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Mayor’s last day in office brings mixed emotions

Mayor Robert Quaiff, in his final official duty as mayor, helped Lisa Lindsay, the County’s Manager of Community Centres and Events, honour residents for their participation in a walking challenge.

Mayor Robert Quaiff honoured County residents for their commitment to fitness Monday, in his last official duty before taking steps on his own new journey.

Quaiff begins his leave from office Tuesday to allow him to focus on his campaign to become the member of provincial parliament for the new Bay of Quinte riding in the June 7 election.

He told residents being honoured at the Wellington arena for participating in a walking challenge that he was pleased to be there for what could be his final duty from the mayor’s office.

“This is my last official duty as mayor today and I can say hopefully I won’t be back, but you never know,” he said. “There’s such political disarray out there. Flip a coin up in the air and see where it lands – that could be what happens. There is so much uncertainty out there, but one thing I am sure of is I truly loved my position of being mayor of Prince Edward County,” he said to applause from his audience.

In an interview before the presentation of certificates, Quaiff confirmed his last day brings mixed emotions.

“It’s bittersweet. I’ve really enjoyed being the mayor of Prince Edward County and I’m excited to be running successfully provincially, but at the end of the day it’s still a sad moment for me to think this is the last presentation I’ll make in the capacity of mayor.”

He admits it’s difficult to be walking away from several issues important to him over the past years as mayor, but hopes a successful election will allow him to put in more effort at the provincial level.

“A few issues come to mind – getting a new hospital built, the three-and-a-half years trying to get something down on paper finally by virtue of an engineer study for County Road 49 – that’s obviously something I don’t want to walk away from,” he said.

“I look back on the Picton Main Street reconstruction, the County Road 3 reconstruction, some of the bridges we have done and I look at the Development Framework Committee we formed and all the progress made there,” he said. “Prince Edward County is totally booming. Everybody wants to be here; everybody wants to live here and now we’re running into capacity issues when it comes to water and sewage, and the affordable housing crisis.”

These issues, and years of municipal experience are what he wants to bring to the provincial level.

“I can provide that input. I can bring a perspective to the Liberal caucus about what’s happening in rural Ontario, outside of the big city.”

On the issue of opposition to wind turbines in Prince Edward County, he said his position doesn’t change.

“For years I’ve been fighting this fight and the Liberals know there is nothing changed with my position, but what I feel good about, is perhaps I can get there, and make change,” he said. “Because I’ve dealt with it for so long, I know the Green Energy Act and I want to sit down with those that are from the cities and urban areas who just don’t have the understanding of what these turbines mean to rural Ontario, to have to face.

“Rather than (Mississauga PC candidate Tanya Alan Granic) just hollering and yelling and saying we’re going to rip them out of the ground, we’re not going to build industrial turbines or have solar, there’s components with the Green Energy Act that just need tweaking, they need fixing. They don’t need to rewrite the entire Green Energy Act. For people to say they would just scrap it, doesn’t make common sense. There are areas it does apply properly.”

Meanwhile, Ameliasburgh councillor Dianne O’Brien has been selected by council to be acting mayor in the interim.

Quaiff is confident she will serve the County well.

“I’ve spent some time with her in the past week or so and took her to the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus meeting so she could get the opportunity to meet some of the other mayors, CAOs and wardens. She also got to see the major presentations and a week later the funding of $71 million from the provincial government for rural broadband network expansion to increase capacity.”

O’Brien is looking forward to her new duties.

“I am very humbled and very pleased by the support I received from my peers,” she said. “I look forward to council dealing with the many issues and focusing on moving forward. I thank Mayor Quaiff for the leadership and guidance he has shown over the past three and a half years, and I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

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  1. Chuck says:

    Forrester running in Athol again. Fox and Neiman in Bloomfield/Hallowell with 2 newcomers. Hopefully some new blood.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    Thanks Chuck – I didn’t know this. Kevin would have been a good candidate for mayor. Has anyone heard of who else will put their name forward to run for mayor? Hopefully there will be someone to challenge the South Marysburgh councillor.

  3. Chuck says:

    Dennis; Kevin Gale has announced he will not be running in the upcoming municipal election.

  4. Emily says:

    I sure hope Picton Ward gets some fresh faces. Quite disappointed in our representation. Caved on Council size, did absolutely nothing to relieve the water cost crisis and to top it off wanted to load more taxes on us to subsidize another tax class!

  5. Dennis Fox says:

    I too am annoyed with having an unrepresentative council- how a person on one ward gets three votes and three reps and others only get one, isn’t right nor democratic. Far too many who were elected for the first time, broke their promise to the people to downsize council significantly – one is even planing to run for mayor! Personally, out of all of them I would rather see Kevin Gale take a run for mayor – he at least voted and fought for a smaller council and real change – he even offered to testify at the OMB in support of a much smaller council- while the rest of council sat still behind the town’s legal team praying for the wrong outcome – unfortunately it happened.

