Recent News

Time for Action!

November 20, 2013 – It’s been almost two months since Better Choices Waterloo Region held two well-attended public meetings in Cambridge and Kitchener to introduce ourselves and our goals for next year’s municipal elections. We have done a lot of work since those meetings, and would like to share our news with you in this message.

The comments and suggestions from the wide range of community members attending the September meetings formed the basis for identifying key issues and desired candidate characteristics. These comments and suggestions also informed decisions about who should make the ultimate selection of endorsed candidates, and how. As a result of these meetings, Better Choices Waterloo Region will better reflect the democratic and progressive policies we’d like to see in the Region of Waterloo.

It’s time now to ask you to start working together with us! A lengthy message with all the details follows below.

Our Issues, Our Candidates

The quality of input at our two public meetings in September was excellent.  It was clear that many people have put a lot of time and thought into what would make our municipalities more progressive and responsive to the needs of our citizens.

When we looked at what you told us were the most important issues municipally, and what kind of candidates you wanted to see representing you, it all boiled down to four key issues and three main characteristics.

Our Issues

  1. Strengthening our Local Economy

  2. Building an Open and Inclusive Government

  3. Creating a Livable and Sustainable Community

  4. Addressing Poverty

Our Candidates

  1. Knowledgeable and seeks information

  2. Electable

  3. Shows Leadership

A report describing each of these issues and characteristics in detail, as well as how we gathered the information at our September public meetings, is on our Issues and Candidates page.

Decision-Making Structure

At our September public meetings, we asked people to help shape the decision-making structure for our broad, non-partisan coalition. Many of these people came to two subsequent public meetings in October, where an Executive of ten-twelve people was created to make key decisions on candidate endorsement and campaign strategy.

We decided these were reasonable rules to guide our Executive:

  • As much as possible, the Executive should have gender parity, represent the diversity of issues identified to be of interest to Better Choices, and represent all geographical areas of Waterloo Region.

  • Meetings of the Executive will be open to all supporters of Better Choices Waterloo Region

  • No candidate or potential candidate may be a member of the Executive.

  • No candidate or potential candidate may be present when decisions about candidate endorsement or campaign strategy affecting endorsed candidates are to be discussed.

  • Guests at Executive meetings will have voice but no vote.

We believe we have an Executive that meets our desired diversity. You can take a look at our Executive members and which Better Choices issues they are most interested in on our About Us page.

The Executive will meet monthly from now until next October. We will post the meeting dates on our website and promote them through our various communications channels. Our next two meetings are December 11th and January 15th.

Time to Start the Work

We received many offers at our September public meetings from volunteers (that’s you!) to help us in our work of evaluating our incumbent Councillors and Trustees and recruiting new candidates. We’re ready to get started with you on this important work.

There are three main categories of tasks associated with evaluating candidates:

  1. Sharing information about incumbents

  2. Gathering information about incumbents

  3. Recruiting new potential candidates

We have put together materials for you (and your friends, and new volunteers!) to help us with that work. And it’s all on our website under Endorsement Process.

What do you think of our current representatives?

To evaluate our incumbent Councillors and Trustees, we have created forms which ask you to assess their positions on Better Choices issues and the characteristics they do or don’t possess. If you have information to share on some of the incumbents because of your experience working with or observing them, you can either fill out the form yourself or contact us to have one of our information gatherers connect with you to pick your brain.

If you don’t necessarily have opinions on the incumbents, but would be willing to help gather information from others, then tell us, and we’ll connect you with the Information sharers! And of course, one great way to form your own opinions is to attend a Council or School Board meeting yourself: take some forms (or your smartphone) with you and fill out your own assessments of the incumbents! Now is a good time to start doing that, as most Councils are debating their budgets for next year: a crucial time to witness their true colours!

Do you know progressive people who might run?

It’s also time to start finding progressive people who might consider putting their names forward as candidates. We have put together a Candidate Recruitment Package to help you be recruiters. We want everybody’s help in identifying potential candidates. If you think someone would be a good candidate, please share that information by filling out a Potential Candidate Form. We will co-ordinate who approaches each person and keep track of the responses.

Our Endorsement Process

We will start endorsing candidates as early as January for next October’s elections. That’s because we want to give our endorsed candidates the opportunity to run a serious campaign and to promote that they are endorsed by Better Choices Waterloo Region. We will offer them the use of our logo for their campaign literature and lawn signs, among other supports.

