Enter, stage right
If Mayor Larry O’Brien does not run for re-election and with Peter Hume having already declared he will not seek the mayor’s chair, the door is wide open for a right wing candidate to enter the race. Of the currently declared mayoral candidates that are considered front runners, Alex Cullen would ideologically represent the left and Jim Watson would represent the centre right. So, who would qualify to run for the right?
Walter Robinson is the leading name being tossed around to represent the right. The former chief of staff for Larry O’Brien is currently a principal of a local government relations firm and can be heard on the radio commenting on city politics. He could be characterized as the front runner of the non-declared potential late comers to the mayoral race. One of Robinson’s key strengths is he knows the city bureaucracy. He actually has a rapport with many of the city current staff and councillors and from what I know, they kind of like him. The question is can the bilingual Robinson make the shift from commentator to initiator and chief consensus builder?
Brian McGarry is a leading businessman in Ottawa who has real municipal experience. McGarry was once a school board chair and a regional councillor before amalgamation. If O’Brien represented the need for business experience to shake up city hall but came up short due to his lack of political experience, then McGarry would be businessman mayor 2.0. McGarry has long toiled with the idea of running for Mayor but he may be past his best before date.
Terry Kilrea fits the category but should not get any ideas because I mention his name in this post. His chances of winning rank up there with Sarah Palin winning a Democratic party nomination plus he lacks the popularity and the wink.
Lisa McLeod is an active and energetic public servant. MacLeod is the current MPP representing Nepean-Carleton. I wonder if she would ever consider giving up this seat for a municipal seat. The former Jan Harder protégé is on the fast track to a senior cabinet post should the provincial PC’s win the next election in 2011. But heck, Jim Watson left a cabinet post to run for mayor so maybe MacLeod would consider leaving a potential future position to run for mayor. She certainly would garner a lot of support from Nepean, Barrhaven, rural Ottawa and be the leading woman candidate. Just think of the debates with MacLeod v. Watson.
Shane Bennett is a businessman who would be a new entrant to politics but politics would not be new to Bennett. His pedigree is steeped in politics. His Uncle Claude has direct ties to both the old Ottawa as a councillor and new Ottawa as one of the architects of amalgamation. Young Bennett could bring a fresh new approach to city politics and represent the change that taxpayers are looking for.
Graham Fox is a conservative commentator who is frequently on the radio talking about federal politics. Fox, who is fluently bilingual, keeps in touch with all things politic. I am sure he can easily shuffle into debate mode and argue for efficiencies at City Hall but would he like the pay cut for the privilege?
Who do you like?