Elect Team Midland

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ELECT TEAM MIDLAND

Introduction

In this 2014 Municipal Election campaign, 27 candidates are contesting just 9 positions on Midland Council.

Midlandcommunity.ca has tried to raise the level of debate around issues in the campaign and has jointly sponsored two recent candidates’ meetings.

As you read further, you will see we are now recommending 8 individuals for election to Council along with our reasons for the recommendations. The recommendations are:

Mayor: Gord McKay

Deputy-Mayor: Mike Ross

Councillor Ward 1: (elect 3)

Patricia (Pat) File
Drew Plaxton
Scott Campbell

Councillor Ward 2: (elect 3)

Glen Canning
Cody Oschefski

(2 recommendations only)

Councillor Ward 3:

Stewart Strathearn

Why It Matters 

We will soon elect nine people to Town Council to guide Midland for the next four years. These are important positions. Done properly, they require hard work and dedication well beyond the compensation offered.

Our future depends on the skills, experience, wisdom and principles of the people we will select for these positions. We have seen what happens when misguided people end up running Nortel or General Motors. What happened to those companies can also happen to towns and cities.

These are just a few of the qualities we believe we should look for in elected officials:

1) enthusiasm for continuous learning;

2) openness to change and innovation;

3) ability to work co-operatively as part of a team;

4) experience making wise decisions;

5) high standards of ethics and behaviour;

6) ability to accept setbacks with grace and dignity.

2000 to 2014

Midlandcommunity.ca arose out of a realization that Midland was in trouble with spending and costs spinning out of control, local job losses, little or no growth and political leaders without any plan to deal with these challenges.

Here is one simple fact that demonstrates part of a larger, more complex problem. From 2000 to 2010 the taxes Midland billed residents and businesses to cover the Town’s spending increased more than 100% – they actually more than doubled in 10 years! That increase was more than four times the rate of inflation during the same years.

With the last election, things in Midland began to change. Gord McKay became Midland’s new Mayor together with a bare majority of councillors committed to better managing our Town. For the first time in years Midland has kept its spending and tax increases in line with inflation. Midland’s 2014 local tax levy is just 7.5% higher than in 2010. Getting taxes under control helps Midland become more attractive to the new residents and businesses we need to avoid future stagnation.

Recommendations & Reasons

The candidates running in this year’s election fall into three main categories, 9 current councillors, 3 former councillors trying to regain positions they lost in previous elections and 15 candidates who have not previously held office in Midland.

Four of the candidates we are recommending are current Council members – Mayor Gord McKay and Councillors Mike Ross, Pat File and Glen Canning. They regularly supported sensible, progressive steps to improve the Town’s management and put its fiscal house in order. They kept the Town’s spending increases in line with inflation.  They challenged Town Departments to reduce costs while maintaining necessary services. They asked what 2%, 0% and -2% budget increases would look like. They hired KPMG to take an objective look at the Town’s operations, staffing and spending.

They recognized that growth is key to our Town’s future and supported new efforts around economic development and tourism.

And they did this in the face of almost continuous resistance from an ‘old guard’ of councillors – Jeffery, Pendlebury, Attwood and Charlebois, all of who are running again this election. This ‘old guard’ seems to share one clear goal along with former Mayors Downer and MacDonald to undo progress made over the last four years. Midland cannot return to the spending habits of their old administrations.

There is no better example of attempts to obstruct Council progress than these same four councillors banding together to claim they were all victims of workplace violence and intimidation by another councillor. Their claims necessitated an independent investigation that cost Midland taxpayers at least $10,000 and concluded their complaints were all groundless.

And in a similar pattern of concerted behaviour, candidates Jeffery, Pendlebury, Attwood, Charlebois and Downer all failed to attend the recent Candidates’ meeting at the NSSRC co-hosted by the Downtown BIA. Their disdain for the electorate and our downtown merchants confirms our reasons for recommending against each of them.

