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thistleclub Aug 9, 2016 4:20 PM

2018 Municipal Election
Corporate and union donations banned
(CATCH, Aug 4 2016)

Ontario’s new law banning corporate and union donations in municipal elections could have significant impacts in Hamilton, especially if ward boundaries are also changed to give voters more equal representation. While providing the option of ranked ballots has drawn most attention, other changes in the recently adopted legislation shorten election campaigns, regulate third party interventions, and require more accessible polling stations.

The Municipal Elections Modernization Act now specifies that only “an individual who is normally resident in Ontario” including the candidate and her/his spouse “may make contributions” in city and school board elections. The legislation goes on to specify who cannot make donations including “a corporation that carries on business in Ontario,” and “a trade union that holds bargaining rights for employees in Ontario”.

Most Hamilton city councillors have relied heavily on corporate and union monies to fund their election campaigns (and in some cases lavish post-election parties and handouts). For example, in the last city election two years ago, corporate and union monies comprised over 80 percent of the contributions reported by Terry Whitehead and Chad Collins.

That was also the case for over two-thirds of donations to Tom Jackson, Jason Farr, Scott Duvall (since resigned) and Maria Pearson. Councillors Sam Merulla and Lloyd Ferguson also got most of their election funds from corporations or unions. Judi Partridge, Robert Pasuta and Arlene Vanderbeek each reported their corporate or union monies provided 43 to 48 percent of their donations.

The least affected by the new ban might be Brenda Johnson and Doug Conley who reported no corporate or union gifts – the latter using only personal funds for his campaign. Also little affected would be Matthew Green and Aidan Johnson who collected over 85 percent of their donations from individuals.

In last March’s by-election, winner Donna Skelly reported corporate and union donations covered more than half of her fundraising. None of this money came from companies with addresses in her central mountain ward, a situation that was also true for all but one of her individual donors.

If the changes had been in force for the November 2014 election, they might also have affected the mayoralty race. Winner Fred Eisenberger got more than two-thirds of his financing from corporations and unions, while his two main competitors both relied primarily on individual donations. Monies from the 185-plus individuals who donated to Brian McHattie’s campaign made up nearly three-quarters of his contributions, while Brad Clark got a little over half of his monies from 82 individuals.

Read it in full here.

thistleclub Aug 17, 2016 8:54 PM

Suburban urban split
(CATCH, Aug 16 2016)

Decisions on many key issues that have divided urban and suburban councillors could change significantly if new wards based on the principle of representation by population are approved this fall. Voting records indicate such issues include downtown renewal, heritage protection, bus lanes, most other transit issues, area rating, and development charges. And ward boundary reform might either finally achieve the projected goals of amalgamation or further intensify the bitterness it generated.

After sixteen years of wards that follow pre-amalgamation boundaries and give the much smaller suburban population nearly as many council seats as the residents of the former city of Hamilton, a long-demanded redistribution will be decided this fall. The choices outlined in an independent consultant report range from major revamp to a continuation of the status quo. The latter is likely favoured by at least the seven councillors who represent Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek who repeatedly have blocked changes to ward boundaries.

Suburban representatives have voted as a solid or near solid block on other issues – especially against elimination of the lower tax rates embedded in the area rating system adopted at the time of amalgamation. Part of that system was dismantled over the last few years, but households in the former suburbs continue to pay only about a third of the transit taxes that face residents of the old city.

Transit operations have also seen urban-suburban divides, and to some extent that’s also the case for the on-going debate about LRT. Five suburban councillors voted in May to defer a decision on whether Hamilton wants the billion dollar provincial investment. A sixth was absent for the 9-6 decision and only one opposed the deferral.

Two-thirds of those who squashed the King Street bus-only lane were suburban – joined in the 9-6 decision by the three Hamilton mountain councillors. The defeat of improvements to the HSR’s Rymal 44 route two years ago was an even starker example of the urban-suburban division. That 8-5 decision taken in the absence of three urban councillors saw all seven suburban votes on the winning side.

