Chris Campbell’s campaign launch is a jolly affair.

No sign of any Newmarket councillors. I am on the look out.

But, inevitably, Darryl Wolk, is here, pressing the flesh with one hand, cell phone in the other.

Campbell paces up and down the stage at the Canadian Legion at Srigley Street, speaking confidently and fluently for over twenty minutes without a note in his hand. You can see it here.

As he fires his first barbs at Tony Van Bynen, my first reaction is one of relief. Thank goodness there is a credible challenger, someone who can have an intelligent debate with the incumbent about his stewardship and where the Town is going.

In the last Mayoral election in 2010, a truly feeble candidate, Michael Cascione, nevertheless took 19% of the vote against Van Bynen’s 81%. Campbell is poised to do much better this time. But it will take considerable skill and effort to prise the old barnacle from the rock to which he has been attached for so long.

Campbell’s speech has some good lines. He tells us being an elected representative is not an entitlement. And that it is time to take back our Town! These sentiments resonate widely.

He is fizzing with indignation when he gets on to the Newmarket soccer controversy which he claims was an inside deal initiated by the Regional Councillor (John Taylor).

He pledges to put a vote to Council “to rescind that stinking deal!”

I gasp at the ferocity of the language. WooHoo!

What does he know that the rest of us don’t?

Personally, I don’t have a problem with councils helping out local organisations, be they sports clubs or theatres or something else – providing always the terms of the deal are out in the open. Councils should be able to act in the wider interests of their communities so long as they do so within their powers. Plainly, the soccer deal was legal otherwise it would never have got off the ground in the first place.

Campbell is on much stronger ground when he criticises Newmarket’s addiction to closed council meetings and the obsessive secrecy that marks this Council term. There is a whole raft of stuff on Glenway, for example, still to get into the public domain.

And it will.


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