Business owner Luc Morrissette is running again for a seat on Elliot Lake city council following a previous try in 2018.
As one of 17 people seeking one of six councillor spots this time out, we asked him several questions about his candidacy, including why he entered this race again, four years later.
ElliotLakeToday: What has prompted your decision to run for election?
Morrissette: I was getting tired of seeing this past council costing much-needed monies to Integrity Commissioner’s coffers.
A lot more voters and I were tired of all the bickering happening. I also wanted to see if I can help in getting an Arts Centre built. I did not like the old site put up for sale.
151 Ontario could be easily sold and a new hotel put in its place instead of the Highway location. People would still be able to find it.
I want a council that will work together for the betterment of the community. I will always be here to help my friends and my community succeed.
ElliotLakeToday: Do you favour any changes to the voting process? Can you see any advantages or pitfalls of making changes to e-voting or other methods? i.e. nomination, registration, ballot voting, campaign reporting, fees, training requirements, etc.
Morrissette: I am not sold on voting online as we do not know who is voting on behalf of a name. I do like the idea of mail-in ballots and having polling places at the senior's homes.
ElliotLakeToday: What qualities, attitudes, experiences, or aspirations should the voters look for when they examine the field of 21 candidates registered to run in the municipal election?
Morrissette: I care about my community personally, and through my business, I actively support my community.
Here are a few examples. I was a member of the ELATE and Elliot Lake Entertainment Series Boards. You’ll often find me volunteering at street dances and other community events. I regularly offer my business space as a ticket outlet for various live shows.
In 2020, I gathered donations and purchased iPads for residents of St. Joseph’s Manor, Huron Lodge, Hillside Park and Golden Birches so that residents could communicate with loved ones during the COVID lockdown.
ElliotLakeToday: In light of ongoing turmoil relating to the Integrity Commissioner (IC) process, how do you feel about the effectiveness of current training requirements for newly-elected councillors?
Morrissette: It is important that all new candidates should take training on different subjects, rules, and procedures (under the) municipal act. I have done it already on the chain of command, and I am looking forward to more training.
ElliotLakeToday: Much has been made in the election campaign about transparency and communication with the voters by the city council. Where do you stand on this topic?
Morrissette: Better communication is imperative between the city council and the public when it involves important decisions for the community as a whole.
A town hall once a year would not be a bad idea. I can say that we can be as transparent as much as we can, but also, voters have to read the information that is given to them through news stories and monthly mailings.
ElliotLakeToday: Do you feel any changes need to be made in the current Elliot Lake City Council committee system? i.e. selection process, makeup, remuneration, accessibility, responsibilities?
Morrissette: I think each councillor is strong in a different area. It would be beneficial if we all sit down together and decide which committee is better for us.
ElliotLakeToday: We all know about the impacts of inflation. Although the council hasn't had a wage review since 2017, should remuneration for our elected leaders be looked at again by the new council after the Oct. 24 election?
Morrissette: I think there is a bylaw in place giving the council a chance to review remuneration. I did not put my name to run on the council for the money. I ran to make a difference. We can't forget those council members, aside from attending two meetings a month, who sit on numerous meetings monthly.
ElliotLakeToday: Aside from election issues, how would you describe the performance of the council in this period of COVID-19? As compared with other times?
Morrissette: I think they did the best they could with what was given them. Uncharted waters for many councils, and they also had to follow the rules set in place by the (provincial) government.
ElliotLakeToday: Use and collection of city reserve funds, the possibility of increasing taxes to fund city operations and even references to service cuts have all been up for discussion in various local forums lately. In your opinion, are these discussions based on over-blown or misguided concerns, or are they simply a reflection of community worries about Elliot Lake's fiscal future?
Morrissette: I think new councillors will have to understand the process of reserves and money they can spend during the year through the budget.
We also have to listen to our treasurer as she can guide us in making some decisions. We will have so much expenditure to think about; we will need to balance things to try to make things happen for everyone.
Elliot Lake municipal election voting takes place on Monday, Oct. 24, at Collins Hall from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.