Mayoral Race – Brock
Brock Township, a municipality with a history rooted in war, is set to become a political battleground this November.
Named for War of 1812 General Sir Isaac Brock and first settled by veterans of that war, the township now boasts a population of 12,790. Officially created in 1974, the municipality includes the urban centres of Beaverton, Cannington and Sunderland and the hamlets of Gamebridge, Manilla, Port Bolster, Sonya and Wilfrid.
The township’s economy is largely agriculture-based, with over 20,000 hectares of prime land. The Trent-Severn Waterway, a national historic site also considered one of the finest inter-connected navigation systems in the world, is another vital economic and recreational resource.
Brock Township consists of five wards, each represented by a councillor. The township is represented by the mayor and a regional councillor.
Mayoral incumbent Keith Shier enters the 2006 municipal election campaign with a solid history of political service in Brock Township. He’s served two terms as mayor from 1994 to 2000 and has held the posts of regional councillor and councillor for Wards 3 and 4.
Seeking a fourth term as mayor, Shier listed a number of issues he views as priorities for Brock Township.
“Taxes are an issue,” he said. “We have an issue around Brock landfill. We have a shortage of doctors. We need better police protection. We need some improvements with our roads.”
Shier added a message to the voters of Brock Township.
“Take a real good look at all of the candidates and be very careful making your choices,” he said.
Shier, whose family has roots in Brock Township stretching back six generations, worked in the dairy business before jumping into politics. He attended Kemptville College after graduating from Brock District High School. Shier is married and has two sons and two daughters.
Shier faces two highly qualified opponents in the mayoral race.
Former mayor Terry Clayton began his political career in 1988 when he became councillor for Ward 2 in Brock Township. Though his bid for re-election failed in 2003, he has remained politically active, and currently sits as vice-chair of the Durham Regional Police Services Board.
Clayton listed roads, taxes and health care as the three most pressing issues facing Brock Township.
“Going door to door, the most general issue is definitely taxes,” he said. “But that’s nothing new. It’s probably the same just about everywhere.”
Another issue is a motion put forward by Durham Region to directly fund hospitals, which Clayton criticized as financially irresponsible.
“That’s a provincial issue, and that’s where it should stay,” he said. “We have enough trouble funding our own responsibilities, let alone other services that aren’t mandated.”
Clayton attended Brock District High School before beginning his 28-year career with Bell Canada. He retired in 1996 and started Clayton Communications. Clayton, a happy grandfather, is married and has two daughters and a son.
Shier and Clayton both face stiff competition from a third candidate, regional councillor Larry O’Connor. No stranger to politics, O’Connor is now in his third term as regional councillor, and previously served as an MPP in Bob Rae’s NDP government.
O’Connor also sits on the board of the Kawartha Region Conservation Authority, acts as vice-chair of the Regional Health and Social Services Committee and chair of the Brock Community Health Centre Steering Committee.
A 25-year resident of Brock Township, he said he wants to take the community forward.
“Durham Region is a vibrant community,” O’Connor said. “Within that, Brock Township has an awful lot to offer. I want to see it move into the future, building upon successes of the past.”
O’Connor listed economic development and waste management as the main issues in the mayoral race.
He was raised in south Oshawa, has nine brothers and sisters. He is married and has one son. Before making the move into politics, he graduated from Brock District High School and worked at the General Motors plant in Oshawa.
cbc.ca | CBC Toronto Monday, October 16, 2006 Link: www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/torontovotes2006/mayoralrace/brock.html Section: Toronto Votes 2006: GTA Mayoral Races Byline: Phil Alves and Steve Morales