Shakespeare, swords & other election notes
By Matthew Van Dongen
Mayoralty Candidates in tights
Some election candidates aren’t afraid of the “Fringe” label.
Four would-be councillors and three mayoral candidates fundraised for a chance to hit the stage Wednesday for the kick-off of Hamilton’s Fringe Festival.
Aspiring mayoral thespian Michael Baldasaro earned the loudest acclaim for parading around the stage in bright yellow tights as Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
“It was kind of an amazing sight,” said an awed festival director Claire Calnan. “Everyone roared when he came out.”
Council candidates Sandy Shaw, Aidan Johnson, Cam Galindo and Matthew Green all acquitted themselves well, Calnan said, with the latter earning particular praise for his Shakespearean chops.
But Calnan’s photo-favorite moment of the night might have happened backstage. Picture mayoral candidate Brian McHattie (a.k.a Henry V) struggling to sheath a sword with help from electoral rival Brad Clark, who happened to be dressed as Bottom the donkey from A Midsummer’s Night Dream.
(He later apologized for his performance on Twitter: “It would appear I made an ass of my self.”)
“It was wow, talk about politicians working together for the common good,” said a laughing Calnan, who added the night raised $4,000 for three new outreach programs.
“People in the arts community are always fighting for recognition in the political realm. So it was really delightful to feel we have the support of people in public office – really committed, brave support.”
(Photo: Mayoral candidates Brad Clark, Brian McHattie, Ward 3 council candidate Matthew Green and Fringe Festival director Clare Calnan / Courtesy Fringe Festival)
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario is offering a crash course for would-be politicians in advance of the Oct. 27 election.
Current AMO president and Dundas Councillor Russ Powers is making a pitch for the $25 online course available at amo.on.ca. “I wish I had known some of this stuff before I ran the first time,” said the 65-year-old, who will retire from municipal politics – if not all politics – this fall.
The course covers everything from the myriad rules and regulations governing the conduct of elected officials to how to deal with the media on the campaign trail.
Powers said the course could help aspiring politicians reach – or change – their goals. “Some people may realize, ‘hey, I’m not cut out for this,” he said.
Democracy on wheels
Resident Byron Zorzos has a simple transit suggestion that could literally drive people to the polls this October: free transit on Election Day.
Zorzos said he’s pitched the idea before to councillors and received a lukewarm response.
But he argued if the city is truly keen to address both declining voter turnout and issues of poverty, free transit to the polls is a no-brainer.
“The obvious example for me is a single parent, trying to decide whether to buy bus fare for the kids, or hire a babysitter, just to go to a polling station,” he said.
“We offer free bus service so people can get drunk on New Year’s Eve, right? I don’t think this is any less important.”
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