Who should we vote for in the election for Regional Councillor?
We have to choose between Tom Vegh and Chris Emanuel. Or, perhaps, Joan Stonehocker.
But from their campaign flyers you’d be hard pressed to tell who is the Conservative (that’s Vegh) and who is the Liberal (Emanuel). Stonehocker looks Green to me. But there is a lot of cross-dressing in politics these days.
A few years ago, the overly eager Vegh excitedly told his Ward 1 constituents he was planning to go to Queen’s Park as a Progressive Conservative MPP but then it all went pear-shaped when the nomination went to the cheat, Charity McGrath.
New Library and New Seniors' Centre
In this election Vegh promises two major spending commitments – a new Library and a new Seniors’ Centre. But these are pipe dreams and are undeliverable unless he can secure five out of the nine votes on Newmarket Council. His vote has the same weight as the mute Kelly Broome’s.
I can’t immediately recall any examples over the past four years when Tom Vegh has persuaded his colleagues to follow his lead on a major Town-wide issue. He doesn’t have a silver tongue and can be hesitant.
Emanuel’s platform of big, bold and positive ideas is, by contrast, a bit of a damp squib. He wants to (a) reorganise the fire service and (b) stop Tom Vegh’s “massive tax increase”.
Emanuel condemns this 40%+ tax increase which, he says, will be generated by Vegh’s commitment to subsidized housing and to
“Two new multi-million-dollar Town buildings.”
Emanuel doesn’t refer explicitly to the proposed new library and senior centre probably because many people would find these quite attractive. Just the kind of big, bold and positive investments the Town needs for a growing (and ageing) population. And there are probably lots of folk out there who would give three cheers for more subsidized housing.
Frightening the voters with talk of "massive" tax increases
Emanuel’s flyer looks at first glance like yet another one from Tom Vegh as it uses the same font and layout. I don’t know if this is clever or misguided. Probably the latter.
In any event, Vegh has been carpet-bombing the Town with his lawn signs and this must count for something.
Once a voter has a VEGH sign on their property I suspect it would feel a bit like cheating to vote for someone else on the day.
That said, Emanuel undoubtedly has a loyal and enthusiastic following. His campaign kick-off involved a cast of thousands, including the veteran councillor Dave Kerwin who for years has sat next to Vegh at Council.
I am left wondering if Vegh had a campaign launch. If so, it was the best kept secret in Town. I didn’t get an invitation.
Tom Vegh's property dealings and public confidence
We still don’t know the truth about Tom Vegh’s personal property dealings with the Town of Newmarket. The Town won’t spill the beans on the grounds that
"The disclosure of the requested records to the (Newmarket Taxpayers) advocacy group would not increase public confidence in the operations of the Town."
Vegh could, if he chose, tell the voters what happened and why. As it is, it looks bad. Very bad.
Vegh trumpets his “environmental leadership” but supported a housing development on protected meadowland near Silken Laumann Drive, a stone’s throw from the railway track. I remember the OMB hearing well. It wasn’t my finest hour. I was infuriated by the development and, as I was giving my views in a faltering fashion, I glanced at Vegh to see him smirking.
“Leadership you can count on”
I don’t think so.