Our reviews, endorsements, endorse NOTS, and predictions for the Cornwall Ontario Municipal Elections for Mayor and Council – October 24, 2010

Cornwall ON- It’s that time Cornwall.   We’re going to do our wrap up and analysis of the candidates for Council and the Mayor of Cornwall.

It’s been an interesting race since that first debate at the Civic Complex.     The biggest complaint I’ve heard most from the voters and some candidates has been that there really haven’t been any actual debating going on.   Mostly it’s been presenting of platforms and answering of questions with limited amounts of time.

So how do voters know who is who and who stands for what?   Valid question.   We’re going to try and help clarify some of the mystery of this election here in Cornwall Ontario.

The biggest winners so far seem to be returning Councilor Ms Bernadette Clement and Mr. Mike Bedard who is the youngest candidate running and the only one currently running a business in Cornwall.

Ms Clement showed that might can make right.   She spent the most on advertising and probably more than half the candidates in total!    We saw, heard, and viewed a sign for Ms Clement everywhere.

Ms Clement at the Arts and Culture debate at the Cornwall Public Library


Her one negative issue, which she to her credit dealt with early, was her being a Candidate for Federal office, but the overwhelming support shown to her so far looks like it will return her to Council and most likely with the most votes in this election.

Issue wise the only real spots she had during the last four years was the attempt to get the Gymnasium project back in spite of council and public rejection and having dogs in Lamoureux Park.   Her strengths were her ability to listen and try and work across the board with council and city management.


Mike Bedard, one of the candidates we endorsed here at the Cornwall Free News has taken this election by storm.  You can see his confidence growing speech by speech and more and more people became interested in the youngest candidate in the election.    He may garner more votes than any of the “Young Guns” running this year.

While stepping on a few toes with a letter to the editor about the CFIB report on Small business in Cornwall he showed a willingness to “go to the net” for what he believes in which won the hearts and probably votes of many Cornwallites.

Double D – Denis Carr and Denis Thibault.    There’s not much you can say about either veteran.  Smart, savvy, understanding how things work and how to get things done.   If you credit the current regime with succes you’d have to point your finger at these two gentlemen when it came to giving credit.

Denis Carr at the Arts and Culture Debate


Both are on the big money committees here in Cornwall and both focus on a fiscally pragmatic and balanced approach.

Denis Thibault at the Labour Council Debate


Mr. Carr however is the better vocalist 😉

Pat Finnerty at Chamber Debate


Pat Finnerty and Patricia Lalonde.   I’m not ot sure why these people ran.    They didn’t participate much in the debates.  Didn’t attend many; didn’t say much when they did, and didn’t advertise much anywhere.    Mr. Finnerty did give us the best American Idol moment during the campaign.

Maurice Dupelle.   Well I give Mr. Dupelle credit for knowing his speech which we all got to hear an awful lot.  This I believe is Mr. Dupelle’s 3rd kick at the can in running for council.   We’ll find out Monday if Maurice is finally successful or bound to become the Susan Lucci of Cornwall Municipal politics.

The other “Young Guns”   -Jason Setnyk at 29 knocked on the most doors of the campaign.  If hard work were the deciding factor Mr. Setnyk would finish first by miles.    A school teacher at the local Hockey academy he put the most issues and possible solutions on the table.   His speaking style was a bit unpolished at the beginning of the campaign, but by the end his message was becoming more refined and clear as you can see from the video below at the Environmental Debate.


Todd Bennett had an interesting campaign.   His presentation like Mr. Setnyk’s wasn’t always as polished but he did his homework.  I had several comments come across my desk by people responding to him actually going and researching some of his points.   His biggest strength seems to be his ability to work with others.      If he was effective in getting awareness of himself and his platform to the public we’ll find out on Monday.

Elaine MacDonald on the Arts


Elaine is the biggest argument I can use as to why councilors should be paid $75,000 per year and work full time.   She ran a terrific campaign and hit all the high notes.   She didn’t miss an opportunity at any of the debates and has run a masterful campaign mixing in strong media presence with strong content.

