Letter to the editor – Mayoral Candidates Meeting


Dear Editor

I attended the mayoral all-candidates forum September 20, and thank you for hosting. I appreciate the efforts of each candidate and the strength it takes to run for office. Unfortunately, Mayor Gordon believes we should only appreciate, and not question or criticize him or council, as evidenced by the presumptuous and anti-democratic letter to the editor he and others of council wrote to The Times several months ago. Based on that, (and his continued misleading on Kemptville College), he is unfit to continue as mayor. Mr. Armour showed that he was more inclined to facts than fancy, but he also demonstrated that he is unlikely to be able to work with others, or lead. I liked a lot of his points, albeit poorly delivered, and he may make a councillor, but he does not make a mayor.

Nancy Peckford terrified me. She talked a good talk, which seemed to bamboozle a number of the audience who must have been spellbound by the words and missed the meaning. She spoke exactly like a Kathleen Wynn liberal. We all know how that turned out provincially, and we don’t need it here. She initially dangled the bauble of a swimming pool, which got audience cheers, and she only later pulled back on that after Mr. Armour pointed out the fiscal and physical impossibility of it. On that subject and all others, Peckford simply claimed she could tap her ruby slippers together and things would appear.

She had no concrete or realistic plans. She promised a lot, but, with only 6,900 tax payers in North Grenville, her plans will cost dearly. We are already taxed too heavily and have too many pressing infrastructure needs to have her as mayor driving taxes up more. She claims to be concerned about tax levels, but that is just a token acknowledgement, while she lures voters with her trinkets. We cannot afford her ruby slippers.

She also claimed that she should be mayor because she has special federal government connections that will get results for County Road 43 reconstruction funding. She must think we are real rubes, who will be impressed with federal connections when the feds do not fund, and do not dialogue on county roads. She only sounds good as long as you don’t stop to think about it.

Mr. Bertram joined Mayor Gordon in claiming tax payers WILL NOT be on the hook for the loan debt incurred for Kemptville College. They claim this on the basis of the rents from the current and expected tenants. As long as the tenants are there, and rents paid are sufficient to the cover the loan, then tax payers should not have to pay the loan. But Gordon and Bertram cannot say WILL NOT. They can only say taxpayers will likely not, or probably not, but they can’t say will not, because if tenants or rents disappear, then we are on the hook for the loan. So, please do not mislead on this.

Regardless of that issue, Bertram showed himself to be the best candidate. I have never met him and don’t know him personally, but he impressed me with his demonstrated commitment to tax restraint, democratic process, getting results, and citizen concerns. He showed all this through four years on council, when he was the only one to not take part in the scandalous letter to The Times, noted earlier, and where he was the only one who opposed bringing in a replacement councillor by council whim, as opposed to the next highest placed election candidate for council. He instituted the Rural Summit and fought for fiscal restraint.

We need a clean sweep out of the rest of council, so Bertram should be mayor to provide needed continuity and leadership. His feet are firmly on the ground and not in ruby slippers.

Bill Vanveen
Kemptville, (not Kansas)


  1. Dear Editor,
    This is a first letter to the Editor for me for some time. I thoroughly enjoy reading NGT and presently I am absorbed by all content regarding elections. I regard myself as non-partisan. In my 75 years I often voted for a candidate based on skills, experiences, capability and demeanor. More often, I voted for a candidate who would represent and support a particular requisite platform for the area and current time.

    The ‘letter to the editor’ on September 26th from Mr. Bill Vanveen disturbed me for his dichotomy of expression. Unfortunately, Mr. Vanveen did not support or constructively recommend a well informed, rational evaluation of a candidate He presented a negative put down of one candidate. The dichotomy seen is
    1. the letter was an erudite, powerful expression of opinion, albeit based only on his evaluation of her remarks at the meeting. Mr. Vanveen wrote as a well-educated, well informed citizen; however,
    2. the letter used a demeaning, perhaps misogynistic, definitely negative commentary and utilized a literary Simile prosecuting one female candidate.

    These two behavioural stances of the writer demonstrated an almost hypocritical validation in order to explain his “terrified” take of the comments by Nancy Peckford at the ‘Mayoral Candidate Meeting’. Writer Bill Vanveen sets up his diatribe firstly by dissing Mayor Gordon. Perhaps he self-justified it assuming he was safe attacking one whom he may wish to be a waning politician. More importantly it is telling of the character of the writer who takes this protected method of attacking and disrespecting the service given by a serving mayor. We may be ambivalent about elected members of our current council; however, surely any critique of them deserves some praise for their sacrifices and accomplishments.

    Bill Vanveen also characterized Ms Peckford as “like a Kathleen Wynn liberal(sic)…” –
    What are we to conclude that he wants his reader to interpret from that? I think I know. He is determined to use his canvas to paint the pejorative picture of a “Wynn” politician superimposed with the simile of a ruby-slippered Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz”.

    At that point I realized the author of the letter was neither well-informed, nor learned. He just sounded that way initially. Is he alluding to a defined ‘ilk’ that he believe is anathema to his personal governance values? Is Mr. Vanveen asking us to believe, that Nancy Peckford should be dustbinned by all voters because he heard words that he did not want to hear or not hear from a type of person? Here is where I am confused: Wynn-like politicians, women, liberals, Liberals, or those who traverse yellow-brick roads? What is his intended message other than he felt uncomfortable in considering her? It was a very confusing letter that left out any references to the strengths of candidates other than the one he personally favours.

    Graeme Waymark, retired TBS Exec. CPA
    and a non-partisan opinion writer.


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