The Almonte Old Town Hall was alive with political vim on Thursday, October 9th, 2014 as TYPS (“Take Young People Seriously”) and veteran moderator Janet Duncan of HUB fame presented an evening with the candidates for Council (Almonte Ward) and for Mayor of Mississippi Mills. So well-attended was the event that the main upstairs auditorium was packed and the door closed to late stragglers necessitating a makeshift overflow room (also packed) outfitted with a sound speaker on the ground floor. In the minds of many constituents the evening promised to be one of intense interest and maybe even some brouhaha. While the recently popularized Enerdu project didn’t ignite as much an uproar as anticipated, the audience clearly hung upon every word of the contenders. It is likely true that the minds of the voters were already set in stone before the evolution of the evening but nonetheless there persisted an uncommon attention to what was being said by each candidate.
It was heartwarming to hear the words of the returning council candidates, Bernard Cameron, Alex Gillis, Rickey Minnille and Jane Torrance. They of course paraded before the electorate an inventory of public deeds which each had performed, a forthright reminder to the sometimes overly critical eye of the populace that political service is uncommonly demanding. Jill McCubbin, although the sole novice candidate, was undaunted and skillfully maintained her ground. We can most certainly be proud of the candidates for undertaking the exacting task of election candidacy and I am equally buoyed by the level of reciprocal involvement of the electorate in the democratic process.
The audience was moved from its generally inert state of polite attention to modest provocation when Art Solomonian asked rhetorically why the question about the Enerdu project had not as yet been directed to each of the candidates. I believe the answer to that question has yet to unfold. The position of the respective candidates, like the mindset of the electors, came as no surprise to anyone but the tally of election day votes continues to enthral the pundits. The debate surrounds the conundrum whether the Enerdu issue, though recognizably the most vocal and ostensibly divisive issue in municipal politics in the past forty years, has roots which feed the minds of the capricious electorate.
The mayoral candidates, Garry Dalgity, John Levi and Shaun McLaughlin, although understandably overlapping in many respects, represented palpable differences, foreshadowing what are probably predictable choices of each of the electors. It is the merit of our community that the mayoral candidates are of such distinguished calibre, experience and commitment. I noticed afterwards that the mayoral candidates were shaking hands with one another, echoing the fair play and overt humanity of the audience participation. It is no doubt a relief for all that the bumpy road of the election is now formally underway.