An updated memo from our clerks department around many questions some have had regarding online voting is available by clicking HERE. It’s a good read. Starts on page 13 and is about 7 pages long. 

Close to 300 emails from citizens have already made it into our city clerks department with the majority in favour of keeping accessible online voting for the 2018 election as was used successfully in 2014. 

For those that emailed into city hall, to your councillors, and to me, I do thank you for doing so – whether or not you’re for or against. 

I want to be clear: I was, and still am, standing up for what I believe is the right thing to do – Keep accessible online voting for 2018.
Yet concerns still exist from some. Perhaps there is a way of addressing some of these concerns raised just enough that compromise can be achieved?

I have been working on a “meet in the middle” position and if there’s something I’ve learned it is that the first step to even discussing a potential compromise is to acknowledge when your own position shouldn’t discount opposing positions outright or label them negatively – Any dissenting opinion on this topic deserves equal consideration.

We’ll see what happens tonight. Whatever the outcome, it is Council’s will. Meeting starts at 6:30pm.

Take care,
Cam 


Guelph is the most attractive city for real estate investment value in Canada, according to MoneySense’s 2017 Where to Buy Now list.

View Guelph’s ranking on MoneySense.ca
The MoneySense Where to Buy Now ranking is based on these key factors:
· momentum in recent real estate transactions;
· real estate value relative to nearby cities or districts;

· health of the local economy;

· price level of local rental markets; and

· a survey of real estate agent experts on markets.

The story was picked up by Breakfast Television Toronto

Click here to ➡️ Watch the interview with Mayor Cam Guthrie

This isn’t the first time Guelph has been recognized by MoneySense; last year the publication ranked Guelph number 10 on the list of best places for new Canadians to live.

Guelph, Ont., April 10, 2017– Guelph has ranked tenth best small city for foreign direct investment in fDi Magazine’s American Cities of the Future. The only Canadian city to make the overall top ten list, Guelph also came in fourth in human capital and lifestyle, and eighth for business friendliness.

Invest Ontario Cities Of the Future 

The bi-annual rankings are completed by fDi Intelligence, a division of the Financial Times. Guelph was ranked against 209 small cities with populations ranging from 100,000-350,000. Ranking criteria included over 95 data points in the categories of economic potential, business friendliness, human capital and lifestyle, cost effectiveness and connectivity.

“Guelph ticks all the right boxes: a great location; an outstanding university and college; a skilled labour pool; and a supportive business environment. We’re also one of Canada’s safest and most liveable cities. It’s no wonder we’ve been called “the little city that could!” says Mayor Cam Guthrie.

“Guelph’s investment readiness is guided by forward-thinking planning and economic development strategies,” says Scott Stewart, Deputy CAO, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Services, City of Guelph. “Our unique business partnerships, welcoming business community and local business services continue to create an environment for new business opportunities and possibilities in an ever changing marketplace.”

Recent foreign direct investor, Synexis Canada, chose Guelph for its Canadian headquarters last December. “Guelph has everything going for it right now, which makes it the prime location for our Canadian operations,” says Eric Scholte, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Synexis Canada. “Not only is it functionally advantageous being centrally located in a fast growing region, but the support we received from like-minded business services and institutions can’t be duplicated. I look forward to more opportunities to invest in this great community, as we continue to grow in the Canadian market.”

About fDi Magazine:
fDi Magazine is the flagship publication for the fDi Intelligence portfolio and is published by the Financial Times Ltd.

Launched in 2001, fDi Magazine is firmly established as the leading title for the business of globalisation. Published bi-monthly with an ABC audited circulation of 15,284 active corporate readers, fDi Magazine provides senior decision-makers with an up-to-date image of the ever changing global investment map.

About fDi Intelligence:

fDi Intelligence, a division of the Financial Times Ltd, is the largest FDI centre of excellence globally. Specialising in all areas relating to foreign direct investment and investment promotion, the full suite of services includes: location advertising to generate brand awareness; industry-leading intelligence tools to develop FDI strategies and identify potential investors; and tailored FDI events and investor roundtables to meet target companies and generate business leads.


