Cornwall voters dealt incumbent Glen Grant a stinging defeat in the race for mayor, and instead elected Justin Towndale to lead council. Towndale defeated Grant by nearly 1,100 votes, 5,169 to 4,088.
And that’s not all.
Political rookie Sarah Good nabbed top spot in the race to fill council, finishing with a whopping 5,478 votes. Other newbies around the council table include Denis Sabourin and Fred Ngoundjo. Veterans including Claude McIntosh, Elaine MacDonald, Dean Hollingsworth, Syd Gardiner, Carilyne Hebert, Maurice Dupelle and Todd Bennett were returned to council.
But the big news, as it almost always is, are the changes coming to city hall and the big chair.
Towndale showed us a thing or two about campaigning on a message of change.
As a consequence we seem to be at a tipping point in local politics. The old guard might just be on the way out. Grant surrounded himself with a who’s who of local political heavyweights to help with his campaign, including people like Brian Lynch and Dick Aubry.
Grant himself has a healthy political pedigree from years of experience as a city councillor.
But in the end, none of that was enough to get him over the hump. Is it because this isn’t the 1980s anymore? Maybe. Those who have lead our city in the past deserve our respect – but their relevance to the current political landscape is showing signs of waning.
Towndale comes to city hall with a chip on his shoulder and lots of promises to keep. Something to watch over the next four years will be to see how close some of the city’s labour unions remain with our new mayor.
Towndale now finds himself in the position of having to advocate on behalf of all Cornwall residents, not just those who endorsed him during this campaign. With a recession looming on the horizon, we’re interested to see how financial pressures at budget time will translate into Towndale’s support for those unions when negotiations begin.
The seeds of change appear to have been planted around the council table – though to a decidedly lesser degree. Good finished first, but the list of councillors then devolves into the list of vets we have above. Sabourin and Ngoundjo finished eighth and 10th respectively.
Council will have to lean on the experience from some of those veterans as this new term gets started.
We have given Towndale a thorough going over in this space, in the past. But he deserves our congratulations on the win. Nothing says ‘I’m the right choice’ more than 5,169 people that agree with you.
Next we’ll find out if the 10 people around the council table are just as agreeable.