Up is first time Cornwall candidate for council Mike O’Neil.
1. Who are you?
I was born, raised and educated in Cornwall. I lived in the “Le Village” area and graduated from the Electronics Engineering Technology program at St. Lawrence College. I’ve worked for Transport Canada/NAV Canada, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ontario Provincial Police. I am married with two children; one enrolled here at St. Lawrence College and one at the University of Ottawa. I am a past member of the City’s Waterfront Development Committee, the Audit Committee – including the Fire Services Capabilities Review sub-committee and the Library Board. I have been a member of my children’s school councils for the past 13 years and for the past 3 years I have also been the parent representative on our school board’s Parent Involvement Committee for the city’s 5 French catholic schools. I am currently a member of the United Counties Science Fair Committee and I volunteer with the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind as a puppy walker – some of you may have seen me around the city with my yellow Lab “Luke” who is in training to become a guide dog for the blind.
2. Why are you running for office?
I put my name forth because I love my city and I would like a chance to contribute to its future growth and expansion. I’ve always had an interest in municipal politics but my family and career commitments prevented me from devoting the necessary time and effort to effectively carry out the duties of a member of Council. I can now be a full time councillor bringing over twenty years of acquired skills and related municipal and school committee experience to the table. I can help to improve and build upon what has been accomplished so far. Rest assured that I do my homework and come prepared!
What are the 3 best things about our community?
Our resilient and bilingual workforce, our commitment and civic pride (as evidenced by the 29 candidates for Council!) and finally our quality of life as citizens of the greatest community in Eastern Ontario!
What are your 3 priorities to improve Cornwall?
First up is fiscal responsibility – we must realize that the financial decisions of Council have long-term costs in both ongoing operational expenditures as well as capital financial commitments for upgrades and replacements – we cannot mortgage our children’s futures for the sake of what we “want” rather than what we “need”.
Second priority would be teamwork and communication – not only among members of Council but also with respect to all stakeholders in the decision making process, namely Council, Administration and the taxpayers. I feel there is definitely room for improvement here.
Third priority would be Economic Development – if we are to expand and diversify our tax base and ensure that our citizens have good jobs and adequate housing then we have to definitely explore ways to improve our efforts in this area. The Community Improvement Program should definitely be revised to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all areas of the City.
Who was your hero as a child?
That would have to be my parents – more so now that I am a parent myself – you come to appreciate what it takes to properly raise your children and keep them safe, healthy and happy.
6. If you could brand the Cornwall of the future in one word what would that word be?
Thank you to Cornwall Free News for this opportunity to reach out to the voters of Cornwall.