CORNWALL – With city mayoral candidate Leslie O’Shaughnessy out with the flu, it was a showdown between incumbent mayoral candidate Bob Kilger and website operator Jamie Gilcig.
But what could have been a clash between the two men at the Cornwall mayoral debate was anything but at the Seaway Valley Community Health Center Thursday night.
Kilger set the tone during his opening address. “This should be more of a discussion than a debate. This is the most difficult topic because it’s the most important,” referring to the theme of health, wellness and livability of Cornwall.
Roughly 40 people – including a number of candidates for council – saw both candidates answer pre-written questions from the Social Development Council of Cornwall & Area.
The only exchange happened when Kilger finished a question on the livability of Cornwall, with the incumbent saying any economic decision should have a social component. “I’m stunned. I need to compose myself for a second. That was amazing Bob,” chortled Gilcig. Kilger snapped back. “Don’t patronize me.”
The rest of the night was very civil with the duo also taking questions from the audience on various issues such as addressing a lack of family doctors, the number of welfare housing units and Sunday bus service.
Gilcig would like to see government-subsidized free transit service in Cornwall – even on Sunday – and even if it meant a cut to some weekday routes. Kilger was going to make that commitment but acknowledged the idea of Sunday transit service needs study.
The mayoral candidates will meet again Wednesday during the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce All Candidates Forum at 6 p.m. at the Civic Complex.