Bill Kingston owes me five bucks.
The former radio journalist who now helms Cornwall Newswatch agreed to a little wager with yours truly in the days leading up to Monday’s election.
The bet was a simple one: who would more accurately predict the results of the election, specifically the names of councillors candidates who went down to defeat.
Of the four who were shown the door, I got three correct. The decision to turf Glen Grant kind of surprised me, but when one looks at the election results (specifically some of the new faces) that’s exactly what comes to mind – surprise.
But it shouldn’t.
If there was ever an election that contained a strong demand for change it would have to be this year. Voters, angry at tax increases, raises for city councillors, accusations of mismanagement and secret dealings had had enough…big time.
Leslie O’Shaughnessy, the mayor-elect, and I have butted heads during the campaign over the phraseology of his decision to leave city council during this term. I call it ‘quit’…he says ‘resigned in protest.’
Based on the results Monday night you can make three conclusions…no one cares what Lihou says, no one reads what Lihou writes…or O’Shaughnessy was right. Hint: it’s the last one, at least as far as voters are concerned.
You have to give credit where it is due. O’Shaughnessy saw a way to defeat Kilger and he exploited it. There’s no doubt that the anti-Kilger sentiment that dominated the campaign grew exponentially as the race unfolded. And while the soon-to-be ex-mayor tried his best to rise against the tide that was forming against him, there was no escaping the wave of change that swept him and long-time colleagues Denis Carr, Syd Gardiner as well as newcomer Gerry Samson out of office.
O’Shaughnessy now finds himself with a monumental challenge. The former city councillor who also spent time as a mayor in the former Charlottenburgh Township, not to mention a stint as the warden of the United Counties, will lead a council that is short on experience.
But maybe that’s exactly what we need? Time, as it always does, will tell.
Claude McIntosh, Brock Frost, Justin Towndale and Carilyne Hebert are rookies in every sense of the word. They all have different strengths, but experience as a member of public office is not one of them.
Mark MacDonald, after a couple of election defeats (one for mayor, the other for MPP) put enough together in this race to return to the table, and offers some of the experience his new colleagues are lacking.
Forgotten in the hub-bub of all the new blood around the council table is the fact that the city’s top administrator, CAO Norm Levac, has announced his intention to retire in the new year.
If there was ever an opportunity for a fresh approach to municipal government in Cornwall, it is now. All of the planets have lined up.
The other way to look at it is this – we got what we asked for. Now what?
ELECTION NIGHT NOTES:
Are you kidding me people…Stephanie White got 2,000 votes? She’s the same one who voluntarily pulled out of the race days after the nominations closed.
She was sandwiched between people like Mike O’Neil (he deserved much better than the 1,482 he got) and Roland Besner (2,506).
Can someone explain to me why 2,000 people voted for someone who didn’t want the job and did no campaigning to speak of?
You’ve got to feel terrible for guys like Guy St-Jean and Todd Bennett – especially Bennett. The guy finished just out of the running in 2010, by 1,300 votes. He did exactly what voters told him to, joining city committees, volunteering and attending nearly every council meeting.
The result this time? He finished even further back than he did in 2010, a disappointing 15th.
St-Jean finished just out of the running, in 11th, about 400 votes behind incumbent Andre Rivette who was able to keep his job, even if just barely.
St-Jean impressed me, and a slew of others, during the campaign. Obviously it wasn’t enough to translate into a victory.
In my comments on Cogeco on election night I suggested the only thing people could take to the bank would be that hard-working, deserving people, would not get elected.
St-Jean and Bennett represent that sentiment in spades.
Big party politics are supposed to stay out of city hall, but if one looks at the new makeup of city council, it looks like there is a decided shift to the left.
Newcomers Mark MacDonald, Carilyne Hebert, Justin Towndale, as well as incumbents Bernadette Clement, Elaine MacDonald and Maurice Dupelle, have an ideological bend that is decidedly left leaning.
One has to wonder how this will play out, say, during budget deliberations when outside agencies begin clamouring for more money out of city hall.