Michael Burton strives for strong council, municipality, and community if elected Councillor

Courtesy photo

Candidate for South Dundas Councillor

Michael Burton

Owner – Russell Manor Bed & Breakfast, Morrisburg


1. What prompted your decision to run for council this time?

My main reasons to be running for council this election is because I’ve been very unhappy with how our  municipality has been managed. Many of my friends, neighbours and just the general public have an overwhelming concern that the council has lost control of its mandate. The staff that they oversee are not being managed properly. The funds they oversee are not being managed properly. The general consensus is that they are unapproachable as far as the daily concerns of the people who live here.

2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?

The key things that I would bring to the job should I be elected are as follows: I have an extensive background in interior design and retail management. Therefore I am able to think outside of the box, bring new ideas to the council table and have the ability to successfully manage more than 40 staff members at any given time. Keeping my eye  focussed on the end result but still being able to deal with day-to-day details within that goal.

3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the Township?

Some of the issues I would like to focus on immediately are finding a new way to attract different businesses that are conducive to our region. Start concentrating on getting our youth involved in their community and bettering their education facilities for them. And concentrating on social programs and facilities for everyone in the municipality. I think a community centre is key for the growth of our community.

4. Is there anything you hope to change in the Township?

I strongly feel that we need to strengthen the relationship between council, municipal staff and the community. Greater understanding of what happens at the Municipal offices will be a key factor in moving our community forward. I feel that we need a human resource person hired on a part-time basis to work with and inspire the staff who, when I speak to them, feel neglected and misunderstood by the general population of our municipality.

5. How is your message being received during this campaign?

So far my platform has been met with great success. I’m offering a different approach to office and its daily workings. People have been very responsive to the fact that I want to speak to them, listen to them and understand their general needs. I have opened a Facebook page to promote conversation and idea sharing between the community and I am having thousands of people a week interact on the page, so for me that is a win-win situation

6) Voting begins on Oct. 17 — ironically the day of marijuana legalization. The new council will have to decide soon if your municipality will permit storefront cannabis sales, or opt out altogether. Should your municipality allow pot shops or ‘just say no’?

The fact is that the federal government has legalized cannabis consumption and sales as of October 17. I think it’s our responsibility as a community to realize that it needs to be removed from the streets and  the black market and sold in a store front. Provincial taxes raised from sales will be distributed through the municipalities, but if you are not on board you will not receive funds to help you deal with any side effects of a new substance in our community. I also believe this will take it off the streets and out of the access of our teenagers and young adults. We must understand also that this is not just for recreational sales, that there are members of the general public who purchase cannabinoids which are used in medical situations. The patient doesn’t necessarily get a feeling of being high but it most definitely does work with pain relief etc. Plus let’s be honest every  municipality can benefit from income from the retail space, jobs it will create etc. The Wynne government had originally proposed selling in the LCBO stores and into pharmacies where people could actually have some form of consultation with the pharmacist if necessary. The fact that the Ford government has now decided to put sales in the realm of retail outlets has me slightly concerned. But we mustn’t forget that regardless everyone will be able to purchase it online. Therefore we will lose the taxes should our community reject retail marijuana outlets. So let’s get it off the streets and into a manageable retail situation and deal with it like we do any other recreational substances.

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