Cornwall, Ontario – It was nice to see a good crowd show up at the Library’s candidate meet and greet held on Monday September 29.
Despite the fact that the library had selected 10 different questions to ask individuals running for council, it was made clear early on that candidates were there to mainly promote their platform and push their agendas. Some, such as Alyssa Blais, Maurice Dupelle and Bernadette Clement clearly had prepared and attempted to answer questions directly. Others spent no more than 10 seconds on topic. Not many answered the question they were asked, one even politely declined to answer their given question because they preferred to answer someone else’s.
Even though politicians were being, well, politicians, the evening turned out to be very informative and led the public to know more about each individual asking for their vote.
Each candidate had 3 minutes to talk. Newcomers Carilyne Hebert, Claude McIntosh and Greg Kielec certainly stood out and seemed to be well liked by the crowd. But there was a clear disconnect between the speech of veteran city councilors and that of those seeking a seat on council for the first time.
The mayoral candidates had 5 minutes each to answer their given question. Jamie Gilcig led the way and was the only one who seemed to be disenchanted with the progress of Arts and Culture in our community over the last term. Kilger simply said he was proud of what was accomplished, O’Shaughnessy sort of echoed the sentiment stating that everyone should go home knowing that things are being done and will continue to be done.
Here are some quotes from the evening:
Mark A. MacDonald “It starts with the money. If you are not prepared as a candidate to tackle the big ticket items, I’m talking police, fire, paramedic and yes, the 40% raise… The library asks for 2% and they get nickle and dime.”
Syd Gardiner ” We have to start putting arts in our strategic planning”
Carilyne Hebert ” I owe a lot of what and who I am today to arts and culture. it taught me the importance of team work, confidence, creativity, individuality, problem solving and hard work.”
Heather Megill “Libraries and other centers of culture are the soul of any community”
Dave Murphy “Arts and Culture play an important role in making the community more attractive to various age groups including families (young and old) and small businesses. Just as previous Councils focused on the much needed recreation facilities we now enjoy and showcase to other communities, this next Council should build on the process that has already started with the end result being an Arts and Culture Centre.”
Gerald Samson “I do believe that council should support the art, I do believe in a new art center… It develop strong minds, it focuses youth.
Maurice Dupelle ” I have been engaged over the past 4 years as your councillor and not only at election time”
Roland Besner ” We need transparency and accountability”
Elaine MacDonald “I am absolutely committed to the arts. If arts flourish, Cornwall will flourish”
Claude McIntosh “I will work so that each dollar spent is accounted for”
Denis Sabourin ” I want to use my experience to help make things happen on your behalf”
André Rivette “It is important that we take ACTION”
Glen Grant ” Our community is moving forward. These are exciting times. Our track record will show that we’ve been extremely supportive”
Greg Kielec “I have never been a politician, I’m not a member of any political party, but I don’t need to be a politician to know that the current council has lost its way. My faith has been shattered”
Pat Clarke ” I would fully support an Art Centre in the Aultsville Theater or Renaissance Harbour.”
Davey Bedard “I belive in economic development, developing our waterfront, concentrate on the positive, focus on the future instead of the past”
Mike O’Neil “I’m not afraid of hard work, I do my homework, I come prepared. We need to grow our tax base, but also diversify”
Bernadette Clement “Arts help us better understand one another. Cornwall is in transition, we are redefining ourselves, we express who we art through art and culture. People will want to move here if we have a strong arts community. We need to make this more than words.
Guy St-Jean “I know that arts are important and need to be at the forefront of the community. We need to revitalize, we need to clean up this city.”
Rony Macarone “When the Boomers are gone, we will turn to the Millennials and if we don’t bring out arts and culture, we will lose the Millennials. They will stay if they feel they can get everything they need close by.”
Mary Ann Hug “I don’t have an agenda that limits me to one ideology. I belong to one group: Cornwall”
Gary Samler ” We need to do better. Arts & culture increases tourism, brings in new businesses, gives outsiders a better image of our city.”
Alyssa Blais “Our city has great potential and we need a group of people who are willing to work together to move it forward.”
Todd Bennett “An art center is clearly something the community wants.”
Denis Carr “This is what we need, this is where we want to be… Stop talking, start acting”
As for the mayoral candidates:
Jamie Gilcig “You can’t live your life on Xanax… You have to admit there is a problem, look in the mirror and move forward.”
Bob Kilger “The time is getting nearer and I want to be part of the next step.”
Leslie O’Shaughnessy “Any project that comes from the community up will work. Politicians down, well… It took 8 years to get the Benson Centre… Things are being done and will continue to be done.”
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