A Mayoral landslide
During the 1971 Cornwall mayoral campaign voters were warned that electing a 32-year-old soft drink plant manager with a blank page on his political resume would be a huge mistake.
Voters didn’t listen to the warning. On Dec. 6, Ed Lumley, a native of Windsor, became the youngest mayor elected by Cornwall voters.
This was when municipal elections were held across Ontario on the first Monday in December.
He didn’t just win; he won big, taking down one of the city’s most experienced municipal politicians backed by a high-powered political machine and a sizable war chest.
Incumbent Nick Kaneb, who served as mayor for 10 of the previous 12 years and was first elected as an alderman in 1950, finished 7,050 votes behind his young opponent. It was the biggest mayoral margin of victory on record. Lumley won all but six of the 91 polls.
Kaneb and his supporters were shocked. “I never dreamed it would go this way. I expected to win. I didn’t expect this (kind of defeat),”Kaneb told the Standard-Freeholder. “I don’t think anyone can do better than I did.”
Ald. Angelo Lebano, who openly supported Kaneb, had a warning for the freshlyminted mayor: “If I think Mr. Lumley isn’t doing his job, I’ll run in the next election (against him).”
What voters didn’t realize on the night of Dec. 6, 1971 was that they had launched a political career that would see Lumley elected Liberal MP before his first and expired.
He would go on to become a key cabinet minister before becoming the victim in 1984 of arguably the city’s biggest local political upset when he was booted out of office by an unknown Conservative challenger. Many had seen Lumley as a rising star in the Liberal party and a potential future leader.
But there was no need to hold a tag day for the defeated MP.
Lumley rose from the ashes of a political defeat to become one of the most influential corporate figures in the country, serving on boards such as CNR, Bell Canada, BMO Nesbitt Burns and Magna International. In 2006 he was appointed chancellor of University of Windsor (he stepped down earlier this year) and in 2014 was named to the Order of Canada.
ALSO THIS WEEK IN 1971 - Taggart Service of Ottawa announced that it had purchased L. R. McDonald and Sons of Cornwall to create one of the largest trucking firms in Eastern Ontario. The deal included the new McDonald warehouse on Tenth Street East . ... Fire destroyed the workshop and storage building belonging to Entwistle Construction 33 Cumberland St. Firefighters Hugh O’Reilly and Leon Lemire were treated at hospital for injuries . ... The Kenneth MacLennan lumber and saw mill in Dalkeith was destroyed by fire. It employed 22 people. ... Judge G. A. Stiles handed a Cornwall man a six-month jail sentence for stealing copper wire from the Canadian Pacific yard in Finch. ... Winners of the Branch 297 Remembrance Day essay contest were M. V. O’Malley, Stephen Fitzpatrick, Debbie Brophy and Lise Charron . ... Despite losing five starters to graduation, CCVS Raiders started the EOSSA basketball season with an 85-31 win over Seaway District. Keith Heemskerk led (Stormont-Dundas) only mayoral term the Raiders with 31 points. Gary Rasmussen had 21 and Tom Cleary 17 . ... Pat Bingley had two goals as Anchor Motel Mavericks downed Modern TV 4-1 in a City Junior Hockey League game . ... Cornwall Curling Club’s Pete Sleeman upset former Canadian champion Alfie Phillips 9-2 in the opening round of the Cornwall Tourism and Convention Bureau event.
THIS AND THAT Once again good to hear The Big M (Michael Terry) giving Willie Dee’s ‘Hush Reindeer’ Christmas season tune air time on his Sunday afternoon show on CKON . ... Dumbest question in the Premier Doug Ford media scrum following the General Motors plant-closing announcement was “What kind of vehicle do you drive?” Had to be somebody from the CBC. For the record, Ford drives a GM product. Okay. How about asking the other leaders NDP and Liberals - what they drive? ... Belated happy birthday wishes to Cornwall Sports Hall of Famer Art Murphy who turned 80. Art was a key member of the powerful St. Lawrence High School Saints in the 1950s and was a fullback for the London Lords of the Ontario Rugby Football Union before tearing up his knee in a game against Sarnia Imperials . ... Don’t know what position Doug Ford played in his football days but it couldn’t have been receiver, not the way he dropped the ball on the francophone service file. He got some bad advice.
HERE AND THERE Why do they build vehicles that can exceed the highway speed limit by 90 kilometres? ... William Nylander back with the Leafs after a long, contentious contract tug-of-war. Nylander, 20 goals last season, told a Toronto newspaper he habours no hard feelings. Why would he? At 22 he has a six-year contract that will pay him $42 million. That is about $41.6 million more than the average working Canadian will earn in the next six years . ... Federal NDP leader Jagmeer Singh will try to win a seat in the House of Commons in a February by-election. If he fails, the party, already on the skids, faces a huge problem with a federal election campaign just months away . ... Not even the police are safe from potential terrorism. The recent Cornwall Police Service change-of-command ceremony, with dozens of police officers in attendance, required armed officers to guard against a potential terrorist attack. Meanwhile, the generating station, once a target on the Soviet Union’s missile map, is guarded by a couple of unarmed security guards.
TRIVIA ANSWER During a Royal visit to Cornwall in 1959 Prince Philip was presented with a Larson boat manufactured at the Courtaulds Canada Ltd. plant in Cornwall.
TRIVIA The 1971 municipal election, which elected Ed Lumley as mayor, the ballot included this referendum - 1) Extend the agreement with Cornwall Electric to supply power to the city, 2) To annex part of Cornwall Township for construction of Combustion Engineering, 3) To eliminate the ward system in favour of elections at large, 4) A one-way street system, 5) To reduce council to 10 councillors from 12.
HITTING THE RECALL BUTTON When they played the national anthem in movie theatres? ... The Hillbilly Hoedowns at the Water Street Arena that showcased city and area musical talent? ... The disabled chap who sold pencils in front of the F. W. Woolworth Store on Pitt Street . ... The Chicken Palace Restaurant on Pitt Street which was destroyed by one of the many fires in the downtown core during the fifties and sixties . ... When families could rent a pew in a Roman Catholic church.
ONE LAST THING “Too many people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they are 75,” -