While I feel that during the last council she made some surprising choices, such as the Glengarry Apartment Condo conversion I think that she’s a valuable asset to our city and council.   All of our charts point to her doing well in the voting.

André Rivette.   He probably will be elected again.    His biggest strengths are the behind the scenes work he does for voters.  I can’t think of any other councilor I’ve heard people go to more than Mr. Rivette for help with issues.

$700 office chairs are what Glen Grant has to think about if he doesn’t get elected to council again.  Mr. Grant ran a very weak campaign which seemed to have him depending on the people that got him there before; the Domtar vote and his Conservative ties.   It should be interesting to see if it’s enough to get him back on council.  Our numbers point to him winning again.     His biggest achievement is his leadership on the 3+1 Arena project.

Gerald Samson.   The man I’ve most heard the statement that if gets elected the person may consider moving to France.

Leslie O’Shaughnessy and Claude Poirier.   Both gentlemen are experienced and knowledgeable politicians.    Both made some really good position points during the campaign.  The question for them is that in an environment where there seem to be a lot of angry voters who want change is to whether these guys offer the change that voters want?

Mary Ann Hug –  Cornwall does want a hug.  Who doesn’t want a hug.  Hugs are warm and cosy.  They make you feel safe and loved.   Not sure if those warm and fuzzy feelings will transfer to an election win for Ms Hug?

Jim Marshall –   Mr. Marshall is making his second attempt for council.  His zero dollar campaign and the message he’s sent seems valid and interesting.   Will he get elected?   It doesn’t look good.

Gary Samler at the Mark MacDonald Rally


Gary Samler –  We endorsed Mr. Samler even though all the numbers point to him not winning.      Mr. Samler’s commitment to his issues is amazing.  His early performance was strong and he had some of the best moments in the campaign.  If he’s not elected to council it’s not his failure as a candidate more than I think the fact that the voters of Cornwall really don’t consider his issues prominently enough and those he’s fighting for just don’t seem to vote.

Syd Gardiner.   All numbers point to Mr. Gardiner not making it back to council.   Those numbers though aren’t that bad and he could just maybe squeak back in.   Mr. Gardiner’s strengths, a bit like Mr.Rivette’s just don’t get seen by the public as much as perhaps they should’ve.

Madeleine Lebrun – Ms Lebrun’s number’s seem to follow the Elaine MacDonald ticket.  She’s an amazing woman with an amazing personal story.  Do I want her making choices that impact our taxes and future of a city.   I’m thinking no as the numbers have reported.

David Murphy – The man ran an interesting campaign.   Fairly low key Mr. Murphy seemed to depend on his personal magnetism and media savvy to win over voters.   This campaign seems to be working as he’s leading in many polls and we predict that he will win a seat on council.

Candidates for Mayor


Nicole Spahich –   Boggling.   It’s all boggling.  One could say so much, but then would any of it make any sense?    Ms Spahich is charting 3-5 % voter support.  My questions is why are the numbers that high?


Mark MacDonald promised this wouldn’t be a boring election and he kept his word.   That’s an amazing thing for any politician.  It’s been an interesting campaign for the former firefighter.    His numbers show that he could as easily win as lose and that’s a tribute to the amount of work he and his team have done.

Sometimes in hockey the best team doesn’t win.  The richest team doesn’t win.    Mr. MacDonald had two former mayor’s publicly supporting him, Brian Lynch, and Phil Poirier.    That says a lot and Mr. Lynch’s hand took a scrappy politician and polished his game to the point that Mr. MacDonald is on the precipice of possibly being addressed as “Your Worship” after Monday October 25.

He’s had more people at his events.  He’s had immigrants publicly show their support and small business.   He’s had loud and vocal support.   Does he have the big blocs of voters?  That’s something we’ll only find on Monday.

Mayor Kilger at his office opening


The biggest question was did Mayor Kilger’s team do enough?  He had the stars.  He had the big money support.  He had more web traffic on his website that features endorsements by many of the city’s shining stars.

