Shape the debate: visions vs. speaking points

Chris Hyde

It’s election time again in Waterloo Region and soon candidates will be reaching out to the citizens of the region to ask for our vote. While most campaign teams will use door knocking, lawn signs or debates to get people to come out and vote, I’ll make this very easy on the candidates.

You can have my vote and all you need to do is to sell me on one thing. Not your slogans, buzzwords or incumbency (especially that last one). In the plainest possible terms, I want to see vision from the candidates, not just talking points. Sell me on your vision for Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and the townships.

What do I mean when I say “vision?” For me, this is your longer-term wishes for the community. Think of it this way: if everything went your way, what would the community, school board, or region look like? In 10 years, what does the region look like if you have your way? This is what I really want to know from the candidate I will vote for. If your ideas came to be, what would that look like?

I think outgoing City of Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr did a fine job in promoting a vision for downtown Kitchener. Has it been completely realized to date? I would argue no, but there are identifiable changes in the downtown core that we can see and the City of Kitchener continues to bring this vision to life.

I think that K-W, despite the constant tweets of #kwawesome, could really use some vision.

Will we be a region known for our walkability and bikeability? Are you a proponent of turning the tri-cities into a public transit paradise or do you believe that our major arteries and roadways will continue to be necessary to move our citizens about? If you are running for city council, what is your vision for your ward or for the entire town? I expect the same from our Regional councillors and our mayors.

I’m begging the candidates to run on something other than a smattering or generally accepted political slogans and buzzwords – this won’t secure my vote. I expect all elected officials to be transparent and accountable. I expect all elected officials to remain in touch and to communicate well.

‘The great unknown’ for me is what type of Kitchener, Waterloo or Cambridge do you want to build? Once I know that, then I can decide whether it’s something we can build together.”

A real child of the nineties, Tegan’s interests are rooted in anime, lame kids movies/shows, and graphic novels. Looking through old photos also confirms her fashion sense included many a neon colour or floral print (read: still does). She aspires to have her own wall to wall, ceiling to floor library; where she can hunker down in a comfy chair by a fire, close off the world, and read a few good books.