Opening Remarks – First All Candidates Meeting (October 7, 2014)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the 2014 North Grenville Municipal Elections.

My name is John Barclay, I’m 58 years old and I live in Oxford Mills. I want to live in a community where reasonable people can get together, discuss things, work them out and get things done.

Before I go on, I’d like to take a moment to recognize the organizers, Wendy Chapman and the Chamber of Commerce and the other candidates up here with me – I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with each and everyone of them. Whether they are relatively new to the community or long time residents of North Grenville, they’re demonstrating great dedication to the community, as well as personal courage, in running for office. No matter what the results of the election are, we’re lucky to have people like these in our community (pause)

We need a Mayor who is engaged in the issues. We need a Mayor prepared to ask the right questions and to press for satisfactory answers. We need a stronger voice at the County, Provincial and Federal level. We need a Mayor with a proven track record of bringing people together from diverse backgrounds and interests to make great things happen.

One of the themes of my campaign is building community, strengthening the ties that bind us both literally and figuratively. As a community we need more places and events to interact and form the connections that create community cohesion and a feeling of interdependence. Along with building these opportunities, it is essential that we build physical connections, too – roads, sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes. For example, supporting a coordinated rural transportation network would be one way to literally bring us together and to help us get things done.

I will be focused during my term to ensure growth is smart and sustainable. To achieve this we need to effectively implement the Community Strategic Plan, in order to accommodate growth while maintaining the small town, rural charm of North Grenville. We need to support the expansion of local businesses, local food initiatives and agricultural education in order to achieve economic and environmental self-sustainability.

Another theme of my campaign is accountability and transparency. Consultation and effective communication with citizens must be paramount in the day-to-day operations of Council. I’ll promise to make decisions based on facts and evidence instead of ideology.

Ultimately, people recognize me as someone who listens. I’m approachable. I make decisions based on what’s best for the community. I have a proven track record for working effectively within a group to find the best ideas. I want to bring these skills to the role of Mayor. I need your vote to make that happen. Thank you.