For democracy to work properly, people need options. That’s what Danny Drew seeks to provide by putting their name forward in the race to become Guelph’s next mayor.
“To call this a democracy and have someone acclaimed into a position is ridiculous,” said Drew of their largest inspiration to join the Oct. 24 ballot.
“We need to put a focus on … democratizing society in every way, not just voting every four years, but putting democracy in every place we can in our lives – in our homes, in our workplaces, everywhere.”
Drew, who said they recently left the Communist Party but continues to hold many shared beliefs, was the second candidate to file their mayoral nomination paperwork for the upcoming municipal election, completing the process on Tuesday. Incumbent Cam Guthrie was the first, having registered on May 3.
A third candidate joined the race on Tuesday, after Drew – Nicholas A. Ross. GuelphToday has so far been unable to reach Ross for comment.
Electoral options aren’t all the 31-year-old resident of The Ward wants Guelphites to have. They're campaigning for change, calling for more to be done to address the housing affordability crisis, including establishing a vacancy tax; accessible, expanded and free transit; police oversight and accountability; increased waste reduction; and urban growth to “serve citizens and the environment, not developers.”
They want to see Guelph turned into a more walkable, sociable community featuring a variety of mixed-use developments and medium to high-density housing.
“It helps combat the feeling of isolation that everyone is subjected to under our hyper-capitalist society, not to mention the last two years of extra isolation everyone’s been going through,” said Drew, noting high density is also better for generating revenue for the city to put toward helping residents. “Low-density developments are a net drain on revenue in terms of not just installing infrastructure but the maintenance thereof.”
In a follow-up email, Drew noted, “Every element of my platform is possible right now under current Canadian law. I'd made a point to develop it entirely within the framework of our liberal democratic state so that I couldn't be accused of ‘pie in the sky idealism' or some such.”
Drew said they have lived in the city on and off since 2009, having attended the University of Guelph to study mechanical engineering. They’ve held a number of jobs, including in that field, as well as farming, road service technician, fruit sorter and packer, grocery clerk and kitchen staff, but is currently unemployed.
“Municipalities are extremely limited in what they can do in terms of political change,” Drew told GuelphToday of implementing large-scale social change. “It’s important to tackle these things from every angle.”
The aspiring politician acknowledges their chances of winning are “not great,” but feels the campaign is “already going to be succeeding just by virtue of bringing all these issues to the fore. If I win, so be it, I’ll take the job.”
But they won’t take the “insane” pay … or at least not all of it.
“I don’t know what to do with $150,000,” Drew said, noting that if elected they would put some of that money aside to personally fund efforts in the city they feel are deserving of additional dollars. “I’d hold it to the side as a discretionary fund.
“Any politician should be paid the minimum wage. That will maybe incentivize them to make things a little better for the working class.”