He’s the mayor of city that even during a world wide financial crisis has grown, and is the marvel of Ontario.    He’s had basic peace among the city employees, management and his own council.

Yes there are some weak spots, but many politicians would be envious to be in the position that Mayor Kilger found himself coming into this election.

Handicapped by the duties of mayor and a feeling against incumbents across the board presented problems and issues that voters here in Cornwall will decide if were addressed or not.

It was interesting to see Mayor Kilger zoom up and pick up momentum as Monday approaches.  He visibly had more support from council candidates than Mr. MacDonald did which probably won’t hurt either.

Mr. Kilger suffered a surprise loss for MP which led to his overwhelming victory as mayor of Cornwall.  It will be interesting to see if he and his teams efforts lead to victory or to disappointment on Monday.

Candidates we have endorsed over the last six months:

Mayor Kilger, Denis Thibault, Denis Carr, Mike Bedard, and Gary Samler.

Candidates we have endorsed NOT over the last six months:

Mr. Pat Finnerty

Projected winners as of Sunday October 24th:

Mayor’s race – Too Close to Call

Councilors we project to win:

Bernadette Clement

Denis Carr

Elaine MacDonald

Denis Thibault

Mike Bedard

Andre Rivette

Jason Setnyk

David Murphy

that’s 8 – the last two spots are just too close to call.

Who do you think will win Cornwall?  You can post your comments below.

Trade Roots


  1. Hey Jamie

    I did not run 4 times I ran when I was 22 years old (1994) then I continued to be a community minded resident and ran a very successful campaign 2006 finishing just shy of 500 votes to claim a seat. Therefore I have again 4 years later allowed my name to stand again. I have had an amazing campaign and I am very excited to see who Cornwall will elect tommorrow.


  2. Author

    My apologies Maurice. We will correct the amount of times you’ve ran in the story. Jamie

  3. Admin. I think your predictions and article is extremely accurate and it was nice to see the media, finally forget about who might get angry and just state what everybody is thinking; so that we can get a realistic and clear view of the candidates. It also makes this site even more interesting; even though I already started becoming a regular.

    (Just to get the responses started): I agree that from 8 to 10 the numbers will way to close to call.

    Maurice, I think admin was right that your speeches were similar every time and it lost most of our attention. but I think if you take the list above and replace Maurice Dupelle with Jason Setnyk it would be more accurate because I believe Jason Setnyk, Todd Bennett, Syd Gardiner and Glen Grant will battle it out for 9 and 10.

    As a young voter I am extremely interested to see the results!

  4. I love predictions (especially the Oscars)! Here are my predictions (not necessarily wishes) for tomorrow’s election.

    Mayor – Kilger
    Council – Clement
    Good luck to all! I am looking forward to following the drama.

  5. We do need change for our city and I think Bob Kilger is still the best candidate to lead our new council into the next four years. Mark is my favorite and I believe that he is more passionate than Kilger but this council can be much stronger, depending on who is elected, and Mark would be arguably weaker than some of the candidates and we can’t have that for our city because he will quickly lose respect from his council and then will be replaced next term. However, Kilger will maintain decorum and respect simply due to his past and if the council is strong he would be valuable to be at the table and bring his experience to what looks like could be a young council!

  6. Thank you Matt and Thank you Thorin

    I agree the speeches do repeat themselves, however the door to door and connecting with people of Cornwall will benefit those of us that really worked hard doing so.

    Maurice Dupelle

  7. I made an earlier prediction, about 2 weeks, but have changed it slightly since then!





  8. I am amazed that a local Dr. would not have Mr.Bedard on his list; since he was the first and ONLY one to respond in the standard freeholder that he would support a GP clinic here in Cornwall! Mr.Gault have you kept up with which candidates are running or are you getting word of mouth from other Kilger followers who didn’t like that Mr.Bedard had the nerve to say that Kilger was actually wrong and then have an economist come forth and prove that Mr.Bedard was actually better aware of the statistics than the current Mayor and long time politician?