And there was a strict urban-suburban divide last year over a motion to ask the citizen’s panel on transit to also review the HSR area rating tax system. Mayor Eisenberger joined all eight councillors from the old city to out-vote all seven suburban representatives.

Last year the two geographic factions split on a motion asking staff to look at the possibility of tolls for “out-of-town” truck traffic on the Red Hill and Linc expressways. The move was supported by Mayor Eisenberger and five urban councillors, but overwhelmed by six suburban representatives joined by Terry Whitehead.

Read it in full here.

mattgrande Feb 2, 2017 1:39 PM

Council voted in favour of their personally drawn ward realignments (that barely change).

This is after spending $300,000 on consultants, and a year of public consultation. This is almost certainly going to the OMB.

SteelTown Feb 2, 2017 1:55 PM

^ Same thing happened to Ottawa and OMB forced them to change the ward boundaries.

ScreamingViking Feb 4, 2017 7:09 AM

Is anyone at all surprised?

Nothing to gain, loss of status quo... the easy decision is all too easy.

Expect more "this is a joke"-type quotes from enlightened councilor minds if the OMB rules against the local intelligentsia.

thistleclub Jan 26, 2018 2:41 AM

Vito Sgro eyes running for mayor
(Hamilton Spectator, Andrew Dreschel, Jan 25 2018)

In Hamilton political circles, Vito Sgro is a well known Liberal campaign organizer who prefers working behind the scenes instead of in the spotlight.

That may soon change.

Sgro, a partner with CBM chartered accountants, says he's "seriously considering" running for mayor in the October municipal election.

"I want to do it and I think this is pretty close to the right time in my life," he said, adding he'll decide in "weeks not months."

Sgro, 53, is the first potential candidate to publicly consider challenging Mayor Fred Eisenberger's re-election bid. He may not be a household name but he looks solid enough on paper.

Sgro's curriculum vitae includes his present appointment to the Ontario Infrastructure Corporation and past stints as a director of the Hamilton Port Authority and former HECFI board.

His employment record includes some 30 years as a chartered accountant along with a spell at the Hamilton branch of Revenue Canada.

If he takes the plunge, he knows he's got an uphill fight on his hands.

Read it in full here.

realcity Jan 26, 2018 9:18 PM

Fred has lost the suburbs. It will be an election over LRT. All it will take is one NOLRT candidate to unite the mountain with the suburbs and it is over. Fred will be a one term mayor twice. And Terry Cooke will have to find him another job.

realcity Jan 26, 2018 9:28 PM

I listened to Farr on cable14, when it came to tv city and brad lamb what a dick he is. Good luck to Lamb, but I predict he goes walking.

Another point : how all these politicians bureaucrats blow a nut thanking each other for "their years of public service" as if they are volunteering or some first responder hero. They get paid for their career in government and paid well, better than private sector now. fuck off with you sucking eachothers dicks for doing their job.

TheRitsman Jan 26, 2018 9:43 PM


Originally Posted by realcity (Post 8062569)
I listened to Farr on cable14, when it came to tv city and brad lamb what a dick he is. Good luck to Lamb, but I predict he goes walking.

Another point : how all these politicians bureaucrats blow a nut thanking each other for "their years of public service" as if they are volunteering or some first responder hero. They get paid for their career in government and paid well, better than private sector now. fuck off with you sucking eachothers dicks for doing their job.

They absolutely do not get paid better than the private sector. It takes a crazy person to run for office. You generally blow a couple thousand on your election campaign. Most politicians work 7 days a week, with constant criticism. There are definitely bad politicians, and ones that make bad decisions. I think Fred is tired and not energetic enough to be the Mayor Hamilton needs right now, but I also don't appreciate when people speak that way of our politicians as if the job is laid back like a government job sometimes is.

