COLUMN: Clement faces uphill climb

MORRISBURG — Local Liberal frontrunner Bernadette Clement won the Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry riding nomination Tuesday night, and now faces an uphill climb to voting day on October 19th. It is a big hill to climb. She is facing off against Conservative Party stalwart Guy Lauzon, who has represented SDSG since 2004, and Patrick Berger, a farmer in South Stormont, who was acclaimed as the NDP candidate in early May. Clement’s challenge is four-fold.

First is the blue team. Lauzon is backed by campaign manager and political juggernaut Eric Duncan. Duncan may be still under-30, but he has many campaigns under his belt and his track record of wins is impressive. Lauzon’s campaigns, Jim McDonnell in the provincial race, and his own as two-term mayor of North Dundas. Duncan’s skill in the war room is something that would be foolish to discount. Nor would Lauzon’s campaigning style. His folksy manner of handshaking and appearances leaves a positive impression with people no matter where they are. It’s really hard not to like the guy.

Second is the orange team. Patrick Berger is a farmer, a professor at John Abbott College, and an NDP member. Berger has two things going for him. As a farmer, he is more identifiable to those in the riding outside of Cornwall. And he has the national poll numbers of the NDP, which are riding higher than the Conservatives and Liberals right now. The NDP is starting to get noticed as credible alternative to the Conservatives and Liberals. That works in his favour.

Third is the red team. Justin Trudeau is Justin Trudeau. That can play in Clement’s favour in this riding, or it can hinder her. Trudeau the Younger is leading the Liberals like a broken clock. The time on a broken clock is correct two times per day. Some of the points Trudeau is making makes sense, some of the time. But he is not indearing himself with his misfires. If people are sharp enough to look past the touchy-feely platitudes, Trudeau the Younger will not help Clement along.

Fourth is Clement herself. Her own challenge will be building a profile in the counties. In 2011 she started that, but she has to be visible everywhere. She needs to be seen and heard in the counties. Not just seen and heard, but present.  Coupled with all of that, is she currently serves on Cornwall City Council, which quite frankly, is a bit of a circus right now. If that council gets into more issues that distract from the business of running the city, it will harm her profile within Cornwall as well.

Clement faces an uphill battle in SDSG, but it can be done. Lauzon beat Bob Kilger in 2004, and there is a long history of electoral upsets in SDSG and its predecessor ridings. Facing an uphill battle does not mean you cannot win it all.

Sports in the City

Cornwall Newswatch Editor Bill Kingston stole my thunder in his editorial yesterday about the advertising revenue sharing between the Cornwall Colts and the Cornwall River Kings. Any revenues from the facility, whether its concessions, advertising, boards, seat backs or posters on the wall, should 100 per cent go to the city since they footed the cost to build and maintain it. As someone who has been involved with marketing and sponsorship in youth sports, there are a lot of creative ways to get the sponsorship dollars to help offset costs. Relying on the city for a handout is not, and should not be, one of them.

One question that should be asked in all of this, now that the three-year deal is signed, what happens if one or both teams relocate or fold? According to the deal, the Colts get 70 per cent, the River Kings 30. If the River Kings relocate or fold, does the city get to keep the 30% or does it go automatically to the Colts? Same if the Colts leave. What about if either franchise suspends operations for the season? Do they get their share without having to put product on the ice?

One other question is, what happens if the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) or even the American Hockey League (AHL) wants to come to Cornwall during that three year agreement between the Colts and the River Kings? What part of the pie will they ask for, and what part will they get?

The easiest, and best course of action would have been for the City of Cornwall to just keep the money to offset the increased costs of operating the rec-facilities.

Moe The Toe

Last week I attended a meeting of the Historical Society of South Dundas in Iroquois, Ontario, where local author Thom Racine spoke to attendees about the memoir of his father, four-time Grey Cup Champion and Canadian Football League Hall of Fame member, Maurice “Moe The Toe” Racine. As a causal CFL football fan, and a long-suffering Rough Riders fan in the 1980’s and 90’s, it was great to hear Thom talk about his father’s career, and see all of the great Rough Riders memorabilia that he brought along. If readers of Cornwall Newswatch have a chance to go to a book signing and meet Thom, and pick up a book, please do. It is well worth the time to do so, and the book is a great read.

Thumbs Up(3)Thumbs Down(1)