Wednesday, 27 February 2019 10:54

Red Cross Scam

Officers from the Lanark County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have received several calls regarding a door-to-door collection scam going on over the past few days in the Perth area.

Residents are reporting a white male, with stocky build in his early 20's is going door-to-door stating he is collecting donations for the Red Cross. The male is wearing a lanyard with an official looking identification badge and is only stating he can accept donations via credit card and will not acce pt cash.

The public is being warned regarding providing any type of personal and or credit card information to anyone soliciting for same via phone, email or in person.

  The Canadian Red Cross Central Headquarters in Ottawa was contacted and confirm they are NOT actively working in the Perth area (collecting donations) and also advised they will NEVER request credit card information in person and also NEVER SOLICIT via email; which is currently another type of scam being reported.  

Residents are encouraged to report any sort of suspicious activity to their local police detachment and are reminded to only give information out to trusted companies which THEY themselves have called.   

Published in Lanark County

Maple syrup producers in the Lanark & District area gathered at the Glad Tidings Pentecostal Church in Perth on Saturday, January 26, for the Lanark & District Maple Syrup Producers’ Association’s (LDMSPA) Information Day and Annual General Meeting.

This annual event celebrates the accomplishments of member producers in the industry. This year’s event attracted more than 80 participants interested in obtaining additional resources and education for new and existing maple syrup producers.

Honoured at the event was Dwight James of Jameswood Maple, who received the Sugar Maker of the Year Award, a prestigious award presented to long term maple producers, or those that encourage and support start-ups in maple production. Recipients of the award demonstrate a willingness to share with a hands-on, innovative approach, and have worked towards the betterment of the maple industry as a whole. The award is sponsored by Springdale Farms.

Another local maple syrup producer, Jasper Norwood, was presented with maple syrup equipment by Leader Evaporator, Zoeller Maple Producers, and Bruce Leggett at the event. Norwood is a high school student who has been making syrup using homemade equipment and he was brought to Leader’s attention as a dedicated young maple syrup entrepreneur deserving of support.

In recognition of his achievements, Norwood was gifted with a small arch evaporator, finishing pans, and associated equipment, in addition to paying Norwood’s membership with the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association for 2019.

The meeting also featured presentations by industry leaders on a range of topics, including the economics of maple syrup production, syrup grading and judging, and updates on the forest tent caterpillar and its impact on the maple syrup industry, among other topics.

Equipment dealers were on hand to discuss equipment needs and new technology impacting the industry. An annual general meeting was also held during the event.

LDMSPA is a group of over 90 maple syrup producers located in the Lanark, Frontenac, Leeds and Grenville Counties, as well as the Ottawa-Carleton areas of Eastern Ontario. LDMSPA is one of 11 local organizations that make up the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association (OMSPA), a provincial organization that represents maple syrup producers across the province.

As a membership-based organization LDMSPA supports its members by providing a forum to promote the production of maple syrup products, assisting members to stay current on changing industry regulations, and providing opportunities for networking, and education on the maple syrup industry in Ontario.

Published in Lanark County

It’s become routine now. A dozen or so members and supporters of the Maberly Fair Board trooped into courtroom 2 at the town of Perth Courthouse on Monday morning at 9:30, just like they have on five previous occasions since last September. The case that interests them is a charge of Fraud over $5,000 against Bonnie Palmer, a Maberly-based business owner who, at one time, served as the Fair’s treasurer.

Palmer has not appeared in court as of yet, but her lawyer, Mark MacDonald, has been working with the Crown on a proposed resolution of the case. Two weeks ago, on January 21, MacDonald arrived in court well after the 9:30 start time, much to the consternation of the assembled fair supporters. At that time, MacDonald told Judge Peter Wright that he was close to arranging a plea deal with the Crown on behalf of his client. The only remaining sticking point was the “quantum”, he said, the amount of money that Palmer will pay in restitution to the Fair Board by Palmer in exchange for a diminished sentence, at the time of a guilty plea.

