Claude McIntosh - Mac's Musings

It didn’t take long for Mayor Gerald Parisien, former grocer/radio broadcaster, to find the job he was elected to on Dec. 2, 1974 was a full-time position in need of a full-time pay cheque.

So, in March, 1975 he pitched the idea, with the support of the chief administrative officer, of making it an official full-time position, along with a substantial pay increase.

A savvy politician who knew the art of backroom politics, Parisien never brought a proposal to council without having the required number of votes lined up. It was a lesson – Politics: 101 – that Ed Lumley soon learned after becoming mayor.

On March 20, council debated the proposal with the majority of the 12 aldermen (as they were called) agreeing the position should be declared full-time with a $4,500 increase which raised the annual base salary to $15,000 from $10,500. In addition, the position was provided with a $100-a-month car allowance, $1,200 a year for police commission duties and $80 for health board meetings. Combined, it raised the annual salary to around $17,000, about $2,500 less than the average salary earned by a single Canadian worker.

While they weren’t deemed full-time, Parisien’s predecessors Nick Kaneb and Ed Lumley logged full-time hours with part-time pay.

Parisien told council that if anyone doubting the need to make the job full-time should look at his busy appointment book.

Of course, previous mayors could have made the same argument.


A 78-page consultant’s report unveiled at a March, 1975 city council meeting urged the city to spend millions of dollars on refurbishing its downtown core.

The spending/wish list for downtown included development of a shopping complex, a new library in the downtown area, an art gallery at Pitt and Third streets, a new administration building (city hall) and a Pitt Street pedestrian mall between Third and First streets. The reports said the mall was the “only salvation for the downtown.” (They sure got that one wrong.)

Several aldermen expressed disappointment with the report, two going so far as to suggest it was a waste of money and that a new consultant should be hired.

A pedestrian mall did come and go. The former post office became the new library, a stone’s throw from Pitt Street. An art gallery has been established on Pitt in the downtown core. And Cornwall Square opened in 1979.

MARCH 1975 – I. D. A. Oil Refinery announced that it planned to build an oil refinery on property it owned just west of Morrisburg. Cost of the project was put at $7.5 million. The company said when up and running, the refinery would provide 100 jobs. Skeptics noted that the a sign announcing a pending refinery had been on the property for two years. For a variety of reasons, the project never got off the ground. … A Trees for Canada project set for the spring would see local boy scouts plant 20,000 trees in the city and area. … Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) members employed by the SD and G County School Board asked to have the 18-month contract signed eight months earlier re-opened. John Cauley, spokesperson for the teachers, said inflation had eaten away most of the gains provided by the 18% salary increase. …

Hotel Dieu Hospital said it would need to cut eight beds to balance the books. Administrator Jack Fry warned future bed cuts might be needed unless the province provided more funding. … Sylvania said it would close its colour tube plant on Vincent Massey Drive. … Two years after the Cornwall Senior Citizens Club on lower Pitt Street opened its doors, membership had grown to 442 from 82. … Osnabruck Township carried out a survey to see if there was enough support for construction of a seniors apartment building in Ingleside. … Miss Cornwall Restaurant in Brookdale Shopping Centre expanded to 200 seats. … The Holiday Inn on Brookdale Avenue offered a candlelight buffet. … Beaver Lumber on Second Street East closed its doors. … Pierre Brassard won the Cornwall Royals scoring title with 118 points on 54 goals and 64 assists. Ron Davidson finished second with 42-68-110 and Cornwall minor hockey product Yvon Disotell had 98 points on 49 goals and 49 assists despite missing a dozen games with an injury. … For the first time ever, an outside company was contracted to pick up city garbage. The winning bid was from Disher Farrand Ltd. of Unionville. A local firm was knocked out of the bidding when it could not come up with a $200,000 bond. Ald. Gerald Samson Sr. argued that preference should have been given to the local firm, even if it couldn’t come up with the bond. … An Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) showed that most municipalities wanted to keep Dec. 2 as the election date. Most also favoured keeping two-year terms. … New Democratic Party MPP Dr. Mort Shulman said “reverse discrimination” was keeping Canadian-born students out of medical schools. He said 26% of University of Toronto medical students were from outside Canada.

HERE AND THERE If Trump doesn’t get the Republican nomination, don’t be surprised if he punishes the GOP by running as a third-party candidate in 2024 using the millions he has collected to date from supporters. … Another week, another mass shooting in the United States. So far this year there have been 128 mass shootings. As one retired FBI agent said on CNN Monday, “I’m here today to talk about another school shooting. Sadly, I’ll be back (talking about another) … next week or next month.”

TRIVIA A study released in December 1974 showed that of 22 communities in Ontario, Cornwall had the fourth highest level of this cancer-causing pollutant in its water supply: 1) Benzene, 2) Vinyl chloride, 3) Mercury, 4) Asbestos, 5) Ethylene oxide.

TRIVIA ANSWER President Joe Biden received his law degree at Syracuse University.

QUOTED “ An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn’t happen today.” – Laurence J. Peter

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