Backroom Briefing Q: What Is The Working Relationship Between The City & MPP Jeff Leal's Office Like?

Note: This is the 4th column of David Goyette's "Backroom Briefing" for PTBOCanada. For more info on it, click here.


Q: David, Jeff and I would be interested in having your take on the working relationship between our offices. —Pat Melanson, Executive Assistant to Peterborough MPP Jeff Leal.

Goyette: For many decades, provincial governments have been enamoured with a description of municipal governments as “creatures of the provinces.” This phrase is technically accurate, in that cities like Peterborough are created by the Province of Ontario and are its constitutional responsibility: as a rule, the City’s functions, finance and governance all depend on provincial authorization.

However, the “creatures” reference has occasionally taken on an imperial and even paternalistic aren’t you a cute and fuzzy little creature tone, as if to offer to municipalities the constitutional caution that we the province brought you into this world and we the province can take you out.   

Jeff Leal and his staff are different. MPP Leal had 18 years of experience as a Peterborough City Councillor. He’s seen both sides of the intergovernmental divide and his consistently respectful and collegial approach to City Hall is a terrific local asset. In other places, including a number where I have worked, some heavy duty barriers to the provincial-municipal relationship can easily get in the way: political partisanship; assumptions of superiority; competition for media; and exclusivity in scheduling. This is one aspect of life where competition does not produce superior results.  

Here’s how the Office of the Mayor and the Office of the MPP typically work together:

*We are in contact with each other weekly.

*We share notice and details on emerging provincial and municipal issues.

*We share information on prospective investment/job creation opportunities.

*We receive assistance in terms of gaining access to and promoting causes with provincial Ministers.

*We receive notice and briefing on provincial funding announcements.

*We undertake high level event management such as the visit of the Prime Minister and the Premier for last fall’s airport opening.

*We direct and refer constituents to each other’s offices for assistance.

*We make arrangements for joint announcements, including those that take place in the Council Chamber.

Because we are relatively few in number and we share in the experience of life in a fishbowl, there is a camaraderie that binds all politicians and political staff. Without doubt, we have the most fascinating conversations with each other, encompassing not only public policy, but political personality, political strategy, and the risk and reward of decision making.

To be certain, the MPP does the business of the Province and the Mayor and Council do the business of the City. The fact that there are more factors that bring the two together than drive them apart is a testimony to a shared desire for the best in public service. 


David Goyette is the Executive Assistant to Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett. For more on his Backroom Briefing column, click here. Email your burning questions for David about City Hall to

Tip us at Follow us on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada or Like us on Facebook.

Here's What Jeff Leal Had To Say After Being Re-Elected For 3rd Straight Term


Tip us at Follow us on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada.

New Entrance Poll Conducted Locally Reveals Voter Preferences, Reasoning & Behaviour

Heading into the 2011 Provincial election tomorrow, my local polling company Preferences conducted an entrance poll ending October 1, 2011, selecting at random more than 200 respondents (margin of error 6.92%, 19 times out of 20) to not only understand local voter preferences, but also the reasons why people are not voting, why they are undecided, and why they are choosing a specific local candidate.

There have been a number of polls conducted by local media and political associations that have provided percentages on the potential outcome of the 2011 Provincial election, but this poll was conducted by interviewers via telephone as well as through an online survey as opposed to automated systems. We facilitated the collection of open-ended responses which, in our opinion, provides a deeper understanding of voter behaviour.

Several respondents openly stated their exhaustion with elections, but also mentioned that this election differs from the recent Federal election because the Provincial term expired, as opposed to a vote of non-confidence. This may explain why there are almost half the amount of "undecided" respondents compared to the 2011 Federal election entrance poll conducted by Preferences.

As for non-voters, the primary reasons for these respondents to not cast their ballot revolved around their perception of "mud-slinging" and "schoolyard bullying."

