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Ward Two showdown will be one to watch in Hamilton

Ward Two showdown will be one to watch in Hamilton

The battle lines are drawn in Hamilton’s Ward Two in what could be one of the most interesting council races, with Coun. Jason Farr’s announcement that he will run for re-election. It will be round two of the contest between Farr and Cameron Kroetsch who ran in 2018 and lost to Farr by 1,100 votes. Kroetsch has been running non-stop since then and is supported by IElect co-founders Graham Crawford and Ryan Patrick Moran. I elect has called for wholesale changes on council. Inner city activists have criticized Farr for his stand against homeless encampments, but Farr has said taxpayers generally do not want the encampments in the Ward’s parks.

At a recent council meeting Farr ticked off a number of affordable housing projects he has supported and, in his announcement, said “I will continue to maintain momentum on downtown revitalization, enhance public safety with greater and smarter policing and bring hundreds more affordable housing units to Ward 2. I have always maintained our Ward is a place where EVERYONE counts.” Friday, Farr announced the Jamesville redevelopment project had been approved. It will create 160 affordable rental homes plus 287 market condo stacked towns, in the area just north of the West Harbour GO station.

The contest promises to be something of an ideological showdown between inner-city activism and Farr’s brand of pragmatism. In his announcement he noted, “You are paying more every day for the essentials and I will lead with the mandate to not pile on to your already overly stretched household budget. It is time to get back to basics, focus on needs while moving this great city forward.”

The former broadcaster was first elected to the council seat in 2010, narrowly beating out a field of 20 candidates. He was handily re-elected in 2014, and again in 2018 when he garnered just under 48 percent of the vote against Kroetsch and six other candidates. This year, in addition to Kroetsch, Raquel Rakovac, Robin McKee and Shahan Aaron are running.

Farr ran as a Liberal in the recent provincial election in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, losing to Conservative Neil Lumsden.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of the story said IElect supported Kroetsch over Farr. The organization has criticized Farr in several tweets but has not officially endorsed Kroetsch; however IElect co-founders Graham Crawford and Ryan Patrick Moran have been critical of Farr on their personal social media accounts on more than 70 occasions.

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