On Campus Mayoral Debate Well Attended
Friday, November 3, 20069 Comments
The candidates began by offering their opening statements to the assembled crowd of about one hundred people. Candidate Mark Briestensky spoke about the importance of moving past ideology and mud slinging in politics. He insisted he has many good ideas for the city and urged people not to vote strategically.
Karen Farbridge spoke about her involvement with the University of Guelph, as both a former student and professor. She described her term as Guelph's first female mayor and her desire to be reinstated in order to develop a more pedestrian friendly city with an affordable rate of growth.
“It’s my turn now” responded candidate Bev Izzillo-Ustation who argued that both Kate and Karen have already had their chance to run city hall. “I’m a people person, I care about everyone,” she told the crowd, adding that the university community is a city within a city and deserves to be treated that way.
After the opening statements, students were invited to quiz the candidates on the issues. Questions that came up included police presence downtown, growth, water conservation, transit, and city hall accessibility.
Izzillo-Ustation stressed the importance of an increased downtown police presence and even the development of an anti-terrorism plan for Guelph. She said she agrees with the idea of the campus bus pass but did not speak about expanding or improving Guelph’s Transit service. Nonetheless, she feels students are an important part of the city. “Students should be part of city hall,” she argued, pledging that if elected students can “knock on her door and have coffee.”
Farbridge used a lot of he time to speak to environmental and conservation issues, including the importance of carefully planned growth. She spoke against the controversial idea of a pipeline shipping water from Lake Erie into Guelph. “It’s not for Guelph, not now, not ever,” she argued.
Farbridge calls herself a “strong supporter of the bus pass”, and says she will push for an extension of Guelph's Transit service. Farbridge also argued for the development of a pesticide bi-law, which so far has only had a first reading in city council.
“The pesticide ban didn’t go through because the current council didn’t want it, just like Kate Quarrie didn’t really want to be here,” agreed Briestensky who also says he’s in favour of such a bi-law.
A common theme in Briestensky’s comments was cleaning up the “dysfunctional” behavior in city hall and creating a more functional council. “So far there have been two different administrations, left and right and they just won’t work with each other,” he argued.
Cleaning up municipal politics and increasing public consultation also appeared in Farbridge's comments. “Citizens are not welcome at Kate Quarrie's city hall,” she told the crowd. All of the candidates spoke passionately about the role of municipal politics in student’s lives and urged them to get out and vote on November 13.