Those municipal candidates who cite a need for change in their platforms will face opposition from at least eight of the city’s elected officials in this year’s election.
Of the city’s 13 elected officials, eight have confirmed to Sudbury.com that they are seeking another term on council in this year’s municipal election, set for Oct. 24.
Those to confirm they are seeking re-election include Mayor Brian Bigger, Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti, Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini, Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier, Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland, Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan, Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre and Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc. Outside of Bigger, none have specified they are seeking the mayor's seat.
Ward 8 Coun. Al Sizer, Ward 9 Coun. Deb McIntosh, Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier and Ward 12 Coun. Joscelyne Landry-Altmann all responded by stating that they are not ready to announce anything at this time.
Although the municipal election is still several months away and the nomination period doesn’t open until May 1, the unofficial election season appears to already be in bloom.
Mayor Brian Bigger first indicated his intentions to seek re-election during his State of the City address in September, when he answered a question on the topic and affirmed his intentions. Although he has yet to formally launch a campaign, he answered questions about his bid for re-election earlier this month, at which time he reaffirmed his commitment to another term.
Running against the incumbent mayor will be homelessness advocate Bob Johnston, pending he hasn’t disqualified himself by breaking the Municipal Elections Act, and former Ward 4 Coun. Evelyn Dutrisac.
Announcing a platform centred on change and improving the reputation of city council, Mike Parent is running against Kirwan in Ward 5.
Late last month, Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo announced that he is not seeking re-election. Although he cited family priorities as the chief motivator behind his decision, a worsening atmosphere around virtual council chambers also factored into his decision.
The following is what the incumbents seeking re-election have to say about their decision.
As previously reported, Bigger said that although his platform has yet to be fully hashed out, it’s likely to focus on helping vulnerable residents, tackling city infrastructure investments and addressing climate change and other environmental concerns.
Seniors, he said, are also a priority moving forward, with the $63.9-million Pioneer Manor bed redevelopment project an important project in the works.
Serving citizens in Ward 1 has been an “extreme honour,” Signoretti said, adding that while he may not have been able to solve every issue or share the views of all the councillors around the table, his “sincerest intention is to move our community forward.”
There’s a lot of work to do, he said, adding that he will continue advocating for budget reform.
“Simply tagging a tax rate increase to the previous year’s budget is not sustainable,” he said. “We need to spend on needs, and not on wants.”
“We still need a cultural change, we need a structural change and we need more of a common-sense approach,” Vagnini said. “You can’t paint everybody with the same paintbrush.”
Although he’s not advocating for de-amalgamation, he is pushing to give greater autonomy to certain areas of the municipality.
Montpellier said that he intends “to continue my getting the truth and best deals for taxpayers.”
McCausland indicated there is still “lots of work to be done and many opportunities on the horizon that can benefit all of the communities that make up Greater Sudbury.”
When first elected to city council in 2014, Kirwan declared a commitment to serve the residents for a minimum of 12 years, which he is still striving to achieve by securing a third term.
He cites the experience he gathered during his first several years on city council as a key selling point in his re-election campaign and pledges to fight for residents.
Having enjoyed his time on city council thus far, Lapierre said he hopes to continue serving the residents of Hanmer and Val Therese.
“I believe there are many great things happening in Greater Sudbury and I would be honoured to continue working alongside council and staff to help lead these great things and make Greater Sudbury grow.”
Saying that he is available to residents 24/7, Leduc indicated that there’s still lots of work to do “with regards to advocating for our homeless” via rehabilitation centres and in addressing mental health issues. On these topics and other fronts, such as repairing the city’s roads, he said the city has already been making great progress.
Further, he said the city is well-positioned to attract new businesses in the electric vehicle industry.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.