Aside from which local candidate is leading, our statistics demonstrate that Jeff Leal is more popular than Liberals/McGuinty (+4.3%); Conservatives/Hudak is more popular than Alan Wilson (+6%), especially among 45-year-old to 55-year-olds; and Dave Nickle is slightly more popular than his leader NDP/Horwath (+2.2%).

Greens maintained the same support for their leader as the local candidate Gary Beamish. The most revealing statistic is demonstrated by Conservative Party/Hudak supporters, who claimed they will be voting for Leal locally (3.9%).

Undecided voters for local candidates (13.5%) expressed that local platforms were "unclear" and "too vague" (even on mail-outs), and that they actually have to perform their own research. Another point of interest demonstrates that some undecided voters know clearly who they do not support as a local candidate, but are unsure of who they would like to support.

As for the reasons why respondents are supporting particular local candidates: Alan Wilson supporters expressed their dissatisfaction with McGuinty’s policies and Hudak's charismatic approach; Nickle supporters mentioned his "experience" in the community "as a teacher" and his recognizable name; and Jeff Leal supporters expressed he has "experience," is "dedicated" and claimed to "know of" or have met him personally.

Paul Teleki is owner of Preferences, a locally-based polling, research and strategic planning company. You can contact him at

Tip us at Follow us on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada.

Here's A Primer On The Five Local Candidates Vying To Be Your MPP (With Pictures!)

MIRIAM ON POLITICSLooking for bright spots in amongst the mire of political verbiage? Me, too. While there’s no shortage of shortcomings in our political process, each of the fellas vying for the job of MPP has his strengths. Here’s what I saw last night (September 13th) at the All Candidates Meeting—beginning with the lesser-knowns:



Ken Ranney (Socialist Party)
He's a good guy to have in situations like an election campaign. When he didn’t have anything to say to a question, he'd pass (how novel). Ken’s liveliness and good use of humour shines through; almost something of a trickster vibe here. Glad to have him in the race.



Gary Beamish (Green)
Gary has a fine ability to bring it all home. Whether responding to questions about the potential dangers of WiFi in schools or taxation policy, Gary was able to relate big issues to real life personal experiences. This guy has lived. He has heart, and humility, and isn’t afraid to show it.



Dave Nickle (NDP)
Dave's a fighter. While it’s not my favourite political style, having someone who had your back would be a good thing in an MPP. If Dave can keep boisterous audience members in their place, you’d have to believe he'd be in our corner in government. And kudos, Dave, for carrying the flag of proportional representation—the only decent idea offered towards engaging more people in democracy.


Alan Wilson (Conservative)
Hmmmm. Well, he’s got the lovely Irish Lilt. That’s pretty fun to listen to.





Jeff Leal (Liberal, incumbent)
At 26 years (and counting?) in elected office, Jeff does seem to really be a hard-working public servant. He’s got that exceptional ability to evade answers to direct questions. And he’s developed a thicker skin than any of the rest could probably ever muster. It can't be easy, and you give it your all.



[pictures of candidates via their election websites]

This is the debut politics column for PtboCanada by Miriam Lyall (aka Miriam Stucky). Former Green Party Candidate. Step-mom extraordinaire. Communications Maven. Check it out:

Tip us at Follow us on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada.

PtboPics: Peterborough Petes Season Ticket Holder BBQ; And Former Petes Captain Steve Webb Rides Into Town For A Good Cause

ABOVE: Petes fan Robert Condon chats with new GM Dave Reid and 2nd year forward Luke Hietcamp during Sunday's Season Ticket Holder BBQ hosted by the team. (The Petes open up their regular season at home Thursday against Oshawa.)

BELOW: Jeff Leal, MPP, helps welcome home former Petes Captain Steve Webb after his ride to raise funds for his W20 Foundation was completed today at the Memorial Centre.

[Peterborough Petes Schedule; W20 Foundation: Creating Opportunities In Education Through Hockey]

[photos submitted by PtboCanada contributor @petedalliday, the voice of the Peterborough Petes on @kruzfm]

Send your PtboPic to us at Follow us on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada.