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After being through the kind of battles that
Maureen Boldt has been through, 99.99%
MB: Re-elect, because this will be the 5th
time I have been on council.
MB: That’s what I’m hearing from the public.
Their opinion is, and I don’t disagree with
of people would have been beaten into them, is that decisions are made before the
resignation. But, here she is throwing her S: Since you’ve been gone, what is the main issue even hits the council floor, instead of
hat into the ring, seeking a fifth term on city thing that you have disagreed with that has the other way around. In the past, when
council. Her platform is green, and business happened on council? council has considered something as huge
savvy. Her stands are refreshingly principled. as that, they would say, in a public format,
Her interests in this community are closely MB: There are a number of things that have what their intentions were. Then they would
aligned to those of the “average person”, and been brought to my attention over the last send out notifications to interested parties,
being an “average person”, I cannot think of few years. I couldn’t not run for council. and then they would hold public meetings.
anyone who I would want to be fighting for The public have come to me over and over As far as I know, none of that happened.
them than Maureen Boldt. again everywhere I go. Every time I go to a
grocery store, people stop me, they come to S: Another issue that you have in your
Solvent Magazine: Some people may be my home, they send me emails, they phone platform is social housing. We don’t hear
surprised, that, given your headline com- me. People are very much concerned with too much on that issue from candidates in
manding struggles in the past few years that the lack of respect for public input. That has this election, but it is an extremely important
you have brazenly re-entered public life. You led to a number of issues that have bubbled issue. With our vacancy rate so low, and rent
don’t feel like you need to hide? to the surface as a result. Green space is the so high, a lot of people are feeling the pinch.
big one. Before Tweedsmuir Park, there was What role do you see the city filling in terms
Maureen Boldt: Something historic hap- Sweetman’s Garden. Then there was Car- of providing social housing?
pened as a result of me not backing down. ruthers park. I heard recently that there were
Ontario is the very first province in the thoughts of selling off Lee Park where the MB: Councillors of the city of North Bay sit
Canada to license and regulate paralegals. baseball field is and selling it off for residen- on the board for Nipissing District Housing
We’re the first in North America that recog- tial development. Corporation. I was on the board for 7 years,
nizes independent paralegals, and tells them and chair for 1 year. One of my objectives
what they are allowed to do. I’m really proud S: Had you been on city council, could was to build not just more social housing, but
of the fact that I had a part to play in that. Tweedsmuir Park have gone differently? affordable single family units. At the time we
Paralegals now know what services they City council voted to make Tweedsmuir into had a waiting list of over 1000 people wait-
can provide to the public, and the public now surplus land. ing for affordable living. We needed some
knows what they can get done. I’m proud of handicapped, some single, and some triples
having been an agent of change. MB: That would have never happened with – three bedroom units. Those were our
me. I would not have supported that in any critical needs. I had a very good relationship
S: So this has not been an entirely nega- way shape or form. In fact, I would have led with the board, and I was also chair of Social
tive thing for you, nor for the community of the challenge to stop it. I’ll give you some Services. We had a really good relationship
paralegals. background. Years back, one of the things with the provincial government, and the min-
I was concerned about was that North ister gave us special funding that no other
MB: It has not been a negative thing for the Bay was experiencing a lack of residential municipality got. Because of that good re-
public or the profession, but it has cost me development. Council struck a task force, lationship, we were able to get the funds we
enormously on a personal level. But, I’m still and I was on it, to meet with the develop- needed. One of the things I was hoping to
here, and business is good. ers to find out what their needs were. They do, was on the abandoned rail lands that the
made it clear to us that there was a lack of city got for a buck, I tried to talk this council
S: The important thing is that you have serviced residential land to build homes on. into using part of that land for social housing.
fought for what you believe is right, and you So we brought this back to council, and my But instead they chose to turn it into afford-
didn’t have an ounce of quit in you the whole recommendation was that we do an inven- able housing, entry level homes, in the 220
time, and good things have come out of it. tory of all the properties in North Bay that thousand dollar range. That is not affordable
were serviced residential land. We found that for many first time home owners. We need
MB: Like I said, the change that has come there were dozens and dozens of lots that some more bottom end social housing. But
about is historic, and I’m hoping that every were available for development that were my intention is not to ghettoize people like
province in Canada follows suit. It will be so owned by the city. I brought forward the sug- that. You don’t put all the social housing in
good for the public to have every person in gestion, and was supported by the council one place, you need mixed housing. That
the Province who delivers legal services to of the day, that we put that property up for has been proven to have the most positive
be licensed, trained, and insured the way we development. It has been very very success- impact on people.
are now in Ontario. ful, but this council has gone too far, with
the Otter Lake and the other 3 issues that I S: As a former champion of social housing,
S: Just to be absolutely clear Maureen, have mentioned. They are in real trouble politically has anyone taken up that mantle on this
you been convicted of any criminal offence? because of it. council since you’ve been gone?

MB: Absolutely not. Mine was a civil dis- S: You bring up the genesis of the MB: Not that I’m aware of. The next step is
pute, and the contempt of court was for me Tweedsmuir problem being a lack of public taking a look at the 2 hospitals that are soon
allegedly to have been practicing law without consultation. to be vacant. There is a task force working
a license. So no, I do not have a criminal on that now. St. Joseph’s will most likely
record. MB: The decision was already made by the be demolished, and I’d like to see social
time public was informed, they tried to stop housing on that land. I’d like to see the
S: For some reason, coverage of your story it, but it was too late. They put the cart before Civic turned into a long-term care facility for
has led a lot of people to believe that you the horse. You’re supposed to ask the public seniors.
have been convicted criminally. Are you get- first.
ting that on the campaign trail? S: I find it interesting that you would cam-
S: At what point in time do you think it would paign on this issue of more social housing.
MB: People love me or hate me, there is have been appropriate to tell the public? Be- Everybody knows that people on the lower
no in between. It just befuddles me that the fore the land was declared surplus? It seems end of the socio-economic ladder do not
media mishandled this story, and mainly the like the public was fighting over a develop- vote. This must be a principled decision on
print media was not kind to me at all. ment, but had they been informed earlier, the your part as opposed to a political one. That
fight would have been over the decision to is quite refreshing.
S: During this campaign, do you say elect make it surplus.
Maureen Boldt, or re-elect Maureen Boldt? MB: It is. My parents were NDP and were

