No number one issue? Yet?...



I will admit it's early going – very early going – in this municipal election campaign.

But so far, one of my predictions does not seem to be panning out, and while I won't admit it was wrong until the votes are counted, the question does bear asking.

Could it be the OPP costing issue is simply not that big a factor in this municipal election?

Councillor Leigh Bursey, for instance, when asked about his door-to-door campaigning, could not point to a Number One Issue on voters' minds.

When I'm at the door, I'm not hearing one consistent theme,” said Bursey.

Ditto for Tom Blanchard, the councillor and candidate who is arguably Bursey's ideological polar opposite. He told me he is pleasantly surprised at the positive response he is getting to his bid to go from appointed to elected councillor, but there is no overarching concern.

And today I spoke to rookie candidate Nicholas Daigle, who similarly says the subjects he is hearing about have been “wide-ranging.”

All of which strikes me as a stark contrast to the last election in 2010, when the Maritime Discovery Centre (since rechristened the Aquatarium) was on every voter's lips.

Could it be the OPP issue “went away,” so to speak, because of the delay in the costing process caused by the provincial moratorium?

Of course, we all know it has gone to nowhere but limbo, to return next year, but perhaps the loss of immediacy has removed a vital measure of its political charge.

This out-of-sight-out-of-mind move would be a blow to public discourse, since the council that will vote on that crucial question when it comes up a year from now will be safely in place, not worrying about an election for three more years, once the crucial time comes.

The local advocacy group COPS (Citizens Offering Police Support) is trying to return some of that immediacy to the policing question with a door-to-door campaign of its own set to begin Friday.

Regardless of where one stands on the policing issue, one should clearly welcome an informed debate on the costing question now.

Rarely has one single vote carried so much consequence to the city. The only other two examples in recent history have, arguably, been the vote to sell the PUC and the vote to approve the MDC/Tall Ships Landing project.

It is vitally important for people on all sides of the issue to take advantage of this opportunity to get the full measure of the people we will be hiring to make this latest Big Decision.