Blue Line

Clear cutting, police accountability and tax money being spent take centre stage during candidate questioning

October 11, 2022  By Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Oct. 7, 2022, Chatham, Ont. – Candidates running for councillor in Wards 3 answered many questions from the public to gain their votes at the All Candidates Night held in Highgate at the Mary Webb Centre.

The all candidates night, as it has for more than 15 years, kept its original format. Each person in attendance was given one minute to ask a question, which could be directed toward any or all candidates. The candidates were given two minutes to reply.

The questions asked by the members of the public were mainly focussed on clear-cutting, Chatham police accountability, giant subdivision and the Dollarama building and tax money being spent unnecessarily on the mayor and police. Other questions and topics included the councillors’ accountability for responding to emails as well as follow-ups with resident concerns.

Current councillor Steve Pinsonneault said he has heard about the police situation and admitted there’s a lot of talk about it.


“There’s a group that’s looking into it. I think it does need to be looked into, and it should be looked into. I don’t know exactly who is responsible for asking those questions to start with. But certainly, it seems like council would be a place to start,” he said.

Andy Fisher, who is running for mayor, said regarding the police situation, more than $1.1 million of taxpayer dollars was wasted.

“That’s a lot of money. If I pretended to show up to work and didn’t go to work for even a day, I would lose my job. It’s my opinion that heads need to roll. We need to replace certain people at city hall that are not doing their jobs properly,” he said.

Fisher questioned if the public does not have confidence in their chief of police, let alone anyone else, how are they supposed to have confidence in anyone?

Ultimately, Fisher said Chatham-Kent council needs accountability, transparency and honesty.

“City hall has been bothering Chief Conn and the police department to release a line-for-line budget for quite some time, and they keep refusing because they’re trying to hide, which is not good. If things like this are going to continue, that’s got to roll. I don’t mind being the black sheep at City Hall. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to represent the public, so I don’t mind looking into things like that,” he said.

On the issue of deforestation, Pinsonneault said the strategy that is in place now is working.

Election Day is set for Oct. 24. In East-Kent Ward 3, Matt Lamarche, Morena McDonald, and Martin Fisher will seek a seat on council while Steve Pinsonneault and John Wright hope for re-election. The next term of council runs from Nov. 15, 2022 to Nov. 14, 2026.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s race will see incumbent Darrin Canniff running against two political newcomers, Andy Fisher, a 31-year-old truck driver from Chatham, and 72-year-old retiree Bill Pickard of Thamesville.

– The Ridgetown Independent News

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