While growing up, my parents instilled within me many truths in their life that have laid the foundation of who I am today.
My father in particular, coming from a large working class family in rural Ontario, has been a significant influence. Work hard, question everything, and always trust your instincts to guide you. Most times this has served me well; and when it hasn’t it’s because I chose to ignore their solid guidance.
So too when I look at politics.
In late 2009 I was seriously considering a run for city council up until my father had to undergo high-risk surgery to remove a brain tumour which was hugely successful.
I began meeting with different people from across the city – friends, neighbours, community activists, business people, former candidates and a smattering of high-profile political organizers to gain their perspective and of course support.
One such high-profile individual within the Liberal Party wanted to discuss my desire to campaign in Ward 3 represented by Fulvio Valentinis. With promises of technical assistance I left the meeting feeling pretty good.
But then my instincts kicked in.
Why would a high-profile Liberal official want to help me potentially unseat Fulvio Valentinis – a known Liberal?
I could almost hear my father’s voice reply “because they don’t support you; they’re using you to be a spoiler candidate,” a concept I didn’t understand at the time.
A spoiler candidate, according to Wikipedia, is someone who:
“… takes votes away from a more viable candidate or candidates, a common effect called vote splitting …
… In the first past the post electoral system this is particularly feasible where a spoiler candidate recommends tactical voting or runs on a false manifesto to bolster the prospects of their secretly preferred winning candidate.”
In other words, fill the ward up with a bunch of candidates to help the “preferred candidate” (in my case, Fulvio Valentinis) win. Considering the margin by which Valentinis won there really was no question; but as they say better to be safe than sorry.
This is why I have taken particular interest in the possible “slate” of candidates being run across the city.
I say “possible” because many of the candidates have two things in common – similar templates and a website hosted by “Nationbuilder.com” – a company created by Democratic Party members and ironically became the campaign company of choice for the Republican Party in the United States.
These candidates so far include: Ward 1 – Denise Ghanam and Ryan Mancini; Ward 5 Randy Diestelmann, Ward 7 Angelo Marignani; Ward 9 Kieran Mckenzie and Ward 10, Paul Borrelli.
Of particular interest is Ward 1.
From a strategic perspective if a candidate wants to win why would someone run two candidates against each other in the same ward?
The answer I believe is two people: Matt Ford and to borrow from a local radio show, the Mayor’s brother (fr)Eddie Francis.
Matt, whom I have known for many years, is a passionate individual who has done incredible things in his life, which you can read about on his site. His focus and determination is something I believe this city needs.
This radio show recently spent a good chunk of time criticizing Matt, so obviously Ford is a threat and since Drew Dilkens was considering and ultimately decided to seek the Mayor’s chair Matt stood a good chance of winning.
Running “spoiler” candidates could allow for their preferred candidate, (fr)Eddie Francis, to win so the strategy begins to make sense.
While this may or may not be true, my instincts tell me it is a distinct possibility.
As someone who wants to see the city take on a new direction, a vote for these candidates – Ghanam, Mancini and Francis – in my view represents a vote for the status quo.
And that is unacceptable to me.