The Race For Mayor Must Allow Voters To Choose Between Two Different Philosophies

Robert Kirwan
Valley East Today

Lynne Reynolds did what many observers thought she would do. She has declared her intention to run for the position of Mayor of the City of Greater Sudbury. She began her campaign at the beginning of March, giving her a full eight months for the run.

It is expected that current Mayor David Courtemanche will soon announce his candidacy. 

Several others are expected to throw their hats into the ring as well.

As a first time municipal politician, Reynolds has developed a reputation for questioning and criticizing the municipal leadership, including Mayor Courtemanche and some of the highest bureaucrats at City Hall. 

At the age of 56, she has the energy and the experience to take on the top role in the City, however, she must now demonstrate that her philosophy is significantly different from the current Mayor. She must also show that she has to courage to allow ratepayers to give a clear mandate for the next council. That clarity will only come if voters have two distinct choices. If we are merely going to choose from a number of candidates who are all declaring that they have the ability to be strong leaders, we face three more years of confusion.

Reynolds read from a prepared speech and identified a lot of things that we already knew.

“We all know that things are not working well at city hall. The rhetoric we hear is just not jiving with reality. There is virtually no sense of direction, no impetus, no compelling vision, no energy driving the city.”

Greater Sudbury voters now “have an opportunity to elect someone who is capable and ready to tackle the questions that they ask themselves every day about their municipal government,” she said.

“The questions are repeated over and over again, in coffee shops, in malls and at kitchen tables throughout the city ...

“What kind of value are we getting for our ever-increasing taxes and fees? Why do we feel like we’re paying more and getting less? Why does the city feel as though it’s adrift? Where are the bold and smart ideas and projects that will shape our future?”

Reynolds indicated that she intends to work hard to overcome the inside-outside debate and to make all taxpayers feel that they are part of the City.

Reynolds, and indeed every other person who decides to run for Mayor, must accept the fact that many ratepayers would return to a form of regional government in an instant. The Amalgamation has failed to live up to its promises and must change direction. Instead of continuing to "centralize services", there is a clear and growing desire by residents for a "de-centralization" and a return to the old system whereby each of the former seven (7) municipalities "ran their own show".

We know that it is impossible to reverse the infrastructure of amalgamation. Nevertheless, there is a way to return to the "Spirit of Regional Government" and anyone running for Mayor must be prepared to state their position clearly on this issue.

The issue is clear. Do the people of the City of Greater Sudbury want to return to a style of government which is prepared to decentralize and once again try to create seven distinct communities within the amalgamated region, or do we want to continue down the current road of "all for one and one for all". Do we live in "Valley East" or do we live in The City of Greater Sudbury?

Voters need two choices this time around. The winner will be able to sit in front of Council and declare that he/she has a clear mandate from the voters. There will be no confusion and the Council will have its direction.

The inside/outside debate will continue forever until voters have a chance to indicate their preference on the ballot. What we need now is at least one candidate for Mayor willing to stand for the old governing style. If that Mayor is elected by the majority of ratepayers, then Council will have to act accordingly. 

Who is willing to take that stand and offer to be Mayor under those conditions?




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