  6. Mark says:

    Is it not sad that our Council could not have been restructured so that we all are equally represented at the horseshoe? This is a County Council and should be elected County wide. I know it’s an old story but why can 1 Councillor from a ward effect my life so much when I have no vote to elect him/her or not.

  7. Chuck says:

    So Roberts is running in the now 1 seat Sophiasburgh. Will Gale challenge?

  8. Dennis Fox says:

    Thanks Susan, I didn’t know this.

  9. Susan says: news reported that the Mayor will not be running in the municipal election regardless of the outcome of the provincial election.

  10. Dennis Fox says:

    I would hope to see the mayor run in this upcoming municipal election(if unsuccessful with his provincial effort) – why not? He is doing it by the book and he has municipal experience – which we need. Look at who is running just a short distance away to be a MPP – another radio announcer – big whoop! And so far no one here on PEC who has announced for the mayor’s chair has the experience or know how.

  11. Fred says:

    It is speculated that the mayor will not run in the next municipal election either being successful in the provincial election or receiving an appointment if unsuccessful.

  12. Paul says:

    So Michael Reagan your saying Mike Harris and the PC Party had nothing to do with the ridiculous hydro rates in Ontario today ??? sorry for my last post…

  13. Paul says:

    So Michael Reagan your Mike Harris and the PC Party had nothing to do with the ridiculous hydro rates in Ontario today ???

  14. Michael Reagan says:

    On a “just the facts” basis, you are incorrect, sir.

    The PC government of many years ago didn’t pass the Green Energy Act, the Liberals did. Every objective analysis of the province’s electricity system demonstrates that rates began to take off in 2011, eight years after the last PC government left office.

    That’s because the Liberal government destroyed all proper electricity generation planning in the province with the GEA and then lit what remained of proper planning on fire with Bill 135 a couple years ago.

    As to your claims about the economy. The CBC had this to say about the government’s most recent economic policy

    And this, from the notoriously Liberal Toronto Star, shows census data demonstrating that wage growth in Ontario has trailed the rest of the Country:

    And don’t even get me started on how these guys screwed up math education in this province. No, sir, if you can’t vote for Ford that’s fine. But voting for Wynne is like the chickens voting for the wolf.

  15. SAB says:

    when a company replaces a ceo/manager/president to repair mistakes by a former leader…Hopefully the new leader should not have to pay for all the mistakes his/her predecessor made….we should just expect that person to try and correct those errors

  16. SAB says:

    Excuse me but did Mayor Quaiff say he took councillor O’Brien to the eastern warden’s convention…did he pay her expenses or will the tax payers pick up this expense also

    I am also surprised that this is one time I can say I totally agree with Dennis Fox

  17. Susan says:

    A short few weeks ago the Conservative party was filled with “rot” as the interim leader declared. Mass resignations, removing declared candidates, financial discrepancies, knowledge of sexual misconduct, etc. Now they have been reincarnated and ready to govern the province. It is truly one of the fastest soul cleansing processes ever witnessed!

  18. Dennis Fox says:

    No doubt about it, the Liberals have screwed things up from time to time. But as you say Michael Reagan – just the facts…

    – first the staff person you refer to was under McGuinty and the real sale of Ontario Hydro was under Mike Harris. To be sure, the hydro mess lays at the feet of the Conservatives- anything coming later was a patch job.

    But Ontario; economy is one of the best in the world and has been for the last 3 years – more jobs, better pay and , business starting up. Under the previous Federal government with Harper, Ontario and Canada’s economy was n the rails.

    Let’s look at the Conservative Party – the questionable departure of Patrick Brown, just a few months prior to the election, due to sexual misconduct allegations. Actions known about by party members for years! And then the unbelievable decision to appoint DOUG FORD as their leader – a known druggy and horrible city councillor in T.O. – has done nothing to offer other than avoiding 53% of municipal meetings and riding on the coat-tails of his infamous brother – the foul Robbie. Also Ford has offered no platform and no vision for our province – and the Conservative have the nerve to ask hard working people to trust them – don’t think so!

  19. Michael Reagan says:


    Amazes me how the Liberals can pretend like the last few years didn’t happen. Like their own atrocious record should go unscrutinized because of events that happened decades ago.

