Kincardine, Ont. residents push for mayoral byelection
KINCARDINE, ONT. -- Since Anne Eadie abruptly resigned as Kincardine’s Mayor on April 9, Deputy Mayor Randy Roppel has been the acting mayor.
But at Monday night’s council meeting, Kincardine council is expected to decide whether Roppel remains mayor until next fall’s municipal election, or a byelection is called.
“I personally would not support a byelection. I think it would be a waste of taxpayers' money. I think there’s an ability, if need be, amongst ourselves as elected officials to pick someone that would suit the position,” says Roppel, who has 25 years experience as a local councillor, though none as mayor.
That’s not right, according a group calling themselves Our Kincardine, who have collected over 500 signatures on a petition, asking council to pick Kincardine’s new mayor via a byelection.
“Our primary concern is democracy,” says Our Kincardine member Sarah Patterson. “It’s that the electorate chooses our mayor, and right now that hasn’t happened."
Roppel was acclaimed in the last election, and was appointed as Kincardine’s deputy mayor in November, after the untimely death of the previous deputy mayor, Marie Wilson.
“The appointed deputy mayor who has received zero votes from the electorate, is now our acting mayor. So our mayor has not been elected by our electorate. He’s been appointed by council and we firmly believe that the electorate should choose our mayor,” says Patterson.
As far as holding a byelection amidst a pandemic, Patterson and her byelection supporters suggest it can be handled safely.
“Council just voted on a bylaw to approve online and telephone voting for the next election, given the current situation with COVID-19. So I think we’re really well positioned to run an election before the fall of 2022,” says Our Kincardine member, Meag Durkin.
Our Kincardine will submit their petition calling for a byelection at Monday’s Kincardine council meeting. While they admit they aren’t optimistic council will agree with them, they think it’s a conversation worth having.
“The next municipal election is one-and-a-half years away, so whether or not we are successful in our petition to council, I think that I will at least spark some public discourse on what municipal representation should look like,” says Durkin.