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Soon after the bruhaha regarding the residency status of a candidate for Georgian Bluffs came to light I began to be asked about where I lived. An easy question: yes indeed I reside in the city. This spurred me to investigate the residency of my fellow candidates, and those I would vote for. I was disappointed.

Sadly it seems there is one candidate who does not live in Owen Sound proper. Yes legally they can run in the election, this is not up for debate, but a legal technicality should not be enough given the problems we face and the coming hard decisions that will effect all residents.

Note I do not name names, it should be the candidates and their devotion to transparency that should have ensured such a question never needed to be raised. Ask those who you would vote for, and judge their responses for yourself. I also invite all candidates to respond publicly to this question.

There is something to be said about having your neighbour be your representative. When you live in the community you are governing you are naturally invested in its well-being. I’ve written previously about the loss of ward systems in Owen Sound and much of the rest of Ontario.

It burdens me greatly to think that not a single resident of this fine and beautiful city can open their front door, or stand on their front lawn and see across the way the house of one of those who are asking for our vote.

Perhaps it's possible for someone who does not live in the city to sympathize with our problems, but they cannot empathize. It creates a moral hazard when one is not subject to the decisions one makes, the laws one passes, and the ensuing risks and costs in whatever form they take. They do not have the same skin in the game as the rest of us, instead, they merely have a toe dangling in the water.

We need a council that shares a communion of interests and empathy of sentiments with its constituents, a connection based on the loosest of legal requirements I find unsatisfactory.

Your friend and neighbour,

Jeff Caldwell

Jeff Caldwell is a candidate for Owen Sound City Councillor



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