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 


Thank you to Councillor Mark Mackinnon (above) for representing the City  on this announcement today!

March 31, 2017, Guelph, Ontario – The governments of Canada and Ontario are making investments to create jobs and grow the middle class while building a foundation for a strong, sustainable economic future. Investing in public infrastructure supports efficient and affordable transit services that help Canadians safely get to and from work, school and other activities on time.
MP Lloyd Longfield, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, announced today that the City of Guelph’s new public transit project has been approved.
Part of the City of Guelph’s transit funding will include $9,681,491 from the Federal Government which will be matched by the City of Guelph. Guelph will benefit from the following projects:
$7,370,770 for Transit Bus Replacement: including 24 conventional buses and 9 specialized vehicles;
$1,300,000 for replacing fare boxes on all buses to improve efficiency, reduce potential for fraud and missed fares, and automate validation of student passes (U-pass) and transfers;

$363,221 to upgrade 132 bus stops to ensure multi-route stops have shelters and, where possible, all stops are accessible;

$147,500 for developing a Transportation Master Plan for Guelph that addresses all modes of transportation including transit, vehicular transportation, active transportation and trails;

$500,000 for upgrading the traffic signal control system that coordinates traffic signals along major streets. This involves replacing two outdated systems with a new system that will reduce traffic congestion and delays and enable transit signal priority.

These projects are part of a list of 312 projects announced across Ontario on March 31, 2017, under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF). The federal government is providing 50 per cent of funding for these projects and the provincial government and municipalities will provide the balance of funding.

Also on March 31, Prime Minister Trudeau acknowledged the importance of public transit to Canadians, as stated in Budget 2017, by announcing federal funding for major GO Transit Regional Express Rail projects across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
This investment is part of an agreement between Canada and Ontario for the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.
Quotes:
“Efficient and sustainable public transit plays an important role in keeping our communities among the best places in the world to live while supporting the middle class and those working hard to join it. By working with our provincial and municipal partners, the Government of Canada will deliver real support through projects like this which will improve the efficiency, accessibility and develop a master transportation plan for the residents of Guelph.”
-Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph
“I am pleased to have a federal partner that shares our commitment to investing in modern, accessible public transit. These upgrades to our transit system will benefit our entire community and improve riders’ experience for a more comfortable and efficient daily commute.”
-Liz Sandals, Member of Provincial Parliament for Guelph
“I want to thank the Government of Canada for this funding, which represents a major investment in the future of Guelph’s transit system. New buses, bus shelters, fare boxes, and signal controls will all improve the customer experience – while boosting operational efficiency at the same time. This is a big day for Guelph Transit and for the City of Guelph.”
-Mayor Cam Guthrie, Mayor of Guelph

Guelph is ready to host Rogers Hometown Hockey in Market Square on April 1 and 2.

Please find some information below to help you navigate the big event!

Wednesday, March 29: The Stanley Cup is in Market Square!

The Stanley Cup is making a surprise stop in Guelph at 1pm on Wednesday


Family Festival Event set up begins Thursday March 30:

Event set up along Carden and Wilson streets will take place on Thursday, March 30 and Friday, March 31; taking two full days to complete.

The streets will remain closed for the duration of the event.

Family Festival runs 12pm to 6pm each day (Saturday and Sunday) plus includes live viewing of the Sunday night Hockey Game starting at 6:30pm with Ron McLean.

Full festival details:

http://www.hometownhockey.com/

Street Access – Please see the handy graphic that shows the timing of the closures

Wilson and Carden streets will have closures starting on Thursday, March 30 at 7 a.m. through to Monday, April 3 at 7 a.m.

Parking access:

Wilson Street parking lot will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29 and reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, April 3.

Parking will be limited on Carden Street from Wyndham Street to City Hall parking access on Thursday, March 30th.


Schedule is found HERE!

Hello Guelph!

Your March 27th, 2017 Council of the Whole Recap Video is here! Find out the items we discussed and how we voted. For all the reports referenced in my video click HERE!

Take care,

Cam