The race for Westmount city council heated up this week with word that lifelong Westmounter Victory Drury is seriously considering making a run, while Ste. Catherine Street resident Gary Ikeman has confirmed that his name will also be on the Nov. 1 ballot.
“I’m giving it very serious consideration; there are just a couple of things that have to be settled,” Drury told the Examiner, adding that he would be in a better position to confirm his decision later this week.
“I’ve been an active member of this community for several decades now, and it’s a community that I hold very near and dear to my heart,” Drury said. “I think the time has come for me to step up to the plate and play a public role. I have always felt that being an elected representative is the highest calling of all, and I think my time is now.”
While this would be the first time Drury runs for public office, it is well known that he has served more than once as an advisor and organizer for several leading local political figures, including former mayors Peter Trent and Karin Marks. He is the son of former Westmount Liberal MP and cabinet minister Charles Drury.
Should he decide to run, Drury said it could be for the District 1 seat currently occupied by city councillor Patrick Martin.
Martin has previously stated he will be seeking a second term. Drury said he might also consider other districts depending on the circumstances. “I’m looking seriously at District 1, but any other that may become open, as well,” he said. “Until that is established, I’m not in a position to declare. That’s what I want to settle, obviously: where I’m going to be running.”
While Martin and Trent are both potential candidates for the mayoralty, neither has made a formal declaration so far.
When asked if he was taking a position with regards to the mayoralty race, Drury replied, “I know exactly where I stand in terms of that. I am very, very supportive of one of the two candidates that haven’t yet declared. That would be Peter Trent.” Drury also said that he has recently been speaking to Trent, and those conversations have shaped his decision to run.
Although Gary Ikeman has been an outspoken critic of the current city administration on a number of issues — most notably the arena/pool reconstruction project and traffic in his neighbourhood — he will not necessarily be concentrating on these in his campaign.
“I have a background in problem solving in business and scarce resource allocation, and I believe that every municipality has resource issues that have to be dealt with setting priorities and dealing with scarce resources,” he said.
“We sometimes have to make very difficult decisions that balance priorities and give satisfactory quality of life to everybody in whatever society, and I believe that applies to Westmount as it does to every other city — or every other country, for that matter. And I have a lot of experience in dealing with those issues.”
While he may have gotten involved in city politics largely as a result of the arena and pool project, Ikeman insisted, “The problems that we’ve seen with the arena project are really symptomatic of the deeper problem, which is management, resource allocation and good solid decision making. Those are the issues that got me involved.”
Ikeman is expected to run in District 5, currently held by city councillor George Bowser, who has confirmed that he will not seek re-election.
Also this week, District 2 city councillor Tom Thompson, who is finishing his third term, announced that he will not run again. “This gives someone else the opportunity to help with the operations of the city,” he told the Examiner. “I have had the honour to serve the citizens.”