Ottawa’s 2006 municipal elections – and Alex Munter

By now, anyone who has read my blog knows very well my opinion of the Ottawa Fish Wrapper. But it is said that even in a cesspool of filth and corruption, one can sometimes spot a flower.

So, in spite of the obvious hypocrisy, I feel I must point out this flower.

Randall Denley penned a piece today that speaks volumes about this particular journalist. I don’t always come down on the same side as Mr. Denley. He often writes a little too strongly from the right side of the spectrum and, in my humble opinion, he dwells too much on the shortcomings of city hall and its politicos and does not concentrate enough on the good things that are done by some very hard-working folks. As an ex-councillor myself (albeit on a much, MUCH smaller scale), I maintain a soft spot for those who toil in a most direct way for the citizens of this and all cities.

But this time, I find myself in Mr. Denley’s corner.

Randall voices well the need to ensure that if one stands for public office, money should not be an impediment. He uses Alex Munter (who Trashy supported) as an example. Alex is a guy that tried to run a grass-roots campaign based almost entirely on individual donations.

Munter’s final pitch says “Running a citywide, viable grassroots campaign for mayor funded almost entirely by individuals has not been done in decades. Most campaigns rely heavily on corporate donations. Let’s show that it can be done.”

It is quite correctly pointed out that municipal candidates do not have access to the party machinery and funds that are at the disposal of those at the provincial and federal levels. And if Mr. O’Brien decides to seek that mayoralty once again in 2010, money will most certainly not be an issue for this very wealthy man. But those with more modest means may be scared away from challenging for the seat if Mr. Munter ends up footing a 5-figure debt out of his own pocket.

So I echo Mr. Denley’s plea and ask that, even if you did not vote for Mr. Munter, please consider donating a few shekels in the name of democracy by hopefully showing potential quality candidates that elected office is not reserved for the moneyed among us.

The Munter campaign website is www.alexmunter.ca/en/donate.

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