    Here is who I am voting for:

    Mayor- Mark MacDonald
    Councillors- Mike Bedard, Bernadette Clement, Denis Carr and Denis Thibault.

    The rest everyone else can pick because it seems like this city is run improperly because people vote without doing their own research or by being influenced by the POWERS TO BE!

  9. Matt, make up your mind. In this thread you throw your support behind Bob Kilger, yet on another you plainly state you’re voting for Mark MacDonald. For all anyone knows you’ll be endorsing Nicole Spahich next. Either you’re too young to know enough to curb your enthusiasm or you’re just a typical Internet troll who thrives on spreading flamebait. Frankly, I suspect its some of both. Grow up.

  10. I disagree with the predictions for councill. I think Maurice Dupelle will rank in 5th spot.Cornwall has always been his home and he is passionate about progressive changed. Who is Jason Setnyk anyways. Never heard of him and what he stands for except in the last month. How can he rank in the top 8????? Makes you wonder.

  11. Author

    what does it make you wonder Chrissy? Based on poll numbers, research numbers, events attended, doors knocked, public response, and at least two algorithms.

    The projections are that; projections. They are not an endorsement or slur to any candidate.

    The voters will get to decide today.

  12. PJA, Smarten Up and learn to read what is clearly stated right in front of you! I said, “Mark is my favorite and I believe that he is more passionate than Kilger but this council can be much stronger, depending on who is elected, and Mark would be arguably weaker than some of the candidates…..”.

    I also started the comment, where I changed my mind, by stating-“I made an earlier prediction, about 2 weeks ago, but have changed it slightly since then!”

    I decided, after speaking with a few candidates, that it would be best to have Mr.Kilger represent us despite Mark’s passion!

    Have you spoke with any of the candidates about this topic or are you just assuming that you know better because you are older? Seems to me you would be the type to support the same old things that are not working in this city because you are not educated enough or are just to ignorant to push Cornwall forward!

  13. If Samson is elected, I am moving out of town because it will prove Cornwall will always the armpit of Ontario because of it’s poor decisions when electing government!

    I would really like to see the young ones work together like Mike Bedard, Jason Setnyk, David Murphy, Maurice Dupelle and Todd Bennett. They all bring something different and look like they could work together much better than the cranky old men in council now!

    Mike – (28 years old) Business Owner, Accountant and super passionate.
    Jason – (29 years old) Teacher, Arts Advocate and outlandishly creative.
    David – (?) Marketing Director, Announcer and very outgoing.
    Maurice (38 years old) Major volunteer, former business owner and dedicated.
    Bennett (?) Produce Manager, former business owner and a research nut.

    The other five would be were the current council could come in and fill the remaining five slots by adding to the group. People like:

    Bernadette Clement – Lawyer, respectful and clearly professional in all aspects.
    Elaine MacDonald – Labor council president, well organized and very well prepared for anything.

    Hey, the young guys need some political women in their lives to keep them straight and narrow!

    The last three would have to include these professional incumbents:

    Denis Carr and Denis Thibault – professional and well respected by all.

    ……..but the last spot will be a war between aging politicians who actually did very little this campaign because I believe their egos may have gotten in the way:

    Syd Gardiner, Glen Grant and Andre Rivette!

  14. Noted and ignored, Matt. I wish you well.

  15. Hi everyone,

    I wish to thank all of those who supported me during this campaign. I would just like to add, that while canvassing over 4,000 doors, I can tell you that Cornwall residents are requesting some major changes and I hope to see that reflected at the polls, today! I think it will be a great election and the mayoral candidates should have a close race!

    I would like to see a few people get into council and I am definitely not afraid to say who because almost all would agree!

    My favorite incumbents, who I have got to know better over the past 4 weeks, that I feel are genuine:

    Bernadette Clement, Denis Carr and Denis Thibault!

    My favorite new candidates that I feel are genuinely honest and could make good candidates are:

    David Murphy, Todd Bennett, Jason Setnyk and Maurice Dupelle!

