New Mayor and Council sworn in
CORNWALL, Ontario - Bernadette Clement was sworn in as Mayor of Cornwall in a ceremony at the Civic Complex on Monday, Dec. 3, 2018 alongside a new Council for a four-year term.
The new Council is composed of Claude McIntosh, Elaine MacDonald, Syd Gardiner, Dean Hollingsworth, Carilyne Hébert, Maurice Dupelle, Glen Grant, Todd Bennett, Justin Towndale and Eric Bergeron.
The new council was announced by Town Crier Wes Libbey and they were piped into the room by a Scottish Bagpiper.
They each then took a turn at taking the oath of office before family, friends and supporters as well as City administration.
Unique for an inaugural ceremony of a new council, those gathered in the room were entertained by the Cornwall Sea Cadets band, a band from Holy Trinity that sang a rendition of Hallelujah, and finally a musical trio.
Each Councillor was given a chance address the room.
“Being elected to Council is not a right, but a privilege,” said Claude McIntosh. “to those not elected, I would thank you for putting your name forward and taking the time to share your ideas on how to make Cornwall a better place.”
Councillor Glen Grant, who had previously served on Cornwall City Council for 12 years, spoke to the experience of himself and his colleagues.
“A couple of friends asked me, ‘why are you to running again, you’re too old,’” he said. “Then I thought of a heroine of mine, Hazel McCallion and she was in her 90s the last time, so I have a long way to go.”
New Mayor Bernadette Clement outlined her vision in her inaugural speech, but first spoke to the significance of her election to the office.
“You may have noticed the rather intense media attention following this election,” she said. “It was a bit overwhelming as during the campaign, the matter of my gender and of my heritage and of my language was not a significant subject of discussion. But it pleases me to think that my election may provide some encouragement to a diversity of people to engage in public life.”
Clement is the first female of colour to be elected Mayor in the province of Ontario.
“I am most honoured to be the first woman Mayor of Cornwall,” she said. “I have had a few little girls tell me that they would run for Mayor one day. That is a beautiful thing.”
Clement pledged to move forward on developing Cornwall’s Port Lands in partnership with the Mohawks of Akwesasne.
“Few areas of Canada hold in their hands such an extraordinary opportunity to truly engage in a respectful and meaningful partnership and as Mayor, I look forward to pursuing measures with Council that will fully embrace this unique moment,” she said. “Working closely with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, we will make the imaginative development of our jointly acquired Waterfront Port Lands. Wes. It’s time. It’s time to move forward purposefully to seize the hour in celebration of our history and most particularly, of our future.”
Clement thanks outgoing Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy for his support during the transition and went on to outline some of the key policy areas she hoped to focus on.
“We face many challenges,” she said. “That is nothing new. But we have been dealt a far better hand than some may think, and we must not fear to use it wisely, because it is indeed time to move forward in so many areas, be it the future of our waterfront and the Port Lands, economic and social progress, the appropriate formula for our Centre for the Arts, electoral renewal, and many others.”
Clement also emphasized affordability and paying attention to the budget and long-term financial plan to keep the City in a balanced situation between taxes and services.
In her closing remarks, Clement called the City to action.
“No Mayor and no Council can do this alone,” she said. “We need your engagement and your ideas. And so let’s roll up our sleves and get started. L’histoire nous attend. Our history is waiting.”
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