Seiling steps out of politics after more than 40 years

By  | May 10, 2018 | 13 Comments | Filed under: Announcements

News08:08 PMby Adam Jackson Waterloo Chronicle
Ken Seiling

Regional Chair Ken Seiling has announced he’s retiring. – Submitted Photo

For the first time in more than 30 years, there will be a new chair at the helm of Region of Waterloo council.

Current chair Ken Seiling announced at Wednesday night’s council meeting through tears that he has decided not to run again in the October election, saying that he will make room for new candidates.

“After 42 years, I think it’s time to move aside,” said Seiling.

Seiling was quick to remind council, however, that there is still work to do before the Oct. 22 election.

“Let’s not forget there are still six months left to go in the term,” said Seiling.

Seiling has spent 42 years in municipal politics, including two years at the Township of Woolwich, and the remainder as both councillor and chair at the Region of Waterloo.

Coun. Tom Galloway, who is approaching 30 years as councillor at the region, said he knows how much Seiling agonized over the decision.

“I know how he laboured over this decision. After 42 years, it doesn’t come easy,” said Galloway, adding he’s labouring over the same decision as well.

“Sometimes the electorate can make it for you and that’s sometimes easier,” he joked.

Galloway said the strength of Seiling through his 33 years as regional chair was his ability to bring the seven municipalities — often with differences of opinions — together to make the right decision for the region as a whole.

“That’s been Ken’s greatest strength in a quiet kind of way,” said Galloway. “We need somebody to keep that legacy.”

Seiling said the strategy with keeping everyone in the chambers happy is understanding all perspectives.

“I’m not a believer in confrontation, so I like to make people work together and that’s what I’ve tried to do over the years,” said Seiling. “We see municipalities in Ontario where there’s fighting at meetings … we haven’t seen any of that here.”

Galloway suspects the hardest part for Seiling will be determining what to do with his time once October rolls around.

“This job, you can’t really ease yourself out of a job like this. You’re either in it or you’re not in it,” said Galloway.

Seiling said the decision came soon after the 2014 election — a nasty battle between himself and Jay Aissa — when he felt vindicated with a landslide victory in that election.

“The last election was a very difficult election, but a very satisfying election because I got a resounding endorsement from the public despite everything that went on in that election campaign,” said Seiling.

“The question was at what point does one step out and let other people step in,” said Seiling.

His decision was made, but in the last month or two, he was approached by community leaders encouraging him to stay on for at least one more term.

“I began to second-guess myself,” said Seiling. “But I think the timing is right and we’ll see who now comes forward to run.”

The decision to announce now as opposed to later on in the summer was based on giving potential candidates a fair chance to mount a solid campaign. Seiling pointed out that the Region of Waterloo spans five different provincial ridings and the campaign requires a lot of time and effort.

“For anyone to organize and run a campaign along the area, it takes quite a bit of a time, effort and fundraising,” said Seiling.

As for the job of regional chair, Seiling said it requires, “Patience, a good ear and a sense of where the community is at, where the community comes from and where it wants to go.”

The Ontario municipal election takes place on Oct. 22. So far, no one has stepped forward to run for regional chair.


Adam Jackson

by Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson is a reporter and photographer at the Kitchener Post and Waterloo Chronicle. He welcomes story ideas and can be reached on Twitter @KWAdamJ.

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13 Responses to Seiling steps out of politics after more than 40 years

  1. Debbie Duff Vitez May 10, 2018 at 9:37 am

    if you live long enough you get to see em go.. lol
    Now Craig has to be next.. but he is guaranteed another win with his electronic election.. and he knows it..

    Maggie May 10, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Yes re Craig – it feels like 40 years under his “control” – wish he was leaving willingly but yes he has so many people convinced he is doing things for their benefit not his. When will they wake up – when it is too late!!!
    And it looks like our “bad luck” just keeps going on – as don’t see another runner for Mayor – so we are stuck for another 4 yrs. of controlling Craig. Lucky us.
    Is there not just one good candidate out there – or they know Craig has the people in Galt blindfolded with all the Taxpayers money spent in Galt. Too bad as we could be stuck with him for another 4 years. Darn – so need a change. Really do!!

  3. Debbie Duff Vitez May 10, 2018 at 10:24 am

    and yes even some he will handpick to split the ballot..