concerned about people who needed a hand S: Ya really, I can’t think of why not. But, I
up. What’s wrong with helping people? can think of the news being dominated by a S: The focus of your job creation plan is eco-
big oil spill… tourism…
S: That is something that doesn’t come up
in municipal campaigns. Who are you? Who MB: In 2007, I registered a business called MB: This is very exciting to me. I spent a
do you stand for? This information gets lost “Off the Grid”, and I was going to go heavily week in Alberta last month, and I looked
in the enormous amounts of platitudes that into that, and start by converting my home to around carefully at the area I was in, and
make up people’s platforms. I’m impressed solar and wind power. Unfortunately, I didn’t realized that there was no industry. I asked
that not only would you campaign for social see the 35 thousand dollars in legal fees I myself, “How are they getting by? Every-
housing, but you would want it mixed in with was about to incur. body looks so wealthy, and they all look so
other elements of the community. Some fit…”. They’re all driving new equipment,
people react against that, and don’t want it S: This isn’t a terribly sexy issue, but ev- the restaurants and stores are jam packed.
in their backyard. That is the most principled eryone needs to talk about it. Taxes. I recall They were capitalizing on outdoor opportu-
thing I have heard from anyone in this cam- listening to the radio debate between you nities that the area presented. There were
paign so far… and Tanya Vrebosch, and she was very ada- places to rent all the equipment you would
mant that she would never ever ever support need to do any of it, from fly fishing rods,
MB: I never thought of it that way,… thank a zero tax increase. That may or may not be to kayaks, to snow-boarding equipment, to
you. reasonable, but it just seemed to be an odd horses. Thousands of people came to enjoy
stand to take so adamantly. the outdoors in the area. North Bay could
S: Your platform talks about a regional recy- be doing the same. What I want to do with
cling centre. MB: Ya, it just doesn’t make any sense. eco-tourism, is I want to set up a regional
There may be a day where the city has lots meeting with all of the stakeholders who
MB: When I was last on council, I was very of money coming in from, say the province, already provide these kinds of services. I
assertive in insisting that we look at the if they start paying us properly. If we get a want to see what we have, and pool their
current recycling centre. The one we have better relationship through a council that is marketing resources. It wouldn’t be expen-
is defective, it’s dangerous, it leaks, it’s got more respectful of senior levels of govern- sive, we already have everything we need,
real serious problems. It’s just inadequate. ment, and develops better relationship, I’m we need a better plan to exploit the potential.
going to guess that we will see a change in The Chief Commanda used to go down the
S: You see opportunities that make financial the attitude in Toronto towards North Bay. French River, it used to stop at the Keystone,
sense in terms of recycling. We could get more provincial funding. If you and it used to do a full day tour. That should
are adversarial towards them, they won’t be be something we can market. Exciting stuff
MB: Recycling costs us money. But, if we assisting us. So, if we work on relationships, right?
had a regional recycling plant, and the we could probably get some money flowing
municipalities in our catchment area brought here, and maybe we wouldn’t have to raise S: You definitely have an ability to crystallize
their goodies to us, and paid us to do that, taxes every year. environmental issues, and impose a busi-
we would have more volume, and we’d ness plan on them, which is important. Many
make more money. S: So you wouldn’t totally discount a future people list the environment as their chief vot-
in which the people of North Bay would have ing concern, and then turn around and vote
S: You’re saying that improving our recycling a year of zero tax increase? on other issues, because in the end, looking
centre would make it more cost effective, out for the environment is going to cost them
provided that we get the jump on municipali- MB: If we have enough money coming in in some way. Rationalizing an expanded
ties around us. from assessment, and enough from pro- recycling program with the city’s financial
vincial funding, I could see that possibly interests, and having eco-tourism as the
MB: Yes, and that also ties in with us being happening. foundation of your job creation plan should
more environmentally friendly and con- allow people to vote for the a healthy bottom
scious. One of the projects I promoted 5 or S: Why wouldn’t council hold that up as a line, and the environment at the same time.
6 years ago, was wind turbines, and solar possibility? As in, they could have it as a Thanks for the interview Maureen!!!
power. I didn’t have a lot of support on coun- goal, and try to achieve it.
cil for that, but I see Al McDonald’s platform MB: Thanks alot.
mentions it, so I’m looking forward to being MB: Now we have 20 million dollars in re-
the chair of that committee on his behalf. I’d serve. I think it is time for us to stop stashing
like to see some turbines here. I’d like to see money, and to look at paying down the tax
some solar energy. Why not? increase.

After 4 years on the sidelines, George subject of budgeting, my concern with that on a delegation to go and do something out
Maroosis is seeking to reclaim a seat on is very often we are not paying attention to of town, Don and I could drive down in the
council. Should he do so, he would be by community realities. In this last term, in 2008, same car and we got along really well. When
far the most experienced person in the job, we had the greatest economic downturn in I ran for provincial politics, even though Don
an asset to other councillors, especially the my lifetime, and we still increased taxes! was ideologically aligned with my opponent,
newcomers who will be able to draw on his Don supported my campaign financially, and
experience. With a reputation for diplomacy S: So if you had been on council during wished me well. You develop friendships,…
within the council ranks, he brings another this last term, you would have wanted city and I have a great respect for every member
useful quality to the table. Solvent caught up council’s outlook to take into account what of the current council, but philosophically, we
with the man that some call “The Wrench” for was happening in the real world to a greater have some differences. Politics should not
a chat about the issues. extent? be personal.

Solvent: Was it difficult sitting out the last 4 GM: Absolutely, and if the majority would S: Would that word of advice have helped
years watching the city function without your not be in agreement, with me, I would have this city council in terms of its relationship
guidance for the first time in 24 years? voted against that budget. I still think that with the provincial government, for example.
increasing taxes, above inflation, even in
George Maroosis: Actually, I just tried to good times, is hard to justify. I operate a little GM: I think so. How can we expect to get
keep my nose out of it. Obviously, I still knew business, you know, if the money isn’t com- things moving along in this community, if we
what the issues were, and I always had ing in, you delay some stuff. You patch some isolate ourselves and aggravate the other
people coming in wanting some information, stuff up rather than buying new stuff. The city levels of government? Not only do we have
and wanting to know who they should talk to, of North Bay needs to operate that way. to get along as councilors, but we have to
but my philosophy was, well, I’m not there, get along with the MP, and the MPP. That
so let these guys do their job. S: That is an interesting perspective that doesn’t mean that we agree with everything
you bring to city council, as a small business that they’re doing. We have to show respect
S: So you found that people still sought you owner, because cash flow isn’t guaranteed, for them, and be willing to work for the com-
out, and still treated you like a councilor for so when conditions change, you need to mon good.
perspective purposes? adapt to those conditions.
S: Again, as a candidate, I see that as one
GM: Oh ya, I still run into people all time who GM: Over the years that I was on council of your distinguishing characteristics. You
don’t even realize that I’m not on council. from ‘82 on, I was there when interest rates rise above the petty differences, and function
were 20%. I was there in the early 90’s when diplomatically, on a higher level. Now, the
S: Did you find that you had a different per- the GST came in and sales fell, as consum- Solvent readership is younger and consists
spective on people’s discontent, so to speak, ers tightened up. In the late 80’s and early in large part, of the arts community. Do you
when you were looking at it from outside of 90’s, real estate values in this this commu- have anything to say specifically to this
council? nity plummeted. There were times when we demographic?
had to make adjustments. I sat on councils
GM: When you’re on council, you get so where we said, we’re not raising taxes this GM: I’ve been in the art business for 30
permeated with all of the stuff that is com- year because times are tough. Interestingly years. Artists are my friends. They are who
ing at you and you have all of this extra enough, I’ve been criticized by people who I do business with, and they are who I pro-
information, whereas you don’t have that say that “it’s your fault that we have to in- mote. The arts community, in general terms,
as a regular citizen. And, as a citizen, you crease taxes so much today, because in the is very small liberal in philosophy, and very
don’t get caught up on all the little issues past, you didn’t increase taxes enough”. pro environment. There is lots in my platform
and skirmishes that are going on behind the for that demographic. Currently, the city does
scenes. From outside of council, you see S: George, was it your fault that the econo- subsidize the Capitol Centre, which is very
the issues that are affecting people in a very my wasn’t exactly perfect during the Mul- important. One thing the city has stopped do-
clear fashion. roney years? ing, was the acquisitions committee we had
for the visual arts at City Hall. Most people
S: In a conversation we had previously, I GM: Exactly, the GST sure wasn’t my fault, aren’t aware of it, but the city has a very in-
asked you who your favorite councilors are, and neither is the HST, because I wouldn’t teresting art collection. That would be a great
and who your least favorite councilors are. have either one of them. way to stimulate the arts in North Bay.
I was surprised that you didn’t say your
favorite councilors were the ones that are S: I’d like to get back to a very distinguishing S: That, I agree with. That is the way I think
ideologically aligned with you, you chose characteristic that you have as a candidate. I that the arts should be subsidized, is through
your favorite councilors based on how hard was speaking with Mike Anthony a few days acquisitions.
they work at the job. I thought that was very ago, and I expressed curiosity about the
interesting. seeming camaraderie on council. He told me GM: We need to preserve the arts for future
that, way back, 10 years ago, when he was generations. We have to assist the arts, be
GM: My belief is that if you are going to do a rookie city councilor, that he learned a very it theatre, music, or visual arts by having a
something, you should give it your best. We important lesson from you. Not only did he venue for it occur, but as far as putting artists
all have different philosophies, for example, learn some of the ropes from you, but even on an allowance, I can’t see that happen-
I have disagreements with other councilors though you were ideologically opposed to ing in my lifetime. The corporate world has
on how we might approach the budget, but him on a great many issues, he learned from to step up and support the arts, and you
I have always had respect for the budget you that disagreements inside of council can see, by some of the sponsorships at
chiefs I’ve sat with over the years. I’ve even chambers do not affect your relationship the Capitol Centre, that that is happening.
voted against budgets, but the budget chiefs outside of chambers. You put differences of The movie industry has done some stuff
have always known it wasn’t personal. I think opinion aside, and didn’t take them person- here, and I think that we need to encourage
that’s the way you have to deal with stuff. In- ally. You could go for a beer with someone more of that. If there is any way that we can
terestingly enough, sometimes you are right, who had, minutes before, been on the op- accommodate the shooting of a movie, by
and sometimes time shows that the opinion posite side of a contentious debate. cutting some red tape and making it easier
you held was wrong. You have to recognize, for them, then that is what we have to do.
like a ball player, that you will never have a GM: That’s always been my philosophy.
perfect record. You don’t hit a home run ev- We’ve had some great arguments on council S: You’re right, that is the strongest avenue
ery time you step up to the plate. I think what over the years. When I think of Don King, we for growth for the North Bay arts community.
you do, is you try to do your best, you try were the greatest of combatants on council,
to listen to what people have to say. On the but whenever it came to something like being GM: … and it showcases the city. Not only