Jon Dalton Jan 26, 2018 9:50 PM


Originally Posted by realcity (Post 8062569)
fuck off with you sucking eachothers dicks

Dude you were banned for like 5 years and you come back with this?

realcity Jan 26, 2018 10:08 PM

are you telling me a graphic designer with the City doing PSAs for unsold HSR space making 79k with pension is doing worse than say a designer for Fox40? bc I know for a fact, the City is at the top for midlevel, 60-100k positions over the private sector.

TheRitsman Jan 27, 2018 12:16 AM


Originally Posted by realcity (Post 8062627)
are you telling me a graphic designer with the City doing PSAs for unsold HSR space making 79k with pension is doing worse than say a designer for Fox40? bc I know for a fact, the City is at the top for midlevel, 60-100k positions over the private sector.

Who do you know? Because you don't sound very in the know. I'd rather not argue, because if you feel I am incorrect all the power to you. But first off, you said politicians, not graphic designers for the city, which are two very different things. Politicians have to spend thousands every four years to maintain their job.

Private sector almost always pays more. The average wage in the private sector is always more in nearly every case. Generally the government pays well from the start, like at the CRA where a starting position gets paid $52k, but they are very picky. The top end isn't that much either. A top level manager in government is looking at $150k or less generally. In the private sector jobs higher up can go into the $200k-$400k range easily near the top end.

NortheastWind Jan 30, 2018 6:40 PM


Originally Posted by realcity (Post 8062569)
fuck off with you sucking eachothers dicks for doing their job.

Show a little more couth would ya !!

thistleclub Mar 10, 2018 5:12 PM

Former Glanbrook Coun. David Mitchell thinking about political comeback in Ward 11
(Hamilton Mountain News, Kevin Werner, Mar 9 2018]

Former Glanbrook Coun. David Mitchell is contemplating a return to the political limelight.

In an interview as he was driving down to Florida March 9, Mitchell confirmed he is “thinking about” running in this fall’s municipal election.

If he does decide to make a political comeback, he would attempt to unseat Ward 11 Coun. Brenda Johnson who defeated the long-time politician by 245 votes in the 2010 election - 4,410 to 4,165 votes.

“The ward boundary (change) has made me think about running again,” said Mitchell. “It is now close to what Glanbrook was (prior to amalgamation in 2000.)”…

Mitchell said he will make a decision about his political future by May 1 when candidates are allowed to register for the contest. The municipal election is set for Oct. 22.

Mitchell was barred by provincial legislation from seeking office in the 2014 municipal election because he failed to submit his campaign expenses by the deadline.

The veteran politician was the first councillor to be censured twice for his conduct while in office. The first time was when he was found to have tried to influence a police officer from issue him a speeding ticket. The next time was in 2008 when his colleagues censured him for attempting to influence councillors over a land severance application on his Guyatt Road property.

And when he left council politicians agreed to have the councillor pay off a $1,645 debt that he incurred. Mitchell was found to have overspent his $26,000 ward office budget. Politicians rejected an appeal from Mitchell to forgive his debt.

Read it in full here.

thistleclub May 1, 2018 2:32 PM

Candidate registration for the 2018 municipal election open today. Joey Coleman is tracking the traffic. Day One registrants:

Ward 1
Sophie Geffros
Aidan Johnson

Ward 2
Cameron Kroetsch
Nicole Smith

Ward 7
Dan MacIntyre

Ward 9
Cam Galindo

Ward 10
Jeff Beattie
Ian Thompson

Ward 12
John Scime

Ward 13
Kevin Gray
John Mykytyshyn

Ward 15
Susan McKechnie

drpgq May 1, 2018 2:35 PM

I'm not Farr's biggest fan, but he's way better than Kroetsch would be for development.

SteelTown May 2, 2018 1:58 AM

DAMN haha

thistleclub May 2, 2018 2:08 AM

The curiosity candidate on Day One is arguably John "The Knife" Mykytyshyn, Common Sense policy creator and former pollster for Mike Harris (c. 1990-1999) and Stockwell Day (c.2000), and co-founder of the Conservative Leadership Foundation (c.1990), which undertook a youth retreat at McMaster that offered an early snapshot of what would become an Ontario PC dumpster fire.

