Hamilton, Ontario municipal election, 1997

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Hamilton Municipal Election, 1997
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← 1994 November 10, 1997 2000 →
Candidate Bob Morrow Dave Snowdon Kristina Heaton
Party Independent Independent Independent
Popular vote 58,414 4,996 4,642
Percentage 75.1% 6.4% 5.9%

  BrianMcHattie2009.jpg PaulDeckerMayoral91.png
Candidate Brian McHattie Paul Decker Waylon MacDonald
Party Independent Independent Independent
Popular vote 4,254 3,462 1,404
Percentage 5.4% 4.5% 1.8%

Candidate Wendel Fields
Party Independent
Popular vote 610
Percentage 0.9%

Mayor before election

Bob Morrow

Elected Mayor

Bob Morrow

The 1997 Hamilton municipal election was held on November 10, 1997, to select one Mayor, one regional chairperson, seventeen members of the Hamilton, Ontario City Council, elected on a two-tier basis, as well as members of both the English and French Public and Catholic School Boards.[1] The suburban communities of Ancaster, Flambrough, Glanbrook, Dundas and Stoney Creek, each elected town councils for the last time before amalgamation.[2]

Voter turnout remained steady in 1997, amidst events such as Premier Mike Harris' Common Sense Revolution service cuts, the Plastimet Fire, and plebiscites on smoking by-laws and a proposed casino.[2]

New measures[edit]

For the 1997 election, the City of Hamilton switched from paper ballots to a new automated voting system. This system saw voters mark their choices on a paper ballot, enclose it in a 'privacy sleeve' and feed it into a computer that automatically tabulated the results.[3]

Mayoral Election[edit]

Official Candidates[edit]

  • Incumbent Mayor Bob Morrow sought, and won, a sixth term in 1997. His campaign was centered around the establishment of a one-tier 'megacity', and the lowering of downtown taxes.[4]
  • Civil Servant Dave Snowdon was an employee of Human Resources Development Canada and called the east Mountain home. The 31-year-old father of two focused on making the city a more inclusive community, especially in respects to youth, increased investment in the downtown core and promoted environmentally responsible issues.[5]
  • Fitness Instructor Kristina Heaton was the first female contender for the position since 1978, and campaigned on uniting environmental groups across the city, establishing a monitoring system to investigate cases of animal abuse and increasing police foot-patrols in the downtown core.[6]
  • Future city councillor Brian McHattie ran on an environmentally conscious platform that promoted practical spending, and supported an inquiry into the Plastimet disaster, improving municipal air quality and upgrading the city's sewer system.[7]
  • Paul Decker was the automotive manager of a Canadian Tire store in Dundas, and ran in the 1994 Election, finishing second to Mayor Morrow. Though known in his community for his volunteer work and commitment to municipal affairs, he was arrested a year after the 1997 Election on charges of defrauding his employer for under $1,500.[8]
  • College student Waylon MacDonald, who was training to be a machinist at the time of the election, advocated a reversal of the downtown conversion to one-way streets and focused on reducing the debt.[6]
  • An unemployed moulder in 1997, Wendel Fields, who was also a former candidate for the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada in the riding of Hamilton West in 1997, promoted the idea of establishing 'people's councils' to ensure Hamiltonians had a say in the direction of their tax-dollars, as well as lowering taxes for small businesses, while raising them for large corporations.[6]


e • d  Summary of the November 10, 1997 Hamilton, Ontario, Mayoral Election
Candidate Popular vote
Votes % ±%
Bob Morrow (incumbent) 58,486 75.11% -12.11%
Dave Snowdon 4,998 6.41% n/a
Kristina Heaton 4,647 5.98% n/a
Brian McHattie 4,255 5.46% n/a
Paul Decker 3,468 4.45% -0.06%
Waylon MacDonald 1,407 1,81% n/a
Wendell Fields 611 0.78% n/a
Total votes 77,872 100%
Registered voters n/a n/a n/a
Note: All Hamilton Municipal Elections are officially non-partisan.
Note: Candidate campaign colours are based on the prominent colour used in campaign items (signs, literature, etc.)
and are used as a visual differentiation between candidates.
Sources: Election Results, "The Hamilton Spectator", November 12, 1997, News, Pg. 4.

City Council election[edit]

