Running for office
Or, how to get into real trouble
Keeping the Peace
By Tom Lessard
Many years ago, there was an upcoming municipal election looming. I resided in Huron Park where there was probably the largest number of voters in Stephen Township. I was pretty well known as a helper, a doer and a goer in the community, therefore, I was approached to run as a candidate. My backers said no one else in Huron Park would runagainst me. Ha ha. When it came time to declare our intentions to run, three Park residents submitted their names. Well, you can guess the outcome; none of us got in.
The next time I was asked to run in an election was with the UAW. I was at the time an employee at one of the union plants. The UAW committee was dominated by mainly women. We were not very pleased with the situation and felt that there was enough dominance at home. Since we couldn’t do anything about the homefront, we thought there was a chance to change things at the union level. Guess what? I won. Whoop dee doo.
There was only one small problem. I had no idea how to do any of the objectives of a president. I tried but to no avail and had to resign and send the job back to the ladies. I began to take courses with the UAW to learn what unions are intended to do for the workers.
One course I took at Port Elgin (which is the UAW school) was a women’s course; there were two males and 128 women. Boy, did I learn a lot.
I was later involved in some intense negotiations, which at times were scary. One set was held in Stratford. The deadline was set for Sunday at midnight. All day at a motel, with the company reps in one room and four or five of us in another, an arbitrator moved back and forth between the rooms bringing offers or rejections for the two teams. The men back at the plants had barrels, signs, picket duties and wood for burning all set to go.
At about 11:30, word came down that the company people wanted to see us in their negotiating room. Up we went. They were all smiles and we were told they had accepted all of our demands. Then the party began.
In the 40 years that I have lived in Stephen Township, I have never been approached by a federal or provincial candidate to give them my vote. I have had correspondence with parliament members and did go with a delegation to see Carol Mitchell in Goderich about funding for our sewers, which were being shoved down our throats.
We finally got some help but not by politicians but by the super efforts of one of our residents. She went and talked to the provincial finance minister and somehow got us $1-million, which worked out to about $3,500 per household. As I resident, I thank you for that.
In the London Free Press two weeks ago, how to reach your federal party:
Conservatives – www.conservative.ca
Liberals – www.conservative.ca
Who are they backing?
Since Rita and I always use our right to vote, we are going to do so a little differently this time. We don’t know any of the candidates, but we do have favourite colours. Mine is red and hers is green. Now our ballots are not a secret.