    The person who most impressed me for giving support to other candidates and never wavered from their platform was ………………..Gary Samler!

    Some dreams will come true tonight and some crushed but in the end the people decide and we the candidates are left wondering…why?

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  16. Chrissy, did you watch any of the video’s Jason actually had the most ideas for progressive change and Maurice Dupelle didn’t change a thing during his speeches! I am by no means a Jason Setnyk advocate but if you were aware, you wouldn’t make such comments, unless the only person you know is Maurice, then that makes sense.

    I think Mr.Bedard has the right attitude and grit to get things done; but I am worried that he might not have been as recognizable. He did however own the speeches after the Chamber event and that is no small accomplishment considering you had announcers and long serving incumbents to deal with.

    I can not imagine how Mike will not get in being the only current business owner and the youngest candidate (which always draws some votes) and statistically he is first on the ballot which is never a bad place to be!

    That reminds me since his name was first that meant he had to go first, the majority of the time, and still was great! It is amazing that the youngest candidate would have the additional pressure of going first and still arguably do the best; with no experience!

    I think I just turned into a Mike Bedard advocate and I don’t even know him.

  17. An interesting choice of endorsements and “endorseNOTs”, Jamie. It’s interesting to see how two people, who share the same stance on many politicians and policies, can differ so widely on some of the candidates in tomorrow’s election.

    Mike Bédard: he was on my short list, but after today, I’m not quite so sure. I’ve never been too impressed with the American style “attack everyone” campaign, so I was very disappointed to see today’s comments, especially his reply to Jim Marshall’s post about the “Green Debate.”

    I’m also not too impressed with “Matt” and his frequent posts. It reminds me of the sort of tactics the Harper government resorts to, trying to flood the media with their point of view to the exclusion for all others.

    On the other hand, Mike Bédard is resourceful and has brains. Most of his complaints about this city are, in my opinion, valid. I appreciated and admired his reaction to the “Communities in Boom” poll, which showed Cornwall dead last.

    Overall, I’m a little apprehensive about voting for Mr. Bédard, (thank you, Matt), but his bottom line will push me to vote for him.

    Jason Setnyk: I know Mr. Setnyk personally, so it’s a little difficult to be completely objective. He’s highly intelligent, a thinker, and a visionary. Some of his ideas, for example to bring a university to Cornwall, will probably never be realised, which is a shame. Unlike some, however, he will listen and take other opinions seriously.

    Too many of the old council, when presented with a new idea (apart from a pay raise), tend to say “it won’t work” without giving the issue any further thought. Jason’s reaction to a new idea is almost automatic: “let’s see how we can make it work.”

    Jason, you have my vote, and I’m sure you’ll live up to it.

    Gary Samler: Another newcomer to municipal politics, and someone with a great deal to contribute to the city, if enough people will trust him enough to go out and vote. Having met the gentleman, who is at the opposite end of the age spectrum from Mike Bédard and Jason Setnyk, I think he’s one of the few people who approach the ideal of an honest politician.

    Jim Marshall: Kind of brusque in his posts, he reminds me a little of Mark MacDonald, someone who’s not afraid to call a spade a spade. Unlike some other potential politicians, he seems to have a grasp on reality.

    Elaine MacDonald: It’s difficult to find anything to criticise with this lady, and I’m not even going to try. She’s a deeply caring soul, and one of very few worth re-electing. She will be one of the few who will carry some useful continuity between the old council and Cornwall’s future.

    Bernadette Clément: Another caring lady. She works at the Legal Clinic in town. If she were to practise law privately, she could have a salary close to the mayor’s parliamentary pension. She’s a pleasure to talk to, and I wish I had her knack of remembering people’s names and faces. She could go far, both in municipal politics or federal politics. The only reason I can’t honestly vote for her this time is because she wants to run in the federal election and finish second to Jamie Gilcig. Will she be able to devote enough time to council while preparing for the election, and if, by some fluke, she does beat Jamie, it will leave council one person short?

