With closing of nominations last Friday, several prominent local politicians have followed through on their plan to retire.
Notably, Warden Kelly Linton (also mayor of Centre Wellington), Mayor Allan Alls and Mayor George Bridge chose not to seek re-election. All three men have been around the county horseshoe for many years along with serving as head of council in their hometowns.
Over that time there will have been few spare evenings or weekends where one duty or the other didn’t creep into family time. These sacrifices are part of the job, but it is one element voters tend not to acknowledge. If you get a moment and happen to see either Kelly, Al or George around, I’m sure they would appreciate a kind word in that regard.
This past term may qualify as one of the most difficult periods of governance in recent memory. Navigating everyday business whilst managing staff and safeguarding residents during a pandemic may prove one of their greatest accomplishments. It has been a tough few years and we admire their steadfast efforts to be sensible and consistent in such fluid times. The strain was palpable.
Similarly, numerous councillors have made 2022 their last year of service.
Centre Wellington will not see the return of Stephen Kitras, Steve VanLeeuwen or Ian MacRae this fall.
Erin bids farewell to Michael Robins. Likewise Puslinch and a portion of Guelph/Eramosa, who have been capably represented on county council by Don McKay, also says farewell. Minto loses Mark MacKenzie who has been a fixture in local politics for years.
Each one deserves credit for extensive service to their community.
Some readers may question the need for gratitude when all have been “paid” to serve. Having some sense of their struggles along the way, being pulled in numerous directions and having to take a position ultimately – public life is not easy. It can be downright difficult and all the more vexing when choices by the elected are personalized.
In a few short weeks the burden of office will lift and they will sense some relief.
Thank you for your service gentlemen.
Hospice offers a lesson
As suggested in a previous editorial, all was not lost – the chance for a local hospice lives.
With some procedural wrangling and goodwill extended by Councillor Neil Dunsmore to bring a motion to council sooner than later, council voted by majority to support the plan.
The community made their thoughts known through several letters to the editor and comments on social media. It was a degree of engagement we have not seen in a long time and hope to see continue in the future.
Along with the positives of compassionate end-of-life care, some writers took exception to both councillors Kitras and VanLeeuwen leaning on their faith as a reason to deny passage of the motion of support.
The separation of church and state argument took root too in some circles, as some believe spiritual beliefs should have no place in politics.
It brings to mind an often-reminisced story of ours where we watched a potential councillor being told by a clerk – “local politics was no place for principles.” Another time, wrapping up a delicate conversation with a moral twist, a man we admired greatly said “we cannot be our brother’s keeper.”
While we understand the sentiments involved, it is difficult and trying to separate individual beliefs, community needs and accepted norms. Everyone has beliefs or convictions that factor into their decision-making.
New councillors will soon understand the torment that comes with issues that have a moral edge that conflicts with their values – religious or otherwise.
While happy to see the hospice moving forward, we remain especially thankful to live in a land where councillors like Kitras and VanLeeuwen have the freedom and the courage to vote their conscience.