News / Kitchener

Waterloo Region's lobby groups wade into the municipal election

WATERLOO REGION — The Tri-Cities Transport Action Group and Better Choices Waterloo Region are taking two quite different approaches to showcasing candidates in the Oct. 27 municipal election.

Citizen group Better Choices Waterloo Region is offering its endorsement to candidates the group feels are worthy.

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition, with promotion from the Tri-Cities Transport Action Group, is asking for pledges to promote active transportation.

Mike Boos, speaking on behalf of the transport action group, said voters should be careful to recognize the Active Communities Pledge is not an endorsement. It’s more an effort to tell voters where candidates stand and get campaign commitments in writing.

“We want to work with everyone who gets elected into office whether or not their campaign platform is necessarily what we agree with,” he said.

Twenty-five local municipal and school board candidates signed up for the Active Communities Pledge as of Wednesday. It’s a commitment to promoting cycling and walking and infrastructure to promote both.

Candidates across the province can make the pledge.

There are no plans to formally track whether politicians keep their commitment, but Boos said the public tends to hold politicians to their word.

While the pledge is optional, candidates interested in an endorsement from Better Choices Waterloo Region had to apply for the group’s blessing.

Sixty municipal and school board candidates applied and 38 were endorsed. The application process closed Aug. 1to give the volunteer board time for review, said spokesperson Nancy Hutcheson. As of Wednesday, 141candidates for municipal councils filed their nomination papers.

“There are four areas that we are really interested in, and basically it would convey to voters that these are people that have certain values that might be in keeping with voters’ values,” Hutcheson said.

She said the endorsement is also geared to drumming up community interest in the election. Hutcheson said there hasn’t been any discussion about tracking whether these politicians live up to the priorities required for endorsement. “What we did look at was what those four priority areas are and what those (candidates’) voting records were in those four areas,” she said.

Priorities include strengthening the economy, open and inclusive government, a livable and sustainable community and addressing poverty.

The group says it is non-partisan, despite a strong union presence on its executive. Hutcheson said they’re a group of like-minded people with diverse backgrounds.

The Tri-Cities Transport Action Group will also be sending out a questionnaire to candidates after nominations close Sept. 12.

It will be asking for opinions related to cycling, walking and transit with the answers to be posted on the group’s website.

“This is a way that candidates can basically tell us and the public their positions on various issues,” Boos said. “We leave it for our supporters to read and decide which candidates best fit their values.”

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