I observed the Mississauga by-election with some interest.

Three short thoughts on the results.

1) People vote when they feel it matters.

2) Too simplistic does not work.

3) Name recognition matters – Too Much

Voter Turnout

Carolyn Parrish won with 43,494 votes, nearly 8500 more than the runner-up.

As expected, by-election voter turnout was lower at 25.7 percent.

This is an increased city-wide turnout compared to the 2022 regular election turnout of 21.8 percent.

On voter turnout, the 2022 election was not competitive, with Bonnie Crombie facing no serious challenger, winning with 78.47 percent of votes.

People vote when they feel it matters.

Too Simplistic Does Not Work and Distracts

Third-place candidate Dipika Damerla made opposition to the Bloor Street redesign project, which includes adding bike lanes to the main east-west arterial road, a key plank of her campaign.

Damerla claimed the bike lanes along Bloor Street in Toronto “has resulted in complete chaos and gridlock” and vowed to oppose many planned bike lanes in Mississauga.

The result was Damerla’s other platform positions were forgotten. Opposition to bike lanes became her campaign’s brand.

She ended up with a respectable third-place showing, but there appears to be a ceiling for candidates who attempt the anti-bike lane wedge.

Name Recognition Matters – Too Much

Carolyn Parrish enjoyed significant name recognition. She’s held elected office in Mississauga since 1993. First as a federal member of parliament (best known nationally for her 2004 removal from the federal Liberal caucus), and since 2006 as a city councillor with the exception of the 2010-14 term.

Parrish began with a wide lead in the polls, skipped debates, and ran a campaign of safe bullet points.

Runner-up Alvin Tedjo ran on a ‘generational change’ platform (including installing more bike lanes) and ran an excellent campaign.

He could not overtake Parrish’s name recognition.

This written, his strong showing will increase the attention he receives from the media in the coming years, and he’ll become a beneficiary of name recognition in the low information environment that is municipal elections.


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1 Comment

  1. Excellent article on takeaways from the mayoral election. The election campaign has exposed disturbing issues when it should be about new ideas and respect for each council-member candidate.

    Carolyn Parrish said her debate comments were misrepresented for a “narrative”. Subsequently, she declined election debates as her staff was “personally threatened.” The election race then took on an abrasive and disrespectful turn. The voters were watching.

    The following may have landed Ward 7 councillor Dipika Damerla into 3rd place.

    Dipika Damerla publicly said, “Carolyn Parrish’s worst enemy is Carolyn Parrish” and Damerla also referenced Parrish’s, “racist and discriminatory comments,” and called her “divisive.” Dipika Damerla’s X-Post placed Carolyn Parrish’s face on a milk-carton for missing children’s photos! The post states, “Every time she speaks, she embarrasses herself,” and “Mississauga deserves better.”

    At Food Banks Mississauga’s debate, Dipika Damerla opened with, “Carolyn, where are you? You want to lead Ontario’s third-largest city but you’re hiding. You’re missing. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid you’ll make inappropriate comments and continue to embarrass yourself and reveal who you are when you speak in public?”

    Dipika Damerla stated, “I’m the MOST experienced candidate running,” and she is the “only one who can beat Carolyn Parrish.”

    Dipika Damerla’s X-Post states that as mayor she WILL STOP the Bloor Street Bicycle Project and she signed a PETITION disrespecting council’s final decision on the issue. Has Dipika Damerla gone rogue pandering and promoting the use of strong-mayor powers?

    Dipika Damerla’s MARC mandatory city inspections for apartment buildings can generate substantial rent increases from landlord AGI’s making rents LESS AFFORDABLE.

    Dipika Damerla was FOREWARNED of risking rent increases by Daryl Chong as, “raising costs for landlords would mean HIGHER RENTS.” City Council Meeting Nov 20/2019 (Public Information)

    In 2022, Dipika Damerla’s council seat was vacant without a proxy for an extended time (disrespecting city council) while she failed a Provincial race campaign.

    Councillor Stephen Dasko said of Dipika Damerla, “I don’t think she has a friend on council” and she’s, “not being transparent” and, “not being truthful” regarding her empty promises. CBC Debate May 30/24

    Councillor Chris Fonseca accused Dipika Damerla of violating City Code of Conduct, lacking integrity, undermining council’s decision, poor governance, instilling anger and hate and misleading Mississauga residents. General Committee Meeting May 8/2024 (Public Information)

    Brian Crombie accused Dipika Damerla of “LYING.” CP24 Debate May 29/24

    Do bicycle lanes really have a place in Mississauga’s future? You’re damn right they do!

    Mississauga city council must exercise integrity on all fronts. The council members are John Kovac, Stephen Dasko, Alvin Tedjo, Chris Fonseca, Joe Horneck, Dipika Damerla, Matt Mahoney, Martin Reid, Natalie Hart, Sue McFadden and Brad Butt.

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