Ontario Tories apologize to party activists after controversial youth seminar
(Toronto Star, Robert Benzie, August 23 2016)

A Progressive Conservative campaign training session for young party activists was marred by shoe-throwing, sexist language and participants being denied adequate food and water, the Star has learned.

More than 100 youth members paid between $295 and $395 for the Conservative Leadership Foundation (CLF) event and the party has received 40 complaints from participants and their parents.

Organized by veteran strategist John Mykytyshyn — and attended by Tory Leader Patrick Brown — the Aug. 12-14 conference at McMaster University’s Les Prince Hall was designed to prepare young Tories for the hothouse atmosphere of a campaign.

But sources said the election boot camp got out of hand with the youth members being deprived of food and water in the seminar room — including a diabetic who experienced considerable discomfort — and an official hurling his shoe and yelling sexist epithets at a young woman during his presentation.

Mykytyshyn, who was an ardent Brown supporter during last year’s Tory leadership race, did not return messages seeking comment.

He is no stranger to controversy; in 2000 he resigned from the executive of the Canadian Alliance, a precursor to the federal Conservative Party of Canada, for saying Maritime residents “don’t want to work for a living, to go to where the jobs were, like all our ancestors did.”


Questions over Tory forum
(Toronto Star, Robert Benzie, Aug 17, 2007]

A controversial California-based "self-help" group was enlisting new recruits at a major Conservative youth meeting last weekend, the Star has learned.

Landmark Education, the San Francisco organization descended from Werner Erhard's 1970's-era EST, held a 90-minute session as part of the Conservative Leadership Foundation conference. The foundation boasts connections to both provincial and federal Tory parties.

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory spoke at the event, but was not aware that organizers had also invited Landmark to do a presentation.

Landmark, which operates in 25 countries around the world and employs 450 people, emphasizes on its website that "dozens of psychiatrists, psychologists, clergy members, and other professionals ... have concluded that Landmark's programs are not psychological, cult-like, religious, or sociological in nature."

"Mr. Tory attended the event, but did not organize it. The organization you refer to was not on the agenda that was presented to Mr. Tory's staff," said PC campaign spokesperson Ingrid Thompson.

"Had we known that they were going to be attending we would not have supported attending the event," Thompson said yesterday.

"It's ridiculous," said one PC member, who expressed concern at the party entangling itself with Landmark.

"There were kids as young as 14 or 15 years old at this. Imagine you're a parent who lets their son or daughter go off to what they assume is a political meeting and other organizations like this are participating," said the veteran party activist.

The Conservative Leadership Foundation hosts the annual conference, which is organized by veteran strategist John Mykytyshyn.


Mr. Mykytyshyn's mistake (The Globe & Mail, Aug 16, 2000)
Alliance official quits after anti-East slur (The Globe & Mail, John Ibbitson, Aug 16, 2000]

He certainly seems to have a hard time with August.

He's also a shadowy partisan operative, described by Macleans in a story on the Eve Adams nomination battle:

…John Mykytyshyn, a well-known Tory warrior with a reputation for bare-knuckle politics.

“He’s been stacking meetings and directing riding campaigns for decades,” says Arthur Kryzycki, a former Tory staffer and longtime Adams friend. “If there’s an uncomfortable situation that can be made worse, he has the skill and aptitude to do it.”

Which invites the question: Is he actually running for council or is this about the provincial election?

Edited to add:

It turns out, both of the Day One candidates for Ward 13 have fresh and explicit ties to the Ontario PCs.

durandy Jul 18, 2018 8:02 PM

9 days left in the nomination period and there seems to be a massive dearth in candidates right now. With Aidan Johnson not running, ward 1 is suddenly totally open. Is it normal that people file right before the deadline?

SteelTown Jul 18, 2018 8:34 PM

^ Yes, some people register right up to the last hour.

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