New Candidates

In addition to four current Council members, we are also recommending four candidates from a group of fifteen newcomers. This group of fifteen includes some impressive, capable candidates we expect to see in future elections. But for 2014, four talented, committed individuals round out our recommended candidates: Drew Plaxton, Scott Campbell, Cody Oschefski and Stewart Strathearn.

They all bring new ideas.  Many have business and entrepreneurial backgrounds with real world experience serving customers and managing limited resources. They understand the value technology adds in communicating and achieving success with economic development. They have open minds and the ability to be fair and balanced for the benefit of all residents.

Scott Campbell is a small business operator and a director of Midland’s downtown Business Improvement Area. Drew Plaxton is a self-employed property appraiser who knows the factors that can encourage development and growth. Cody Oschefski is a young homeowner and industrial electrician at TRW who understands the need to get Midland back to work. Stewart Strathearn is a seasoned business person with public and private sector work experience.  He was one of the early contributors to this organization and dedicates untold hours staying informed on municipal issues.

With diverse skills and experience along with a strong sense of community, these four new candidates will add strength and capability to help Midland again become the economic engine for North Simcoe.

Midland matters, you matter, getting involved matters and more than ever your informed vote matters.

20 Comments on "Elect Team Midland"

  1. Thanks for providing this list…now I know who not to vote for.

    • Congratulations Margaret, your approach shows the problem we have with politics as usual. I don’t like you (maybe because somebody told me I shouldn’t) so any idea or opinion you have is valueless and I should oppose it without having to think about it.

    • As much as this site seems to promote community opinion….really hope people realize to make their own choices. Regardless of other people’s opinion. I think we all want what’s best for the town. All voters should form their own opinion based or what direction they think the town should be headed and vote for whomever they think can do that. THAT IS THE DEMOCRATIC WAY.

      • Midland Community | October 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Reply

        We agree 100%, thanks for posting, Allan!

        • You should not mind that i tell you that i disagree with your recommendations then.

          • Midland Community | October 17, 2014 at 6:11 pm |

            Fair enough, Allan. We are happy you took the time read the recommendations and are being respectful and reasonable in communicating with us. We are always welcoming of discussions and opinions that will help get the people of Midland the council they deserve.

  2. thank you for submitting this information!

    We have spent time researching the individuals running in the current election and have come to the same conclusions as you have put forth!

    How disrespectful for individuals running that they would not attend an all candidates meeting! I guess that shows were there priorities lie.
    Let’s keep this beautiful town moving forward!
    GET OUT AND VOTE! Please!!

  3. Trevor Henderson | October 15, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Reply

    Thank you for posting this, you certainly have a roster of excellent candidates. I believe that any of these individuals would do an excellent job of representing those that elect them.

    However, I have to ask, Why only 2 endorsements for Ward 2?

    While I understand your reasons for excluding Councillor Charlebois, it seems to me that Jack Contin’s considerable experience in regional tourism and ties to the First Nations community could be a very valuable asset in developing Midland’s tourism landscape. Alternately, with only 4 women running for council, either Carole Nichols or Ute Schmidt Jones could offer some much needed diversity to the council chamber, and both seem to be committed and passionate candidates.

    I would wish all the candidates best of luck – and look forward to 4 years of progress and prosperity for Midland.

    • Midland Community | October 16, 2014 at 8:29 am | Reply

      Hi Trevor,

      We appreciate your comment, thank you.

      We share your view about the quality of the candidates we have recommended. Our decision to issue just 2 endorsements for Ward 2 was difficult. Aside from Jack Charlebois, the 3 other candidates you mention are less well known to us than the 2 we endorsed. Essentially we have a positive recommendation for 2 candidates, a negative recommendation for another and are reasonably neutral about the other 3.

      We are simply not as comfortable or convinced about the skills and experience of the two remaining candidates as we are about the two candidates we have endorsed. We hope this helps explain how we carried out the difficult task of arriving at our recommendations and why any recommendations from a field of 27 candidates will inevitably disappoint some.

  4. Bonneeboo McBride | October 17, 2014 at 9:14 am | Reply

    As a former Midlander I applaud you for getting the word out to those who will vote in the upcoming municipal election in Midland. All to often people vote for a familiar name while not knowing much if anything about them.

