Well, the dust has settled and the numbers are pretty much history and now we wait for the new council to take their seats. Admittedly in Cornwall, the new council is much like the old council but there is a difference. The electorate, such as it is at a disappointing 43.51% turnout, has spoken. This is the “new year” of politics when determinations are renewed by those re-elected and the world is before those who have been elected for the first time.
We start at the top and the re-election of Bob Kilger as mayor was really a no-brainer. People have asked why Councillor Mark MacDonald would run for mayor when most people didn’t give him much of a chance to cop the top prize.
I suppose you would have to ask Mr. MacDonald that question but let me offer a glimpse.
Politically, Macdonald and I clashed on several occasions but it was left at the discussion table but I can see where he was coming from in running for mayor. His off-the-wall ideas and suggestions around the council table will be missed over the next four years. More often than not, his ideas were voted down by the status quo and most times for good reason, at least according to the majority of councillors.
What Mark did do is keep everyone on their toes because you never knew what was going to be next from the man. He had a voice at the table and he was the voice of many taxpayers but in the end, not enough of them. Or at least not enough that would get off their fannies and vote in the first place.
So why didn’t MacDonald run for councillor again? He most certainly would have been re-elected. He scored just over 5,160 votes in his run for mayor. We have to assume he would have got at least that in a run for councillor. But he didn’t run for councillor.
As we have seen with others there comes a time when a councillor feels they’ve done all they can do as a councillor and it’s time to go for the brass ring no matter how much of a long-shot it is. I haven’t talked to Mark since his loss but I sense that he felt it was now or never. Former Councillor Korey Kennedy made the same move. He wasn’t going to win but in order to further along what he perceived to be the route Cornwall should travel, it was necessary to let his name stand for mayor.
In Mark’s case perhaps another term as councillor would have been wise but not in his heart. Another four years of beating his head against a wall just wasn’t in the cards. A tip of the hat for giving it his best shot.
As far as the make-up of council for the next four years, despite the nay-sayers that indicate it’s the same-old-same-old, I for one, am willing to give it a shot.
We certainly have the experience on council with the return of Denis Thibault, Denis Carr, Bernadette Clement, Elaine MacDonald, Glen Grant, Syd Gardiner and Andre Rivette (some say it’s too much experience). Only time will tell.
We have a returning former councillor who’s been out of the game for a while (Leslie O’Shaughnessy) who can bridge the old with the new—the new being David Murphy and Maurice Dupelle.
The newbies, bless their hearts, are gung ho and rightfully so. They believe they can get more people involved in politics. Alas, they will come to learn that most people only become “involved” in politics when political decisions affect them directly. Nevertheless full marks to them for the effort they will make.
I’m not totally familiar with M Dupelle (but hope to be in the weeks ahead) but I do know Mr. Murphy.
David and I, in another life, worked together in Cornwall radio a decade ago. David was the type of guy that would listen and wanted to learn all that he could. I hope he carries those traits into his political life. He’s at the right age and with some right choices could potentially parlay his political career into a mayor’s chair in the future but we’re obviously ahead of ourselves.
Bottom line, a salute to all who did let their names stand for election. It’s not easy watching as your own community rejects you through a lack of votes. The exercise is not for those with egos (I wouldn’t stand a chance—I’d be crushed).
For those that made the cut, those that elected you in are watching. Don’t let them down or they’ll let you know and they have that right. I suspect that the biggest complainers will be those who didn’t vote in the first place so take their wah-wah attitude with a grain of salt.
Make Cornwall bigger and better than anything could imagine. You’ve got four years and counting.
I’m John Divinski.