By Doug Hallett
A “self-proclaimed libertarian” who is proposing severe measures to bring down the city’s debt has become the seventh person to seek the mayor’s job in this fall’s civic elections.
“My platform is that Guelph has spun out of control with its debt,” says Andrew Donovan, 24, a Bolton native who has lived in Guelph since 2010 and graduated from the U of G with a BA degree in April.
His solutions – including privatization of Guelph Transit, freezing and publicizing all public sector wages, and contracting out garbage collection, snow removal and road repairs to private contractors – are laid out in detail on his campaign website.
Asked if the boosting of Guelph’s credit rating last year by Standard & Poor’s Rating Services suggests the city doesn’t have much of a debt problem,
Donovan replied: “I don’t think it does. I don’t really trust the credit rating of these organizations,” which continue to maintain “relatively high credit ratings” for countries that have massive debts, he said in an interview Wednesday.
Donovan, who focused on political science studies at the U of G and now has a job working in sales for a plumbing wholesaler, said he has no experience running for public office. But he has been very interested in politics since he was 17, he said.
“Now I am a self-proclaimed libertarian,” he said. He has worked on political campaigns “back in my Green Party days.”
Asked why he thinks he’s qualified as a new university graduate to be mayor, Donovan said he thinks he is qualified because he represents a demographic of students and young adults who are coming into the workforce “and we are having poor prospects . . . I think the change to start in this country, to get the economy back under control, is going to start at the municipal level.”
Along the same lines, his website says: “I’m running for the mayor of Guelph because I believe we’re in an age where rampant spending, big government, and the same suit-and-tie politicians are coming to an end. I believe we’re in an age where young and hungry people like me are set to climb the ladder to better serve people like you.”
The platforms that he sets out on his website include:
• removing taxi cab licensing fees and registration as a way towards ending the “over-priced and inefficient traditional taxi cab services of old”
• eliminating the nuisance party bylaw approved by council last year, which “makes our city’s students out to be criminals. When a city agrees to house a university community the size of the U of G’s, house parties are, implicitly, part of that deal”
• eliminating building permit fees and power-of-entry bylaws to “reinforce to the citizens of Guelph that their house is their castle.”