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Fewer London, Ont. residents declare candidacy for 2022 municipal election

London, Ont.'s city hall as seen in October 2021. Matthew Trevithick / Global News

The deadline to declare candidacy in the upcoming October municipal election come and gone, but fewer Londoners are running for office this year, according to a former city councillor.

61 people have signed up to run in hopes of becoming one of London’s next 14 ward councillors. That’s down from 80 councillor candidates who registered in the 2018 election and 87 in 2014.

As for the mayoral race, only 10 candidates are vying for the city’s top political job, down from 14 people running in 2018.

Read more: London Mayor Ed Holder endorses Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan’s mayoral run

“A lot of people simply don’t like or trust or want to be associated with politics, period,” said former city councillor Gord Hume. “I think that’s when you look around the world and look around Canada, and to some extent, look around London, I think a lot of people are discouraged by what they have seen.”

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Hume, who was elected four times and was a member of council from 1997 to 2010, decided to retire from office and began speaking at conferences and civic events about government issues. Included in that is his take on the dwindling number of political candidates joining the races every year, which could be due to “several reasons,” he said.

“It takes an enormous commitment to run for public office,” Hume said. “It is physically (and) emotionally draining on you and your family.”

He added the negative effects of social media, saying, “It can be cruel, it can be vicious, not just to the person, which is bad enough, but increasingly to their family, which is just horrific in every sense of the word.”

Jaquetta Newman, political science professor at King’s University College, echoed a similar statement, highlighting the stress that could come with being in the public view.

“That could be really off-putting for people running, is the sense that once you’re running, you’ve made yourself a target,” she said. “The discourse is particularly nasty right now.”

Newman added the financial concerns that can also arise in running for municipal office.

“At the municipal level and the school board, you don’t have the support of political parties and the fundraising political parties do,” she explained. “That’s a calculation that has to be taken in terms of running and, you know, we’re in the middle of an inflationary period and I think people are very concerned about their pocketbooks.”

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Read more: Municipal election sign rules vary from one Ontario municipality to another

She stressed that less competition in candidacy, particularly at the municipal level, can impact communities in the long run.

“There does appear to be a fair amount of diversity among the candidates, which is a good thing,” Newman commented. “But the problem is the more candidates we have, the more likely it is going to be more diverse.

“The inclusion and diversity really, I think, is a marker of the kind of democratic health within the community.”

As of Friday morning, Ward 2 only has two candidates registered to run: the incumbent Shawn Lewis and Mike Yohnichi. Ward 5 also has two candidates running: Jerry Pribil and Connor Pierotti.

Read more: Maureen Cassidy won’t seek third term in Ward 5

Also, on Friday morning, Ward 5 Coun. Maureen Cassidy announced that she will not be running for re-election in the fall.

“I have not come to this decision easily,” she wrote in a statement. “But for democracy to be effective, for city council to work the way it should, it is necessary to hear new perspectives and points of view.

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“Regular turnover is healthy and necessary for our democracy.”

Newman raised a similar point, expressing the importance of encouraging young people into the world of politics.

“We need to be getting younger people to run, in terms of also providing role models for young people to say, ‘There’s someone who’s like me running,’” she said.

“It’s about visibility,” Newman continued. “Getting kind of a vanguard of younger people running in campaigns, and then also focusing on the issues that matter to younger people to get them engaged. They’re also going to be more likely to participate and turn out to vote, if the issues are things that they see as having a real kind of real impact on their lives.”

Read more: Voter turnout in Ontario lowest in history, early data from Elections Ontario shows

In trying to boost political participation, particularly among post-secondary students, Newman highlighted a course she will be heading at King’s College in the fall titled “representing diversity.”

“This year, it’s actually an experimental class so the students will be embedded in the campaign, we’ll be studying the campaign, and it’s going to be really interesting to see what they make of what’s going on,” she explained.

As a last-minute addition to the mayoral race, pastor Sandie Thomas announced this week that she would be filing her nomination ahead of the deadline.

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Potential candidates had until 2 p.m. Friday to register in the upcoming municipal election as Londoners are set to hit the polls on Oct. 24.