    I moved away from Midland 12 years ago and I have to say the names of some of your not recommended Councillors are the same ones who were serving when I left. In addition to that, many of the towns issues are exactly the same today as they were then.
    Let’s hope your voices are heard.

    • Midland Community | October 17, 2014 at 9:23 am | Reply

      Thank you! It speaks volumes of how great our community is that even after being away for 12 years, you’re still checking in and caring about Midland. Thanks for your words of support.

  5. This slate is deeply flawed and, even more importantly, it is being put forth by a largely anonymous group with, I believe, hidden agendas that do not reflect the best interests of Midland. Why don’t you identify yourselves and, ideally, run for office rather than remain behind the scenes?

    • Midland Community | October 17, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Reply

      John, Take a look around the website, I think it’s pretty clear what the agenda is – to get Midland moving forward and become the bustling centre of North Simcoe it used to be. That is all, truly. Our members are not anonymous, they have shown support and attended many of our events over the years – at which anyone is welcome to join.

  6. Thank you so very much for all of this information, it helps a great deal knowing what the candidates stand for and that their main concern is the well being of our beautiful town of Midland 🙂 I encourage the people of Midland to pay close attention to candidates agendas; the above candidates show true passion & regard for the economy in Midland. Thank you again for your time, efforts & Information as we draw closer to the election of candidates.
    Please remember everyone, you can’t make a difference if you don’t get out and vote!

    • Midland Community | October 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Reply

      You’re welcome, Jodi. We are glad our material helps you with regards to your voting decision. You offer great advice to voters as well! We hear the advanced polls were very busy and that turn out was definitely up from last year. Go Midland!

  7. Interesting you mention “the skills and experience of the two remaining candidates as we are about the two candidates we have endorsed” for Ward two, however one of the two candidates is the youngest running in the election. Where is the “experience” there? You chose to pick a person in Ward One who believes that the town can build and sell $750 000 000 worth of condominiums on the former Unimin lands, who also doesn’t have “skills and experience” with council. Sounds like you’re trying to make up your answers on the run. Is there another reason why you have chosen these people?

    • Midland Community | October 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Reply

      Thanks Trevor for your comment.
      In your note you address the need for having experience on Council. We have endorsed several candidates who have experience on Council and we believe this is a good thing as it will this will provide for continuity on many fronts. We are confident the ‘seasoned’ Councillors will transfer knowledge and capability to the newer members. Having experience versus gaining experience is indeed a strange dynamic. The only way you get experience is to first have the opportunity. Once you have the opportunity, you’re then said to have experience; experience doesn’t necessarily speak to results. Some of the skills which are highly valued and transferable to any position of responsibility are, communication, decision making, listening, analyzing, goal setting, etc.

      In summary, we conducted an extensive assessment of the 27 candidates and our short list of recommendations contemplate many of the skills mentioned.
      Thanks so much and please do speak with your vote on Monday.

  8. This platform is a perfect medium to communicate updates for the 2014 election. Having experience with municipal politics it is important for groups like Midland Community to do the homework others don’t have time for.

    Unless you are an avid watcher of council meetings and have the time to be involved in municipal politics this is the next best thing. I know who is behind midlandcommunity.ca and I can attest to the fact that not one person has a hidden agenda.

    I cannot vote as I now live out of the area however it is important to me to see Midland a vibrant and viable community.This is simply a group of Midlanders who are taking ownership of their community they care so much about and to stop the ridiculousness of the past 8 years. It is an embarrassment to the residents of Midland who have to feel shame for the behaviour of our elected municipal officials. I hope Midland residents are paying attention because this is where you can make a change.

    A fresh council is the only solution to Midland’s current political catastrophe! Vote October 27th!

  9. Midland Community | October 26, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Reply

    Received in private email – posted with writer’s permission to post anonymously.

    “THANK YOU! Your analysis of Midland’s situation has been enlightening and as unbiased as is humanly possible. I agree with your recommendations for our upcoming council.
    Must say that your involvement has created a positive awareness of the issues in our community.”

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