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Elaine MacDonald: “working for change in the community”

The Leader met with NDP candidate Elaine MacDonald on September 16th to discuss  the upcoming election on October 6th.

MacDonald got started in politics through volunteering and getting involved in different issues at work. Initially, many of her accomplishments were in defense of women and worker rights.

She pointed out that “systems evolve and sometimes people get lost in the shuffle.” MacDonald felt drawn to help make things better for those around her.

As a founding member of the Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry Coalition for Social Justice, she is a strong advocate for every person’s right to be heard.

In touring Stormont, Dundas, and South Glengarry and talking to constituents, she discovered that the government programs put into place to help people are, in many situations, causing difficulty with unrealistic expectations coupled with a lack of concrete assistance.

Among the many people she has met, there are those who are working multiple minimum wage jobs trying to pay for essentials. They’re “not just treading water, but falling behind.”

She believes that today’s climate “blames the poor” for being poor when, in fact, that is not the case.

When asked how she planned to address the issue of poverty, MacDonald stated that the NDP “platform hasn’t been released yet.”

However, she did share that her party plans to “ensure more affordable housing” which will, in turn, “equate to more disposable income.”

In addition, upon being elected the NDP intend to “raise minimum wage to $11 per hour right away.” MacDonald claims that the NDP will then, “index it to inflation from here on in” with the “same (being done for) WSIB and ONDSP.”

Continuing the discussion on poverty, the Leader questioned MacDonald about the Poverty Free Ontario debate at the Agape Centre on September 15th where she was condemned for her refusal to participate in the Do the Math Challenge, which challenged candidates to eat from a food bank basket for five days.

MacDonald, who admits that she is “a bit plain spoken” told the Leader that: “I rarely commit to something I don’t think I can do.” She believes that “to do (the challenge) honestly, you have to be able to give it some attention.”

“It’s extremely complicated. You have to watch what you eat.” Logistically, she couldn’t commit to giving the challenge the attention and dedication she believes it deserves.

Moving the discussion back to the main issues for people of this riding, MacDonald focussed on jobs, taxes, healthcare and other public services.

She pointed out that “people rely on public services” and government “has to stop rationing them.”

In addition, she brought attention to the fact that “people are falling through the cracks.”

One example: “66 per cent of complaints from people who didn’t get their full wages (worked for) companies that were actually solvent.”
MacDonald points out that in a lot of cases, individual people are being taxed while the corporations are getting the breaks.

“So many of our policies advocate for people in the counties.” These include policies in healthcare, education, and jobs. For instance, MacDonald’s NDP plan will “reward job creators with up to $5,000 per year.”

When asked what voters need to know most about her, MacDonald stated: “I am a progressive woman who wants to see government move in the direction of the triple bottom line: that is that we base our decisions on environmental and social values as well as financial. That is the way to develop a sustainable economy.”

During the interview with MacDonald, she referred to 211. She later expressed concern that people be made aware of the phone number, which connects Ontarians with information and referrals to community and social services in their province. The website is www.211ontario.ca.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath visited the riding on September 20th at MacDonald’s campaign office in Cornwall.

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Jim McDonell: “dedicated and committed to our community”

Progressive Conservative MPP candidate for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry,  Jim McDonell “enjoys working with people.”

During a phone interview with the Leader on September 16th, McDonell said that he’s “been involved in community for many years (and he’s) talked to a lot of people.” He admitted that it’s “exciting to get out there.”

He went on to reveal, that people are “not asking (government) to do a lot, just for a fair deal.”

McDonell would like to “encourage people to follow basic principles. It’s the whole basis of Canada – work hard, play by the rules.”

He credits the lack of this attitude in government for pushing him into running for MPP.

It “bothers me that I see things misrepresented (and) things that are not good for the community happening.”

McDonell shared that he  comes from a small town and  he sees that what the government has been doing is “not a smart way of doing things.”

Among other issues, he refers to the decreased service in rural areas, the loss of businesses in rural small town areas, and the migration of rural population to bigger cities in the hunt for work.

McDonell believes that  the main issue  in this area of Ontario is “unaffordability.”

He recognizes that “income is much less in this area. Things are a little tougher around here.”

“There’s a higher percentage of seniors  on fixed incomes. The majority have no pensions.”

“Their children and grandchildren are not getting work locally. Schools are closing because there are no kids to put into them.”