City of London list of candidates registered for the 2022 municipal election:

Mayor

  • Sean O’Connell
  • Josh Morgan
  • Daniel Lanart
  • Khalil Ramal
  • Daniel Jeffery
  • Johanne Nichols
  • Brandon Ellis
  • Norman Robert Miles
  • Carlos Murray
  • Sandie Thomas

City council

Ward 1

  • Oberon Goodden
  • Janette Cameron
  • Kenneth Saunders
  • Ryan Cadden
  • Michael van Holst (incumbent)
  • Julie Reynolds
  • Hadleigh Mcalister
  • Shirley Wilton
  • Ken Fischer

Ward 2

  • Shawn Lewis (incumbent)
  • Mike Yohnicki

Ward 3

  • Peter Cuddy
  • Ainsley Graham
  • Prabh Gill
  • Bob Wright
  • Saifullah Qasimi

Ward 4

  • Matt Nicolaidis
  • Susan Steveson
  • Stephen Orser
  • Jarad Fisher
  • Raymond Daamen
  • Colleen Murphy
  • Sylvia Nagy

Ward 5

  • Jerry Pribil
  • Connor Pierotti

Ward 6

  • Mariam Hamou (incumbent)
  • Sam Trosow
  • Becky Williamson

Ward 7

  • Corrine Rahman
  • Evan Wee
  • Tommy Caldwell
  • Sharon Deebrah

Ward 8

  • Steve Lehman (incumbent)
  • Sarvarinder Dohil
  • Colleen McCauley
  • Patrick O’Connor

Ward 9

  • Anna Hopkins (incumbent)
  • Baqar Khan
  • Veronica Warner
  • Jacob Novick
  • Mario Jozic

Ward 10

  • Kevin May
  • Claire Grant
  • Michael McMullen
  • Paul Van Meerbergen (incumbent)
  • John Kuypers

Ward 11

  • Skylar Franke
  • Jeremy McCall
  • Paul-Michael Anderson
  • Cole Fobert
  • Christine Oliver

Ward 12

  • Elizabeth Peloza (incumbent)
  • Alexander Main
  • David Goodwin

Ward 13

  • John Fyfe-Millar (incumbent)
  • David Ferreira
  • David Millie
  • Alexandria Hames

Ward 14

  • Steve Hillier (incumbent)
  • Danalynn Williams
  • Sarah Lehman

School board trustees

Thames Valley District School Board, wards 1, 11, 12, 14

  • Christine Morgan
  • Tristan Squire-Smith
  • Lori-Ann Pizzolato (incumbent)
  • Sheri Polhill
  • David Sabine
  • Alejandra Valencia

Thames Valley District School Board, wards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

  • Julie Wedlake
  • Tracey Aquilina
  • Laura Gonzalez
  • Leroy Osbourne
  • Marianne Larsen
  • Paul Gray
  • Lamise Kablawi
  • Gabrielle Strum
  • Violet Lema

Thames Valley District School Board, wards 7, 8, 9, 10, 13

  • Mathew Reid
  • Christopher Morgan
  • Beth Mai
  • Sherri Moore
  • Eric Michael Vallillee
  • Mike Bloxam
  • Mike Jones
  • Claire Roberts
  • Shari Hall

London District Catholic School Board, wards 1, 14

  • Matthew Pizzuti
  • Pedro Almeida
  • Odilia Gouveia
  • Denise Singh

London District Catholic School Board, wards 2, 3, 4

  • Sandra Cruz
  • Rejose Mathew Arackal

London District Catholic School Board, wards 5, 6, 7

  • Gabe Pizzuti
  • Bill Rueger
  • Lucie Alves

London District Catholic School Board, wards 8, 9, 10

  • Linda Steel

London District Catholic School Board, wards 11, 12, 13

  • Nando Favaro
  • John Jevnikar
  • Aurther Patrick Mcleod

Conseil scolaire catholique Providence

  • Philippe Morin

Conseil scolaire Viamonde

  • Joseph Vandermeer

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