    Finally, the mayor’s race: Bob Kilger: I’ve often wondered why the current mayor, who made an astronomical salary as a Liberal MP, and who has a parliamentary pension well in excess of most people’s salaries here in Cornwall, would need to collect his $49,000 (correct me if I’m wrong) salary from this impoverished city, and then charge the city a further $900 to attend a funeral.

    But maybe that’s not the mayor’s fault. After all, living downstream and downwind from Domtar and Courtaulds, who knows? I don’t envy him.

    But the final straw came during the Green Debate, when the mayor took credit for the wonderful improvement in Cornwall’s air quality. Did he actually tell Domtar to go away and pollute no more?

    All of which brings me to the next Mayor of Cornwall (I hope), Mark MacDonald. Mark’s always struck me as a kind of rough and tumble cheapskate on council, who doesn’t go for any unnecessary expenditures, and tries to hold people accountable.

    Like all the other candidates, Mark has a vision for the future of Cornwall, based not only on sensible frugality, but common sense. I trust Mark when he says he will look for savings, and work hard to bring green jobs to Cornwall. And I trust Mark MacDonald because he’s been ready to put his life on the line for the people of Cornwall during the 24 years he was a city firefighter.

  18. Can anyone tell me what Kilger’s platform is? It is great that he is so well versed in his accomplishments but that is the past. If he is elected what exactly does he want to accomplish? Would it be wise to elect someone who has not offered anything as to where he would like the city to go?

    Living in the way things used to be done is why we need someone like Mark MacDonald.

  19. Caregiver, I clearly made the distinction between my predictions and votes in my post. Call me old fashioned, but my votes are private. I certainly do appreciate you passion though.

  20. Hi Richard,

    Unfortunately, I did not want to come across as offensive but I do not want to look weak either. To allow other candidates to say something about me without a proper forum or an opportunity to rebut is not proper in any circle. A non-response could be seen as a sign of weakness and I felt I needed to respond quickly and get straight to the point. Since we are so late into the campaigning process.

    I do not believe, I have personally attacked a single soul on this web-site and I have respectfully disagreed with certain comments to remain loyal to my campaign platform and my supporters. As I believe a good person, not only a politician, should. Can you please point out where I could improve on my comments? I welcome and respect constructive criticism.

    Thank you for considering me in this election and I will continue to push for improvement and I think if you review my comments you will see I am often supporting other candidates and even defending them against personal attacks! Even from Matt, who is a big supporter of mine that let’s his passion sometimes overcome his humbleness!

    In defense of the Green Debate column, I wanted to thank all those who took the time to organize the event since, at the time, there were no responses to the article. Which I believe I did professionally and then Mr. Marshall came in with a very short and unprofessional remark about my post! It is a real fact that I have supporters and an even harder fact that I can not control what people say in public forums but I do try to give my input to help clarify matters; if possible!

    My goal is to make progressive advancements in the city through change. Change I believe can only occur if we work towards common goals which from the sounds of your comments and articles we are in agreement with!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  21. Jack, I voted for Gerald Samson. The last person I want on council is a lawyer. Lawyers have done enough damage to our society.As for Mr. Samson, he is a smarter than you think. I feel you have personal issues with Gerry. Gerry will do as well as his father did on council. Gerry Samson Sr. was a great man and did a fantastic job on council.
    When Gerry gets elected, I will be more than happy to help you move out of town.

  22. I hope that every candidate chosen will remember the trust placed on them, and forego reward and temptation to serve first and foremost, the residents of Cornwall.

    And I wish for everyone, success in every community endeavour that enriches, makes safe, makes healthy, and ensures, that Cornwall and Home are one and the same.

  23. Actually, Mike answered the question right here on the seawayradio.com at 10 AM in the morning and then, was the only one to who sent a letter to the editor, but thank you for the information!

  24. Way to go Cornwall!!! Great representatives for the people of Cornwall. My prediction for Maurice Dupelle getting in 5th spot was pretty close. He got in 6th and i was only 20 votes off. Now all the hard work begins. Show us proud!!

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