The Urbanite – Jon Liedtke – Nov. 5, 2014
The election is over. Thank God. While I’m not a religious person, the end of this brutally long and drawn out election surely must be brought about by some greater power. What started out as a relatively quiet election campaign back in January gradually degraded into an all out clusterfuck of epic proportions.
While this election was one of the most publicized and talked about ones in recent memory, voter turnout was abysmal. There were 58,770 voters out of an eligible 156,788 that decided to cast a ballot on Oct. 27, or 37 per cent. That number is down nine per cent from 2010 which saw 70,597 votes for 152,557 eligible voters, or 46 per cent.
The reasons why voters stay home vary, and without an option to decline your ballot or vote none-of the-above, there is no way to formally voice your displeasure with the slate of candidates. Perhaps voters weren’t turned on by what candidates were saying or who was talking.
What we do know is that we have Mayor Drew Dilkens and councillors Fred Francis, John Elliott, Rino Bortolin, Chris Holt, Ed Sleiman, Jo-Anne Gignac, Irek Kusmierczyk, Bill Marra, Hilary Payne and Paul Borrelli. Have a nice ring to it? Better get used to it? You’ll be hearing these names a lot more in the coming four years.
Most of the names are hardly new: Dilkens, Sleiman, Gignac, Marra, and Payne have served together for a long period of time, while Kusmierczyk joined the group almost a year ago. Francis, while a new face, is not a new name, and Elliott, Bortolin, Holt and Borelli have regularly been featured in local media for their community endeavours.
And while the attacks of the formal campaign period have finally subsided, a new form of attack has taken shape: personal attacks against councillor-elects. It’s manifesting itself across the city’s various wards, and it’s disgusting.
Everyone expects candidates who lost to be upset and potentially say something they’ll regret afterwards, but what separates the true winners from the losers in this case, winners can be both successful and defeated candidates is humility and the ability to remain humble in the face of defeat.
While I can’t say for certain there wasn’t voter manipulation or vote rigging employed during the campaign both serious charges to levy, I can say it’s offensive to baselessly suggest such actions occurred without providing proof. If there is merit to the claims being cast, then the accusers should go to the authorities. If residents are simply talking out of their ass, rather than try to change them, perhaps we should tune them out.
What we can do is remember what attacks are being made and by whom and tuck it away in the back of our heads until these characters inevitably enter the public sphere once again.
Jonathon Liedtke is the managing editor of The Urbanite, Windsor’s alternative newspaper. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.