For that reason, we will contact all 74 incumbents of the municipal Councils and School Boards in Waterloo Region this month to tell them what we are doing and why. All candidates seeking our endorsement will be required to complete a questionnaire based on Better Choices issues.

Once we receive a completed candidate questionnaire, our Executive will schedule a face-to-face interview with the candidate. Then, the Executive will assess that candidate based on the questionnaire, the interview, any information gathered by our volunteers, and other strategic considerations. The Executive may decide to make or deny an endorsement right away, or it may decide to defer a decision until it has more information about a particular race.

All endorsement decisions will be made by August 2014: no candidate questionnaires will be accepted after August 1st.

We need your help now to gather up information on incumbents and start talking to potential candidates!

If you have any questions, just email us at or leave a phone message for us at the Labour Council office, who have agreed to pass messages on to us right away.

Let’s start the work of creating Better Choices for Waterloo Region now!


The Executive of Better Choices Waterloo Region

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Campaign Issues, Candidate Characteristics Identified

Better Choices Waterloo Region has identified the commitments and characteristics it would like to see from the candidates it will endorse for municipal council and school board elections in 2014.

Participants at public meetings held in September 2013 identified their top priorities for next year’s elections. The broad themes were:

  1. Strengthening our Local Economy
  2. Building an Open and Inclusive Government
  3. Creating a Liveable and Sustainable Community
  4. Addressing Poverty

Participants also identified the qualities they would like to see in potential candidates for endorsement. The broad themes were:

  1. Knowledgeable and seeks information
  2. Electable
  3. Leadership

To read the full six-page report from our September public meetings, click here.

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October 10 Follow-Up Meeting

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 7pm
Labour Council offices,
203-120 Ottawa St N
Kitchener (Value Village Mall)

Many people who attended our public information meetings in September offered to volunteer for our various roles. Now we need to get organized and put people to work.

Our first order of business at this meeting will be to finalize our decision-making structure, and to agree on how our Executive Committee should continue to consult and communicate with everyone who wants to be part of Better Choices.

If you want to be part of the strategic decisions for Better Choices, this is the meeting to attend!

Please let us know if you plan to come: we’ll have to move to a bigger location if the crowd is beyond a certain size! RSVP to

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Report on September Public Info Meetings

Great Turnout for Public Info Meetings Sept 17 & 19!

Over 80 people attended public information meetings on Better Choices Waterloo Region in Cambridge and Kitchener on September 17th and 19th.  Event organizers presented a proposed structure for involving volunteers in tasks to identify and support progressive candidates, and conducted a consultation on key issues people wanted to see in their municipal and school board candidates.  Full reports and next meeting dates will be posted on this website soon!


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Public Information Meetings September 17 & 19

Come hear more about the Better Choices coalition, and how you can contribute!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013, 7pm-David Durward Centre Dining Hall, 62 Dickson Street, Cambridge

Thursday, September 19, 2013, 7pm
-Rockway Centre Auditorium, 1405 King Street East, Kitchener

These meetings will provide a history of Better Choices Waterloo Region, who we are, who we want to engage with, describe how groups and individuals can get involved, and will be our first chance to discuss policy priorities for the 2014 election.

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Welcome to Better Choices Waterloo Region

Municipal governments deliver important services that everyone in our community relies on, from public transit to recreation centres, social services, and public health. They also build and operate a lot of the infrastructure we all rely on, including roads, libraries, and community centres. Municipal governments play an important role in addressing issues such as poverty, community safety, accessibility, and the health of our environment. Better Choices Waterloo Region will work hard to ensure that you have strong candidates on the ballot who will dedicate themselves to a better, healthier, and fairer Waterloo Region.

Who are we? Better Choices Waterloo Region is a broad, non-partisan coalition of progressive individuals and organizations committed to building a better Waterloo Region through active participation in the 2014 Municipal Elections.

We are people from throughout Waterloo Region working together to create a better, more progressive Waterloo Region.

We will begin holding meetings in the fall of 2013, and begin the process of endorsing candidates in early 2014. Want to stay up to date? Click here for updates, Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter.

Be sure to check back often as we continue to develop the BCWR coalition and information and links to our endorsed candidates in races in Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo, the townships, and the public and Catholic school boards.

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