Archive for the ‘Election’ Category

The Stories Of Two Brendans Seeking Council Seats

- July 15th, 2014

One municipal election candidate has received more attention over the past 24 hours than, possibly, the mayor.

Brendan Mertens, 29, is running in Bay Ward against incumbent Mark Taylor, former councillor Alex Cullen and another candidate, George Guirguis.

Judging by his videos, I wasn’t sure if Mertens’ campaign was serious. Dang, they’re funny, though.

Turns out Mertens is serious. In my short conversation with him today, he listed his concerns about water bills increasing, flooding in Britannia, green bins and transit fares.

Married and looking to plant roots in the community, Mertens — who’s originally from Peterborough — said the videos are a way to turn people’s attention from the same old political candidates.

“You’ve got to go against the grain. If I came out in a suit and tie I would go unnoticed,” Mertens said. “Look, the Ottawa Sun and I are talking right now.”

He works in the health care field and previously worked in TV and film.

“I’m a huge fan of comedy. That’s pretty much my secret weapon in this campaign. Well, not really secret,” he said.

Running gags in his videos so far have been his anti-bear campaign and his pursuit of taking down Poland.

So what’s with the Poland thing?

“I’ll say no comment,” he said.

Will it be a running theme during the campaign?

“No comment.”

Here’s a guy who knows how to drum up interest. Not an easy thing for an unknown candidate to do.

Funny sidebar…

I accidentally called and e-mailed the wrong Brendan when I was trying to get in touch with Mertens this week. The Brendan I originally contacted was Brendan Gorman, another council candidate who’s running in West-Carleton March.

Turns out Gorman, like Mertens, is from Peterborough and I had a good conversation with him about his campaign in the rural west end.

Gorman, 35, is a former competitive cyclist who most recently worked for the Ottawa Sport and Social Club. He also worked for a bank as a financial advisor.

“I had it in my mind at some point I’d run for office,” Gorman said. “I’d like to go through the experience.”

Gorman didn’t say anything negative about incumbent Eli El-Chantiry.

“I’m not anti anybody. I’m pro me,” Gorman said.

And so, dear readers, that’s your news on the Brendans running in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Watson Likes Liberal Majority

- June 13th, 2014

Mayor Jim Watson met with reporters outside his office this morning to answer questions on the Liberals’ big majority win in yesterday’s provincial election. This clip pretty much sums up Watson’s thoughts:

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Mayor Watson’s Statement On Liberal Win

- June 12th, 2014

I’m going to guess Mayor Jim Watson, a former Liberal cabinet minister, is pretty happy with tonight’s provincial election results. We’ll hear more from Watson tomorrow morning, but for now here’s his written statement:

Statement from Mayor Jim Watson:

“I would like to congratulate Premier Kathleen Wynne on her re-election.

I look forward to a continued partnership with her government on key Ottawa priorities such as cleaning up the Ottawa River and extending light rail transit farther east, west and south.

The Ottawa River Action Plan and our City’s Stage 2 light rail plan were supported, in principle, by all the major provincial political parties. I know our newly elected Members of Provincial Parliament, of all political stripes, will work together to ensure our city gets its fair share of infrastructure dollars, so Ottawa can continue to be the best place to raise a family and grow a business.”

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Call For A Shorter Municipal Election Campaign

- June 10th, 2014

An interesting proposal today coming out of Toronto and the mayoral campaign of Olivia Chow.

Chow wants municipal election campaigns to start on the first business day after Canada Day, rather than the first business day of the election year.

I have always been struck by how long municipal election campaigns are. The election this year is Oct. 27, so we’re talking about a 10-month campaign. The reason candidates register early (generally) is to begin collecting campaign donations. In that way, non-incumbents might be at a disadvantage if they have fewer days to fundraise. Incumbents traditionally have a built-in advantage because of name recognition.

But that 10-month campaign is very long. As Chow notes, the campaign doesn’t really heat up until September, especially in the City of Ottawa. I can see how it can be especially exhausting for voters in Toronto, where the mayoral campaigns have been rolling for months now.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

It’s Gonzo Vs. Eli In West Carleton-March

- June 9th, 2014

Jon “Gonzo” Mark is entering the municipal election as a candidate in West Carleton-March ward.

Jon “Gonzo” Mark says he’s registering Tuesday to run in October’s municipal election in an attempt to win the West Carleton-March seat at council.

“I don’t consider myself a politician, certainly not a career politician,” Mark, 49, told me today.

“It’s more like, sometimes you have to shake things up and try a different angle.”

Rock radio listeners will remember Mark from hosting a show on 106.9 FM, formerly known as The Bear. The recent format change to Jump! led to popular hosts being let go.

Mark and his wife Trisha have three daughters and they live on a hobby farm in Dunrobin. They have lived in Ottawa for over five years and want to stay in the city.

Mark said he started getting interested in politics when more residents in the ward were complaining about land severance problems. He collected people’s insights on his potential nomination and now he’s ready to take the plunge.

It will be a tough battle for the political neophyte. The incumbent councillor is Eli El-Chantiry, a deputy mayor and chairman of the police services board who has a pretty strong base in the rural west ward.

Mark, who has been a broadcaster for 25 years, doesn’t think his own name recognition will go far in the ward (he says people are generally listening to talk radio or country music).

“I have to go out there and earn it,” Mark said.

Interestingly, Mark said one of his campaign advisors is Shirley Dolan, president of the Carleton Landowners Association (Mark said he, however, is not a member of the association). Also expected to be by his side while registering is friend Jody Mitic, the former military sniper running in Innes ward.

“I think we can win this election to be honest with you,” Mark said.

Two issues in particular Mark brought up in conversation: 1) His belief that the rural area is being “left out,” and 2) Biweekly residual garbage pickup. If elected, Mark said he would fight to bring back weekly residual pickup.

“You just have to stick up for your constituents,” Mark said.

There are two other challengers in the ward so far: Brendan Gorman and James Parsons.

The municipal election is Oct. 27.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at