McDonell also sees the apprenticeship program’s current restrictions as an issue for voters in this riding. He believes there will be “a huge shortage of labour in the future but (the current government) is not looking at a program that allows (for the need.)”

McDonell said that the ratio for apprenticeships should be   “1:1 instead of 3:1” for craftsmanship jobs such as electricians, plumbers and brick layers.

He maintains that , for example, most brick layers today are around the 65 year age range.

Discussing how he would make things better for the local constituents, McDonell referred to his party’s plan to remove HST from  home heating. He also mentioned the debt retirement charge, lowering income tax, and income splitting for couples.

In addition to these money saving plans, he also stated that his party plans to “remove a lot of the red tape” from government services. He stated that there is a “target of 30 per cent” and if the party doesn’t meet the target, then “ministers will take a cut in pay.”

McDonell wants to “make government less complicated.” He is “committed to making government more open to the public.”

When asked what makes him the right choice for voters in South Dundas, McDonell stated, “I’m dedicated and committed to our community.”
Also, he “has a practical sense on how to do things.” He refers to his farming background and rural roots, saying that he is “someone who can relate back” to the people in the rural areas of his riding as well as those in the urban areas.

McDonell says that he wants to “stop the withdrawal” from the rural small town communities.

When asked about the issue of poverty, he replied  that he would “focus on getting jobs for a good portion of the population.”

When asked about character, in terms of integrity, responsibility, and accountability, McDonell stated: “I don’t make promises I can’t maintain.”

Tim Hudak joined McDonell for a campaign rally on September 19th at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall.

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Mark MacDonald: “passionate about the job” he wants to do

On September 16th, Liberal candidate Mark A. MacDonald spoke with the Leader to discuss  the upcoming October 6th election.
MacDonald revealed that he has “always  been politically aware.” He believes that “everything is political. Every move that we make from stopping at a stop sign.”

MacDonald says that he “knew something wasn’t right” politically when “at a very early age, dad lost his job” and, subsequently, his father’s “license plate was removed from the car” to identify the change in status.

He adds, as a matter of interest, that “we were one of the first families to live in social housing in Cornwall.”

In terms of what he feels is most important to the constituents in his riding, MacDonald believes that “the economic situation is driving everything at this time.”

He claims that “Ontario is leading the way with our economic policies” and that Ontario’s “education system is ranked fifth in the world.”

MacDonald strongly encourages everyone to “look at the news and judge for yourself. The facts speak for themselves.”

He also claims that in terms of the environment, “Ontario’s policies are getting looked at.” He added that “David Suzuki is backing the liberals.”

In following MacDonald’s plea for self-education, an exploration of the David Suzuki Foundation website reveals: “Besides its platform, a governing party will also be judged on its record, and a fair assessment of both the Liberal platform and record would call them good but mixed.”

The David Suzuki Foundation website blog goes on to discuss  the advantages and disadvantages for each of the parties, but doesn’t appear to come out in favour of one over another.

MacDonald, who believes that the riding is approximately “fifty per cent Cornwall and fifty per cent rural, claims: “I have a sense for rural issues as well.”

In discussing how MacDonald and the Liberal party plan to address poverty, he chose to discuss the Poverty Free Ontario debate at the Agape Centre in Cornwall on September 15th and, more specifically, the Do the Math Challenge where he agreed to take part in the challenge to eat from a food bank hamper for five days.

In support of his claim to good character, MacDonald stated: “Everybody you meet has an issue. I generally find that if I can meet people face to face I can at least steer them in the right direction.”

Prior to the interview, MacDonald held a press conference to discuss municipal uploads.

He told the Leader that he felt compelled to speak out because of certain events at a recent council meeting in Cornwall.

A September 16th press release explained: “A recent decision by Cornwall City Council to postpone discussion to hire a city firefighter, until municipal budget deliberations, illustrates the need for the province to continue its upload of costs from municipalities.”

In the same release MacDonald claimed, “Fortunately, under a Liberal government, municipalities – like Cornwall – can be assured that the province will continue to upload costs from them, which will free up room in their budgets to invest in local priorities, such as hiring a firefighter.”

During the phone interview with the Leader, MacDonald said that this particular issue “strikes at the very heart of the campaign.”

He believes that it is important to “take pressure off municipalities to pay their bills.”