that, but it is good for business. Hotels and it in East Ferris, we still benefit. We have to be avoided if there were more councilors that
restaurants do really well when those people work for the big picture. This community is had an open door policy and were accessible
come to town. Our citizens get a chance to going to be here when you and I are long to the public?
be a part of it too, as a stand in or even in a gone. Who remembers who the mayor was
small part. in 1942, or who was on city council in 1967? GM: I think it is very possible. This city
No one. We’re inconsequential to the history council needs to have pre-consultation, you
S: During this campaign, it seems that every of this city, so we have to do the best for the can’t just throw a surprise decision at people.
candidate is for jobs, however, not every one city, for our children, and for our grandchil- There should have been a meeting with the
has put forward a concrete set of ideas to dren. We have to think 20 years down the people in that neighborhood.
create these jobs we need. I heard your idea road, and if we don’t start working towards
about food packaging and distribution. How that vision now, we’ll never get there. S: When do you think that meeting should
do you city hall facilitating business locating have occurred? Perhaps before city council
here for that purpose. S: On the radio debate, you described voted to declare Tweedsmuir Park surplus
yourself as a voice for the little guy, partly land?
GM: The office of the mayor in conjunction because you have a business that opens
with city council has some recognition in this onto Main St., so people can come in and GM: Absolutely, that’s a no-brainer isn’t it? I
regard. The corporate giants control the food talk to you any time they want. How impor- don’t think that idea would have gotten very
industry. When I was a kid, we bottled coke, tant do you think that voice for the little guy far at all had they done that. They would
pepsi, we had 3 dairies and a couple of bak- is, and is it currently missing on council? have never gotten themselves in this trouble.
eries. Now these businesses have shifted to
the GTA, and every day, our supplies, such GM: I’m sure that many people on council S: If you are elected, you will be, by far, the
as our buns, beer and pop show up here in hear things from people, but I don’t think councilor with the most experience. That ex-
trucks. These big companies are coming up everyone is as accessible as I am. I’m right perience carries with it a long term perspec-
against the law of diminishing returns. When here, and people know where to find me. I tive on North Bay’s development and history.
you get to a certain size, production isn’t really like it when people come in to talk to You would be a resource that other coun-
as efficient. They need to break production me, because people keep me up to date. I cilors could tap into and place the issues
into units. There are a few companies that can keep the pulse of this city from my store facing us into a broader historical context.
we need to approach to locate some of their when people come in to talk to me. You have also demonstrated the ability to
production to North Bay which is an ideal rise above partisan bickering and encourage
shipping hub with a lower cost of living. S: You are describing a mechanism of other councilors to do the same. One might
We’ve got a great quality of life that we need consultation with the people of North Bay. reasonably conclude that your experience
to market to these companies. If we get one This election is being defined in part by an and diplomacy on council are invaluable and
or two of these companies to come to North issue that grew out of a lack of consultation irreplaceable.
Bay, it is going to make a big difference. We between council and the public. I’m talk-
also have to co-operate with the university ing about Tweedsmuir Park. There was a GM: No question about it. I sat with Merle
and college to see if we can’t get something surprising amount of backlash there, and I Dickerson. I’ve been at this a long time, and
like a pharmaceutical company, like Merck have to assume that council was surprised quite frankly, I have not lost my enthusiasm
or Phizer in here to do some R&D. We have by it, because if they weren’t, they probably for it. When I sat out these last 4 years, I
graduates that they might be interested in. wouldn’t have done what they did. Is that an had to really work at keeping my nose out
We need the companies that can hire the example of a situation in which consultation of stuff. But I always believe in giving 100%,
graduates to stop youth out migration. was not adequate? and if I am fortunate enough to be elected,
I’ll be back in there asking the tough ques-
S: This is pretty common sense stuff. Why GM: Absolutely, and the other things was, tions, sticking up for the little guy, giving
aren’t we already doing it? Or perhaps the it was a series of situations. It started with these guys history lessons, telling them what
changing of the times has made this ag- Otter Lake, moved to Sweetman’s Garden, I’ve learned and where the minefields are.
gressive, go out and find the businesses we and then it moved into Ferris. The people Sometimes you need someone who has
want here approach more necessary? fighting for Tweedsmuir are not alone, the been there, and done that to point out the
people who fought for Sweetman’s Garden minefields so you don’t go getting yourself
GM: Yes, I think that’s true, but another know how they feel. Same with the people blown up. The other thing I can add is an air
things is that at one time we had an eco- that were interested in Otter Lake. Now of congeniality so that we can all get along.
nomic development commission that includ- people in every part of this city are worried There is nothing wrong with disagreeing in
ed business people. Recently, we’ve gone about the green spaces in their neighbor- certain situations. Debate is healthy, in fact
to a more conclave type of situation where hoods. The whole city is upset about this. debate is fun, and we need to have fun.
we’ve kept economic development close, The line in the sand has been drawn, and it
and in house. We should also be working has been drawn at Tweedsmuir Park. S: Perfect ending George!!!
with our regional partners, because if they
don’t want a plant in North Bay, let them put S: Do you think this kind of situation could

