Electing the regional chair
Who will be Niagara’s next regional chair?, Nov. 2
By Bruce Timms, Published in Niagara Dailies Nov. 9th, 2022
Coun. Laura Ip’s motion to make the Niagara Region councillors vote for the chair in an open session would be welcome.
Electing the regional chair by general vote in 2026 would also be welcomed.
Regional council has two years to do the public consultation, staff reports and council votes to make it possible for 2026.
Waterloo, Halton and Durham regions are all larger by population than Niagara and have managed to elect their regional chairs by general vote, like a mayor. Change comes slowly in Niagara but it can be done.
Durham had a referendum in 2010 and with more than 75 per cent support, then went through all the steps to directly elect the regional chair in 2014 and 2018 and 2022.
It will take time and work, but council can take this step for the 2026 election. It would be helpful if candidates for chair this time would state their position on this issue.
Partisan politics are always present to some degree in municipal politics, but a chair elected by general vote based on a public platform, vision and agenda, debated and discussed across Niagara would have a mandate from the voters.