MAC'S MUSINGS: Challengers face a tough campaign in the face of Kilger

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Claude McIntosh

The mayoral campaign slumber party will be disturbed in a few weeks by the nomination deadline, which is 2 p.m. on Sept. 12.

If things stay as they are, it will have incumbent Bob Kilger, going for a threepeat, challenged by former councillor Leslie O'Shaughnessy and Jamie Gilcig.

Hard for anybody, including the challengers, to deny that Kilger will break from the gate as the favourite. A pretty big favourite, in fact.

The challengers don't have much to work with when it comes to chipping away at the incumbent's landslide victory in 2010, which saw him collect 56.67% of the total vote.

There are issues to be debated, which is why the O Man and JG deserve credit for stepping up to the plate. In 1980, with Gerald Parisien facing no challengers, labour leader George Harrop put his name on the ballot at the last minute. He knew his chances were slim to none, but he said no mayoral candidate should be given a free pass. He lost by 12,500 votes.

However, unless there is something that is percolating beneath the surface, there is not a single, defining issue that could put Builder Bob on the ropes.

The mayor is not, as the saying goes, dancing on the top of a volcano.

Yes, the storage tanks on federal government waterfront property, next to the harbour, is an issue, but not the kind of issue that is going to bury the incumbent.

O'Shaughnessy's cry that his "personal" mail was opened when he was a councillor and that there were too many closed door meetings and that administration wasn't giving councillors enough information before votes were taken isn't the kind of stuff that whips voters into a frenzy.

Not to the degree that the Great Pool Battle seized the concern of voters in the 1991 mayoral race. That single issue - expensive wave pool vs. cheaper version - propelled Ron Martelle to victory. Incumbent Phil Poirier, who backed the wave pool, didn't run. He said it had nothing to do with the massive opposition to the wave pool, but there is plenty of reason to believe he saw the writing on the wall. Denis Carr, just one of two councillors who supported the wave pool, finished a distant third in the mayoral race.

In 1994, with six challengers, the largest mayoral field in city history, Martelle parlayed his law-and-order "Dodge City" campaign into a re-election victory. The heavily chopped up vote didn't hurt either.

The challenge for the Kilger opponents will be finding the kind of issue that seizes the attention of voters.

Voters won't buy into mudslinging and a campaign running on high octane negative fuel.

HERE & THERE Frank McDonald of St. Andrews West often wondered where one of his middle names, Philip, came from. His parents, who died long ago, weren't around to ask. There was nobody in the McDonald clan with the name. Ah, a trivia item in this column few weeks back seems to have peeled back the mystery and why it was given to him by his parents. Frank was born Oct. 12, 1951 the same day Princess Elizabeth (not yet Queen Elizabeth) and handsome hubby Prince Philip visited the city. The next day the Standard-Freeholder reported that six babies born in Cornwall during the visit were named after the Royal couple - Elizabeth and Philip. Frank was one of those babies.

SEEN & HEARD Lawrence Oliver Jock left for the Korean War in 1952. Last week folks in the village of Fort Covington, N.Y, about a good stone's throw, as the saying goes, from Cornwall, lined the main street, many with U.S. flags, as Jock's long, sombre journey home concluded. Master Sgt. Jock, a Second World War veteran, was killed in a Chinese attack on his platoon on July 14, 1953. It wasn't until 1992 that the remains of Jock and 200 other U.S. soldiers were returned by the North Korean government. Thanks to DNA testing, one of the remains was identified as Jock just weeks ago. He was buried in a Malone cemetery with full military honours.

THIS & THAT It wasn't a good week for a couple of police chiefs. In Toronto, Chief Bill Blair was informed that he should start looking for a new job. The police services board said it would not give him another contract. And in Akwesasne (U.S. side), the Mohawk Tribal Police Commision announced that its police chief was looking for work.

SPORTS STUFF There is a lot of talk about soccer's rising popularity in Canada. No question it has grown at the minor (kids) level but that popularity is not reflected in paid admission to see the Beautiful Game in Canada. Hockey, baseball and football are bigger gate draws at all levels. ... Really, the River Queens! ... Great line by the Freeholder's superb sports writer Todd Hambleton about the Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey: "This is the only hockey league where the owners are on a one-year contract." ... Source says the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League was in touch with city hall about the possibility of Cornwall returning to the "Q". The Ontario Hockey League, as it has in the past, attached an anchor to that idea and threw it overboard. There are still plenty of hockey fans in this city (and area) who believe that a Quebec League team would work here.

ROUND'N'BOUT Why do we build cars that can go twice as fast as the speed limit on four-lane expressways? ... I know there is a good reason but just can't think of it, but why does it take weeks to pave a street after the surface has been scraped off? ... Here is how local politicians lose votes: City resident said it was three years ago that a councillor said he would get back to him concerning an issue. He is still waiting.

TRIVIA ANSWER St. Lawrence Park, across from what became Courtaulds, was opened in 1896 by Cornwall Street Railway which operated the street car system in the city and parts of Cornwall Township. The Kiwanis Club took over the park just after the Second World War. In the late 1950s, with the beach closed, it shut down. In its heyday, the park included a popular dance pavilion.

TRIVIA This factory at Ninth and Sydney streets (now Tudor Centre) made furniture. It operated from 1906 until 1958.

IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR The Whittaker Bros. Flower and Gift Shop at 12 Second St. W., part of the Cornwallis Hotel block. ... The Uptown Restaurant, 401 Montreal Rd., (Phone 1255), with the slogan "We Never Close". ... The New Castle Restaurant, 19 Second St. E. (Phone 2469), "It's a Pleasure to Serve You". ... La Roue Bros. Groceteria, 2 Montreal Rd. ... Tamblyn Drug Stores, 138 Pitt St., (Prescriptions delivered). ... The New York Cafe, 129 Pitt St. ... The A.A. Collins Confectionery, 6 Montreal Rd. ... The Rex Dupuis Smoke Shop, 10 Montreal Rd. ... Kingcot blankets made in Cornwall at one of the Canadian Cottons Ltd. plants and sold around the world. The plant also made Kingcot baby diapers.

Organizations: Standard-Freeholder, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League Quebec League Courtaulds Cornwall Street Railway Cornwall Township Kiwanis Club Tudor Centre Canadian Cottons

Geographic location: Cornwall, U.S., Dodge City Montreal Canada Fort Covington Toronto Sydney

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