2022 City Election



- by Michael Craig and Jan Chamberlain, Co-Chairs, Rebound Owen Sound

Owen Sound is a great place to live, a marvelous small city, surrounded by forests and farms. We tease our smog-bound, traffic-snarled Toronto friends that there are fifteen beautiful trails within fifteen minutes. And it’s a city too, filled with artists and musicians and sports and theatre events week after week. What’s not to love!

Well, in truth, there’s quite a bit not to love. Many people are deeply frustrated with our City Council: it seems to lack the energy and vision required to tackle serious problems including a growing rental and low-income housing crisis; highly visible poverty, homelessness and addictions; a deteriorating downtown core with high retail vacancies; and, hovering over it all, the climate crisis.

To some of these problems Council says it’s the province’s job (health care), or leave it to Grey County (tackling climate change); or the all-purpose excuse: “Can’t do that, too expensive, taxes are too high”. Yes, property taxes are high, but why can’t our leaders slice a few non-essentials from the budget in order to address serious problems? Why can’t fiscal responsibility be paired with social change?

Many councillors have good hearts and good minds – and want the best for Owen Sound. But they frequently back away from thorny problems and serious change. They can’t help but be aware when they stroll out of city hall that many people downtown appear to be suffering from mental health problems or addictions, or are simply and sadly desperately poor. We expect they hear from some seniors who won’t even venture downtown. But do they take action?

Concerned citizens and local agencies that take these concerns to city hall often get short shrift. We have fewer joint citizen-councillor committees than similar municipalities – for example, no city Climate Action team or Social Planning Council. Clearly, we need a City Council that engages with residents, encourages their input and takes action.

But frustration and griping don’t get us very far. That is why a group of local citizens have formed Rebound Owen Sound, a community engagement organization that is seeking and supporting creative, thoughtful, qualified candidates in the October 24 City Council election. Our meeting at 7 pm, July 27, at Harmony Centre will feature a presentation by Peggy Nash, former Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park, who will talk about the need for people to step up and take charge.

Peggy’s just-published book lays out her agenda: Women Winning Office: An Activist's Guide to Getting Elected. It has been heralded as "a highly accessible comment on women’s leadership, power, and social change in a society fraught with inequalities … and a tremendous resource that all women with an interest in politics should check out."

We are convinced that there is an appetite for change in Owen Sound. We can turn our frustrations into action to elect a rejuvenated, energetic, community-friendly City Council. Join us on Wednesday and become an agent of change. Or learn more at our LeadNow site: https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/rebound-owen-sound.

We’re on the move!


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