Barron writer does not understand nature of Saint John

A real breakdown of Saint John
A real breakdown of Saint John

Today I picked up a copy of The Barron, UNB Saint John’s student-produced paper. I came across the article “Travelling around Saint John: what you need to know” by staff writer Simon Jack. It does not take long for one to realize the writer did not understand the history of Saint John or the Transit system.

The first point so I can move on was the reason he did not find information on the “Night Owl” run was that it was cancelled in Spring 2008.

Now to the areas of Saint John, to refer to drawing a random line to determine the limits of both Millidgeville and South End is vastly poor research. The boundary for Millidgeville dates back to the 1950’s era boundary of city limits. Basically, the official boundary is if a line was drawn from Somerset Street and Sandy Point Road westward to Pokiok Point that was the city limits pre-amalgamation in Saint John.

To define the South End one has to go much further back in time, back to 1785 (the beginning.) The Royal Charter that created Saint John defined the 4 wards of the “South Central” peninsula was split into quarters at Duke and Sydney Streets. The upper class mostly lived in the west side of the harbour, or northern two central wards. The poor (very broke poor) lived to the southern wards of Duke Street making the “South End” boundary Duke Street. Through the next 20-30 years, the South-enders made money suing the rich for literally everything. Leading to the creation of New Brunswick’s first Law School, which lead to UNB’s School of Law, as there were not enough lawyers to handle the workload.

In conclusion, it also needs to be pointed out the reasoning for the layouts of the streets have much to do with them being planned before those areas were part of Saint John in many cases.

Saint Johners I thought you were smart!

I still think that most of you don’t have a brain in your head sometimes. But, we will see. Come the next election I hope that there will be enough good candidate running in every ward so that we don’t end up like Miramichi.

Doesn’t anyone remember why in 1980 the ward 198 years of a ward system was brought to an end? Because the council was too focused on the day-2-day of the city rather than setting policy and advancing the city forward. We were doing that, this is going to be another nail in the coffin of Saint John. This is going to strip away the progress foreseen in the last 4 years.

The next council is more likely than not going to pit one against the other for; who gets a rink, I want my sidewalks plowed. And attention is diverted away from the future and placed on the present.

And my vote has been cast…

I have just had my say, in the advance polls this afternoon. Hopefully at least 40% +1 will agree with me and turn down the ward system, as proposed by council. The idea of having 2 per-ward and have no power to regect someone if they are the only two runing is so undemocartic. In my opinion this will hurt the city and only benifits the easyness of entry for for people to run for council.

I’m against wards for Saint John

After hearing that Common Council is going to let us vote for or against wards I thought I would point out my views. The problem with wards is that you force people to elect people based on where they live as opposed to whether or not the person is any good for the job. In addition there is no course in the system to correct this error. Although it does allow for people to run and get elected that do not have broad support, but it also hinders the election of people that might be good people. And in some cases if there is no good people running in a riding the people in that riding would have to “make do” with one of those.

We see it all the time in Provincial and Federal governments some ridings end up with weak people all the time that end up being backbenchers and you never hear from them till next time there is an election.

Using Miramichi as an example here are the results from May 2004.

MIRAMICHI (source gnb.ca)




Mayor / Maire
Gerry Cormier M 2558    
John McKay M 2850 E  
Arch C Pafford M 852    
Frank B. Trevors M 2646    
Councillor At Large/Conseiller(ère) Général
Rupert Bernard M 4202 E  
Ken Clark M 2310    
Paul W. Dawson M 4264 E inc./sort.
Bernard (Bunny) Dempsey M 2030    
Raymond J Desveaux M 1288    
Pat R. Diotte M 2206    
Peter L. Manderson M 3113 E  
John (Jake) McLaughlin M 3796 E  
Robert (Trapper) Newman M 906    
René Smith M 2498    
Terry F Whalen, Sr. M 2050    
Councillor Ward 1/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 1
Reg Falconer M 759 E inc./sort.
Jamie James M 206    
Councillor Ward 2/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 2
Mike Connors M 80    
Ned E.J. Manderson M 550 E inc./sort.
Esther (Es) Nye F 79    
Bill Treadwell M 502    
Councillor Ward 3/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 3
Harry Hoekman M accl. E  
Councillor Ward 4/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 4
Wendy M Chadwick F 377 E inc./sort.
Allison J Furlotte M 276    
Carmel Elizabeth Hambrook F 300    
Councillor Ward 5/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 5
Lisa Harris F 879 E  
Shawn Power M 540    
Councillor Ward 6/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 6
Scotty H. Bernard M accl. E inc./sort.
Councillor Ward 7/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 7
Peter J Malley M 474    
Martin J. McIntyre M 614 E inc./sort.
Councillor Ward 8/Conseiller(ère) Quartier 8
Brian J. King M accl. E inc./sort.

Disclaimer- This is not meant as defamation to any of the people listed here and as general assumptions based on numbers. I do not know anyone on this list. Nor, do I have plans of endorsing any of them,, this is meant as a example of a mixed “at large”/”ward” system as proposed by Saint John council.Okay, looking at the “at large” group this is very typical there are 4 strong people elected, 5 moderately liked, and 2 “also rans.” Wards 3, 6, and 8 didn’t even have a council candidate, which probably had lower voter turn out. Also with Ward 3 it was a new candidate which means only 25 people (who signed a piece of paper) really had a say in whether or not that person would be a good councillor.

Assuming that all wards are pretty equal in population Ward 4 there really wasn’t that many that voted and no one really got more votes than the other, this is an example as a “weak” ward. Where as Wards 2 and 5 had very strong candidates and the second place candidate was more popular than the people elected in number 4.

This system is not good enough. Here is the system I think would work if wards were to work. For Saint John to have 6 Wards and 4 “at large” and all candidates will run for their ward. On the ballot you will have the candidates residing in your ward on the top for you to choose 1. And and option “I choose to not have any of the above candidates”. And is that option is the majority then that seat is added to the at large pool. This would protect from unwanted people being acclaimed/elected. Then the rest of the candidates from other wards would be listed for you to choose up to 4 people. If the person is the top in their ward, then they would become elected. Then all the votes will be combined city wide for the top 4 (or more to total 10 councillors if a ward was not elected) people that were elected “at large” that did not win their own ward. And the person city wide that receives the most votes becomes Deputy Mayor.