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In their own words, candidates tell us a little bit about themselves and where they stand on the issues
Mayoral candidate Cam Guthrie

In their own words, candidates tell us a little bit about themselves and where they stand on the issues. A different ward will be featured each evening this week.

Name: Cam Guthrie

Occupation: Mayor - City of Guelph 

How long have you lived in Guelph? My family has been in Guelph since 1919. I was raised here since 1979.

Why are you running in this election?  I love our city! Every single day I am excited to find ways of helping people, organizations or businesses thrive and succeed. We have much to continue doing which has already been started, such as investments in community safety, increasing housing for all, finding new non-tax revenue streams and tackling affordability – especially during these uncertain times. These are big issues for a growing city like Guelph, and that requires experienced leadership, established positive relationships with stakeholders and knowing how to respectfully engage with other levels of government for opportunities.

All of which I have nurtured these past years as your mayor which will position Guelph to find solutions and get results faster. 

What qualifies you to represent the city? As your representative, I have been navigating city hall on your behalf and finding solutions to many issues for our community for many years now. I’m a collaborator and bring energy alongside positivity to every table. I also have an entrepreneurial spirit that guides me to constantly think outside the box, be creative and help get results. This has been shown through my push to review city services and projects while turning underperforming city assets into performing assets for the community. Since becoming your mayor millions have been saved and revenue has increased without the use of taxes.

Transparency has been key for how I engage with the public, and I have shown that I take communication and making sure updates to the city are taken seriously. My private sector business background allows me to engage through a lens of getting things done quicker with less red tape and efficiently. For many years I’ve been on non-profit organizations or helped with local charities. I’ve been honoured to be the elected chair of the Ontario Big City Mayors Caucus these last few years. This group represents almost 70 per cent of the population of Ontario. Through our leadership we have not only helped Guelph but the entire province on matters of local public healthcare units, financial impacts due to COVID, retroactive cuts from the provincial government and more.

Through this organization I’m also honoured to sit on the Association of Municipalities of Ontario board of directors to work with other municipalities on common issues. Recently I’ve been appointed to join the Guelph General Hospital board of directors. This is a crucial time for our city as it relates to our hospital, especially with plans for the announced new hospital coming to Guelph. I’ve also been named as the North American Board Member for the Global Covenant of Mayors.

All of these appointments in turn help Guelph, which is exactly why I do it! 

Why should people vote for you? There are serious and urgent matters we must tackle as a community and I have proven that my leadership will be able to  handle them. COVID pushed us collectively into the unknown over much of this term and I believe I helped lead us, alongside others, through the worst of the pandemic in a way that cared deeply for everyone resulting in one of the best cities in North America for taking public health measures seriously and recovering economically as one of the best in Canada.

The upcoming city budget must reflect the realities of the affordability crisis families and businesses are facing. Approaching fiscal restraint in this way is nothing new for me. That’s what the citizens and businesses have expected from me since I started serving on council and it’ll continue into the next term of council as well. I promised investments in safety (police, technology and social services) and I got it done. It’s showing positive results so It’s imperative that these investments continue to maintain a safer community.

Increasing housing units along the continuum (supportive, subsidized social, market rental and ownership) need to come to fruition quickly. This will require collaboration between staff, builders and citizens, which I’m dedicated to foster. I also promised service reviews to the community and these were established both internally and externally this term. I will continue to review large capital projects (downtown library and Baker Street redevelopment, operations centre, south end recreational centre) where there may be a need to reevaluate them based on costs to build and to operate.

It will take the right temperament, character and long-term thinking to understand what’s doable and what may put the city and taxpayers at greater risk. I’m a leader who won’t put us in such difficult positions. This can lead to greater problems, more expense and ruined reputations and relationships for the city down the road that will inevitably cost you more. 

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of the city? Affordability. Safety. Housing for all. Continuation of reviewing city services and large capital projects that result in better outcomes for residents.

What do you see as the main issues facing residents of Guelph on a broader scale? Handling provincially mandated growth. Growth will impact all aspects of our community such as transportation, water, emergency services, parks, recreation, infrastructure and more. As we tackle these issues we must keep in mind the pace of which these things will occur that balance the value to residents here now and the new residents arriving. We must not forget, that even with these pressures, we do not abandon commitments to sustainability, inclusion, equity, accessibility, arts and culture and the uniqueness that makes Guelph such a sought-after city to be in!

What is the most important thing you want to see changed in Guelph? No one homeless.

What services need to be improved in Guelph?  I’m pleased to say that our outdoor services, such as snow plows, lawn cutting and the preparation of our sports fields will be getting a more deserving focus. It’s needed. I’ve been fighting for better service in these areas and I want to make sure it happens right away. 

Is Guelph growing too fast, just the right amount, or not fast enough? The province dictates our growth plans and they must be adhered to. Our approved plans show steady growth over the next years that can be accommodated. The better question to ask, is where or how do we grow? The answer is this: We need to create housing units in built-up areas where servicing, community amenities and infrastructure exists. This allows for population growth while respecting the taxpayers. 

What can be done at the local level about the rising cost of housing? Get more units approved faster. This can be easily done and something the city has embarked on already under my leadership. As I hear the struggles regarding owning or renting a home, it makes me even more determined to focus on solutions. As a father of two children thinking of their own future and what’s next for them when it comes to housing, I have these same conversations at my kitchen table and understand how difficult it is. 

What can be done locally about the homelessness issue? We should be proud that Guelph is recognized across Canada as a city addressing this issue head-on. We have reduced our chronic homelessness individuals by 50 per cent. Three supportive housing projects are now underway this term where there were none before. I will continue to bring the community and stakeholders together through the mayor’s task force I created on homelessness, poverty and community safety - which has seen great results!

And, with the recent creation of the Downtown Strategic Advisory Committee on Homelessness and Safety, we’ll be able to focus on solving more issues for those experiencing homelessness and/or addictions but equally commit to a thriving, safe and respectful downtown core for our important business and tourism sectors.

How do we make Guelph an even better city to live in? Choose kindness, stay positive and put others first. 

Any link to an election website or social media account?


Twitter: @reelectcam 

Instagram: @reelectcamguthrie

Facebook: Re-Elect Cam Guthrie


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