Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Gary W. Samler.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
My wife Helene and I have been married 29 years together, we have 3 children and 6 grandchildren, I am a retired serviceman and a veteran. As a community activist I support social justice and as President of Friends of Vets I work to help vets and their families deal with PTSD. My military training skills brings a team player with Leadership, Integrity, Loyalty, Courage, Honesty, Fairness and Responsibility to the table.
2 – In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a friendlier city for small businesses?
Economic Development has to do more to promote our city and we need to clean up the bad image our city has to outsiders. Taxes are so high and small businesses are moving away because they have no support from our city. We all know what has to be done but for some unknown reason nothing is getting done, this has to change.
3 – What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
I would support an arts center and the Port but artists need to work together and step up to make this happen. I would also love to see events like Parade of Nations return to show off our local talent, our culture and our heritage. A great event but was poorly supported by the city.
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.
Taxes are what we need for a city to survive. I would not support freezing or lowering taxes but I also realize we are the highest taxed city in the province. I feel we need to live within our means and stop wasting and spending our tax dollars foolishly. I would first look to find other ways for savings without cutting or reducing services like cutting the cost to put dangerous chemicals in our fresh water supply and vote against the huge 41% pay raise that this council hopes to pass next term of council or hire a consultant to hire a new HR manager.
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?
I feel there haven’t been accomplishments and failures only for the past four years. This government has been a total embarrassment to the citizens of Cornwall. They raised taxes every year; they have not been accountable. They ignored all poverty and environmental issues. There has been scandals, payouts, illegal closed door meetings, whistle blowers attacked, beavers killed, a t-shirt embarrassment, money wasted, the loss of our Hospital and Tanks showing up on our waterfront, an outrageous pay raise given themselves and the only growth has been an increase of sexual assaults and growing inequality between the very rich and hardworking middle class.