While the Fair Board has been careful about what they have said in public, the News can confirm that the Board considers that about $25,000 has gone missing, but the expectation is that only a percentage will be paid back in restitution, something in the $10,000 range.

As the case came back to court this week, Maberly Fair President Bill Cameron, who is an ex police officer and is familiar with court proceedings, said that he had been in touch with the Crown late last week, and at that point the Crown had not heard back from MacDonald’s office about final figures for restitution.

But that changed sometime after Friday morning (February 1st) and Monday’s court date. Bonnie Palmer was not in court, and in fact she has not appeared on any of the scheduled appearances thus far. Mike MacDonald was there, however. He told Judge Wright that his client needs another 3 weeks in order to pay restitution before the plea is entered, as it seems one of the conditions the Crown is seeking is for payment before the case is resolved. On those grounds, another 3-week extension was granted in the case, which is now set for an anticipated resolution on February 25 at 9:30am.

Taking note of the contingent from the Fair, Judge Wright advised the Crown to be in touch with a representative from the Board in case the expected resolution of the case on the 25th is delayed once more to save them another trip to Perth.

As they gathered in the hallway after leaving the courtroom, members of the board expressed frustration that the case is taking so long, and at the fact that Palmer has not yet been present in the court for any of the hearings.

“She will need to be in court for the plea,” said Cameron, “her lawyer cannot do that for her.”

A guilty plea is not a certainty on February 25th. If arrangements for payment can’t be made, or the deal falls apart for any other reason, it will result in a trial date being set for later this year, unless the Crown decides to drop the charges.

(The News reached out to Bonnie Palmer for comment on Tuesday morning (February 5), by calling her place of business. We reached an answering machine and left a message. We have not heard back as of yet. If and when we do, this article will be updated.)




Published in Lanark County
Wednesday, 09 January 2019 12:18

SIU clears officers in death of Debra Hill

This Sunday (January 13th) will mark the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of Debra Hill, outside of her home near Tichborne, after being dropped off by OPP officers.

The case generated a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) investigation because of the involvement of the OPP, and it took over 11 months for the SIU to report back. The report, which is dated December 3, was released on December 20th, and concluded that charges are not warranted against the two officers who dropped her off at her home.

“I am unable to find that the subject officers showed a wanton or reckless disregard for the life of the Complainant, nor am I able to find that their conduct amounted to a marked departure from the standard of a police officer,” wrote SIU Director Tony Loparco.

The SIU report included a chronology of police communications from that evening, as well as a narrative based on interviews with the two police officers who were involved, as well as 5 other police and 12 civilian witnesses.

A set of unusual circumstances form the backdrop for Hill’s death: The weather that night was extreme. A rain, freezing rain, and snow event followed by a sudden temperature drop and high winds resulted in a cold, icy night. Police were on the rural side-road late on a Saturday night to investigate a series of break-ins at cottage properties at the far end of the road. Hill and her husband, Kevin Teal, were at a relative’s house, and as they were pulling out of the driveway to go drive a short distance to their home, a police cruiser spotted them. The car pulled into a neighbouring driveway, and Teal exited the vehicle and ran off.

Here is how the SIU report describes what happened next.

“An officer called out to him, but he did not stop. The subject officers investigated the truck and noticed the Complainant crouched next to the passenger side of the truck. The officers yelled at her to not move and drew their service pistols. The officers re-holstered their pistols when it became apparent that the Complainant was not a threat.”

They did take her into custody, handcuffed her and placed her in the back of the cruiser, and reported to the Communications centre that she was “heavily impaired”.

Eventually police took her back to the relative’s house, and talked to family members there. They were told her husband was not there, but had been, and a discussion took place about whether she should stay there overnight, but she said she needed to go home to feed her wood stove, so the police officers decided to drive her home. When they got to her house, they were aware that she did not have her key, but she told them she would be ok.

Here is how the report describes that final interaction.

