Post-Election

This is Lucky. I met him on the last day of canvassing. He came to me as I sat nursing a sore knee after the 10th hour of canvassing. I want to say I’ve been lucky on this campaign trail, in some ways I have been, but the truth is that most of what happened came from hard work. 

To my dedicated volunteers, thank you. Much of our accomplishment rests on your shoulders... or should I say feet. Thank you for marching with me and getting our message out there, listening to people, caring about your community with me, and stepping up. 

To my supporters. Don’t stop. We can’t afford to stop. We can’t only check in every four years. We might care but we have to work to make that care show. I look forward to continuing the conversations that came forward from this election and I hope we all push for the next four years, because we need our care coupled with action most of all. 

Finally, to my campaign manager, Alexander, for the longest time we were a two person team with impossible odds. But that didn’t stop us from taking bold risks, doing things differently, and living our values. I’m so grateful to have partnered with someone who believes in the power of grassroots organizing and cared so much to bring that positive influence to Guelph. As you said to me, “we have done good work well.” Thank you. 

Remember: Change can’t happen overnight but movements also take time and we started something today that I don’t think we should let go of and we need to keep building.

And for now embrace the things in this community that make us so lucky. 

With love and hope. 

- Aggie

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Debate at the Italian-Canadian Club

Watch the first debate here! 

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Municipal Slates

I am deeply disappointed in the mayor’s decision to campaign with certain candidates.

As it stands, it is currently not clear whether the mayor asked these candidates who have been singled out to run for him or if they approached him. I am not in the business of speculation.

I have spoken with a number of candidates about the slate dynamic, and made it clear that while we may share some perspectives on certain issues – and would want us to -- sharing our ideas informally and endorsing the candidates themselves are very different things. As mayor, it would be my responsibility to guide discussion, not demand adherence to my vision.

I believe candidates should represent themselves in how they are going to critically examine issues as they affect their ward. Instead we see the mayor attempting to consolidate power. What the actions of the mayor and these candidates demonstrates is a lack of being impartial. They are openly showing their predisposition to decisions next term.

These are the very mechanisms that fuel division. These are the types of tactics that we see affecting Toronto politics. As citizens of Guelph we must ask ourselves how we would be served by block voting. How could this benefit city services, community stakeholders, and emergency responders, and through them, the community members as a whole?

The purpose of seeking municipal office is to serve constituents, and distill their voices into policy that works for them. To listen first, and then act to build a better city and future – and be transparent when doing so.

The purpose of council is not to push through a predetermined agenda prioritizing the will of the mayor over citizens.

It’s up to you to decide on October 22nd.

-Aggie Mlynarz

 

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Torchlight & My Campaign

Friends, 

We released a statement on September 7th, explaining why I would not be using plastic lawn signs during our municipal election campaign. We did say, however, that we were exploring alternatives. Today, I am excited to share what that means to me.

In partnership with Torchlight, we are making wooden signs. Torchlight has been active in this community for over 45 years, providing programs and services for adults with developmental challenges. I sat down with their core team this past summer and they shared with me how important access to meaningful programs, work and volunteer opportunities are to their participants.

Discussions have resulted in a collaboration. Our goal is to engage with members of the community in an impactful way, to be socially sustainable by offering work to long-time community members who have the resources to make signs with us. The second part of this goal is to use a product that is natural, biodegradable, and to show that we can set an example for reusable and eco-friendly options throughout our campaign.

Our intention is not to make hundreds of signs. The point is to do something differently from a community perspective. To be environmentally and socially sustainable, and to demonstrate our values through our actions. We’re doing politics differently and leading in a new direction.

Let this be a sign of the times.

Please take the time to see the great work Torchlight is doing every day, and to support them regardless of how you vote. http://www.torchlightservices.ca/

 

- Aggie Mlynarz

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Signs

Friends,

After much consideration, I have decided not to participate in the sign wars. While visibility is important to democracy, with the amount of waste that is being produced in the 21st century it is becoming more difficult to justify investing in single-use plastic signs for a few weeks. Given that, here are some of the reasons why I have chosen not to purchase the typical coroplast signs for my mayoral campaign.

This decision comes from a place that recognizes we don’t recycle these signs at the Material Recycling Facility. Although technically coroplast can be, we don’t do it locally – there is only one place in the province that processes them. There should be an inherent responsibility where we recognize that even if we put something in the recycling bin it still has a long way to go before it is broken down and reused again.

I also recognize that for first time candidates, particularly in a municipal election it is more difficult to get name recognition. Signs can be a helpful resource in this capacity. However, coming off of a very recent provincial campaign I am not faced with the same challenge of having to put my name out there for the very first time. In addition, recent studies have concluded that signs only provide a little over 1 percentage-point boost to the candidate – especially as we migrate more and more into digital mediums for campaigning. Still, these studies are preliminary, but I want my decisions to be informed by research.

Well what about reusing them? I commend councillors for being environmentally conscious and holding onto their signs and reusing them with ‘re-elect’ stickers, as I’ve seen in this very election. I have also seen previous candidates find very creative ways to repurpose old signs.  In addition, they are an excellent resource for advocacy groups who can reuse them all year long or every election cycle to keep important issues topical.

However, the mayoral race requires a city-wide sign strategy and, as I experienced only a few months ago, between vandalism and windy days these signs were often destroyed or ended up in bins everywhere. They get lost, and can be costly or problematic to store.

Lastly, the new sign by-law was created because of a local frustration with the amount of pollution and chaos signs had created in the city in the last round of federal, provincial, and municipal elections. Perhaps it's time to stop, listen to what the people of Guelph want, and take a chance at doing things differently.

I want to try this. I want to find ways to reduce waste and engage folks in the democratic process. We will be offering posters at our office (30 Carden Street) and encourage anyone interested to come by to take one to put in their windows. Printed on 100% recyclable material by a local printer as long as you recycle them we know the MRF (Material Recycling Facility) will bale them and make money off of them, as opposed to spending money to send whatever signs end up in the garbage to landfill. We’ll also have another medium to reach out through soon - more details to come.

As Guelphites we are known for our environmental stewardship and I want our campaign to reflect city wide values. Let’s take things in a new direction.

Thank you,

 - Aggie

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Platform is live!

On September 4th, I announce my vision for Guelph and share a vision of what we can do. After consulting with various community leaders, we have a plan we can take to City Hall that we can be proud of. Join me in taking this city in a new direction!

We're going to have video statement to cover the broad strokes, with the details laid out on our website, https://www.aggieforguelph.ca/platform

Come by the office at 30 Carden St to chat with us if you're able to as well! We would love for your feedback.

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