In terms of why he should become this riding’s next MPP: “I’m passionate about the job that I want to do and I want to do the best job I can possibly do and I want to be the best representative that I can possibly be for you and your family.”

In response to an inquiry about whether Premier Dalton McGuinty plans to make an appearance, MacDonald stated: “As of yet we have not received any information in regards to him visiting the riding.”

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Debate updates

If you missed the candidates debate at the Agape Centre in Cornwall on September 15th, there are still more opportunities remaining to hear the candidates discuss the issues.

The North Dundas Chamber of Commerce with the Dundas Federation of Agriculture is hosting a candidates debate on Thursday, September 22nd from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Winchester Arena.

In addition, there will be a debate on Wednesday, September 28th from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Civic Complex in Cornwall, hosted by the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.

Attendance for the debates has been a bit unbalanced so far. The candidates for the NDP, Liberal, and PC parties were present for all debates. However, more often than not, the Libertarian and Green party candidates have been conspicuously absent.

The Poverty Free Ontario (PFO) debate at the Agape Centre in Cornwall saw only three of the five candidates.

PFO’s slogan, “Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario,” was the theme for the debate.

For more information, go to www.povertyfreeontario.ca.

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Ground breaking begins on playground

The excitement is definitely mounting. On Monday morning, September 12, volunteers began the initial excavation work around the site of the new kids’ playground. They will be on site all this week.

Trucks, a back-hoe, an excavator and folks carrying picks and shovels began clearing top soil and preparing Earl Baker Park for the arrival of the highly anticipated new playground equipment, which is being shipped in on September 22.

The actual construction date is September 24.

“The excavator is digging out the area on a grade to ensure drainage,” said Jack Barkley, member of the Playground Committee. “Once that is done, we must dig holes for each of the poles which will support the play equipment. Cement is poured into the 12 inch sauna tubes to firmly anchor the poles which hold up the projects. The equipment will be firmly supported and safe.”

Barkley had much praise for all the volunteers turning out to help with the ground clearing, and especially for Les Cruickshank who “was instrumental in arranging for the equipment and digging.”

The old playground equipment had to be completely dismantled and will be reassembled north of the site later on.

Barkley, whom Les describes as site “manager” for the dig, had about seven volunteers with him.

“We are also going to need strong volunteers on September 22 to unload the new equipment, but each volunteer must be able to lift 100 pounds of weight to work that day,” Barkley said.

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Maritime history comes alive at Doran Bay Model Ship Museum

Doran Bay Model Ship Museum, located on County Road #2 east of Iroquois, opened its doors on September 9th.

Among those welcomed to the new museum by Burt and Simla Cunningham were Max Keeping, former MPP Jim Brownell, MP Guy Lauzon, Mayor Steven Byvelds, Deputy Mayor Jim Locke, Councillor Evonne Delegarde, and the Chamber of Commerce’s Brian Cox.

The ceremony began with Keeping  who claimed that “the time couldn’t be better” for the opening of the maritime museum. The anniversary of the War of 1812 is next year and included in the exhibit are models of both Canadian and American ships.

Keeping went on to say that this is an “opportunity not to go back to war, but to celebrate the two countries and how their friendship has developed.”

Brownell complimented the detail in the design of the models, which were built from original plans using exotic woods.

He ventured that the museum will have a beneficial effect on tourism and infrastructure in the area.

In Lauzon’s address, he said that he “welcomed to South Dundas, this expansion of business. This is a jewel in our riding. The community is so supportive.”

Byvelds agreed with Lauzon, saying that the museum “certainly is going to be another jewel in South Dundas’s coffers.”

Cox thanked the Cunninghams for their contribution, declaring that he was “really looking forward to the [museum] bringing in the tourism and bringing in the people.”

Cunningham claims that “Doran Bay Model Ship Museum contains one of the finest collections of historic model ships in the world.”

Remarking on the genesis of the project, he shared a little bit about his life leading up to this point.
He “spent the last few years on paradise island” where he met his wife, Simla.

The island in question is the Mauritius. It was there that Cunningham “discovered a small group of people who had this craft” for building model ships.

He “befriended these artisans (and later) employed them to do these ships.”

“As I was doing a lot of research,” stated Cunningham, “a lot of this history seems to have been lost.”

Earlier in the ceremony, Keeping pointed out that “Canada is a great maritime nation.”

And, what better way to honour that then with a ship museum whose collection, according to Cunningham, “traces the history of sail around the world with emphasis on famous Canadian and U.S. ships.”