“Before the officers left, the Complainant realized that she did not have the keys to her house. SO#2 asked the Complainant if she could get into her home and she replied matter-of-fact and with confidence, ‘Don’t worry, I can get into my own house.’ She hugged and thanked the officers.” (SO#2 refers to Subject Officer #2, one of the two police officers who were the subject of the investigation)

The SIU report then says “SO#2 believed she was capable of getting into her home, and the officers returned to their vehicles and drove away. The Complainant walked toward the porch and was last seen by the officers standing next to her front door.” This was at 1:20am, 80 minutes after they found her at the truck.

She was found on the front porch of her house early the next morning. Paramedics arrived at 5:37, reported “vital signs absent” and transported her to Perth hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Cause of death was listed as hypothermia. She had injuries that were consistent with a fall, but “there were no injuries to indicate an attack by a 3rd party. Her blood ethanol level was 232mg/100ml, enough for severe impairment but not enough to cause her death. Alcohol use is known to accelerate the onset of hypothermia, and the report concludes; “Death was due to hypothermia with alcohol intoxication as a contributory factor.”

The main question for the investigation relates to the decision made by the two officers to leave the scene before ensuring that Debra Hill had made it into her house.

The investigator looked into whether leaving the scene at that time constituted a “wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons” to use the language in the law.

Citing case law, which “sets out the test for criminal negligence as requiring ‘a marked and substantial departure from the standard of a reasonable person in circumstances’, the investigator said he is “unable to find that the subject officers showed a wanton or reckless disregard for the life of the Complainant, nor am I able to find that their conduct amounted to a marked departure from the standard of a police officer.”

At the very end of the report, SIU Director Loparco is a bit harsher. He noted that Debra Hill’s death has been heartbreaking for her family and has deeply affected the officers who were involved. He said the officers “made a very unfortunate decision by not ensuring that the Complainant had entered her home after leaving her on her porch, before reiterating his finding that “the Complainant’s death was unforeseeable and the officers’ conduct does not amount to criminal negligence in the circumstances.”


At the turn of the millennium, if you stumbled into a pub in Ottawa on St. Patrick’s Day or most any Friday night, you may have seen and heard the Riverthieves. At that time they were an “Ottawa Valley and East Coast style party band, sort of a Great Big Sea Sound” said Finley Mullally, one of the band’s founding members. The band has always been a part time enterprise for the members, who have had other careers, and after a few years, they began writing together, and slipping original songs into their performances.

One of the band, Devon Matsalla, is a full time member of the Canadian Armed Forces, and Mullally is in the reserves. They both went to Afghanistan in 2009 for a tour of duty, and Matsalla later went there a second time. Other members of the band have military experience as well.

The band has become more committed, over the last couple of years, to writing, recording and performing original material. When they decided to record their first studio album, enough time had passed after Afghanistan for Mullally and Matsalla to be ready to reflect on their experiences in music. The themes made their way into Soldiers, the album they released this year.

They will be performing on Saturday Night (November 24) at the Circle Theatre in Perth (26 Craig Street – the road to Smiths Falls) at 7:30pm.

The show is the final one in the band’s Remembrance Day/Album Release Tour in support of Soldiers. “Our setlist for these shows will draw heavily on our original songs that we released earlier this year”, says Devon, who plays pipes, whistles, keyboards and EWI. “These were written and composed after Finn and I got back from tour and had a chance to think about what we did and make some sense of it all.”

The band released Soldier in May. Its ten tracks are all original.

“Folks coming out won’t find things too sombre, though,” cautions Devon. “We’ll do a few reflective pieces for sure, but Finn and I have been soldiering our whole lives and most of it spent in the company of good friends, working hard and having good times. A military career is tough but satisfying with lots to celebrate.”

One of the songs on the album provides a glimpse into the heightened reality that was the life for Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

It is called Mats Sundin’s Tears. It describes a night when soldiers at the base were watching a Maple Leafs game at the base on the night when Mats Sundin scored his 500th goal. Later that same night two soldiers, Darcy Tedford and Blake Williamson, were killed in the field. Other songs talk about the impact of war and still others about camaraderie.

