5 races to watch in Monday's municipal election in Waterloo region

The outcome of these five races will affect the course of the next four years for communities across the region.

For the first time since 1985, the Region of Waterloo will have a new face leading regional council

For the first time since 1985, the Region of Waterloo will have a new regional chair. The four people running for the seat are (from left) Jay Aissa, Jan D'Ailly, Karen Redman and Rob Deutschmann. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

The municipal election is Monday and faces sitting around the various councils in Waterloo region will change.

While every race is important to municipal affairs, here are the five races we're keeping an eye on because of the impact their outcomes will have.

Regional chair

For the first time since 1985, the Region of Waterloo will have a new chair. Current chair, Ken Seiling, is not seeking re-election.

In making the announcement in May, Seiling said he'd like to stick around for another four years, "but then, I've had 33 years in the position, and I think it's time for other people to come along and step in, and I'm comfortable with my decision."

There are four people seeking the regional chair seat: lawyer Rob Deutschmann, current regional councillor in Kitchener Karen Redman, businessman Jay Aissa and businessman and former Waterloo councillor Jan d'Ailly.

All four bring different opinions and plans to the table, so no matter who wins, it's going to mean a change for the region.

There are five people seeking the mayor's seat in Cambridge. (Carmen Ponciano/ CBC)

Cambridge mayor 

There are five people seeking the mayor's seat in Cambridge, three of them high-profile.

Incumbent Doug Craig has been mayor since 2000. He's facing former Liberal MPP Kathryn McGarry, who served Cambridge for four years and had positions in the provincial cabinet. As well, former city councillor Ben Tucci is hoping to win the city's top spot.

Also running are roofer-handyman Randy Carter and landscaper and business owner Colin Tucker.

Along with having some well-known candidates, Cambridge also has some well-known issues such as transportation: The next phase of the LRT will go into Cambridge and candidates have all talked about the need for better GO service to the city.

Homelessness and the ongoing opioid crisis is also hitting Cambridge, which heard a lot of debate over what should be done. All five candidates say a supervised consumption site (SCS) should not go in the Galt core right now, even though that's where public health officials indicated it should go. All talk on SCS has been halted for now until the province completes a review of whether it will continue to permit SCS and overdose prevention sites.

There's also the sports multiplex, which is a few years behind schedule. After council decided to move it off lands owned by Conestoga College, there was debate over where it should go. Now, it's been split in two with the ice pads going at the Cambridge Mall.

Michael Harris, the former MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, is running for regional council in Kitchener. (Submitted by Michael Harris)

Kitchener regional councillor

There are nine people running for four council seats. One incumbent is not running this time — Karen Redman is seeking the regional chair seat instead.

Three incumbents are seeking re-election: Tom Galloway, Elizabeth Clarke and Geoff Lorentz.

Voters get to choose up to four people for regional councillor in Kitchener.

Incumbents often benefit from name recognition and therefore can be tough to beat. 

But there are other candidates in this race who are also well known in the community.

Former Progressive Conservative-turned-independent MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga Michael Harris is running.

Harris was ousted from the PC party prior to the last provincial election being called.

He told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition he wasn't running again because of an eye condition — for which he had surgery.

But hours after his interview, party officials announced he had been kicked out of the PC caucus for sending inappropriate texts to an intern. Harris has admitted to to texts and has since apologized for it, saying he's sure voters are ready to move on.

Fauzia Mazhar who is active in the community is also running. She has been involved with the Working Centre and K-W Multicultural Centre and she founded Coalition of Muslim Women of K-W.

Kari Williams is a researcher and volunteer who has busy on social media and has been seen campaigning with others. School board trustee veteran Ted Martin, who has been a trustee for 18 years and has also served as chair of the board, is also seeking one of the four councillor seats.

There's also Jason House who designs telecommunication towers and real estate salesperson Tom Hiller.

Three people are seeking the mayor's seat in Waterloo. They are, from left, Chris Kolednick, Kelly Steiss and incumbent Dave Jaworsky. (Facebook)

Waterloo mayor

Perhaps the most fiesty of all the races in the region, Waterloo has seen some personal attacks by mayoral candidates against incumbent Dave Jaworsky.

Chris Kolednik and Kelly Steiss have both criticized Jaworsky and council for letting taxes go up.

They both also reminded voters about the council getting into trouble in 2014 for having closed-door budget meetings with staff. The Ontario Ombudsman tweeted at the city to tell them to stop the practice and Jaworsky says they that did right away. He says he didn't realize at the time closed meetings weren't allowed at the municipal level, although it's commonplace in private companies and at other levels of government.

Steiss says on her campaign website there's a need to "turn things around" in the city and says voters shouldn't "settle for leadership that shows a lack of vision or effort, which can be seen as mediocrity." 

Kolednik has also vowed to reduce his pay by 10 per cent if elected and says he wants to "bring back common sense to Waterloo."

Kolednik has also been open about his views on issues beyond the scope of being mayor on his campaign's Facebook page, where he has offered his support for federal politician Maxime Bernier, that the carbon tax is a tax grab and that the city and region should "honour Lindsay Shepherd for standing up unrelentingly for free speech on Canadian campuses."

Each year, students flood onto Ezra Avenue for St. Patrick's Day celebrations. The new councillor in Waterloo's Ward 7 will have that issue to tackle, along with all of uptown. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

Ward 7 in Waterloo

There will be a new councillor in this ward, which serves all of uptown, including the stretch along King Street to University Avenue.

It's currently served by Melissa Durrell, who has opted not to run in this election to focus on her business.

It's a high-profile post and the job is not an easy one. This person will need to focus on development and other issues in uptown, including the debate over whether those new bike lanes are really the best they can be.

But this councillor will also need to answer for ongoing street parties on Ezra Avenue after Laurier's homecoming and the St. Patrick's Day crowds.

There are five people seeking this seat: Tenille Bonoguore, Devon McKenzie, Carol Parsons, Rami Said and Elizabeth Sproule.


  • An earlier version of this story inadvertently left Ted Martin out of the section of candidates running for regional councillor in Kitchener.
    Oct 21, 2018 8:24 PM ET


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