Simply put, Greater Sudbury deserves better than what city council candidates Pauline Fortin and Mark McKillop are putting forward. I am truly surprised there has been little commentary about the potential challenges that would arise by having a husband-and-wife duo on the next council. Our city needs 12 independent, competent, and committed councillors on the next council.
Electing a husband-and-wife duo could create a situation where one household has an undue balance of power over an entire city’s council. These candidates have made vague assurances they will act independently and represent their constituents, but one must only look at their respective Facebook pages to see that their campaign messaging is nearly identical.
How can we be assured they won’t prioritize voting as a bloc in their own interests over voting for the interests of the wards they represent? This joint campaign positions them to deliver something we’ve seen in Greater Sudbury time and time again – inside politics taking a hold of council to prioritize the interests of a select few over every day Sudburians.
We deserve better.
Beyond the obvious problems of concentrating that much power into one household, the rhetoric of their campaign leads me to believe they don’t really bring much value as potential councillors.
For starters, Mr. McKillop has criticized the library and art gallery project, citing that the city should be focusing on maintaining infrastructure. However, he is seemingly supporting the KED, a project that literally requires hundreds of millions of new infrastructure — largely duplicate of infrastructure elsewhere in the city — which will require its own maintenance moving forward. Surely I am not the only one who sees the hypocrisy of this stance.
Similarly, Mrs. Fortin’s decision earlier this summer to denigrate the existing council and drop out of the election only to re-enter a week later raises questions of her commitment and forward-thinking ability. Some current council members are bound to be re-elected and would be her future teammates if she was successfully elected.
Ridiculing her potential teammates isn’t the best approach to building a collaborative culture, but rather, places her in a position to offer much of what we’ve seen in the past four years – toxic infighting and inability to work together to move the city forward.
The bottom line is our city has serious problems and these two are not serious candidates. Fortunately for the residents of Ward 4 and Ward 7, there are alternative candidates that demonstrate independence, competence, and commitment in spades. Natalie Labbee in Ward 7 has served as a councillor in another community and has an extensive track record of volunteerism predating the launch of her campaign. Similarly, Ward 4 incumbent Geoff McCausland is committed to the role of councillor in a full-time capacity, and it shows through the well-researched input he provides in council and the improvements Ward 4 has seen in the past four years. Both would be excellent voices to have on the next council.