Never underestimate a man for whom people in this community, because statisti- not currently doing, but hopefully it will be in
sleeves are a nuisance. Clayton Windatt cally, a higher percentage of them actually the future. They are doing cultural mapping,
is extremely well regarded in North Bay’s get out to vote… which is something that a city does when it
arts community with experience serving on wants to establish what is available in the
the boards of both the Whitewater Gallery S: Solvent readership is fairly young, and community, culture-wise. The only reason to
and The Capitol Centre. He also volunteers this is also a demographic that doesn’t vote do this is to start funding things strategically.
with many local community groups such as very often, so what do you say to a young It should be an assessment with intent. The
the North Bay Art Association, the Gateway person to motivate him or her to get out and intent is not something I’ve heard very much
Theatre Guild and Rep21. A family man with vote for Clayton Windatt? about from the city. I would make sure the
roots deeply sunk in this community, Clayton assessment is followed by the funding. One
Windatt is seeking to step up his level of CW: Well I definitely want the first piece of thing that this city is an anomaly for, and you
contribution to North Bay’s future by running advice that I give a person who doesn’t nor- don’t really get to learn about this until you
for city council. mally vote to be this: inform yourself before start networking with other art communities,
voting. Take the time to find out what every is that North Bay is one of the only cities that
Solvent: I’ve heard of a lot of politicians who candidate is all about before making up your doesn’t really have an ongoing open com-
say they will roll up their sleeves and get mind. If a person reads my platform on my petition for funding. Therefore, when North
down to some hard work, but never have I web-site, and finds out about every other Bay artists apply for funding from the large
witnessed a candidate rip his sleeves entirely candidate’s platform too, then regardless of funding bodies, such as the Ontario Arts
off! what their decision is, I respect it. I advocate Council, a person on the jury will look at that
education before voting. If you have no idea artist’s resume and see no municipal funding
Clayton Windatt: Absolutely! of what this election is about, if you have not at all. To us, we don’t realize that’s missing,
talked to any candidates at all, I would ad- to them they think that money is available
S: What’s that all about? vise… don’t go and vote at all. If you do, then here…
you are buying into hype, you’ll see a sign,
CW: I’ve been wearing sleeveless shirts for you’ll think it’s pretty, you’ll see a bunch more S: Ahh,… and that person just didn’t deserve
a while, and I had some friends ask me why of them, then you’ll vote for that person. That it, so why would the province fund an artist
I don’t have sleeves on my shirts, and I said: is a huge mistake. that doesn’t have the stature is his or her
“It’s a comfort thing, when you work hard do- own community to garner funding?
ing all the different things that you do in your S: Ya, you become part of the problem. The
day to day life, the sleeves actually chafe signs are an advertising technique. Repeti- CW: Yes. Now some of us know to actually
your arms, so I got rid of them. tion is power. What does it mean when Can- put that on our resumes, that, North Bay of-
didate X has seven thousand signs around fers no funding, but it is still a liability for us.
S: So you are the kind of politician that puts town? Well, if they can plow their name into The jury acts surprised when they find out
productivity before such meaningless things your mind, and then attach even one feel there is no funding available in North Bay.
as fashion sense. Those sleeves got in the good idea to it, such as family values, or They want to know why, and we can’t really
way of your productivity, and now they’re fiscal responsibility, or green space, then tell them… it is a very odd situation. There
gone. That’s what happens to the obstacles they got your vote. I like the fact that you say are other municipalities that have similar is-
before Clayton Windatt, they disappear. educate yourself or stay home, but… once sues, but not cities...
people educate themselves about all the
CW: Ya, when other people say they are go- candidates, what is that one thing that will S: You aren’t taking campaign donations.
ing to roll up their sleeves and get to work, I bring people who don’t normally vote, out to I wonder why that is, and would hazard a
believe in skipping that step. vote for you? guess that you don’t want anyone to think
that you are going to owe favours to anyone
S: Ya, rolling sleeves up is a waste of time CW: After people get informed, they should once elected?
for everyone but you. Do you think that the realize that the only way they will get their
sleeves on your shirts could be a metaphor opinions heard is by electing people that CW: Yes that is one reason, and another is
for the problems that face North Bay should reflect their personalities, and interests in this that I see it as a waste of money. Before tak-
you become a councillor, in that they disap- community, then they might want to vote for ing money from someone for this campaign,
pear? me. If they don’t do this, they have no right I’d suggest that it be given to a worthy cause.
to sit back and get angry that the world isn’t I work in the not-for-profit sector, and a lot
CW: Yes. in tune with what they want. At that point, it is of the funding for job creation comes from
their own fault, because they failed to elect places like Fednor. A job can be created if an
S: In your work, and your life, and your the people that would have made it that way. organization puts up 10% of the salary for a
concerns, do you think that you have more given year. So when I consider that my cam-
in common with the average citizen than the S: OK, what you are saying is that a person paign spending limit is 35000$, I look at that
average city councillor does? who informs himself or herself, will realize and I could create 7 full time jobs for a year
that you are the candidate that will shape this with that kind of cash. I just can’t see spend-
CW: Ya… I look at the average person here community to fit their vision a little bit better, ing that kind of money on a campaign… and
in North Bay as people who don’t necessarily based on the fact that you have a lot in com- it seems wasteful to me. I don’t want people
have a million dollars worth of property. They mon with the massive majority of them. voting for me based on how many signs I put
work hard, and they may or may not have up or how much air time I can buy.
problems financially, so ya, I do think I can CW: Absolutely. That’s the way I look at it.
identify with these people… and I understand You know, I’m an optimist almost to a fault, S: Basically, you are saying that spend-
the issues that confront the average citizen but I believe that if 100% of the youth in ing money on a campaign is like buying
of North Bay. Not that I would turn my back North Bay went out, educated themselves, votes, which is wrong, and wasting money
on the concerns of higher income people, it’s and they all voted, and I wasn’t elected I that could go to better things, which is also
just that my background is not the same as would still be happy, because the process wrong.
theirs… is working. The will of the people would be
accurately reflected. That being said, I would CW: That is correct, and that is why I think
S: It would be a difficult thing to come right love to get in, but… it is so important for voters to inform them-
out and say, but I think that is an important selves. I suppose other candidates, that
factor for you, because you will relate to the S: Haha, OK. Now, you work hard in this have a lot of signs may disagree with me and
issues confronting a bigger portion of the city’s art community. It would be assumed prefer that voters don’t educate themselves
socio-economic ladder in this city than your that you would be a voice for the arts on city so that their signs can win votes for them. If
average “well to do” person would, and there council. What should the city be doing to voters educate themselves, they might vote
are a lot of “well to do” people running… support the arts that it is not currently doing? based on facts and issues, and perhaps vote
for a candidate who has spent no money…
CW: I’d hate to be alienating the well off CW: There are a few things that the city is like me.
When it comes to municipal elections, there
are races within the race for city council.
played an important role on several fiscally
responsible councils prevented you from los- S: Now that you have 10 years experience,
The first race is to get on council at all, then ing your fiscal credibility while choosing the would you say that you find the job more
there is the race to finish top 3 for the extra environment over financial concerns. rewarding as the years go on? You must be
responsibilities that come with that, and the seeing plans that you helped form 10 years
most important race is the race for first place MA: That’s very nice of you to say, first of ago coming to fruition now…
amongst city councillors, because the top all. Number two, that’s a huge comparison
vote getter is deputy mayor. Mike Anthony is to Nixon, and I never would have thought of MA: Absolutely, speaking of seeds sown
right in the thick of the race for deputy mayor. it myself. Wow, that’s all I can say to that. 10 years ago, when I was first elected in
He finished 2nd in the last election, and is a For me it’s always about trying to listen. I year 2000, there was myself, Al McDonald,
good bet to move up the ladder this time. He answer every email, I take every call that I Peter Chirico, who were quote, unquote, the
is a skilled communicator with an easy way can… I’m not afraid to talk to people. I am newcomers. We were elected because there
with people – even his detractors can’t deny pro development; I am a pro growth kind of was a huge push in the city coming from the
he is a heck of a nice guy. His popularity is guy. In this case, I was willing to look at the taxpayers association, which is a group that
based on his approachable nature, and the option of putting houses in there. We origi- you don’t hear much from anymore, and they
fact that he actually listens to his constitu- nally wanted 20 houses, and people kind of opened the people’s eyes to the fact that the
ents – hence his much discussed reversal on pushed back, so we went to 13. What started city had a whole lot of expensive projects on
Tweedsmuir Park. When you consider how to break it down for me was at a planning the go with no plan to pay for them, and the
to cast your vote in the race for deputy may- advisory meeting back in May, I asked about finances were not being run very business-
or, you must examine the available alterna- the covenant on the land, and I never really like. The city was starting to carry debt with
tives, and ask yourself if the kind of guy that got an answer that satisfied me. That got me no plan to pay it, and no plan for future
will talk to you and listen to you is the kind of talking to people. I talked to over 200 people investment in infrastructure. We got in there
guy that should be deputy mayor. If so, there in coffee shops, on the street, wherever, and and really exposed that. Myself, and Peter
is only one alternative – Mike Anthony. I was amazed, but not necessarily surprised Chirico are still there, Al McDonald is trying
in the end I guess, but the vast majority, to come back as Mayor, and Susan Church
Solvent: You’ve called your campaign, the over 190, said, don’t ever reduce recreation has moved on to the private sector. Over
“One Promise Campaign”, and the one space, for any reason. For me, there was a the years we have seen change in the way
promise is “Give me your vote, and I’ll give fundamental change of heart, I realized that things operate. Most decisions are fiscally
you my best”. How are people reacting to people did not support that development. based. You see real investment in the infra-
that? structure, we’re very aware of what the debt
S: When you consider the strength of the is, and have a plan to pay it off. You’re right,
Mike Anthony: People understand it, and backlash over Tweedsmuir Park, would you seeing all that come to fruition, it makes you
I’m getting positive feedback for it. It basi- agree that prior consultation could have proud.
cally means, “No B.S.”. You give me vote, avoided some of that?
I’ll give you my best, is the only realistic S: A one term councillor would never experi-
promise I can make. You can make big MA: Oh ya, it could have been done better. ence that.
extravagant promises, but when people get As I talked to people, I realized that. It was a
into council, they soon realize, as I did 10 great learning experience. I will always push MA: You’re right, absolutely. At this point
years ago, that unless everyone around the for as much public consultation and public though, I honestly feel that I have gotten
table agrees with you, you can’t guarantee input as possible. People in that area had good at the job. Being good at it doesn’t
anything. What I can promise people, is that the sense that they weren’t as well informed mean you please everybody all the time. It
every vote, every issue, every time, I will do as they should have been. means I am comfortable with it, I’m capable,
my best to consider every angle, every piece I understand the issues, I can go in and get
of input from citizens. It doesn’t mean I’ll be S: Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m a city the job done.
able to please everybody, but I’ll do my best councillor. What would be the most difficult
to listen, and in the end I’ll do what I think is part of that? For me, I always think showing S: You’ve formed a knowledge base that
best for the majority. That’s a promise that I up at photo ops, and assuming the persona a newcomer would never have. One thing
can keep. of a glad hand. It’s a performance to an ex- that I have always observed from afar is that
tent. Do you think your past in radio contrib- there is a sense of camaraderie amongst city
S: That must be one of the luxuries of incum- utes to your ability do the part of the job that councillors.
bency, because if you make one promise, requires a persona?
you can name off all of your achievements MA: I learned that early on. Myself and
from work on past councils, so people know MA: Working in the media really helped me George Maroosis were often on different
what they are getting when they vote for you. in the communication aspect, and it really sides of issues, drastically opposed on some
helped me in not being afraid to speak publi- of them. And yet, he taught me that outside
MA: Even though I’m not going to make you cally, and it helped me to not be intimidated of the chambers that you could still be friend-
B.S. promises, or make outlandish claims, by events. The ribbon cutting stuff is impor- ly, and if you see each other you can have a
you can look at my track record to know what tant, and it’s important to be there for special coffee or a beer. That’s a big deal, and some
I stand for. I’m able to point out to people events. I try to go to every business opening councillors don’t have that. When they argue
some of the fiscal decisions I’ve made, deci- that I can as a show of respect for someone in the chambers, afterwards, it’s like they are
sions I’ve made to support the arts, or the investing in the community. The real work is public enemies with the other councillors for
decision to save Tweedsmuir Park, when I sitting around that table making the tough weeks or months afterwards. To me that’s
realized that the vast majority of the public decisions; the stuff that most people would silly. You do the job inside the chambers, and
doesn’t support reducing recreation space find boring. Sitting around a table for weeks then afterward, outside, you’re people again.
for any reason. on end battling it out over whether to put Chris Mayne and I have been on a differ-
a four way stop at a certain intersection. ent page on a few issues, and yet, I book
S: Speaking of Tweedsmuir, and your rever- There’s stuff that isn’t all that attractive to talk vacations through him, he and I have lunch
sal on the issue, I kind of likened it to Nixon’s about, but that’s where the real work is. For together, we talk on the outside, because …
visit to China. When Nixon went to visit Mao, me council was a real learning experience. we’re people. Although we go in there and do
and established diplomatic ties, no one could I’ve been on there for 10 years now. I was our different jobs, we might have a different
accuse him of being soft on communism, young when I got on, I think I was one of the viewpoint and different stances, in the end
because he spent his whole career fighting youngest ever. I was about 30 or 31. It was a we recognize that we both care, we just differ
communism. Likewise, when you choose big learning curve. As a reporter, I knew the in terms of opinion.
a park over a development that could help issues, but it took a lot to get up to speed,
the city’s bottom line, the fact that you have and learn it from the inside. S: If there wasn’t that kind of camaraderie,

