A Better Guelph? Cam Gurthie is Elected as Guelph's Mayor

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Written by Caroline Elworthy

The results from Guelph’s municipal election were solidified this past week, ensuring a wave of impending changes for our beloved city as Cam Gurthie overtakes the role of Mayor from Karen Farbridge. With a total of 19,672 votes, equaling 50.76% of the votes casted, Gurthie came out as the dominant candidate over Karen Farbridge who totalled 36.56%, or 14,174 votes across the municipality.

Jason Blokhuis trailed behind Farbidge with a mere 10.2%, or  3,987 votes. The remaining candidates of  Donovan, Legre and St. Denis finished respectively in said order, neither gaining over 1% of the vote.

“No matter who was elected tonight, it is important that we are moving forward for the betterment of Guelph together” said Gurthie at his acceptance speech on Tuesday night  after the votes had been filtered in. Gurthie was stationed with his family and suppourters at Cutten Fields Golf Club for the results of the election, an exclusive members-only club situated off of College Street.

“I am going to work hard for every single person in this city- no matter if you voted for me or not”  the previous War-4 City couciller reiterated on Monday evening. Gurthie took an early lead with the online polls results and maintained a strong lead right till the last ballot was accounted for.

 The new mayor of Guelph stands upon his “Better Guelph” platform, which proposes a cost efficient core city services, a transparent government, limiting tax increases by limiting spending and borrowing and eliminating what Gurthie refers to as the culture of the “Guelph Factor” at City Hall. Gurthie’s vision also includes methods like installing zero-based budgeting and exploring the option of privatizing some aspects of public services- ideas that do not sit well with his opponent Karen Farbridge.

Karen Farbridge, who has was stationed downtown at Van Gogh’s ear thanked the city for it’s continued support for the past 11 year. Farbridge was first elected as Guelph’s first female mayor in 2000.

Farbrige said a few short words to the crowd of suppourters gathered around her, reiterating how she is proud of the strong community foundation her team has helped her create over the past 11 years.

“I have no doubt that our community’s future is a bright one,” wrote Farbirgde on her city-hall blog early Tuesday morning.  

HowevComplaints had been lodged previously that although this was a seven candidate race, there were only two candidates who possessed a chance; a complaint exemplified by the combined 86% of the total votes that Fabridge and Gurthie collectively gained together.

The six month race between the two favoured candidates of Gurthie and Farbridge has further been distinguished by complaints of dirty politics of both sides, as upset claims of “sexist” behaviour and accusations of Gurthie being linked with Michael Sona of the 2011 robocall scandal.

While humbly expressing her gratitude for the city of Guelph, Farbrigde has also expressed her disappointment in the nature of the campaign Guthrie ran, targeting directly the misinformation and assumptions spread about the procedures of city hall.

In terms of campaign expenses, the citizens of Guelph will not be trusted with this information until March 27 of next year. Candidates must include any donations of up to $100 or more from any individual, organization or firms which were allowed to donate up to $750 to each candidate if they wished.

In an attempt to increase accessibility and voter turnout, online poll stations were used within this election for the first time in Guelph. Almost 16,000 votes were cast from the advanced polling station; from that 13,000 of these votes were placed through online voting stations.

Guelph’s voter turnout was reported this past election at 44.6%, a significant leap of  10.7% from the 2010 election when voter turnout was clocked at a mere 33.9%.

In the recent Mayoral Debate held this past October at the University of Guelph’s main Courtyard, the most important issue to Guelph’s students collected through a general survey, was reported to be the maintenance e of green space within the community, and transit deficiencies.

In response to these concerns, Guthrie subtly proposed the idea of privatizing some aspects of the transit service to increase revenue during the past Mayoral debate. Many municipalities privatize shelters and then use the advertising revenue generated to their advantage, said Gurthie earlier this October. Guthrie further recognized the merit of maintaining green space within the community, yet time will tell if the newly elected Mayor will be held accountable to his “Better Guelph” slogan. 

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