Ward 7 – Bay

Bay Ward is definitely a ward to watch on Monday night in Ottawa’s municipal election. In the last mayoral election, a nearly – if not exactly – identical council was returned. Re-electing incumbents is the norm in Ottawa, but Bay Ward might see a change this year.

Bay Ward’s incumbent candidate, Alex Cullen, was initially running for mayor and only dropped out of the mayoralty a couple of weeks before deadline. He returned to a field crowded with political neophytes like the poet ” Oni Joseph and Jim Watson’s former executive assistant Mark Taylor as well as Cullen’s rival from the 2006 election Terry Kilrea. Was the Cullen campaign caught flat-footed? Does Bay Ward want change rather than sending Cullen back to city hall? Or will Cullen’s decade of service, including his involvement on many high-profile committees, pay off?

Recently, the Ottawa Citizen endorsed a challenger Mark Taylor to replace Cullen. Taylor, 39, is younger than Cullen, 59. He has positioned himself as an opponent of Cullen’s LRT plan, which may put him at odds with his former boss, Watson, if they are both elected. Taylor supports a “back to basics” view of municipal government.

Kilrea, despite an almost-40 per cent showing in 2006, has attracted scant media attention He has focused in on the Grant Alternative School is the most important issue for him. In the Rogers TV debate his “respect the taxpayer” message was overwhelmed by his outrage of a city-funded francophone multi-purpose community centre.

Oni Joseph, a poet and community activist, entered the race while Cullen was pursuing the mayoralty. She’s mentioned the fact that Cullen encouraged her a couple of times. She has cast herself as a voice for the marginalized in a ward with a large foreign-born population, a growing francophone minority and about a quarter of its population is older than 65.

Shawn Little is returning to run for council again after dropping out in 2006 amid allegation of financing irregularities.

Follow me on Twitter for more Bay Ward coverage tomorrow. Do you live in Bay Ward? Who do you support? Contact me on Twitter or leave a comment.

UPDATED with links to each candidate’s website:

Alex Cullen (incumbent since 2001)
George Guirguis (YouTube page, was candidate in Somerset in 2006)
Peter Heyck (no links found)
Oni Joseph (new candidate, poet and community activist)
Terry Kilrea (repeat challenger)
Shawn Little (dropped out of Kitchissippi race in 2006, first elected in 1997)
Erik Olesen (Ottawa Citizen profile and his Twitter, which hasn’t been updated since Oct 5)
Mark Taylor (endorsed by Ottawa Citizen)

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