Saturday, October 16, 2010




As many who read this blog site know, I've been very concerned with the lack of inclusion of all candidates by mainstream media - and also by self-proclaimed online social media (eg Spacing, Torontoist), but there has also been serious bias expressed by organizations one would normally expect to be diligently un-biased.

I refer to the Friends of Dufferin Grove Park website: which for the past two months has had on its main page a photo of only 8 of the registered 12 candidates for City Councillor for ward 18.

(The photo is from the Active18 so-called "All Candidates Debate" which in fact the organizers only invited and allowed into the debate 9 of the 12 candidates - another exclusionary exercise by a seemingly public community group)

In addition, there were only 6 in depth interviews done (Ana Bailao, Kevin Beaulieu, Doug Carroll, Frank de Jong, Joe MacDonald and Hema Vyas).

Missing is any mention of: Abdirazak Elmi, Nha Le, Joanna Teliatnik, Mohammed Muhit, Kirk Russell and myself Ken Wood).

*Update: As of Monday, Oct 18 the Friends of Dufferin Grove website indicates 7 not 6 interviews and rediirects to the CELOS site where my additional written response interview is posted. Still missing is any mention of the 5 other candidates.

I had communicated via emails with Jutta Mason, the central force behind much of what is great about Dufferin Grove Park, who has a website that receives support from through the Trillium Foundation (public tax dollars at work). My concern was that the heavily accessed website was passing on a perception of limited choice of candidates and that was neither fair nor possibly legal.

The CELOS ( Centre for Local Research into Public Space) website shows 9 of the 12 local ward 18 city councillor candidates and if you follow the cues to Read More, you will come across a detailed survey response from 7 of the 12 candidates running. The response is regarding the MacGregor Park field house and the situation it finds itself in with federal stimulus funding not really helping where the community needs it most.

To her credit, Jutta had intended to include all of us in the interviews, which are a LOT of work to be transcribed and posted, but volunteer time is at a premium with so many wonderful things going on at Dufferin Grove Park. I offered an alternative suggestion: that questions be posed and response from the six who were not able to be interviewed be posted on the website.

Although I sent in my response October 6, it seems the best we can do is to have it posted on the wall at the park clubhouse. An uneven playing field. Unfair.

*Update: Informed via email from one of Jutta's volunteers that my interview and photo is on the wall at Dufferin Grove (Oct 17). On the website by Oct 18.

It seems this election, exclusion has become the norm in much of the visibility that candidates might get. At the mayoral level, there were 40 people running, but we still see the media focussing on their arbitrary 6..5...4...3 peoiple without including any other choices. When voter apathy has been so low (35% in ward18 last election), shouldn't we be encouraging MORE choice rather than less?

I went back to 2003 and was intrigued to see what happened with Friends of Dufferin Grove Park and came across this:

The line which stands out and needs to be featured prominently on any discussion of Who To Vote For or anything dealing with discussing or presenting candidates during an election is:

"...It's quite true that it's not in the interests of the Friends of Dufferin Grove Park (including me) to endorse any of the local candidates..."
Yet, mistakenly or not, with good reasons or not, that seems to be precisely what has been done: limiting the choice presented to voters down to half.
We need to all be fair and even when presenting voters their options.... because..