‘Troubles’ mentioned, some solutions offered

Tay Valley Public School weathered a full capacity crowd Wednesday night at an All-Candidates’ meeting hosted by Perth’s Canadian Federation of University Women and sponsored by Lake 88. Photo credit: Sally Smith.
Posted on: October 6, 2018

Sally Smith

Two candidates for Deputy Reeve and three for Reeve followed on the heels of candidates vying for councillors at an All-Candidates’ meeting at Tay Valley Public School Wednesday night.

The venue was too small, much to the Perth and District Canadian Federation of University Women’s surprise; they hadn’t planned for the volume of interested spectators. They also hadn’t planned for any media, so no table, no chair, no space.

Brian Perkins from Lake 88 brought his “golden voice” and kept the evening moving along assisted by able timers.

First to speak, ten candidates for councillors hinted at the disarray on Tay Valley council but with only two minutes at their disposal it was a tough go (see story).

Deputy Reeve candidates spoke next. Barrie Crampton, well versed in technology and business, and a previous two-term councillor in Stittsville, spoke quickly of his ability to obtain funding, his desire for expansion of the internet, his work with the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus and his business and community experience.

Judy Farrell, a councillor for one term and now running for deputy reeve, spoke of her family’s beef farm, making maple syrup, their mini-storage business, and her work as a school bus driver. She wants a “transparent, accountable, and efficient” council and promises “honesty and hard work.”

The agreed on process for the evening was to ask random questions of the candidates. Asked if they would allow or bar recording devices, Crampton replied he would “champion” the idea, as did Farrell. “All meetings should be recorded, videoed as well,” she responded.

After answering two more questions, and presenting closing remarks, the two candidates gave the floor to the three Reeve candidates — Brian Campbell, Susan Freeman and Keith Kerr.

Campbell spoke first. “Voters have a choice between two paths that will determine our community’s destiny. It’s essential to understand the choice. Keith and Susan are the architects of Tay Valley today, defenders of the status quo. The status quo isn’t healthy, the path we are on is hurting our community.

“We need a fundamental change to put out the fire in Tay Valley and begin the journey for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. This change means we are open for business versus the bureaucratic brick wall [Tay Valley] is now. It means listening to healthy debate and tapping the talents of our residents.”

Freeman retired four years ago from politics, but was asked to run again this year. She felt she had an obligation to try and help make things better, “to address the concerns” and solve the problems. “New problems will emerge,” she said “but cannot be allowed to languish and fester as they have in the current situation. We need a progressive, open, accountable, and fiscally responsible council. I have the experience.”

“I understand the issues, I know the culture,” present Reeve Kerr said. He admitted there were “a lot of problems,” and that he was the person to resolve them.

Three questions followed. Freeman wants to keep broadband in Lanark County and said cutting it in half would harm Tay Valley, its businesses and health care; Kerr said he would work to stop road side spraying; Campbell would champion an official plan.

All three agreed they needed to move forward with efforts to ameliorate climate change, and finally, when it came to travelling, if elected, Freeman probably gave the only candid answer. She said this wasn’t a full-time job, she wanted to visit her daughters but would give as “much as the job demands.”

The three candidates gave their closing remarks and the formal part of the evening ended.