Over the last 24 hours an avalanche of emails have swept into my office respectfully requesting the 7 councillors who voted against using online voting in 2018 to change their mind.

Online voting was a resounding success in 2014. 12,800 citizens voted which was almost 33% of the overall vote and here was no known fraud or misuse of the system. The latest poll done of Guelph citizens in March showed overwhelming support for continued use of this system in 2018.

These letters aren’t fill in the blank “canned letters” or from online petition sites. No. These are real emails from real people with real stories on how online voting helped them make their voice heard in the last election no matter which candidate they were supporting.

Stories of people who had unforeseen medical emergencies and were bed-ridden yet able to participate in our local democracy. People with disabilities who were now able to vote for the first time. People who were out of the country on work but able to make their vote count. The young mother who has the incredibly busy life of work, kids and family but able to take the time to put an “X” online beside the candidate of her choice.

The majority of the citizens of Guelph are not buying into the vocal minority who are instilling fear, unfounded conspiracy theories, dangling “what-if” scenarios and tactics that appear to try and suppress our citizens votes and voices.

This is your moment to stand up and speak up Guelph! You must take the time to email your Councillors to let us know that you want online voting to stay in place for 2018. 

The following councillors voted to STOP online voting in 2018:

Bob Bell – bob.bell@guelph.ca

James Gordon – James.Gordon@guelph.ca

Phil Allt – Phil.Allt@guelph.ca

June Hofland – June.Hofland@guelph.ca

Mike Salisbury – Mike.Salisbury@guelph.ca

Leanne Piper – Leanne.Piper@guelph.ca

Karl Wettstein- Karl.Wettstein@guelph.ca

If you email to clerks@guelph.ca your email will join the other many emails pouring in to form part of the report that goes to council on April 24th for the final vote on this issue.

Feel free to copy me: cam.guthrie@guelph.ca

Don’t forget to share this post, email this post to friends and family and talk about how our ability to make voting accessible for all is under attack!

Thank you again Guelph for standing up and speaking out!

Cam 


12,800 citizens of Guelph voted online for the candidate of their choice in 2014. 33% of the overall votes cast. Yet if what occurred today at the Council Committee meeting stays the same for the next ratifying vote of Council on April 24th, you won’t be able to continue to vote this way in 2018.

Let that sink in. 7 votes today have the potential to prevent how 13,000 citizens voted in 2014, and how likely thousands more would choose to vote in the future. 

More and more municipalities are moving to secure online voting or expanding it in the next election. They recognize it as bringing about accessibility and choice for our local democracies. Many consider it a factor in increasing voter turnout.

Our staff and returning officer (city clerk) indicated that there’s a responsibility to make elections as accessible as possible and online voting helps accomplish this. The staff report was excellent. In fact the data and surveys done prove that many were going to use it in 2018. It also helps address the initiative to create tools to encourage younger voters to vote. See here: 


Further to the above, more detailed report info is here:


And finally here:


The 7 councillors that voted at Committee today to halt the staff recommendation, and to move contrary to what our citizens clearly used and want to use in 2018, are:

Ward 1 Councillor Bell

Ward 2 Councillor Gordon

Ward 3 Councillors Hofland and Allt

Watd 4 Councillor Salisbury

Ward 5 Councillor Piper

Ward 6 Councillor Wettstein

Please consider emailing them (be respectful), or use clerks@guelph.ca to tell them your thoughts on their decision before April 24th. If you wish, feel free to tell me if you agree, or disagree, by emailing me here: cam.guthrie@guelph.ca

As the Mayor and Head of Council, I am only allowed my opinion before a final vote of Council is taken on an issue.  So here it is: 

For a city that touts how progressive we are, that embraces technology to modernize our services and our Open Government ideals, that supports every effort to be more accessible and make things easier for our citizens. Eliminating the option of online voting is a step backwards. 

The communication I’ve received over the past few hours on this decision is overwhelmingly against what the committee is currently recommending. 

For now we’ll have to wait to see what happens on April 24th. 

Thank you,

Cam