how would the newcomers learn the ropes define what your city is. The city needs to MA: You should run, you’ve said that 2 or 3
from the vets? invest in arts, just like in sports and business times now.
development, there has to be a balance.
MA: For example, Tanya Vrebosch-Merry Also, the environment has to be invested in. S: Haha, I’d just like to put myself in some-
has done a great job of getting up to speed. The balancing act is the fun part, juggling all one like your shoes, and imagine what that’s
She came on in mid-term when Maureen that stuff. like. When I come into a place like Twiggs, I
Boldt had to leave, and faced a huge learn- don’t necessarily have a connection to every
ing curve, but she’s done a great job. She’s S: Speaking of environmental issues, you’re person here. You automatically do, with
learned issues, she’s become more confi- going with no signs this time around? Or just everybody, because the work you do helps
dent, she’s become a better communicator. no lawn signs? shape the lives of everybody in this com-
munity. How does that affect you, having that
S: She must have been helped by others on MA: Just no lawn signs. However, I just kind of responsibility.
council eh? found out from Chris Mayne that they are
getting more bio-degradable, which is really MA: When I think about it sometimes, it
MA: Absolutely, I don’t sit beside her, so I cool, but for me, I’ve never believed in them. terrifies me. Literally, it could keep me up at
can’t interact with her much, but the people I’ve been elected 3 times, but I’ve never night. But being on the radio, I remember
on either side of her have helped her a lot. used a lawn sign. I didn’t like the idea of the first time I went on the air, I got sick,
them, I think there are too many of them. I because I was so nervous. This was when
S: In terms of your past career, and experi- have a few 4 by 4 placards that I’ll place at I was in my early 20’s, and it was my first
ence that would lend itself to being a city key intersections, and when I say a few, I professional radio gig in Halifax, I worked for
councillor, I think being an employment mean 10 or less. I purchase advertising, like a summer at 780 CFDR… all hit radio all hits
counsellor at YES Employment would have billboards, and on the net, stuff like that, but all the time, because that’s the way you want
helped. On one side you are a city councillor I just don’t like the lawn signs. it… and when I did my first newscast, I was
helping to create jobs in the community, and so nervous, I literally got sick to my stomach.
on the other, you are an employment coun- S: Do signs even work? You get used to it though. You never forget it
sellor, trying to plug people into those jobs. but you learn to circumvent it. By the same
MA: Yes and no. Like anything else, it takes token, if I thought every moment about how
MA: I am extremely fortunate, in that the expertise in terms of the message you want important every decision is, and that every
work background that I’ve had has re- to deliver. Simply putting your name on a one of these 56 thousand people could be
ally helped me. Being in broadcasting me sign, may or may not help you. It creates affected, and that every one of them may
helped in terms of communication skills, name recognition. But, what I try to do is to be angry or happy because of something
and understanding issues. Then I worked tie it all together. On every sign or ad that I I’ve done, you just get used to it, otherwise
up at the college teaching broadcasting, do, I put, my cam- it would overwhelm you. You get used to
and I realized how much I liked working paign is called The compartmentalizing it, and I don’t let it drive
with young people. Then I worked at YES name of the campaign, is the name of the me. You’re right though, when you stop and
Employment, which I did for over 10 years. web-site is what I want you to do. think about it, what we do, is the closest level
Working as an employment counsellor, I of government to people’s lives. What we do
worked with new immigrants, I worked with S: When I imagine myself as a city council- will affect your everyday life. We affect your
the unemployed, I worked with the part time lor,… potholes, we affect your garbage pickup. We
employed, I worked with people new to the affect everyday life.
city… everybody. People with special needs
or challenges, and disabilities… and it really
opened my eyes to helping people.