Cunningham continued, saying that his family “had this house sitting here idle,” giving the perfect opportunity to display the model ships.

Currently the museum occupies the ground floor of the house. At the moment, only about half of the ships in Cunningham’s collection are on display.

Cunningham plans to monitor the response from the public and,  if substantial, he will expand, allowing for more of the collection to be seen.

He went on to say that this has “been a family project (and that) it’s a private collection, but we’re opening it up to the public.”

Cunningham invites: “see maritime history come to life.”

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New CEO Boland excited about WDMH

September 8th marked Cholly Boland’s third day as Winchester District Memorial Hospital’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Boland took time to introduce himself to local press late that afternoon where he confirmed that he “couldn’t be more excited to be here.”

Boland admitted that his professional background, while definitely in healthcare, has not been all about hospitals.

During a placement in British Columbia, Boland worked at bringing homecare, long-term care and in-house care together. He said that the “focus has always been on integration.”

Boland has worn several different hats in the healthcare system, his most recent being CEO of Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville, Ontario.

WDMH’s reputation is one of the main inspirations for Boland’s move to the area. He referred to the hospital as a “centre of excellence” and remarked on its being at the “forefront of senior care, education and research in this area.”

In addition to providing the best senior care possible, Boland also affirms that WDMH is focussed on “developing best practices” and answering the question of “how do you best provide care in a rural environment?”

With respect to his predecessor, Trudy Reid, Boland said that he is “fortunate to be taking over from someone whose done such great work.”

He went on to say that his plans include “taking that work and moving it forward.”

In terms of the upcoming election, Boland stated: “I can’t foresee any type of future that would not see this hospital in full operation.”

He believes that any government would have to recognize “the investment that’s been made – the good work that’s been done here and will continue to be done.”

CEO of WDMH is a “great opportunity” for Boland not only because of its “track record in senior care” and its “leading edge research,” but also because of its geographical location.

In addition to his history in Eastern Ontario, he also has senior family members in the area.
Boland was CEO of Arnprior and District Hospital for almost 5 years, between 2003 and 2008. He also spent time in Kingston and Ottawa.

He received a Bachelor of Science and Engineering from Queen’s University in 1984. From the University of Ottawa, he received a Masters in Health Administration in 1992 and a Masters in Business Aministration in 2000.

He got started in his career at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

The new CEO is married with two children, a 13 year old son and 9 year old daughter.

His wife and children are still living in Orangeville, but they will be joining him. They are presently looking for a new home in the area. On that note, he stated: “we’re not moving anymore.”

In meeting Boland, his positive energy, strong commitment and seemingly limitless enthusiasm for WDMH come through loud and clear.

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PP reports on charges for Labour Day long weekend

The Ontario Provincial Police Eastern Region Headquarters, in coordination with the OPP ERHET – (East Region Highway Enforcement Team), HSD-Long Sault (Highway Safety Division) as well as SD&G, Grenville and Leeds OPP detachments, were on the look-out for aggressive drivers Labour Day weekend.

“Our dedicated officers working together over the long weekend focused on aggressive drivers and held them accountable. Keeping our highways safe is everyone’s responsibility and we will continue to be there to remind those that have forgotten,” said Inspector Chris Lungstrass.

Officers laid over 496 charges:

  • Speeding: 332
  • Seatbelt or Child restraint: 48
  • Cell/Phone Texting: 5
  • Impaired Operation: 2
  • Move Over Law: 2
  • Suspended Operator: 11

Help keep our communities safe! Obey the law, be respectful of others and report suspicious activity.

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The Kitchen Witches, serves a funny ending at Upper Canada Playhouse

Folks heading to the Playhouse for the final show of the 2011 summer season are in for a delightfully, ‘delicious’ evening out as the Playhouse dishes up, The Kitchen Witches by Caroline Smith which opened Thursday night, September 8 and runs through October 2.

The Kitchen Witches places the audience at a live television ‘cooking’ show and drags everyone kicking and laughing, mostly laughing, into the venue.

Directed by Canadian theatre veteran, Walter Learning, it’s fun, it’s relaxing, it’s funny and it’s a wonderful play to end this year’s summer season.

As was expected the very talented Linda Goranson and Jocelyn Zucco deliver. They are backed by a solid performance from Parris Greaves who plays Dolly’s son Stephen.

