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Report on the Mayoral ‘Debate’ at the Chamber of Commerce, October 30, 2006

This Article is By: Kingston Electors    On  Oct. - 30, 2006

Report on the Mayoral & at the Chamber of Commerce Breakfast

October 30th >2006

By Kingston Electors Volunteer Reporting Team

In the Municipal Election three years ago the Chamber sponsored a ‘debate’ on TVCOGECO. Unfortunately the presence of several fringe candidates resulted in the loss of edge to the session.

In attempt to get closer to fundamental issues the Chamber changed the format -–staging a breakfast - $15 for members – sold out. There was evidence that some of the questions had been arranged before the meeting. As a result the questions had more depth, although they were generally pitched to a Chamber audience.

This could hardly be termed a ‘debate’ as there was no opportunity for the candidates to challenge the views of the others although fundamental disagreement was obvious from the beginning. This was after all a Chamber meeting – significantly younger attendees than any other meeting I have attended. I would guess that most of those present were still in the work force. A general ‘business’ bias was expected and observed.

We have reached the stage in the campaign when two out of three of the candidates have honed their messages and there is not much more to say.

Kevin George has yet to spell out a governing concept for voters to grade. This may indeed turn out to be a strength as we get tired of hearing Rosen on ‘success through success’ and Downes on ‘success through quality of life’.
As usual this is not a difference about ends, it is a divergence on means. No one can doubt the sincerity of either. Both are solid, conscientious men. One has the impression however that the die is set. There are not many on the fence right now. We are waiting for one of the candidates to make a major mistake.

One theme that is emerging is from Rosen who stresses more often that the decisions made during the last term – LVEC, multiplex etc were decisions of Council not his alone. Of course this is true technically as he has only one vote. However it is difficult to have it this way and also argue that he was elected with a mandate for LVEC. I know no other member of Council was elected with that mandate. The next Council will be different indeed and any mayor will not have as much freedom to set the municipal agenda, if only because Rosen has had that freedom. There will be no more like Bittu George who says he had taken three years to learn how Council works. Many vying for office know how it works and agenda setting will be more of a collegial experience.

However with my reading of all the literature and watching all the videos there is the possibility that the next Council may hang itself on the tax issue. Getting a grip on taxes in Kingston is not an easy thing to do. In the long run it might not even be advisable. (You won’t find a politician willing to say that!)

To get back to the Chamber meeting: We learned that Rick Downes is bilingual and that KEDCO is a very humble group (Bernie Robinson says so), Kevin George thinks the city does not get value of money in KEDCO, Downes thinks composition of KEDCO should reflect the composition of the city generally, and Rosen thinks the value of KEDCO will be seen only in the long term.

An interesting meeting but the guys are tired. This campaign is certainly as intense in its demands on the candidates for mayor as any federal campaign. We must slow this down in the future.

Please Note:

Reports on election events are provided by Kingston Electors to help further discussions and debate on municipal issues. The observations, comments or opinions expressed are those of the reporter and do not necessarily reflect those of Kingston Electors.

-- Kingston Electors

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