Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Bernadette Clement.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
I have been a lawyer in this community for 23 years with the Legal Aid Clinic and learned about research, advocacy, but more importantly, about being a good listener. I have been a board member of community agencies and this helped me to understand the needs of this community and the importance of planning and being respectful of different views and approaches. My work as a City Councillor taught me to look for the links between the issues that we face as a community and that a Council must set a long term vision for the future of this City.
2. In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a more friendly city for small businesses?
We need to consult more with existing small businesses about what they would need to support their entrepreneurial spirit. We need to do more innovative consultation with the public but more specifically with smaller businesses. City Council can use its linkages with the Chamber of Commerce and with the downtown area and the Le Village area, and with the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre. But we also need to reach out more directly with small businesses. Like artists, local entrepreneurs can provide inspiration and new ideas that help support more dynamic economic development.
3. What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
Artists contribute to the local economy through their work. They INSPIRE us through their exhibits, events and ideas. They create an atmosphere that attracts new residents who want to live in a creative, healthy community. Good city planning needs to recognize and reflect that contribution.
There has recently been much committee work to review a culture plan and set priorities. I believe that an Arts Center is a terrific project that could be a space that brings different art forms together. The Council must help to outline the vision and then include the project as part of annual budget discussions.
4. Do you support freezing or lowering taxes? If so, where would the savings come from, and would you support reducing some services? If you do not support freezing or lowering taxes explain why?
Maintaining a reasonable level of taxes for our City is a main goal. One way to achieve that goal is to attract new residents and new investment by presenting a city which is dynamic, healthy and attractive. The public expects a proper level of services to support their neighbourhoods, their health, their safety, their quality of life. It’s all part of achieving a balance between affordability and making sure that our city can attract investment and look towards a healthy and successful future.
5. What has been the biggest accomplishment at City Hall over the past four years OR what has been the biggest issue of concern at City Hall over the past four years?
This Council increased public consultation concerning the waterfront and the budget. The waste water treatment plant, one of the largest infrastructure projects undertaken by the city, is about to be completed, and this is good for the city and the St. Lawrence River.
City Council needs to do more. It needs to invest in the waterfront and in maintaining property standards rather than in Council salary increases. It needs a code of ethics and better teamwork on economic and social development so that Cornwall can reach its full potential. I look forward to a Council with a greater long term vision.