Trains operating less than 44 mph must sound whistle signal to provide 20 seconds warning before entering the crossing and continue to sound the whistle until the crossing is fully occupied.

Municipalities seeking to eliminate train whistles must contact the railway company directly. 

What needs to be done

And this is what needs to be done to stop train whistles at level crossings.

Metrolinx - which is responsible for GO Trains - will be holding open sessions at Aurora and Newmarket public libraries on the following dates:

  • October 20: Aurora Public Library (3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.)
  • October 26: Newmarket Public Library (2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.)

Go along and ask them.

Gordon Prentice 17 October 2022

How come the Mayor of Amity Island got re-elected when his voters were being eaten, one by one, by a giant shark? 

Good question.

Larry Vaughan is the Mayor in Jaws. And he is still the Mayor in Jaws 2.

Why wasn’t he voted out?

The Mayor became the internet's favourite joke about the importance of local elections.

40-0

Here in Newmarket I’m running against Tom Vegh for Deputy Mayor and York Regional Councillor. At the region, he is pretty much invisible, just like the shark. 

In 40 ordinary meetings of York Regional Council in the 2018-2022 term he did not bring forward for debate a single motion which he authored. (Newmarket’s Mayor, John Taylor, does so regularly.)

Vegh’s forte is putting up lawn signs. That is his calling. It could be his full-time job.

If Tom wins, probably on a very low turnout, expect more of the same.

Disqualification

Of course, he could win and then be disqualified for breaching the statutory limits on campaign spending.

It almost happened after the 2018 election but Vegh was saved from that embarrassment by people in the development industry who bailed him out after his spending splurge. Their generosity (no strings attached!) allowed him to pay off his debts.

Vegh told Newmarket Today’s Kim Champion on 22 April 2019:

“… I was in a situation where the most I could contribute myself still left me with about a $30,000 deficit, and you can’t finish a campaign with a deficit like that, otherwise it’s considered self-funding, So, after the election, I started receiving a lot of cheques and some of those I sent back for one reason or another, if I wasn’t comfortable accepting it. But there’s a few there that I said, ‘Yeah, OK’.”

“Developers are only a small portion of the donations I received. Most of the donations I got was after the election. I already won and they just started arriving in the mail. And I had to pay off that $30,000 deficit.”

And he wants us to believe he is not in the pockets of developers.

Give us a break.

Gordon Prentice 16 October 2022

 

I'm chatting with voters and getting my lawn signs in the ground. 

And this in a street where Tom Vegh signs stretched as far as the eye could see.

Here is the YouTube clip.

Gordon Prentice 15 October 2022