Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said there will be no general election of Regional Chairs in the upcoming municipal election, reversing a decision by the former Wynne Liberals. This news has sent Niagara politicians whirling in the last 24-hours.
In advance of what is expected to be one of the most hotly contested series of municipal elections in recent memory, the Niagara Independent examines a few of the most notable candidates registered to run (or not run) in 2018.
Alan Caslin – Regional Council (St. Catharines)
Following four years of sound economic development and steady job growth as Regional Chair, Alan Caslin will vie for another term as a regional councillor for St. Catharines. Caslin was running for Regional Chair.
Sandie Bellows – Regional Council (St. Catharines)
Running for a seat at the Region, St. Catharines city councillor Sandie Bellows plans to build off of the political momentum she gained as an Ontario PC candidate over the provincial election. In June, Bellows nearly punched her ticket to Queen’s Park: gaining almost 18,000 votes across the riding.
Mike Britton – Regional Councillor (St. Catharines)
Bellows’ St. Catharines City Council colleague Mike Britton looks to move up a level of government choosing to run for Regional Council in 2018. The young city councillor was never shy to challenge the status quo.
Jim Bradley – Regional Council (St. Catharines)
After serving St. Catharines for 41 years as MPP, Bradley will look to re-enter the political arena as a regional councillor. Bradley certainly has name recognition with four decades of being St. Catharines representative at Queen’s Park.
Jim Diodati – Mayor (Niagara Falls)
Currently fighting a treatable form of cancer, Jim Diodati will challenge for his third consecutive term as mayor of Niagara Falls. The popular Mayor has an impressive track record and will be hard to defeat.
Kim Craitor – Mayor (Niagara Falls)
To the surprise of many, Kim Craitor filed nomination papers on Wednesday. The 71 year-old former MPP, who was forced out of the provincial legislature in 2013 due to allegations of sexual harassment, will attempt to resurrect his political career by running for mayor of Niagara Falls. Some political observers were not impressed with Craitor’s timing.
Betty Disero – Mayor (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
Recent Toronto transplant Betty Disero will compete for Niagara-on-the-Lake’s top spot against incumbent mayor, Pat Darte. Disero has had a long and checkered past in politics: running for mayor of Toronto in 1991, only to drop out and challenge a political ally for council that same election cycle.
Chuck McShane – Regional Council (Niagara-on-the-Lake)
After a strong showing as an Ontario PC Party candidate in June, McShane will run to represent his hometown of Niagara-on-the-Lake as a regional councillor.
Stephen Passero – Mayor (Fort Erie)
Stephen Passero, two-time town councillor and runner-up in 2014’s mayoral race, will once again attempt to dethrone Wayne Redekop for mayor of Fort Erie. The young, passionate politician has a fair chance of upsetting the current Mayor.
Dave Augustyn – Regional Council (Pelham)
Perhaps recognizing a wane in hometown support, the embattled mayor of Pelham hopes to shake some of the controversy and criticism that have plagued his time in office by changing course and running for Regional Council. Augustyn was running for Regional Chair.
April Jeffs, two-time Wainfleet mayor and recent Ontario PC MPP candidate for Niagara Centre, has elected to sit out of this year’s municipal race.
Having served Port Colborne and the Niagara Region for a total of 12 years, David Barrick will not be on the ballot in October choosing instead to spend time with his young family.
After successfully serving eight years as an Ontario MPP, followed by eight years as a Regional Councillor, Niagara Falls-native Bart Maves has chosen not to seek re-election in 2018.
Stay tuned: the Niagara Independent will continue to offer coverage of the municipal elections up until ballots are cast on October 22.