After this week’s concert, Riverthieves are planning to begin another writing cycle, towards the release of a new album.

“I like the idea that we work in themes. The next one will likely be about family. We’ve all had experiences to draw upon, of course, so we should have something to reflect on.

Tickets to the Riverthieves show will be available at the door and are available online at

Published in Lanark County

Life can be so unfair. We’ve all felt that at times, whether reacting to global news, local tragedy or personal setbacks. What keeps us going is our collective humanity – knowing that whatever happens we are not alone, there will always be some neighbor, friend or agency to lend support. But there’s no denying that adversity also puts one’s courage and tenacity on the line. How many of us would have the ‘true grit’ to be a survivor, if put to the test?

Take inspiration from Roya Shams, one of the remarkable Afghan girls we hear about who defy the Taliban and risk their lives to further their education. Imagine the fortitude it must have taken to flee her homeland at 16 years of age and put her safety in the hands of strangers and adapt to an entirely different culture.

We are blessed that Roya’s story is now unfolding in Canada, where she came to study with the help of the Toronto Star and its readers. She’ll be in Perth on Monday, October 15th to give a free talk to the public – in an interview format – about her transition from a burka-wearing repressed teenager to an ardent activist for women’s rights and girls’ education. There is both tragedy and inspiration in this tale.

Born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Roya’s progressive views were shaped by her father, a police officer who insisted that his daughters be as well educated as his sons. He taught them to never give in to intimidation, but rather to choose "country or coffin," a statement Roya has taken to heart. Sadly, he was killed in 2011, leaving his family of nine vulnerable to insurgents and targeted by the Taliban. As a young Afghan woman longing for an education, Roya's only choice was to flee her homeland. 

Please join us on Monday, October 15th to hear her incredible tale, being presented by the Perth & District Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) as part of a speaker series held at the Perth Legion (26 Beckwith St E, Perth, K7H 1B5.) Doors open at 6:30pm; donations from non-members would be appreciated.

Contact: Mary Rothfels, CFUW Publicity, 613-264-2934; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Lanark County
Wednesday, 08 August 2018 10:29

Is this Rural Ontario’s summer of IPA?

I’ve been planning to write a summer beer column for a few weeks, but it has take this long into the summer to get a sense of what is readily available this season locally and in nearby larger beer markets such as Kingston, Perth, and Napanee. Also each year there is a flavour that catches my own taste, and it took a while but this summer I am most interested in summer saison beers, heffeweizen, session ales, and some of the less sour of the sour beers.

The local LCBO stores seem to be serving up a host of India Pale Ales, which is not necessarily a problem for me. There has been a bit of a backlash in some circles, however, reminiscent of what happened a few year’s ago in the United States craft beer world when the IPA style was so dominant in those markets. Last week, an article in the National Post, written by a man named Tristin Hopper, lamented to hoppiness of many popular beers.

The India Pale Ale or American Pale Ale styles that have taken the LCBO stores by storm are the main culprit, as Hopper (that is his real name) pointed out. For many beer drinkers, the first sip of a beer like Amsterdam Breweries Boneshaker, NickleBrook Breweries Headstock, or Muskoka Breweries Mad Tom, is an assault on the back of the tongue. Any hint of citrus or sweetness is overwhelmed by a bitter, hoppy finish. For some people, one sip is enough and that is the end of their IPA experience. For others, a second and a third sip, especially if they are starting with a more subtle version, perhaps a fruity, low alcohol Session IPA, other flavours emerge on the palate. Eventually they become hop-heads, craving that big taste and bitter finish. And there are a lot of hop-heads around rural Ontario these days, that’s why there are a dozen IPA’s in the Sharbot Lake Liquor store, and about as many at the local beer store as well. And there aren’t that many hipsters from Toronto in those stores, some of us must be drinking the stuff.