S: The dual perspectives of employment

counsellor and city councillor, on the job situ-
ation especially, I see a relationship there.

MA: What really helps me with this job

though, is that I am just a regular guy. I’m
approachable. I get a lot of calls from people,
and find out that other city councillors or
city staff didn’t get the calls, and I think it’s
because people know that I’m not intimidat-
ing, I’m not going to push you around, I don’t
think I have all the answers. I’m just a regular
guy. I’m willing to listen, and even if I can’t
please you, I can look you in the eye and tell
you why I decided to do what I did. I think SAB effigy in Pembroke store window
people see that.

S: Is there anything that the city can do for

the arts that it is not already doing?

MA: For sure, if the budget was unlimited,

I would love to do everything for everybody
and make everybody happy. But, we have
done more, we just now have put money into
creating an arts, culture and heritage plan.
We’ve actually invested money, but we got
half of it from the province, because they
understand the importance of arts, culture
and heritage. We are investing in creating
an official municipal plan and policy so that
groups in the arts world can be guided by
it. They can get our help when they go for
funding from the other
SAB entertains levels
the of government,
gathered masses
soatthey’ll have a better
SABSTOCK 2010 chance of getting it. It
will help us create an inventory of what is in
the community. Your arts, your culture, and
your heritage are and
words trulyphotos
important thingsLoeffen
by Tony that

At times, this election has seemed boring,
but not because of Jamie Lyle. She has
JL: They should have consulted the public
first, and told them what they planned to do.
us in that situation.

raised some big questions, has pushed Instead they had all these meetings. There S: I was going to ask you about your ties to
incumbents hard on their record, and devel- was no communication. Council’s primary the arts community,… you’ve been on the
oped a reputation as a hard ass in the pro- job, first and foremost, is to do what people board of directors for the Whitewater Gallery.
cess. Young, by the standards of city council, want. The arts community of North Bay always
she looks forward to representing the young complains that they are not being heard by
demographic which is often over-looked. S: This is a democracy after all… and the city council. Does your experience with the
With a background in the media, she has de- strength of democracy is that it relies on the Whitewater position you to be a voice for the
veloped a knowledge of the issues that are collective wisdom of people right? arts?
facing this city. No longer content to watch
our city’s affairs unfold, she is now seeking JL: Exactly, and the collective wisdom of the JL: Completely, because we’ve seen the
a seat on council so that she might have a people is supposed to run this city, not 10 money that does and does not come in.
direct influence on the fortunes of North Bay. people in their own little world. If they stop The city does not support the arts at all. You
listening to the people that they represent, know this cultural mapping thing that they
Solvent: You say you are building a hard ass then they need to go. We need to find some are talking about? I’m sure they have good
reputation during this campaign… people that will be able to listen. That’s why intentions, but, when you think about it,
I’m perfect for the job. “cultural mapping” is another term for “data-
Jamie Lyle: Absolutely. I’m the one that’s base”, that’s all it is. They hired this consult-
bringing out the issues to the forefront. And S: You would say that you have entered this ing firm in Toronto to make a database of
you have to, if you can’t bring the issues that race in order to address a deficit of democ- the arts in North Bay. The money could have
are plaguing the city out in an election, I can’t racy? been used better.
think of a better time…
JL: As a city council correspondent, there S: For the money you would pay a Toronto
S: Well, that is what campaigning is about was just so many times that I witnessed the consulting firm to list our stuff, how many
isn’t it? Do you find that people are taken people not being listened to. And, as far as years could you float the completely broke
aback by your forceful presentation of the the water meters, I want to make it abso- Whitewater Gallery for?
issues? lutely clear that I’m not against water meters,
per se,… JL: You could have had a meeting with local
JL: I think people are surprised, but I make artists, and said: “Here’s 90 thousand dol-
no apologies for it, because I am saying S: You just think the process whereby they lars, which is how much it costs, and we’re
things that have to be said. made the decision was flawed. not hiring the consulting firm that knows
nothing about our city.” They could have
S: One issue that you have definitely taken JL: The process was flawed, but not only gotten the artists to make suggestions for the
ownership of is the water meters issue. You that. I’ve weighed the pros and cons, did my use of that money.
broke the story that there might have been research, and there are way more cons than
some improprieties with how the city studied there are pros. If council would have listened S: It would be nice to see an addition to city
the issue and made its decision. to the people, there would be no water council who has the arts close to her heart.
meters. It never would have passed. Water
JL: Well, when I first reported the story, it meters, in a strong economy might work, but JL: I know that Lieann Koivukoski wrote
didn’t seem right to me from the beginning. in the end it is people living on fixed incomes an article in the Nugget about bringing the
It was a closed room kind of deal, and when and large families that are really going to movie industry back to town, because it’s
they came out, they said, well, it’s passed. suffer from it. I’ve done tons of research, been a slow year. We had this boom, and
I said, OK let’s talk about it, and they said, and I’ve put it up on my website then pretty much nothing. She said that
it’s a non-issue because it is passed. That’s, I have a separate thing someone on council has to aggressively
not proper consultation. The reason no- called “Water Meters”, and I give facts from pursue these companies because it really is
body’s talking about it, is because nobody the city’s own study, and the first thing they a full time job and there is no one on council
knows anything about it. You know, that is say is that we don’t need water meters or a who is willing to do it. Someone should be
when the red flags first started to raise up second treatment plant, because the new on council to represent all aspects of the
for me. Then after that, I started to notice treatment plant will serve 80 000 people. The city, I would be the councillor to represent
other examples of lack of consultation, such population has been stagnant for 40 years, the arts, and pursue the film industry. You
as the Tweedsmuir issue. That was actually … who do you think is coming to dinner? need to have balance on council. This one
the straw that broke the camel’s back, and has too many left brain thinkers, and all they
that’s when I decided to run. The people S: Exaclty… cared about was building, building, building.
were saying “leave it alone, we don’t want it You need to have some right brain thinkers,
touched”, and council was not listening. We JL: Same with all of these elaborate im- some creative people. People that can give
had councillors saying “Don’t you try to push provements, they should have been putting fresh ideas are seriously lacking on council
me around… don’t try to bully me around, people to work before they started doing this. right now.
this is our decision, and I don’t care what I believe that infrastructure did need to be
you people say, we’re going ahead with this.” fixed, but they went and cut all these govern- S: Speaking of last city council, who was
When it finally passed, and everyone walked ment coupons like crazy, and the end result your favourite councillor from the last term?
out of council chambers, I could just see total is that there are no new jobs, there’s no new
devastation from the people. All the people tourism, and we’re in the hole, by next year, JL: If I had to pick one, it would be Chris
who were spearheading the campaign trying it will be 40 million dollars. They say they Mayne, and the reason was that he was so
to get it to stop, they were close to tears. It have a plan to pay it down, but the plan is involved with environmental projects, and
broke my heart to see the people of North they have no plan, because otherwise, they that is dear to my heart. I am an environmen-
Bay rejected like that. would have told us what it is. talist. I don’t want to see our green spaces
disappear. I don’t want our water to be pol-
S: Why do you think those people were S: Do you think the plan to pay down the luted. I want to see us to have a sustainable
not able to sway council? Clearly some debt is to do so through further tax increas- environment. I am totally on board with Chris
minds were changed, I guess 4 minds were es? with regards to that.
changed, because 4 voted against, after,
I’m told that all 10 voted to declare the land JL: I think that’s exactly where they are S: Voter turnout may be an issue in this elec-
surplus. Why did 4 change their minds, and going to go, and people can’t afford to pay tion. What kind of vibe are you getting from
not more? anymore. The city is in an economic crisis, the public? Is there interest in this election?
and you have to look at the people that put

