Here are Five Questions with 2014 Cornwall Ontario City Council candidate Guy St-Jean.
1 – Tell the voters a bit about yourself. What skills and experience would make you a good candidate for Council?
I was born in Cornwall’s east end in 1971 and grew up on Leitch Drive. My dad, Aurèle St-Jean, was founder of the still well-known Plumbing Company, which carries his name to this day. I am well educated and well travelled. I am a very creative person! I established my own business, Neo Vintage Furniture Inc., in the Cornwall area because I believe Cornwall is the perfect place for any business hoping to expand to neighboring cities such as Montreal, Ottawa, and Brockville. I am extremely passionate and confident that my many years of business, pedagogical and creative experience will prove to be just what this city needs.
2 – In what ways could we improve Economic Development and how can we make Cornwall a friendlier city for small businesses?
I think that technology will be important to improve Economic Development. We need to invest in more tech infrastructures. We need to show the world, that Cornwall can be innovative as a city and we need to have incentives to attract young emerging companies and businesses. We also need to have programs that aggressive recruit companies that will provide good jobs for our citizens. Finally, we need to have the arts and culture community work more closely with Economic Development.
Making Cornwall a friendlier city for small businesses is vital if we are to promote growth and sustainability. If we want to attract entrepreneurs and small businesses to invest and choose Cornwall, then we need to support them. As people choose Cornwall to make their home, we need to give that family or business the same support and respect as the person who was born and raised here. We must change our perception and welcome diversity. I have been speaking with incumbents and candidates from South Stormont, North Dundas and South Glengarry and we all agree that we must work together and break down our borders.
3 – What is your vision for arts and culture? Would you support the building of an Arts and Culture Centre in Cornwall?
I think that the new vision for arts and culture is on the right track. I believe that YAC (Yours Arts Council) will continue to grow and become the hub for all of our local artists. I do support an Arts and Culture Centre and would support an initiative to purchase an existing building such as the Aultsville Theatre as it offers most everything needed to develop a Cornwall Arts Center.
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.
Freezing or lowering taxes isn’t part of my platform. I believe in cutting unnecessary spending and being more transparent when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars. I will not make a promise that I know I will not be able to keep within the next 4 years.
Cutting taxes is an ineffective way to stimulate the economy in the short term with costly long-term consequences.
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?
By far, the biggest issue of concern at City Hall over the last four years has been the lack of accountability and transparency. We witnessed this first hand with the way things were dealt with regarding the harbour tanks. In addition, on several occasions, present councillors have shown their anger and discontent with lack of access to information when making important decisions. It all begins with communication and I see many needed improvements within our municipal government and administration.