The backlash against hops is not really about IPA beers, it is about the use of hops in other beers, in lagers and even in ciders. So unwitting golden ale and lager drinkers are now being inconvenienced by the hop forward wave. I thought the critics were overstating their opposition, but then I tasted a new ice cream from a normally reputable company, Kawartha Dairy. They have a new flavour, produced in conjunction with Muskoka Brewery, Pralines and Cream Ale. When asked about what it tasted like, the sales clerk at the store when my wife Martina and I purchased the ice cream said it “tastes like beer, it really does.”

That was true, but what she did not say was that it was more of Pralines and Cream IPA. It has the sweetness of Pralines and Cream ice cream, which in itself can be a bit overpowering, followed by a genuine hoppy finish. The overall effect, and this is based on the opinion of at least a half a dozen people, is not good, not good at all. It is actually bad, very bad. Sorry Kawartha Dairy, but this is not a winner. Maybe try a chocolate stout next time, if there has to be a next time.

In any event, there are other styles of beer that are, to my own taste, the defining taste of the hot summer of 2018, and for me, it is all about the wheat.

Wheat beers, or Whit beers, have a sweetness, a tartness and a lightness, along with a bit of a mustiness in some cases, that slides down the throat leaving only a floral, citrusy aftertaste. They are sometimes hopped, but even then the hop flavours cannot overwhelm all the other flavours.

At 4pm, after a run, a battle with deer flies in a hot garden, or slaving over an article on local politics (a bit too personal, I know) a good Heffewezen, the German version of summer wheat beer, a Belgian Summer Saison, or one of the Farmhouse Ales that some local brewers are producing these days, not quite as chilled as a Coors Lite needs to be but almost that cold, is a thing of beauty.

A slice of orange, lemon or lime, can be a welcome addition, particularlty to Farmhouse ales.

These beers are not as easy to find these days as IPA’s are, but there is a good farmhouse ale from Bench Brewing of Beamsville. They also make a nice Session IPA and a Citra Sour. The sour is a bit less lip puckering than some others, but sour is also a style that people need to work their way into. Muskoka Brewery makes a Summer Heffeweizen as well, and Frontenac’s own Wolfe Island Spring makes an excellent whitbeer, Orange-White. If you have a bit of money and don’t know what to do with it, Stone City Ales in Kingston almost always has something light tasting and flavourful on the go in the summer, but don’t get too attached because the beer is always changing. The always have Windward, an Belgian Wheat available, but if you can find a Chloe, June, Darling, or Ophelia, cough up the cash and enjoy. And they also make a truly excellent Double IPA, which is called Hard to Say DIPA. Double IPA’s don’t actually taste as hoppy as single IPA’s. They are high in alcohol and less carbonated, and in the best of cases they are cloudy and a bit musty on the nose, with a grapefruit aroma and a kind of soapy aftertaste. But if you are driving, stick to one because at 9% alcohol, a 500 ml bottle is the equivalent of almost 21/4 bottles of Budweiser or almost 31/2 bottles of Coors Lite. (On a hot day, a Bud or a Coors Lite can also taste pretty good, but don’t let anyone know I said that)

There are literally dozens of options for flavourful summer beers available these days, and it is really about individual taste. The best advice I can give is to find a brewer you like, be it a larger craft brewery whose beers are pretty readily available, such as Beau’s, Muskoka, Amsterdam or Flying Monkey. Then try the different styles they offer.

The second thing to do is to give some of the more local breweries a chance. They may be a little harder to find at the LCBO or Loblaws outlets, but you might be able to visit their brewery store once in a while. Mackinnon Brothers in Bath, Stalwart in Carleton Place, Perth Brewery are all good options.

Finally, take a chance, buy a single bottle of the strangest sounding beer you see at the store. You could be spending $3 on something you take a sip from and then toss out, but you might get lucky and find a new flavour you like.

Here’s a good example. My wife picked up a can of Collective Arts Breweries Liquid Art Fest IPA the other week. It is milkshake IPA (which is not a bad substyle, trust me) with lots of mango, passion fruit and vanilla. It pours and looks like mango juice and is actually pretty thick at the bottom of the bottle. The flavour is pretty unusual, kind of sour and fruity with a vanilla finish. It is not really hoppy or heavily carbonated and doesn’t really taste anythig like an IPA, but the whole thing works. I might not want to drink two in a row, but the next time I see them I’ll pick up a couple of cans.