Goranson gives us Dolly Biddle, a character you like immediately. She’s short, a bit frumpy, the ‘vonderful, vonderful’, lovable grandmotherly type but with a fake Ukranian accent.

On the other hand, you don’t immediately take to Isobel, “Izzy” Lomax played by Zucco. In fact, she is quite un-likeable when she first hits the stage. She’s loud, professional to the point of being cold, and not about to let anyone forget that ‘I am Cordon Bleu’ trained.

She became a bit more endearing, however when she ended up as Mammy to Dolly’s Scarlett O’Hara in the deep south cooking segment of The Kitchen Witches show and by the end of the night we had actually come to like her.

The play is about Dolly and Isobel, who grew up in the same town, loved the same man and both ended up with television cooking shows, ‘Baking with Babcha’ and ‘Busy with Izzy’ both of which have coincidentally been cancelled. “It’s last show and Bobcha wants to go out with a bang,” says Dolly as she prepares her Ukranian Bosch.

When Izzy shows up on the Babcha set, old ‘personal’ problems bubble up. “Dolly Biddle you have publicly insulted me for the last time,” yells Izzy. The grease sizzles and the cooking show producers love all the digs and pokes as the two old friends air old grievances, live, on stage. As a result, a new show, The Kitchen Witches is born and becomes an immediate hit.

When Izzy reveals the family’s ‘secret’ recipe at the end of the first act, the stage is set for some real fun…and an eventual happy ending.

Adding to the play’s charm is the localization and the interaction with the audience. The Kitchen Witches show is sponsored by Morrisburg and area businesses and the two cooking divas receive fan mail from such far-away places as Chesterville and Ingleside. A Playhouse audience member is even called to centre stage.

Also called to the stage for this one is Upper Canada Playhouse’s Production Assistant, Stéphanie Souillé, who plays the camera person who captures all of the great cooking show moments.

The two cooks do offer some cooking advice and enter into a well-timed two minute cooking challenge. Dolly prepares “melt in your mouth bourbon balls” and Izzie makes a “stand em up Izzie Banana Parfait”. Keep an eye on the stand-up banana

The Kitchen Witches is a fun show, with an outstanding cast and an excellent ending for another successful season at the Playhouse.

If you don’t have your tickets yet call the Playhouse at 613-543-3713 or book online at uppercanadaplayhouse.com. This is one ‘yummy’ serving you don’t want to miss.

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Tribeck Inflatables, Canadian Tire Get Behind New Playground

“It was really a great idea to have this event. It’s important to raise money for our community. Community is everything,” said Don Denneny.
Denneny, with his daughter Nicole, seven, was just one of the many parents, children and supporters who came out to enjoy the fund raiser, featuring Tribeck Inflatables, Saturday, September 10, on behalf of the new children’s playground scheduled for con-struction in Earl Baker Park on September 24.

Michel Proulx, owner of the Morrisburg Canadian Tire, provided “a location and manpower” for the Tribeck Inflatables, as well as “doing some fund raising in the store.”

“I have been behind this kids’ park since day one,” Proulx said. “My store manager, Brian Shaver, is one of the executive on the playground committee. This is an important event for the community, and it’s great that we can fund raise in a fun venue.”
Trevor Beckstead and Rebecca Cooper, owners of Tribeck Inflatables, are also strong supporters of the community playground. They provided all their equipment free of charge for the entire day.

“I’ve got three girls myself,” Trevor Beckstead said. “My kids will have the chance to play in that park, and we hope as a family to picnic there. I wanted to show that Tribeck Inflatables has grown as a South Dundas business and that we can serve this and surrounding communities. This new kids’ park is very important to my whole family.”

Playground committee mem-bers, including Jack Barkley and Rosemary Laurin, were thrilled with the generosity of Tribeck and Canadian Tire.

“Tribeck Inflatables is providing all this equipment for us free of charge,” Laurin and Barkley said, “and Canadian Tire has given us a wonderful site. We are very grateful.”

Visitors attending the fund raiser on September 10 were asked to make a donation to the playground as their admission.

Candy apples and candy floss were available, with part of the sales coming back to the playground. Mark Staughton, a volunteer with Family Mission, in the guise of Zany the Clown, produced incredible balloon creatures for kids, and then donated proceeds to the playground as well.

“It’s just amazing how this community has come together to support us through events like this one today,” said Jack Barkley.

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