Candidate Votes %
Ward 1
Mary Kiss (incumbent) 4,560 29.2%
Marvin Caplan (incumbent) 4,125 26.4%
Cam Nolan 3,848 25%
Sarah Whatmough 3,059 19.4%
Total valid votes 15,589 100.00
  • Mary Kiss successfully ran for a sixth term in 1997, promoting her personal record of constituency work and environmental advocacy, as well as highlighting the very small tax increases that have occurred during her tenure on council.[9]
  • Incumbent Marvin Caplan made a successful bid for a second term as Ward One's junior councillor in 1997, promoting his advocacy on downtown issues and promoting social justice.[10]
  • Second-time candidate Cam Nolan was the executive director of the Hamilton Construction Association at the time and ran on a fiscal responsibility and anti-incumbency platform.[10]
  • Newcomer Sarah Whatmough, owner of multiple gas stations across the city, campaigned against bureaucratic red-tape and promoted direct-democracy in dealing with municipal issues.[10] As Sarah Thomson, she would later run for Mayor of Toronto in 2010 and as a Liberal candidate in the 2011 Ontario election.
Candidate Votes %
Ward 2
Andrea Horwath 3,587 28.1%
Ron Corsini 3,364 26.4%
Vince Agro (incumbent) 2,097 16.4%
Bill McCulloch (incumbent) 2,097 16.4%
Jason Capobianco 902 7.1%
John Kenyon 512 4%
Jim Savage 208 1.6%
Total valid votes 12,767 100.00
  • Andrea Horwath, 35 years old at the time, was a community organizer, and campaigned on a platform of bringing change to City Council after nearly 3 decades of the same representation for Ward Two.[11]
  • Rob Corsini was the owner of Corsini Supermarkets and a member of the Ontario Liberal Party, who campaigned on restoring the economic health of the downtown core following the Plastimet fire, an industrial disaster that affected the northern portion of the ward, assisted heavily by Hamilton West MP Stan Keyes.[12][13]
  • Vince Agro, a councillor of 25 years, campaigned on the importance of dealing with the coming provincial downloading on a case-by-case basis, as well as highlighting his experience.[12]
  • A councillor for 31 years, Bill McCulloch, ran solely on his experience, maintaining that proven leadership was the most effective way to run a city. He caused some controversy by writing off Horwath and Corsini's candidacies, saying, "Let me suggest we need one person with experience. If all of a sudden we were to get rid of everyone with experience, the new people wouldn't know where the washroom is!"[12]
  • 26-year-old financial planner Jason Capobianco ran against amalgamation and provincial downloading, saying he would refuse to accept any provincial proposal to change the status quo.[12]
  • John Kenyon was manager of the Payne Music House on King Street East and campaigned on bringing change and new ideas to the table, as well as lowering business taxes in the core[14][15]
  • Jim Savage, who was associated with the Corktown Community Association, ran on a reformist platform, calling for a new perspective in city politics and a reduction in business taxes.[16]

Suburban Town Council Elections[edit]


Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Mayor[17]
Bob Wade (incumbent) acclaimed
  • Despite being acclaimed, Wade fought provincial downloading and grappled with Ancaster's new commercial development, the Meadowlands Power Centre.[17]
Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Deputy-Mayor[17]
Ann Sloat (incumbent) 3,218 57%
Phil Winer 2,467 43%
Total valid votes 5,685 100.00
Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Ward One Councillor[17]
Murray Ferguson (incumbent) acclaimed
Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Ward Two Councillor[17]
Barry Kent 622 64%
Scott McCallum 355 36%
Total valid votes 977 100.00
Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Ward Three Councillor[17]
Brad Khun (incumbent) acclaimed
Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Ward Four Councillor[17]
Bryan Kerman (incumbent) 793 51%
Larry Weber 773 49%
Total valid votes 1566 100.00
Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Ward Five Councillor[17]
Luanne Robertson (incumbent) acclaimed
Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Catholic School Board Trustee[17]
Carolyn Cornale (incumbent) 1,275 53%
Philomena Newberry 1,114 437%
Total valid votes 2,389 100.00
Candidate Votes %
Ancaster Public School Board Trustee[17]
Bruce Wallace (incumbent) acclaimed

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clairmont, Susan. "This time, the choice is all about change," The Hamilton Spectator, November 10, 1997, Local News (A4)
  2. ^ a b Clairmont, "This time, the choice is all about change," (A4)
  3. ^ Clairmont, Susan. "Who is eligible, and new machines," The Hamilton Spectator, November 10, 1997, Local News (A4)
  4. ^ Cox, Christine. "Still fire in Morrow's belly," The Hamilton Spectator, November 11, 1997, Election Review (B1).
  5. ^ Prokaska, Lee. "Mountain resident off and running for mayor," The Hamilton Spectator, October 7, 1997, Local News (A10).
  6. ^ a b c Cox, Christine. "A reach for the top: Six mayoral challengers want to take Bob Morrow's job away from him," The Hamilton Spectator, October 29, 1997, Local News (A4).
  7. ^ The Hamilton Spectator. "Environmentalist in mayor's race: Brian McHattie enters bid to unseat Bob Morrow", The Hamilton Spectator, October 10, 1997, Local News (A5).
  8. ^ Cox, Christine. "Decker facing jail term: Ex-mayoralty candidate pleads guilty to theft, fraud charges", April 9, 1998, Local News (A3)."
  9. ^ Hughes, Rick. "Voters cozy up to Kiss, Caplan: Tough campaigns fall short for Nolan and Whatmough", November 11, 1997, Election Review (B7).
  10. ^ a b c Huges, "Voters cozy up to Kiss, Caplan: Tough campaigns fall short for Nolan and Whatmough" (B7).
  11. ^ McNeil, Mark. "Voters clean house, boot out incumbents: Horwath, Corsini sweep into office," The Hamilton Spectator, November 11, 1997, Election Review (B3).
  12. ^ a b c d McNeil. "Voters clean house, boot out incumbents: Horwath, Corsini sweep into office," (B3).
  13. ^ Dreschel, Andrew. "Time for new blood at city hall," The Hamilton Spectator, August 20, 1997, Local News (A3).
  14. ^ Dreschel. "Time for new blood at city hall," (A3).
  15. ^ McNeil, Mark. "Heart problems: A declining downtown and fallout from Plastimet fire top issues in Ward 2," The Hamilton Spectator, October 31, 1997, Local News (A8).
  16. ^ McNeil. "Heart problems: A declining downtown and fallout from Plastimet fire top issues in Ward 2," (A8).
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hanley, Mike. "Two new faces for Ancaster: Majority of council unchanged," The Hamilton Spectator, November 11, 1997, Election Review (B7)