Tropical mango and passion fruit flavours might be just the ticket for a 32 degree day with a humidex reading in the mid 40’s.

Published in General Interest
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 11:30

Lyme Disease and the Blacklegged Tick

Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Since the 1990’s, Ontario has seen an increase and expansion of blacklegged tick populations and in the incidence of Lyme Disease, particularly in eastern Ontario. In the rural environment of Perth and District, Lyme disease has become a concern. In order to help us become better prepared, CFUW has invited three speakers to share their expertise regarding ticks and Lyme disease in relation to human health and that of our pets.

“Ticks and Lyme Disease: Know the bug, know the bite, know what to do”

Dr Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health at the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit will describe the tick that may carry the bacteria which can cause Lyme disease and tell us how to prevent tick bites. We’ll also learn how to recognize a tick bite, and the recommended way to remove a tick. She will conclude with information about the early symptoms of Lyme disease and when to contact a health care provider.


“Lyme disease and your pet.”

Dr Sarah Logan, Perth Veterinary Clinic, will provide a brief overview of what Lyme disease is, the prevalence in the area, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the disease. The focus will be on the impact on you and your pets, particularly dogs, cats and horses. 


"Tick Tock: Time is ticking away for Lyme disease sufferers”

Myrna Lee is a teacher, and the mother of a daughter with Lyme disease. She is also the founder of a support group called “Lanark Fights Lyme”, now expanded to “Ontario Fights Lyme,” dedicated to fighting the spread of Lyme disease as well as providing information, support, advocacy and activism to victims. Myrna will discuss the failures of current federal and provincial legislation to adequately address the way Lyme disease is tested, diagnosed and treated in Canada.


Did you know?

  • Ticks are related to spiders.
  • Ticks evolved over 120 million years ago.
  • Ticks can be found all over the world – except maybe Antarctica.
  • Ticks are second only to mosquitoes worldwide in carrying disease.
  • Ticks are bloodthirsty because they have to be: their survival depends on drinking blood!
  • After a blood meal, an engorged tick may weigh 200 to 600 times more than before eating.

It lurks along blades of grass and hides in low bushes, claws extended. It is hungry, desperate even, for the taste of blood. Like the villain in a grade B horror movie, the black-legged tick is a scary, if tiny, monster. No bigger than a poppy seed when young, the size of a sesame seed as an adult, it waits for its prey, a warm-blooded bird or mammal – quite possibly a human....


Join us at a free public presentation offered to the community by The Perth & District Chapter of The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW). All are welcome.


Monday April 16, 2018

6:30 pm at the Perth Legion, 26 Beckwith Street East.

Published in Lanark County

MPP Randy Hillier might owe his 4 year old grandson a day at an amusement park.

When asked if he had attended his party’s leadership convention on Saturday, Hillier said he had a previous commitment, his grandson’s 4th birthday party. By staying home he missed what turned out to be a fruitless 8 hour wait in a soul less Mississauga Convention Centre, only to hear that the result would not be announced and the room had to be cleared. A couple of hours later, in a small backroom, Doug Ford was presented as the new party leader. Christine Elliott, the candidate that Hillier had backed, was not in the room. In fact she did not concede the contest until the following day.

The day before the convention, PC party communications director, Nick Bergamini, announced that a third party inquiry into an incident between MPP Hillier and PC candidate Goldie Ghamari (Carleton riding) had been completed.

“The PC Party has concluded the investigation into allegations between a candidate and sitting caucus member, and determined no further actions are warranted,” Bergamini said in a written statement.

Nonetheless keeping a few hundred kilometres between himself and Ghamari was another fringe benefit of staying in Perth on Saturday.

Ghamari twice accused Hillier of intimidation after they had an exchange outside the party policy convention in Ottawa two years ago, once later that summer and again this past January. This is the second investigation, and each resulted in the party deciding to take no further action.

