It promised to be a moment of high drama.

Instead all we got was an empty chair.

Yesterday (2 March 2016) Geoff Dawe, the Mayor of Aurora, was scheduled to appear before the Committee examining Chris Ballard’s Private Member’s Bill 42 which would force direct elections for the Chair of York Regional Council.

When the issue was debated at Aurora Council everyone except Dawe was in favour of direct elections. Despite this, Dawe held to his own point of view and voted for the status quo at York Region.

What conflicting diary commitment did Mayor Dawe have that was of such importance it persuaded him to pass up the chance of speaking before a key committee of the Ontario Legislature?

Instead of Mayor Dawe we got his email. He will not support Bill 42 because:

(a)   It only applies to York Region.

(b)  There are other wider issues of governance not addressed by the Bill including under-representation of some municipalities and the absence of any provision for alternates.

(c)   People couldn’t care less about direct election. He tells us he has heard from three people: (1) Chris Ballard’s constituency assistant; (2) a fellow Aurora councillor and (3) a local resident he paints as some kind of political junkie.

In this second and final oral evidence session, there was, once again, not one single voice in favour of the status quo.

Al Duffy, a former Mayor of Richmond Hill, told the Committee he could never have made it to Regional Chair because he wouldn’t have been able to cut the deals to stitch it all up.

Former Newmarket mayoral candidate, Chris Campbell, and Newmarket councillor Christina Bisanz also addressed the Committee. As did I.

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