It has been almost a week since London, Ontario, the 13th district city council seat became vacant.
Arielle Kayabaga, who was appointed Councilor for District 13 during the 2018 London municipal elections, was elected Liberal Member of Parliament (MP) for London West in the 2021 federal elections.
The city council officially declared the District 13 position vacant on October 5 and is now in a rush to fill the position, but it comes with a debate on how it should be done.
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In accordance with Section 263 (1) of the Municipal Law of 2001, vacancies can be filled either by “appointing a person who has consented to accept the office if appointed” or by “requiring that a by-election be held” .
A report from the city clerk to the council’s Corporate Services Committee states that the council “may wish to consider implementing an appointment process,” noting that a by-election would mean that the vacancy will not be filled until early 2022 at the latest. early.
The report also indicated that a by-election is estimated to cost between $ 165,000 and $ 180,000.
With Kayabaga’s victory projected in West London, the focus is on his position on the 13th District council.
11th Ward Councilman Stephen Turner took to Twitter to share his frustrations with the report’s suggestion.
“There is only one democratic option… No other level of government in Canada fills the vacancies of elected representatives through appointments. They are held by elections. That’s because it is the only way to truly determine the will of the citizens, ”read a series of tweets from Turner.
“The lazy arguments against this are the cost and the time the position will be filled. Elections cost time and money. That is the price of democracy. It is certainly cheaper not to hold elections, but we no longer call it democracy, ”the tweets continued.
Meanwhile, Londoners have reached out to advice on who they think should fill the 13th District seat.
Joe Fontana, who served as Mayor of London from 2010 to 2014, expressed his support for John Fyfe-Millar, who lost to Kayabaga in the 2018 municipal elections.
“He is qualified, experienced, knows the needs of District 13, and has a proven record of service in our community and district,” his email to the City reads.
Fyfe-Millar is also receiving support from Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) Trustee Peter Cuddy, Central London Community Association President Peter Sandor, among other Londoners.
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If London city council continues on the appointment path, the city council must appoint a person to fill the vacancy no later than December 3, 2021.
If the by-election route is chosen, a tentative voting date has been chosen for March 18, 2022.
The Corporate Services Committee will meet on Monday at 12 pm to continue discussions.
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