It’s not easy to simply dismiss a candidate. But in truth, incumbent David Chernushenko has failed to live up to his council responsibilities and Capital ward has paid for that. Last term, he sat on the sidelines criticizing former River Coun. Maria McRae for not doing enough as chair of the city’s environment committee. Sadly, his performance at the helm of the same committee has been abysmal, which is all the more grating given his criticism of a colleague.
Around the council table, it’s often hard to figure out what he stands for.
He’s being challenged by Jide Afolabi, Anthony Carricato, Christine McAllister and Shawn Menard.
And there’s the concern. With so many people running, the vote can be split and Chernushenko – as the incumbent and presumably the one with the best name recognition – can come up the middle. And the candidates challenging him in Capital appear all capable of offering new and fresh ideas in this downtown ward, not a weak one in the bunch.
There’s no doubt Menard is a strong candidate, a great speaker who’s done his homework. But when he started talking about bringing in free transit, he lost me. Where is that money going to come from? Does he know? Does he care?
Carricato was a pleasant surprise, perhaps because he isn’t your typical downtown candidate. (Yes, I know I’m showing my suburban bias. I often find downtown councillors would just like to forget we really are all one big city.) Carricato breaks the usual mold of the downtown councillor, saying there are segments of our society that just can’t afford increased taxes. And while his platform might please me, I’m just not convinced it will win the day in Capital ward.
There’a a certain calmness surrounding McAllister when she speaks. (That being said, I’d just watched the Barrhaven debate for a third time and the contrast was more than notable!) This group as a whole was impressive, they all seemed knowledgeable and were all courteous with each other. That bodes well for all of them in terms of their performance around the council table.
Menard is certainly strong, but I don’t see him accepting his duel role as a representative for both Capital ward and the city as a whole. That’s crucial and too many candidates forget that,
In the final analysis I have to give my nod to McAllister. And I’m not saying that reluctantly.
She came across as a thoughtful and knowlegable candidate who will consider the ideas of her colleagues – while working hard on behalf of both her ward and the city, just as she has as a volunteer. And in presenting herself to the public, she noted issues of concern in both her ward – where she has volunteered for 15 years – and issues like the environment – a city-wide concern.
McAllister would be an amazing addition to the new city council.