Summary of candidates’ responses to Invitation 5


Background

With the aim of increasing voter turnout in the upcoming municipal election, candidates for Mayor and Ward Councilor in Prince Edward County are being invited to share their thoughts on a wide range of issues once a week.

The County’s official list of certified candidates includes 4 candidates for Mayor and 29 candidates for Ward Councilor (13 offices in 9 Wards). Eight incumbents are seeking re-election, including the Mayor and 7 Councilors.

Candidates received Invitation 5 on September 20, 2022 and were asked to forward their responses by September 26, 2022.

Responses were received from 20 candidates (69.6%), including 2 candidates for Mayor (50.0%) and 18 candidates for Ward Councilor (62.1%) (see RSVPs at a glance).

Truth and Reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action include calls to municipal governments that apply to County Council:

  • to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation (CTA 43)
  • to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts (CTA 47)
  • to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations (CTA 57)

Against this background, candidates largely agreed with the proposition that “Council should adopt a Strategic Initiative to respond to Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57.”

Table 1 presents the numbers and percentages of candidates’ ratings:

Table 1. Candidates’ agreement with adopting a Strategic Initiative to respond to the Truth and Reconcilation Commission’s Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57 (N=20).
Proposition Strongly disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly agree
Council should adopt a Strategic Initiative to respond to Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57. 0 0 3 11 6
0% 0% 15% 55% 30%

Table 2 categorizes candidates’ ratings as Not in favour, Neither, and In favour of the proposal:

Table 2. Candidates’ agreement with adopting a Strategic Initiative to respond to the Truth and Reconcilation Commission’s Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57 (N=20).
Proposal Not in favour Neither In favour
Council should adopt a Strategic Initiative to respond to Calls to Action 43, 47 and 57. 0 3 17
0% 15% 85%

No candidate disagreed with the proposition; the three candidates who neither disagreed or agreed explained:

  • “… I do not have an opinion on the initiatives as I find it hard to believe that they are not already in place or at least have the information available.”
  • “I feel our Indigenous People should set the framework for reconciliation as it pertains to the municipality, not the United Nations.”
  • “I have been out campaigning and have not researched the various calls of action fully in order to respond knowledgeably. …”

Transparency and Privacy

The Municipal Act requires Council “to ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality.” To this end, Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act gives everyone the right to access County records – with certain exemptions that are meant to protect privacy.

The County Clerk has advised that there’s no public register of requests for County records, such as other municipalities (e.g. Oshawa and Newmarket) provide, and that the County may consider developing a policy for routine disclosure and/or active dissemination of County records in the future.

Candidates were asked to rate their agreement with assessments of the likely cost-benefit of three initiatives related to requests for County records. Table 3 presents the numbers and percentages of candidates’ ratings:

Table 3. Candidates’ agreement with assessments of the likely cost-benefit of three initiatives related to requests for County records (N=20).
Cost-benefit assessment Strongly disagree Disagree Neither Agree Strongly agree
The cost of maintaining a public register of requests for County records would likely outweigh its benefit. 3 5 10 2 0
15% 25% 50% 10% 0%
The cost of the routine disclosure of County records would likely outweigh its benefit. 3 8 8 1 0
15% 40% 40% 5% 0%
The cost of the active dissemination of County records would likely outweigh its benefit. 3 7 9 1 0
15% 35% 45% 5% 0%

Table 4 collapses candidates’ ratings into Disagreement, Neither, and Agreement categories:

Table 4. Candidates’ agreement with assessments of the likely cost-benefit of three initiatives related to requests for County records (N=20).
Cost-benefit assessment Disagreement Neither Agreement
The cost of maintaining a public register of requests for County records would likely outweigh its benefit. 8 10 2
40% 50% 10%
The cost of the routine disclosure of County records would likely outweigh its benefit. 11 8 1
55% 40% 5%
The cost of the active dissemination of County records would likely outweigh its benefit. 10 9 1
50% 45% 5%

Levels of disagreement or agreement were pretty uniform across the three initiatives. A few candidates agreed that the cost of these initiatives in general would likely outweigh its benefit. The remaining candidates were split nearly evenly between those who disagreed and those who neither disagreed or agreed that the cost of these initiatives in general would likely outweigh its benefit.

Candidates were asked to describe their analysis of the different costs and benefits that lead to any one of their ratings (max. 500 words). Most candidates shared their perspectives on the likely cost and benefit of these initiatives taken together.

As usual, everyone is encouraged to read the candidates’ unredacted responses to Invitation 5.

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© Paul G. Allen