One thing that Hillier and Ghamari did share was disappointment over the outcome of the leadership campaign. Ghamari had supported Caroline Mulroney, from the progressive wing of the party, who was a distant third in the first ballot polling only marginally better than Tanya Granic Allen who ran a single issue campaign, the repeal of the sex-education curriculum in Ontario schools. Christine Elliott, who was hosted by Hillier at a rally in Smiths Falls early in the campaign, received the majority of the vote and won support in the most ridings but was defeated due to the way points were distributed in the party’s election system.

Nonetheless by Sunday night both Hillier and Ghamari were singing the praises of their new leader on Twitter. On Monday, Hillier was in his office in Perth.

“Doug Ford is a great leader. Clearly, he resonates throughout the province. One of the underlying faults of our party was getting traction in Toronto. He resonates there with his message and his style” Hillier said.

When it was pointed out that the party, and Hillier, expressed support for leader Patrick Brown until late in January and then many in the party, and Hillier in particular, turned on Brown completely. Hillier said it was a different case.

“I knew there were problems with Patrick Brown, but until there was proof nothing could be said. Doug Ford has been in the public eye for years. If there is anything on him, we would have already heard it,” he said.

For now, at least, the party that exposed its inner turmoil repeatedly over the last two months, is presenting a united front with an election campaign looming.

Published in Lanark County

Amanda Pulker-Mok has only been living in Almonte for 3 1/2 years but she has already made her mark. When a council seat came open in April of last year in Mississippi Mills township after a tragic death, she was one of 11 applicants for the position. All of the applicants appeared before Council and made their pitches, and voting began. Three ballots later, she was declared the new member of council from Almonte ward, no mean feat for a newbie in small town Ontario. It was a result that surpassed her expectations.

“Being new to the area, I applied for the position in order to improve my name recognition, as I intended to run for Council in 2018,” she said, when interviewed last week in her parked car, while preparing to drive from one municipal meeting to another one.

She tries to schedule many of her responsibilities, which include sitting on three committees as well as council itself, around the days when her young children are in daycare. She may still run for council this coming fall, that is if her attempt to wrest the new Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding from the Conservative Party proves unsuccessful.

On December 20, 2017, she was confirmed as the Liberal candidate at a riding association meeting in Perth. She will remain on Mississippi Mills Council until the writ is dropped and the election starts up in earnest, around the beginning of May, at which time she will be taking a leave of absence from council to contest the election.

In the meantime she will be spending time attending riding forums that are being organised by the Liberal Riding Association.

She said that she will be taking advantage of those forums, as well as other opportunities to meet people in the riding.

“It is a very large riding. I don’t want to be going into different parts telling people this is what I think needs to be done, I would rather build on what people are saying,” she said.

Her commitment to the Ontario Liberals comes from what she calls “my political inclination towards the party, which has made me a supporter. More recently, I have come to feel strongly about the Premier’s messaging around opportunity and fairness.”

She said that she will be considering all the issues that are important in the riding between now and May so she is ready to answer questions at public events, during door to door campaigning at all candidates forums, but one thing about her candidacy that is already in place is her attitude towards politics.

“I think I need to be who I am, and my feeling is that the people of this riding are ready for a change, a positive fresh change, and that is what I am offering.”

The issues that she thinks will be top of mind for many voters in the coming election, particularly in this riding, will be education, child care and health care, “three areas that touch on everybody’s lives. Dealing with the urban versus rural reality will also be a challenge,” she said.

And she is happy to be representing the current government, and representing some of the initiatives they have undertaken.

“I feel the current government has done some really great things, such as OHIP Plus and changes to the Ontario Student Aid program.

“It would be good to have someone who comes from a younger demographic sitting at the table.”

Pulker-Mok went to Trent University, where she studied Business Administration and Cultural Studies. Before moving to Almonte, she was working in Newmarket in health administration as a cancer screening co-ordinator at the South Lake Regional Health Centre.

Published in General Interest
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