God in candidate’s corner didn’t help

Mac's Musings—Claude McIntosh
God in candidate’s corner didn’t help
Mac's Musings

In April 1975 the local provincial Progressive Conservative Association, eager to win back the riding they once “owned,” figured it wouldn’t hurt to have God in its corner.

So, Rev. Rudy Villeneuve, popular and beloved Cornwall parish priest/philosopher, became the first Ontario priest in post-Second World War era to become a provincial election candidate.

His assignment: Send George Samis, the first NDP candidate to serve Cornwall and only the second NDP member east of Oshawa, back to the teaching profession.

The bishop, reluctantly it was said, granted Villeneuve leave of his clergy duties to campaign for the Sept. 18 election.

Perhaps the bishop was one of the Catholic clergy members whom Father Villeneuve said were opposed to his candidacy.

Okay, but why the ruling PCs?

Father Villeneuve said that under the Bill Davis government Catholic education “never had it so good.”

Villeneuve said, if elected, he would push for a Cornwall-based bilingual university and more affordable housing. (Do these sound familiar?)

Apparently, God had other plans for his servant.

Samis, a native of Montreal, nailed down his second term with a resounding victory, pulling in 2,681 more votes than Villeneuve. Liberal candidate Madeleine Germain, well-known city journalist, was a distant third with 2,162. It was apparent that a lot of Liberals defected to the Samis camp.

After surviving a scare in 1977 when he escaped with a razor-thin 486-vote victory over PC hopeful Jim Kirkey, Samis served two more full terms before retiring in 1985.

The NDP has never come close since he left. A lot of Samis’s support at the polls was from folks who normally voted Liberal.

A huge slap in the face for the local NDP association came in 1999 when Samis returned to the riding to campaign for Liberal incumbent John Cleary who was in a tough re-election fight.

Samis didn’t make friends with the union representing Ontario government beer outlets when in his first term he tabled a private member’s bill to allow the sale of beer in small (non-union) independent corner stores.

It was one of his campaign promises.

If the bill had been successful, it would have put the unionized beer outlets in direct competition with non-union outlets.

ALSO IN 1975 : Council voted to bump up transit fares by five cents but put a hold on Sunday bus service, saying it would add to the system’s $180,000 deficit. Transit Manager Gord Robertson told council only two Ontario municipalities with populations under 100,000 had Sunday service. Some councillors proposed free transit in off-peak hours… A consultant told city council it should discourage commercial development outside the downtown core and instead push for a major commercial downtown development such as Sears or Eaton’s. The 70-page report claimed that the city could not support more than one major commercial development without a larger population. In keeping with the downtown theme, the report said steps should be taken to build a new city hall …Stormont Sea Cadet Corps opened its doors to female recruits. It set the target at 25. … Laurie Fraser of Central Public and Francois Boisvert of La Citadelle were winners of the Optimist Club oratorical contest. … Cornwall Police Chief Earl Landry said crime in just about every category increased in 1974. The department responded to 10,051 occurrences. Theft and robberies had a 38% increase. … Council voted to stay with the Cornwall Civic Complex name. Ald. Dick Aubry disagreed saying it was akin to naming a building a building….Mayor Gerald Parisien said he was open to a proposal in the Ontario Legislature that welfare recipients work for their money. “If some one can show me that it’s degrading to work for (public) money, I’d like to know,” he said…..Former Cornwall Royals’ star centre Gary MacGregor of the Chicago Cougars was named World Hockey Association top rookie….Underdog Montreal Juniors swept the Royals in the Quebec Junior Hockey League quarter-final….Salaries for Members of Parliament increased to $34,600 from $26,000….CJSS Radio was carrying Montreal Expos games….The Ontario budget cut the sales tax to five per cent from seven per cent…. The city and the United Counties were hit with the worst April snow storm in 11 years, getting 16 inches of heavy wet snow.

HERE AND THERE: Now they want to cut methane emissions produced by cattle dung. Truth is, there’s more methane produced by all the baloney coming off The Hill than by cattle herds in Alberta….Where else does somebody qualify for a full pension after just six years? It’s rare, but not everybody serves in the House of Commons… Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault is a former Greenpeacer who during his radical days was arrested several times for things like chaining himself to gas pumps, climbing the CN Tower and trying to install a solar panel on the roof of Alberta Premier Ralph Klein’s house. According to a National Post story, he started his activism at age 5 in his hometown of La Tuque. When workers showed up to cut down trees behind his house for a housing development, he climbed one of the trees. After several hours of being a tree hugger (literally), the workers left. He climbed a tree they hadn’t planned to cut down….Dismissed juror when asked outside court room for reaction to first up- close look at defendant D. Trump said he was more yellow than orange.

WEIRD AND WACKY: Metallica band member James Hetfield used ashes from cremated remains of pal rocker for a tattoo on his middle finger, so his deceased friend can continue flipping the bird at the world.

TRIVIA: This former Canadian prime minister is Canada’s only recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Gerald Parisien, mayor of Cornwall from 1975 to 1985, became Cornwall’s first full-time mayor. Previous to that, the job had been considered part-time and the salary reflected the part-time designation.

QUOTED: “If people want to see a picture of the Queen they can go to the art gallery.” – Leafs owner Harold Ballard on his decision to remove the picture of the Queen in Maple Leaf Gardens.






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