Chronicling community action, revolutionary and revealing thought

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Provincial by-election in Parkdale: Watson Vs. Di Novo

We have a by-election in our area due to the departure of that old smoothie, Gerrard Kennedy, who's off hunting for the Liberal leadership spot.

His provincial seat is open and the main condenders are former councillor, Sylvia Watson and that rebellious reverend Sherri Di Novo.

It's going to be a close race but I believe that Di Novo may have the edge on this one. That's because up to now, I haven't met one person in the neighbourhood yet who has anything positive to say about Watson. All bring up the same thing; she doesn't listen to anyone. She's done Ditto for community consultations. This doesn't go over very well in Parkdale.

What folks are saying is that Watson acts alone when making decisions for the neighbourhood. The Waterfront folks didn't like this. And the Dowling housing project people didn't like this.

Now I know that Watson is a lawyer, a solicitor general at City Hall at one time. I read she was in charge of a team of lawyers. So I'm not slagging her record as a lawyer, but as a community politician, she seems to have created an opposition out of folks who really weren't interested in focussing their attention on her.

In her defense, Watson is saying that she cleaned up Parkdale of the problematic bars that plagued Queen street for years. And that she expropriated a property on Queen and Dowling to have converted into a social housing project. Also that she got the Palais Royale opened up by the lake and was instrumental is getting development to the watefront.

The problem is that those things may not have been handled the way the community wanted. They were handled the way Sylvia Watson wanted.

So Watson will now have to answer to the people of Parkdale as to why she seems to have ignored them during her term as councillor and why she seems to have refused to consult with them. I just read that she didn't attend an all-candidates walk to the waterfront. So why should Parkdalians promote her to MPP if she doesn't seem very keen on listenting to them?

Di Novo has a good chance of winning despite her lack of experience as a politician because of Watson's perceived animosity towards the community. Listening to an interview with Di Novo on the CBC, she says her ministry is comprised mostly of the poor. Di Novo's philosophy seems to be based on inclusion and this may go over well in Parkdale where folks have been traditionally excluded.

If Di Novo uses the same electoral resources that put Peggy Nash in Ottawa, she stands a good chance of representing Parkdale at Queens Park.