    Alan Marshall May 10, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Ken states 1/2 way through the above article that he is not a believer in confrontation. Hmm I wonder exactly how many lawsuits the Region of Waterloo have been involved in during his tenure. Their buddies, nominally under their supervision; the Waterloo Regional Police have had lots of civil suits against them with the majority being settled confidentially. Uniroyal Chemical and the Ontario Ministry of Environment have walked all over them. I wish Ken had been more confrontational, not less. My opinion is that Ken isn’t confrontational with those with equal power or money. He’s looked after business very well while compromising on various environmental issues in the Region.

    Vincent Benjamin May 10, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Wasteful Spending Doug Craig has been a complete disappointment. Just what has he done? Really nothing of any consequence. Doug Craig completed that stupid bridge to nowhere and that waste of money the Cambridge Sign and that is it.

    What did Doug Craig screw up while here we go:
    1. No, GO Train and 12 years later still no GO Train

    2. Downtown Galt, what a sewer of homeless people with drug users and abandon storefronts with no shoppers. Thank Doug Craig for letting the city down.

    3. That Multiplex, another screw-up from Doug Craig. Originally Doug wanted that near the college where no one could get there by transit. Yeah, Doug really had on his thinking cap. But you know there must have been some backroom deal there. So, only due to public pressure was the project moved. Secondly, why is the city even getting involved in sports? Is Doug going to play hockey for us? Maybe he will pay my increase Property Taxes.

    4. The Roundabouts have been another screw-up, Doug Craig really messed up. Just image tearing up 12 perfectly good intersections and not consider even trying something else. What a dog! Does not think ahead. Then when there was an increased accident Doug could not admit he was wrong.

    Doug Craig has been a disaster for Cambridge and now he wants to run for mayor again! If you the reader has any brains left in your back pocket I think you know what you need to do.

    tutu May 11, 2018 at 9:21 am

    this worthless thug creeps me out..what a scumbag…

    Maggie May 12, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Craig is just making Cambridge a bedroom community. He is filling it up with people that really do not care about Cambridge – just a place to sleep at night. Therefore he can just do what he wants with our money.
    Remember his statement re the Preston Dam – money is no object – rebuild it – really – well the process is not over yet & he just did that to get the votes from Preston.
    Preston people – I sure hope you are awake to this fact when you go to vote in Oct. – the damn dam isn’t over yet. If Craig gets back in – expect more nonsense from him. Wake up voters – of course we need someone to run against him don’t we????$$$$$ Any volunteers to make this City good again??

    Beenthere May 12, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Seiling was just another Craig – his way or no way. He should have retired 40 years ago. Might have saved us a lot of lawyer fees.

    Rick Brendal May 12, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Cambridge was used by the Region for money input. Little gets given back here so KW can prosper. Our mayor pissed off the Region so often they just shut the door on anything major here. I never liked Ken, I thought he was slippery.

    Beenthere May 12, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    he was slippery – still is but so is our Mayor Where is our Go-train??
    All we keep getting are Bridges to no-where, a City sign no one will see, a mega million dollar post office that only Galt will benefit by, it just goes on & on… and I can wait for the gondolas on the Grand.
    Please someone decent run against him – help!!

    Vincent Benjamin May 14, 2018 at 1:11 am


    1. We need to find a Common Candidate for Mayor, one who is not a minion for Doug Craig
    2. Then as a Group vote for a Better Mayor. This is the only way to defeat this dirtbag.

    Doug Craig will try to introduce other candidates to “SPLIT THE VOTE” and this is how he won the last term. And his minions will come after you for your opinions but do not back down and in fact, we need to fight back twice as hard.

    You know my name and I am in the fight until the “BITTER END”

    So as the time comes near a good candidate needs to be selected supported and voted for to defeat once and for all that slippery “DOUG CRAIG”!

    I hope I hear back from others!

    Rick Brendal May 15, 2018 at 8:54 am

    l agree with you Vincent. Craig has to go. l just can’t find anyone that says they voted for him.

    Beenthere May 15, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    There you go Rick – neither have I – so how does he keep getting back in – hmmm – could it have anything to do with internet voting – as we all know it can be fixed & there definitely were some shenanigans last election.
    So all we need is one decent honest law-abiding – non self-centered person to run.
    So lets hope that person signs up by the end of May or we are all up the creek again with the same wild-spending Mayor.
    So glad to hear others that have never spoken to anyone that voted for him. Very interesting.

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