JL: Well, first I got the vibe from an incum-
bent, and I’ll tell you, I was talking to one of
them, and he or she goes, “Well, it’s going to
be a low voter turnout because Al is basically
going to win this election so nobody’s going
to be interested. It will be about 30% voter
turnout and all of us are getting back in.”

S: An incumbent said that to you?

JL: He or she basically told me: “Don’t

bother because we are all going to get back
in again.” They’re all endorsing each other,
and they’re knocking down the new can-
didates. Like I said, they have a collective
mindset that you can’t seem to break in to. I
think there should be a term limit of 2 terms,
because after 2 terms, that is when you
become a full-fledged politician, and that is
when you get your hand stuck in too many
political jars. You get rigid in your relation-
ships and your creativity turns right off.
That’s why we need to break up this council.
It is nothing against them personally, it’s that
I would listen to people and do what’s best
for the city.

S: In this election, you are one of the young-

est candidates. Do you feel that your age is
an important factor in this election?

JL: I’m at that wonderful age where you are

still young, and you still have all this energy,
and you still have creative ideas, and you
still have this vision. But I’m also old enough
to have experience as well; work experience
and life experience to bring to the table. On a
side note, I just read Al McDonald’s platform,
and it is very similar to mine, so I am very

S: Ya, because yours was out first.

JL: Ya, I think he read my thoughts. No, but

it means that me and the mayor are on the
same page. We have the same vision. A lot
of candidates and incumbents are saying “I
don’t plan to promise you anything. I don’t
believe in empty promises. I’m going to do
the best I can. Well you know what? That’s
just not good enough anymore. I would
rather say, I’m going to try to do these 10
things for you. If I accomplish only 6, well at
least I tried to implement a vision with some
success. Others are saying: “I have nothing
to offer you, you’re just going to be pleasant-
ly surprised when I actually do something.”
We need change in this city. The status quo
isn’t working anymore.

S: Again on the issue of your age. You will

probably be able to connect with young vot-
ers better than some of the older candidates.
However, young people are not famous for
voting. Do you find this frustrating? And,
if you could give young people one good
reason to get out to the polls, what would
that be?

JL: Make a change, and make sure you

are represented. This is an old boy’s club. It
seems like council represents one aspect of
the community, but there are more aspects.

We have tons of youth at the university, and
they have to realize, that once they are done
school, they might want to stay here, and if
there’s nobody properly representing them,
Featuring the guests and irreverance of...
then they’re going to get by-passed. They’ll
be ignored if they don’t vote. That’s why I’m
Favnutts, Kapital K, and Tony
Pedigree alone won’t get you a seat on
council, but it sure doesn’t hurt. Fortunately
council has just decided to move forward
with a water tower up there to accommodate
ing and recognizing youth in our community
is certainly a good start. But you’ve got to
for Sean Lawlor, he is bringing more to the that growth. I think that’s where the growth have the jobs here, and you’ve got to be able
game than just his name. A history of com- needs to occur. to attract people here. The way to do that
munity leadership, the esteem of people is to support the needs of small business,
who seem to be in the know, and a very S: So you don’t see any problem for North because small business
TONY generates
well organized campaign makes it seem Bay achieving its growth potential while pre- the new jobs in our economy. We need to
inevitable that Mr. Lawlor will claim a seat serving its green spaces? pay more attention to making North Bay a
on city council on October 25, 2010. Solvent more attractive place to start up businesses,
Magazine was glad to have a chance to pick SL: I don’t see any need to sell off parkland and move here. Attracting growth here, and
his brain on some issues... to deal with our issues of a low vacancy rate. growing our population will reduce the aver-
Supporting the programs such as the afford- age tax burden.
Solvent Magazine: When you have done able housing programs that were recently
interviews during this campaign, does the announced is a positive step. We’ve seen S: I noticed on your site that you were pro-
first question usually have something to do some growth in affordable housing in the last gramming chair of Summer in the Park, and
with your father? year two, and we’ve got to keep working at that one of your goals was to incorporate
that. But, we can’t sacrifice what is one of local musicians into the line up.
Sean Lawlor: No. the main attractions in this community which
is parkland, and quality of life. That is short- SL: When the Heritage Festival first got
S: Obviously, a lot of people will link your sighted. started in 1984, local entertainment was the
candidacy to your father’s history in local cornerstone…
politics. Because he is such a well respected S: In terms of your candidacy, if one takes a
member of the community, that can’t help but quick look back over your career, it seems S: … and your dad was Mayor at the time…
be a positive thing for you. Have you spoken that it has been perfectly tailored for this mo-
about him a lot during this campaign? ment, for you to enter local politics. Does this SL: He was. Over the years, somehow,
mean that you’ve always intended to run, or some way, the local flavour got lost. 4 years
SL: I haven’t spoken about his accomplish- was this a recent decision? ago, the festival got cancelled, and Summer
ments, but certainly the profile that he had in the Park got started. I got involved in the
throughout his career, has been a benefit to SL: I wouldn’t say it was a recent decision. 2nd year, with the focus of bringing the local
me. I’ve been thinking about it for years. Over the flavour back. It started with music in the first
past 6 months or a year, people have been year, in the second year we expanded the
S: I’m looking at your website right now, asking me, so it was on my mind. I wouldn’t music and added art in the park to incorpo-
where you say “getting involved and listen- say that it is something that I set out to do, rate artists, to give them the opportunity to
ing to people is the only way to ensure that and laid out a course to make it happen. My sell some stuff and put on some workshops.
you are truly reflecting, representing, and role with the Chamber of Commerce has We’ve incorporated Dreamcoat Theatre and
working in the best interests of people.” As given me a lot of insight into the issues in the groups like that to give it more of a commu-
a councilor, what mechanism of listening to community, so it has been a good stepping nity flavour.
people would you employ? Let’s say, that I’m stone.
a city councilor and all of my friends hang out S: You are taking Summer in the Park and
in one place and play snooker. I would be S: If you win, this will be your first term. steering it to honour the same values that
consulting primarily with the snooker players There is a steep learning curve that faces the Heritage Festival had originally, when
of North Bay for example. How would you first term councilors. Do you find that your your father was mayor. Family oriented, local
consult with the widest cross section of North experience with the Chamber, with Lawlor content, etc.
Bay to ensure you work in their interest. and Associates, and the experience that is
associated with your family ties, do you think SL: Yes…
SL: I think, certainly, using technology such that you’ll have an easier adjustment for
as facebook, and web sites to allow ques- you? S: Coincidentally, as a councilor, you will
tions and concerns to be raised, is one way have the opportunity to continue some of the
that can be done. There are policies in place SL: I’m sure I’ll have a bit of a learning work that was begun when your father was in
for the type of consultation that’s required curve. Again, I’ve been involved at budget politics. For example, shaping the waterfront,
for various things such as re-zonings. I don’t time over the last 4 or 5 years, sitting in at which was one of the city’s initiatives when
think there would be any harm in expanding meetings, providing information, doing pre- he was mayor I believe.
that type of consultation. Tweedsmuir Park is sentations. Certainly that will assist me with
a perfect example of a situation where there my learning curve, but I’m sure I will learn a SL: That got started with Bruce Goulet, the
was a lack of consultation. lot. original vision, but he was mayor when some
of the work was done. With him being in-
S: What do you think could be have been S: Youth out migration is an issue that volved in some projects, it would be interest-
done better to consult with people on the always gets a lot of lip service at elec- ing, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected, to
Tweedsmuir issue? tion time in North Bay, but it’s just such a continue on with some of them.
tricky nebulous thing, because what does
SL: I think that they could have at least sent it depend on? Does it depend on quality of S: Does that give you a sense of family
notice out to the neighbors to let them know life, recreation, does it depend on jobs or the pride? Most politicians will say they want to
what was going on ahead of time. Many of general economic climate? What does youth make the community a better place for their
the residents found out in the newspaper. out migration hinge on most, in your mind? children. In all likelihood, your father would
have said something similar back in the day.
S: Given that North Bay has a low vacancy SL: You hit on them all. It’s a combination Your father’s work helped create the commu-
rate, no one would disagree that North Bay of all those factors. The most critical thing I nity that you will now help to shape for your
needs more housing. Do you see North Bay think is supporting our youth. The Chamber children.
growing upward? Do you see it grow out- of Commerce, 3 years ago, Glen Cundari
ward? How do we get more housing? was president, and we implemented a young SL: Well certainly, it’s nice to be involved in
professionals category within the Chamber. something that my father might have been
SL: The Cedar Heights area has been We created a new position on the board of involved in years ago.
identified as the growth area of our commu- directors to represent the young profession-
nity. There is enough room for thousands of als. We went from 2% of our membership S: Thanks for taking the time Sean, good
homes up there. It needs to be serviced. City being under 30, to 7% in 3 years. Support- luck in the campaign.

