Candidates Not Living in Ward 7 Fire Back After Mayor's Comments

am800-news-ballot-box-istock

Several candidates in Ward 7's by-election are firing back after comments made by Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.

As heard on AM800 News, Dilkens says residents can narrow down their choices by eliminating those who don't live in the ward. 

"There are people from South Windsor running, so if you remove the folks who don't even live in your ward that's something you can consider," he says. "You're electing someone to sit around the table to spend your tax dollars and this is an $850-million corporation."

Four of the 12 candidates vying to fill Irek Kusmierczyk’s seat after he was elected Liberal MP for Windsor-Tecumseh don't live in Ward 7 — Igor Dziak, Farah El-Hajj, Ernie Lamont and Howard Weeks.

Kusmierczyk also didn't live in Ward 7 when he won a by-election to replace NDP MPP Percy Hatfield in 2013 and later moved to the area.

El-Hajj lives in south Windsor and feels it's unfair to centre her out.

"Moving to the ward is one of my top priorities should I win," she says. "Throughout this whole campaign we've been focused on the residents and issues that matter most to them and bringing those to the forefront."

She says she previously worked in Ward 7 and has family living near Forest Glade so she spends a lot of time in the area. 

"Living in the ward doesn't guarantee a deep understanding of what the residents' priorities are," she says.

Howard Weeks lives in Walkerville and says he also plans on moving to Ward 7 if he wins.

He tells AM800 News Kusmierczyk did the same thing and it seemed to work out fine.

"As far as I can tell from a lot of peoples' opinions, he did a very good job for them," says Weeks. "People shouldn't stop themselves from voting for someone because of their present address."

Weeks says he hasn't had voters raise an issue with where he lives while canvassing.

"The roads, infrastructure, speeding, crime and flooding, all these issue people seem to be much more interested in talking about," he says. "I'm not going to come down anybody for having their opinion about what's important and what's not important."

Greg Lemay, Michelle Gajewski, Jeewen Gill, Barb Holland, Michael Malott, Angelo Marignani, Thérèse Papineau and Albert Saba are also in running in Ward 7.

A polling station will be set up at the WFCU Centre 8787 McHugh St. for Monday's vote.