Davis was good for Cornwall: Lumley

Claude McIntosh ~ Mac's Musings
Davis was good for Cornwall: Lumley
Claude McIntosh

On the night of the enormous 1984 victory by Brian Mulroney and Conservatives, former Ontario premier Bill Davis was asked by CBC TV for his thoughts on the sweeping aside of the Liberals.

Davis, in his slow, methodical manner, said he was happy with the federal party’s victory. But, he added, he was sorry to see his old friend Liberal cabinet minister Ed Lumley defeated in Stormont-Dundas after serving his constituents and country so well.

It was that kind of warm relationship, a friendship that went back to the early 1970s before Lumley became the youngest person elected mayor by Cornwall voters on Dec. 6, 1971.

Davis, arguably Ontario’s most progressive and longest serving premier, died Aug. 8 at age 92. One of the last people, outside his immediate family, he spoke to was Lumley who touched base, via phone, with Davis on a regular basis.

It was Davis who lobbied to have Lumley awarded the Order of Canada in 2014.

He was good, so good to Cornwall,” recalled Lumley. “He was sensitive to our unemployment problem (21% at one point) and other issues.”

Lumley said that in politics and outside politics, he never met a nicer person.

Despite the friendship, Davis was unable to talk Lumley into running for the provincial Conservatives – he also was being wooed by the federal Liberals – which raises the question of why the young mayor ended up with the Liberals.

The province and feds had agreed to spend millions of dollars to boost Cornwall’s infrastructure. It included $7 million for a new arena/convention centre. Davis was a strong proponent of the huge cash injection.

There was a strong feeling that the federal Conservatives if elected planned to reduce the country’s huge deficit (small compared to today’s red ink) by cancelling numerous capital projects. Cornwall was said to be on the “hit list”.

Lumley, at the urging of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, decided to run for the guys and gals who pledged not to derail the $14 million infrastructure package. The rest is history.

Davis understood Lumley’s dilemma and there were no hard feelings.

Many believe that if Lumley had taken Davis’s offer, and won the riding, he would have had the inside track on replacing the long-serving premier.

But, he didn’t do too badly with the governing Liberals, holding down several key cabinet posts and playing a key role in making sure the Transport Canada Training Institute (now Nav Canada) project stayed in Cornwall.

THIS MONTH IN 1960 – With high unemployment and many of its members forced onto welfare rolls, the Cornwall and District Labour Council decided to cancel the annual Labour Day parade for the first time in as long as anyone could remember. “There is not very much to rejoice about,” said council president George Harrop. … Cornwall Street Railway replaced two of its trolley runs – Riverdale and the beltline – with diesel powered buses. The regular Second Street run would turn-around at the New York Central Railway station just east of Hoople Avenue. … The co-manager of the Royal Hotel was stabbed three times by a patron he had removed from the hotel’s beverage room. The assailant was arrested soon after by police. The victim was admitted to hospital. … The plan to build the new community centre (Bob Turner Memorial Centre) at the Athletic Grounds was opposed by a group of citizens headed by resident Angelo Lebano. The group said the building would destroy the track. Other sites proposed were Memorial Park and the Dingwall property behind Cornwall Armoury. The only member of council to support the group was Ald. Larry Keen. … An Ontario Emergency Measures (EMO) official told a local service club that the effects of a nuclear attack were being overplayed in the media. He said proper basement shelters could provide full and adequate protection from an all-out attack. He said a high number of people could survive. Of course, all know that was a pile of bull feathers. … An effort was being made to save the 150-year-old Church of Good Shepherd rectory on First Street East. It was being replaced by a new rectory. … RCAFA Wing 424 acquired an Ontario Hydro administration building near the Robert Saunders Generation Station for a new home. … Bell Canada was marketing its new Princess telephone. … KiK Cola was using Montreal Canadiens’ star Henri Richard in its advertising. It noted that large bottles of KiK outsold all other large brands of cola in Canada. … A grand opening of the Paragon Motel and indoor pool on Second Street West was held. It was the only motel in Eastern Ontario with an indoor pool. … The Fournier brothers, Raoul and Al, opened Fournier Furniture at 253 Pitt St. … Linda Smith, 18, was credited with saving six children she was babysitter from a house fire in Newington. The children belonged to Mr. And Mrs. Murray Duff who operated the post office and general store in the village. The family lived upstairs. … Orval Tessier’s three-run homer helped lift Emard Lumber to the Massena Softball Tournament championship, a 5-4 win over North End Fastball League rival Howard Smith Paper Mill.

THIS AND THAT Insp. Marc Hemmerick, recently-appointed commander of SD and G Ontario Provincial Police, is the first Cornwall native to hold the post. He is a Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame inductee (2008). He went to Hillsdale College in Michigan on a track scholarship. … Good on Chicago cops for giving Mayor Lori Lightfoot the cold shoulder when she showed up at the hospital where a critically wounded officer shot during a traffic stop was undergoing surgery. The officer’s partner was shot and killed. The mayor got the message – the fatally shot cop’s father gave her an earful – and hightailed it out of the hospital. The mayor has been anything but cop friendly over the years. … Brian “The Cat” Rouleau still threatening to write the book on his role in the running of some of the biggest night clubs in the U.S. It will be called “Stuck in Stupid”.

TRIVIA ANSWER – Woolworth’s was Cornwall’s first chain store. It opened on Pitt Street in 1918. It employed 23 females and five males. In the day, it was known as a “five and 10 cent” store.

TRIVIA – This Glengarry community was first known as Priest’s Mills: 1) Maxville, 2) Lancaster, 3) Alexandria, 4) Green Valley, 5) Williamstown.

QUOTED – “The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” – George Carlin

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