‘I will not wear it’: Coun. Dupelle fuming over Lauzon comments on waterfront tanks

Coun. Maurice Dupelle listens to Mayor Leslie O'Shaughnessy (not shown) during a meeting on Oct. 13, 2015. Dupelle is upset after comments made by Conservative Guy Lauzon during a federal election debate in Cornwall, Ont. on Oct. 7. Lauzon had suggested the city knew about the waterfront chemical tank plan long before it went public, an assertion Dupelle disputes. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Facing pointed questions from constituents, Coun. Maurice Dupelle said Tuesday night he wants to get the truth out about the timing around the chemical tanks on Cornwall’s waterfront.

A clearly upset Dupelle made a request for city staff to prepare a report about who knew what and when about the storage tanks on Harbour Road.

It comes after Conservative Guy Lauzon suggested during a federal election debate last week, city councillors knew about the waterfront tank issue in the summer of 2013, long before it was apparent to the public.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Dupelle said he’s received at least 20 phone calls and a half dozen emails since Lauzon’s remarks on Oct. 7.

“Those dates don’t match with what I have and I have people now saying to me ‘Oh, you did know’,” Dupelle told council.

“We should have known the same time everybody else did so if there’s something there that’s broken down along the way then I want to get to the bottom of it,” Dupelle told CNW.

“I just think it’s unfair that those statements can be made out there in a federal election make our municipality look bad and, I’m speaking for myself as a councillor, and I know that when I became aware of it do not match the dates that are being circulated in the community – that is not true and those statements should not be made public,” the councillor stated.

“I just want to make sure we’re communicating to the residents and we’re not changing what we’ve been saying all along,” Dupelle said.

“I will not wear it. I know what I was aware of and I will stand on the front steps of city hall…and stand to that,” he said.

The second-term councillor also doesn’t believe the city could have easily taken the waterfront land from Transport Canada for free in a short time frame – another assertion made by Lauzon during the debate. “There’s a whole big process there…I don’t think it’s as easy as he’s saying. I think that happened prior to my last term of council. Nowhere did anyone say during my term of council, you can have it today…I disagree with that,” Dupelle told CNW.

Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy said he would work with Dupelle and Coun. David Murphy, who also expressed concern, on “working out something,” such as a new business motion, to bring to the next council meeting.

“I think it’s important to get the truth out there. He’s (Lauzon) telling us we knew about it. If we knew about it, who knew about it? Wasn’t council. Where does the blame lie?,” Coun. Andre Rivette added.

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