Every politician, when asked, will identify “serving the have around. therefore fits nicely with his Bachelor of Economics.
community” as his motive for entering politics. I can’t He says: “If you tell people they have to be broke to
remember the last time I believed fully it, therefore Last spring, Craig, and his nephew Brendan Demaline, save the planet, they say, great, but not me first.”
I can’t believe I bothered to ask Craig Bridges that rescued two people and their dog from the extremely
question. But I did, I got the answer, and surprisingly, I frigid waters of Lake Nipissing. It’s not something that Further on the subject of the last city council, and
believed it. Two days later, I still believe it. Go figure. he is likely to bring up on his own, but I read about it in environmental issues, Craig has an interesting
the Nugget, so I asked him if the type of person who perspective on the Tweedsmuir Park compromise,
This is what he said: “I actually want to do something risks his life to save two other people’s lives is the kind which did nothing to satisfy the neighbours of the soon
worthwhile for this community. This is my home, and of person people should want as a city councillor. With to be diminished park. “The original plan was terrible,
I want to make sure that, when my kids finish school, characteristic modesty, Craig replied: “No, that’s just and they got guilted into changing it, but it is still ter-
they will want to live here. When I finished high school, the kind of person who happens to live on the beach rible. When you design a park, that is closed off from
I ran, and I was never going to come back. I was gone and watches stuff.” The fact that the two people whose all streets, and has no sight lines, and can only be
for 15 years, and I lived all over the world. All of a sud- lives Craig saved are out knocking on doors with him accessed through three narrow pathways, that is not a
den, my wife and I started having a conversation about during this campaign says it all though. very good park. No one designs a park like that these
children, and where we should raise them. I told her days. They are not safe. When people realize that this
there is this little place called North Bay, and it is great This is not the first time that Craig has run for public park is a disaster, it will be too late to make it surplus
for raising kids. But, North Bay has to be more than office. He ran under the Green Party banner in the land and sold off because there is no access to it. So,
that, it has to be a place you want to stay, or come last federal election. When asked if the fact that his this plan not only destroys the present park, it destroys
back to after university or college.” name has been planted in the public mind, and his future options.”
environmental credentials established in that last elec-
I met Craig at City Hall to discuss his candidacy, who tion, represent an advantage for him, he responded Craig thinks that public consultation should be done
he is, and some local issues. The life he leads, the that it shouldn’t as there are no parties in municipal prior to making a decision; you don’t just make a
values he champions, and his informed, open-minded politics. He is quick to point out that he has friends decision and then decide to follow through with it only
viewpoint, left me impressed. of every political stripe, from staunch conservative to if the amount of animosity it generates stays below
NDP supporters, in addition to his Green Party friends. acceptable levels.
Craig was born and raised in North Bay, but left after Craig believes that even people from different parties
graduating from West Ferris Secondary School. He tend to agree on many more things than they disagree The one thing that struck me the most, and it only
returned in 2001, with his wife, with whom he has two on, and especially in municipal politics it is important to occurred to me after my conversation with Craig
sons, because North Bay is a great place to raise put those ideological differences aside and work with had been concluded, was that when I asked Craig a
children. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, a people from the other levels of government. question about local issues, I did not get some kind
Bachelor or Education, and Masters Degree in Envi- of bottled, generic answer. He showed no inclination
ronmental Studies. “I think this last city council could have had a better to boil a complicated issue down to a slogan that he
relationship with the provincial government. There could use to sell me an over-simplified idea he has
Here are some highlights of his career and com- seems to be a lot of stone throwing. To me, that is about it. I don’t doubt that he when he says it is appro-
munity involvement: he is a teacher with the Near not productive, and it certainly has not benefited this priate to consult the public before making a decision,
North School Board, the past President of Greening community. City council’s job is to look out for the best that he means it. When I asked him a question about
Nipissing, Project Co-ordinator with the Home Owner- interests of our city, and if that means shaking hands an issue, I wound up in a conversation with him about
ship Affordability Partnership, a Public Member of the with someone you would never vote for, then shake it, and he was just as curious about my ideas, as I was
College of Optometrists of Ontario, a small business hands”, Craig says. about his. This was extremely refreshing. Not only do
owner, and a youth soccer coach. I now believe it is possible for a person want to enter
When speaking of his run for the Green Party, Craig politics to serve the community, but Craig Bridges has
Basically, Craig Bridges is involved in the community, wants to make it very clear that his environmentalism defied a lot of the other assumptions I have about
in the right way, for the right reasons. He is the kind of is pragmatic and business friendly. He points out that politicians as well.
person that makes the ideal neighbour, and if you find his Masters degree in Environmental Studies has a
yourself drowning in a lake, he’s also not a bad guy to focus on corporate management and finance, and Tony Loeffen


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