Grit candidate says pointing out facts about his NDP rival isn't negative
Reminding voters of Joe Cimino's track record at city council isn't going negative, says Andrew Olivier, who's running for the Liberals in Sudbury.
Cimino, who's running for the NDP, has been the councillor in Ward 1 for eight years, and Olivier said it's important that voters have all that information before they make up their mind.
“Joe made mention of his political track record (at one of the debates), and his time on council,” Olivier said Monday, in an interview at his headquarters on The Kingsway. “He discussed all the great things that he's done, which is good. It's not something anybody needs to take away.
“We just want to make sure everyone's full track record is out, so people can make solid decisions based on the full story.”
Olivier's campaign has released a YouTube video, as well as a small ad on his Facebook page, highlighting such things as the Elton John ticket scandal from 2008, council's decision to fire Ontario Ombudsman André Marin in 2013, and Cimino's support of the $50,000 fund each councillor gets to spend in their ward each year. Olivier said he's asked about a lot of municipal issues when he's canvassing, especially the state of the city's roads and water rates.
“I wanted to let people know these are municipal issues,” he said. “Joe's been great – he's a good competitor and candidate, and I wish him all the best ... But we've got to make sound decisions based on all the facts. It's coming down to crunch (time) and it's crucial people know what's really up.”
In response, Cimino said he's focused on engaging voters at the door and at community events, not in attacking his opponents.
“I don't run negative campaigns,” Cimino said Tuesday, taking a break from canvassing in New Sudbury. “If others choose to do so, that's their choice.
“But I'm hearing at the door that people are more interested in our platform. People want to hear about how (the NDP) can make their life more affordable, how we're going to respect their tax dollars, how we're going to create jobs.”
Rather than being a negative, Cimino said residents are complimenting him on the job he has done as a city councillor, and he's happy to talk about his record at Tom Davies Square.
“On council, I've done a lot of good work, and people are recognizing that,” he said. “They're saying, 'You're a hard worker, Joe. Good for you for running, and you've done a good job on council.' I'll leave it at that.”
Cimino, who has been the front runner in the campaign from the start, has also had to deal with internal issues, as well as attacks on Twitter and other social media. It's not something he dwells on, he says.
“It's not affecting me in any way,” he said. “I try not to read negativity. I don't look for it. I get real energy from going door-to-door and engaging people on the issues.”
In addition to Olivier and Cimino, school board trustee Paula Peroni has run a strong campaign for the Progressive Conservatives, but Tory Leader Tim Hudak's plan to cut 100,000 public service jobs is a tough sell in a city reliant on government jobs. Green Party candidate Casey Lalonde has performed well in debates, but the party has never elected an MPP in Ontario.
For his part, Olivier said he's the only chance for Sudbury to have a government MPP, with the June 12 election looking like it will produce a minority Liberal or Conservative government.
“Tim Hudak knows he can’t win Sudbury,” Olivier said in a release Tuesday. “And, if he can’t have it — he certainly doesn’t want the Liberals to have it. We’re the only party that can keep him from winning — keep him from slashing jobs. Every single opinion poll shows the NDP isn’t a threat to lead so Hudak would be more than happy to let them have Sudbury and weaken his biggest threat.”
Pointing that fact out isn't going negative, he insists.
“It's looking like a close race provincially between the Liberals and the Conservatives. And here is looking like it's close between the Liberals and the NDP. I hope voters recognize what's going on and make good, sound decisions.”