Election 2018: Who are the PRATAC Candidates

The Pakenham Ramsay Almonte Taxpayers Advocacy Coalition Inc, a.k.a. PRATAC, has emerged as a force in the upcoming election. It has used inflammatory information to whip up support, especially in rural areas. Given the group’s strong opinions on local issues—e.g., they are against bike paths, against the heritage conservation district, and for ATV use along the OVRT in Almonte, and given their members have a goal to put one of their followers in every position on the new council, voters may like to know who the PRATAC candidates are.

PRATAC has not published an endorsement list available to the public. They probably won’t. When I asked PRATAC president Brian Gallagher by email for their preferred candidate list, he replied, “Our list of potential candidates was extended to any resident of Mississippi Mills unhappy with the performance of the present council.” For a group demanding transparency, that was a very opaque answer.

In the absence of an official list, I attempt here to build one based on available info and statements.

All four mayor candidates say they are not a PRATAC member nor have its endorsement. Based on her platform and voting record, Christa Lowry is clearly not a PRATAC wannabee. Paul Watters has often taken a position on Council in line with PRATAC policy, but insists he’s not their man. Ken Laframboise says, while not a member, he’d welcome their endorsement.

When asked by email, Steve Maynard seemed angered by the question and replied, “I am nobody’s puppet.” But, he did not deny it. He is the obvious choice. When PRATAC used to publish meeting minutes (back in its transparency days), he was at many executive meetings giving advice. When he wanted to raise funds for an OMB challenge, he arranged with PRATAC to help collect the money. Two of his rivals for mayor say they’ve been told Maynard is PRATAC’s choice.

Steve Maynard has held joint campaign events with Vicki Barr McDougal, Jan Maydan and John Dalgity. Candidates don’t do this unless they are closely aligned in their views.

I leave it to the reader to decide.

This one is easy. John Levi has worn a PRATAC t-shirt to public meetings. His anti-Council message is in line with the their creed, even though Levi, while mayor, was party to some of the decisions dissenting candidates now rage against.
Levi at the December 14 public meeting

At the September 19 all-candidates meeting, Mario Coculuzzi implied he was a PRATAC member. When answering a question, he referenced the organization and used “we” in his sentence.

At the September 12 candidates meeting for Ramsay and Almonte councillors, one resident asked point-blank for each to declare if they were a PRATAC member. Most said they are not involved now (it seems they have distanced themselves during the election).The PRATAC website lists Jan Maydan as a director on leave, and it lists John Dalgity as the media coordinator. Both are Almonte candidates. Cynthia Guerard admitted to being a member last year (her husband Kevin is a director). Bev Holmes confirmed she is a current member. The latter two are Ramsay candidates.

There are two candidates for Pakenham ward. Denzil Ferguson is not a member, which leaves Vicki Barr McDougall as the only PRATAC possibility. (Denny admits to once taking a membership so that he could attend one of the group's meetings.)


Donnie McLeod said...

Why truth is so important in democracy.

Donnie McLeod


Unknown said...

Thanks Shaun. Good to have a clear picture of the PRATAC slate of candidates. My concern is if a majority of those candidates get in, where is the decision making going to come from, council or the PRATAC executive? And what delineates them from an ad hoc political party?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, this is extremely helpful.
I have been trying to figure this out since the start of the campaign.
Funny how greater transparency features so prominently in the candidate’s platforms, but several seem to have trouble answering this one simple question.

Keep them on their toes!!