Mac’s Musings: Elections old hat for savvy Sabourin

Claude McIntosh ~ Mac's Musings
Mac’s Musings: Elections old hat for savvy Sabourin
Claude McIntosh

One thing the challenged Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry Liberal campaign team has going for itself in its uphill battle is a political war horse named Denis Sabourin, modestly self-described as a campaign team volunteer.

To say the politically savvy Sabourin has been around the election block a few times is an understatement.

As the saying goes, he has been there, done that. This isn’t his first rodeo.

Sabourin failed to score a touchdown in a pair of provincial elections, a federal election and stab at city council. He calls himself an “unsuccessful politician.”
It wasn’t all zeros. He was elected to the English Catholic School Board in 1991. Well, sort of. He was acclaimed. Local Catholic school supporters were well-served by him for 15 years before he stepped aside.

But when it comes to behind-the-scenes, backroom campaign experience, Sabourin has a solid resume.

He worked with Bob Kilger from 1994 until 2005 when Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry voters sent the former NHL referee to the locker room.

The next year Sabourin was back on the Hill as Liberal MP Larry Bagnell’s chief of staff. Bagnell was parliamentary secretary to the minister of natural resources. He was out of politics when Bagnell, from the Yukon, was defeated in 2011, but four years later Bagnell was back and he put out the call to Sabourin. He left the Hill for good in 2019.

He now works as a paralegal with his own firm.

Long before he got into politics, Sabourin was a journalist, toiling in newspaper and radio. So, he has a firm understanding of how the media game works.
In all, Sabourin brings 30 years of political experience, 20 serving on Ground Zero (Parliament Hill), to Team Moquin.

CAMPAIGN CHATTER – Denis Moquin picked up the moniker “Hollywood” while he was a city cop. Moquin had a penchant for being nattily dressed and well groomed, in and out of uniform. … How fast did Eric Duncan and his Blue Machine come out of the gate? Before there was a confirmed challenger, more than 700 Duncan signs up were up in the riding. … Closest local federal, or provincial for that matter, election was in 1962 when Lucien Lamoureux nipped incumbent Tory Grant Campbell by 70 votes. Campbell had wrestled the riding from the Liberal’s tight grip in the 1957 Diefenbaker sweep, defeating incumbent Albert Lavigne. Lamoureux’s victory came in a by-election called after Lavigne died during the federal election campaign. … You can take this to the bank: Justin Trudeau will not be making a campaign stop in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. He disappointed local Libs when he didn’t at least make a cameo appearance for Bernadette Clement in the 2015 election.

THIS AND THAT Cornwall Police Service has the unique situation of having a police chief still on the payroll until Dec. 31, an acting chief who is expected to be sworn-in in October and a soon-to-be appointed acting deputy chief. … The number of active COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region has been climbing. In the last two weeks the number has shot up to 56 (as of Monday) from seven on Aug. 6. Cornwall’s count reached 15 on Monday, up from two cases on Aug. 23. However, the number of persons in hospital has remained at one over the last few weeks. Since July 4 there has been just one COVID-19 death in the Eastern region. Of the 103 cases in August, only three were in the 65 and over bracket, while 35 under-20 residents were diagnosed.

THIS MONTH IN 1970 – St. Lawrence High School launched the school year with 35 new teachers and 2,100 students. This was a time when school boards were begging for teachers and administration was trying to figure out where to put everybody. There was such a shortage of class space, the rifle range at CCVS was converted to a make-shift classroom. … Cornwall Armoury maintenance staff were attempting to scrub peace symbols sprayed on the outside wall. “We’ve tried everything (to remove the paint) but gunpowder,” said one maintenance worker. … With the trolley bus era over, Cornwall Street Railway crews were removing 46 miles of trolley cables. That’s right. We once had buses powered by electricity. … City council voted to move ahead with construction of a $1.3 million, four-storey building to house the police department and courts. To reduce the cost, underground parking was removed from the plans. … Eight people were homeless after fire swept through a tenement at 154-156 Montreal Rd. The blaze started when oil from an oil burner line the tenant was attempting to repair caught fire. The burner exploded. … The Tri-County (Public) School Board reported that the student-teacher ratio in most of its high schools was 16-1. … Ontario minimum wage increased to $1.65 an hour. … Mike Benedict of St Regis Braves was named the Inter-provincial Junior Lacrosse League regular season most valuable player. He also won the scoring title. Cornwall Celtics goaltender Rick Desrosiers was named playoff MVP. Braves goaltender Dave Jacobs was the out standing goalie in the regular season. … Cornwall Celtics swept Rexdale Warriors to win the Ontario Lacrosse Association junior B championship. … Ron Branchaud of Cornwall Motor Sales won the North End Fastball League batting title with a .369 average. John Fyfe was runner-up with .354.

ALSO IN 1970 Cy Denneny who played on five Stanley Cup champion teams, the first with the Ottawa Senators in 1920, died at age 78. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1959. He was born in Farran’s Point – one of the villages erased from the map by the St. Lawrence Seaway Project – but called Cornwall his home. … A 150-year-old house at 131 Augustus St. was torn down to enlarge the Riddle Brothers parking lot. The house was home to Cornwall’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.

TRIVIA On Nov. 10, 1947, Cornwall made this its wedding gift for Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip: 1) A set of blankets made at the Canada Cottons mill, 2) A case of maple syrup from a local farm, 3) A container of canned goods, 4) A set of baskets made by St. Regis craftspeople, 5) A painting of the Long Sault Rapids.

TRIVIA ANSWER Veteran city councillor Syd Gardiner ran for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the 1995 provincial election and again in 1997 in the federal election.

QUOTED – “When you come to Parliament on your first day, you wonder how you ever got there. After that, you wonder how the other 263 members got here.” – John Diefenbaker

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