    Just a quick factual review of the last few years of Liberal rule:

    – Companies who donated millions to the Liberals under the GEA made billions off the backs of Ontario electricity customers
    – Premier’s Chief of Staff convicted criminally for destroying government documents in connection to the gas plan cancellations
    – politically motivated gas plant cancellations that cost ratepayers 1.1 Billion
    – hallway medicine, that is locally the result of the Liberals cutting $25 Million from the Picton, Trenton and Belleville hosptials between 2011 and 2015.
    – Selling Hydro One only after paying the CEO and other executives millions in compensation
    – $200 Billion in new debt, making Ontario the most indebted sub-national jurisdiction in the world
    – And, according to the province’s independent Auditor General, lying about the size of the deficit this year because it’s actually 11.7 Billion and not 6.7 Billion like the Liberals said.

    As Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet “Just the facts, ma’am.”

    If the Liberals are gone come June 7th, then we are well rid of them.

  20. Susan says:

    Now factual information gets labeled as an angry anti conservative response. Hmmm.

  21. Dennis Fox says:

    It is Election Time – funny how political parties get involved in the conversation.

  22. Chris Keen says:

    I find it interesting how often any criticism of the Liberals prompts angry anti-Conservative responses even when there is no mention of them in the comment or any suggestion by the author they might be a viable alternative.

  23. Susan says:

    The PC’s deregulated our publicly owned Ontario Hydro. They amalgamated hospitals and municipal governments. They severely cut our life safety agencies. They downloaded Highways as in 49!

  24. Dennis Fox says:

    I’m no fan of the Liberals right now myself, but lets talk facts – Wind Concerns Ontario is a joke, as well as an organization with directs ties to the Conservative Party. Wind turbines are a legit alternative form of energy – the problem with the GEA is that it ignored local councils and local citizen input – which we here in PEC have experienced. The problem that I am having with any of the major parties is their lack of real substance in their campaign platform. I’m not sure how anyone can decide on who to vote for at this time – but at least the NDP and Liberals have both stated and written platforms – the Conservatives threw out theirs when they dismissed Brown. If we are hoping to hear words of wisdom from Ford – well don’t hold your breathe! For a candidate who missed 53% of his City Council meetings, just what qualifications does he have to be premier? None!

  25. Chris Keen says:

    So Mayor Quaiff wants to “sit down with those that are from the cities and urban areas who just don’t have the understanding of what these turbines mean to rural Ontario, to have to face.” News flash Mr. Mayor – they don’t care. They haven’t cared since McGuinty introduced the so-called “Green” Energy Act. They’ve done everything in their power to ensure that every approved IWT is built. They’ve made certain there can be no effective opposition by rural municipalities, all the while happily pocketing IWT firms’ “campaign contributions”. Nothing has changed under Wynne’s watch.

    As to responding to the concerns of rural Ontario’s citizens, the Liberal’s record is abysmal. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has done little if anything about the chaos on Amherst Island or the apparent pollution of well water in Southwestern Ontario from IWT construction. The ministry has received thousands of reports/complaints of IWT noise affecting people’s health. They have been missing in action having managed to respond to only 7% of the complaints. This has forced Wind Concerns Ontario to launch a private prosecution against the Honourable Chris Ballard, MOECC’s minister, for violating Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act to force his ministry to act.

    Like health care providers a government’s first principal should be to abstain from doing harm. This has demonstrably not been the case with this government and its dealings with rural Ontario. Clearly, they don’t care.

  26. Dennis Fox says:

    Gary – do you mind sharing where you received this information? As you know, I am not a big supporter of anyone on our council and nor do I like wind turbines, but let’s place some of this responsibility where it belongs – back onto the Conservative government under Mike Harris. It was the Harris government who sold Ontario Hydro, who amalgamated many communities, closed schools, hospitals and fired most of the MOE – causing the Walkerton water tragedy. There really are other issues more important to PEC than wind turbines – like affordable housing, a fully functioning hospital and keeping our schools open. If anyone believes these issues, including wind turbines are important to Doug Ford, then think again – he”s ready to open up the Greenbelt to developers – the Tories favourite people.

  27. Chuck says:

    What, you have never seen a politician waffle or flip flop from any party ?

  28. Gary Mooney says:

    While he was mayor, we thought that Robert was fully supportive of efforts to keep the County turbine-free. Either this was never the case, or he’s had a Come to Kathleen Moment since deciding to run for the Liberal Party.

    Three astonishing quotes from Robert about the Green Energy Act: “There are areas that it does properly.” “There’s components that just need tweaking”. “[No] need to rewrite the entire Act.” Unbelievable that he would say these things, after nine long years of painful experience with it.

    The GEA has been an unmitigated disaster for communities forced to host wind turbines, for consumers facing hugely increased electricity rates, and for the Liberal government itself, way down in the polls as election day looms.

    But, everyone is entitled to their opinion. You now know what Robert thinks about the GEA, and you’ll get your chance to support him, or otherwise, on June 7.

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