Cornwall ON – Jason Setnyk is running for election to City Council this year and we’ve sent out our mini Proust Quiz to him and several other candidates.
Here are his answers:
CWFN: What would be the biggest surprise that people don’t really know about you as a person?
I collect hockey cards. I am a hockey fan, and my favorite team since childhood has been the Montreal Canadians. I also like hockey history and watching some of the old retro hockey games. I collect hockey cards – I especially like vintage hockey cards, rookie cards, autograph cards, and memorabilia cards. I will name just a few of my favorite and/or most interesting hockey cards I have collected. My oldest hockey cards are from 1911 and 1933. I have autograph cards of Bobby Orr and Maurice Richard. I have rookie cards of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. I have memorabilia cards such as a Gordie Howe game worn jersey card and a Patrick Roy game used hockey stick card. I like to go to Dave’s Sport Card Shop here in Cornwall – it’s a great place for sports collectables.
CWFN: What keeps your passion for politics alive?
Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world”. The best communities have a diverse group of people that are active and involved. I believe in politics, especially at the grassroots level, to evoke positive changes in our society. Society is a balance of so many interests, and I think a good government reflects and truly represents it’s diverse community. Democracy is like a muscle, if you want to have a strong one, you must exercise it. Democracy is not just about voting, it’s about being involved in your community, volunteering, working, playing, learning, and even running for politics.
CWFN: What’s been the weirdest thing to ever happen to you in your career?
I am a high school teacher. After University, I returned to Cornwall. I was working at a Before and After School program at East Front Public School. I wanted to teach though. I had been applying for teaching jobs up and I got a call back. I went up North to teach Grade 12 English at a school on a Native reserve in Northern Ontario. I knew that there was poverty up North, but no amount of knowledge could prepare me for the experience of actually working and living there. The living conditions, infrastructure, and quality of life were horrendous. Yet despite all that, they had a strong close-knit community. One night before Christmas holidays, I was preparing for bedtime, and then I thought I had heard a noise. I cautiously went downstairs, and to my surprize, it turns out over a dozen people broke into the town house I was living in. For a moment I thought I was going to die. Luckily I scared the intruders off, but I felt very vulnerable. They had broken through the back door. It was 40 below, and in pyjamas and boots, I knocked on some neighbours doors to ask for help. No one was around, and that was not a comforting feeling. I went back to the house and barricaded the door with heavy furniture. I did not sleep that night. Despite what happened, I still considered returning for second semester, but a very close relative feel ill. I decided it was time to return to Cornwall and be with family again. When I started work for Tri County Literacy Council I felt a renewed vigour to get involved in the community and try to help people here in Cornwall to the best of my abilities.
CWFN: When you were young did you ever think you’d be Mayor or Councilor of a City? What advice can you give to young people when it comes to thinking about their future?
I never thought much about politics when I was a child. In high school I did serve twice as a house representative at St. Joesph’s Secondary School on Student Council, but my real interest in politics came in the year 2000. Between the Canadian Federal Election and the US Presidential election that both took place in November of 2000 – and taking a political science course on governance as an elective – I became interested in politics.
My advice to young people is to keep all your options open, from service sector work, to the trades, to college or University. Learn as much as you can, and to the best of your ability do something that you love and enjoy doing – that way it won’t seem like work. Find something to feel passionate about, and pursue your passion!
5) If you could change one thing about Cornwall what would it be?
If I had the power to change something about Cornwall, it might be to reduce the pessimism I hear (e.g. Cornwall is boring, there is nothing to do, etc…). If you don’t like something about Cornwall, instead of complaining about it, ask what you can do to help make your community a better place! We have some amazing and talented people here who make Cornwall a great place, but any community would benefit from having even more people actively involved. Cornwall is not perfect, and yes, there are things we can improve on, but we should have some pride, after all this is the place we call home.
6) What do you want to be remembered most for one day?
I want to be remembered as someone who always did his best to make our community a better place.