Editor’s note: Councillor Carl Bromwich is seeking re-election in the forthcoming municipal elections. The following is an interview that he gave to Mark Woermke for The Current.
On Wednesday June 20, Carl Bromwich, municipal councillor for the Township of Madawaska Valley, was the first person to register as a candidate for the 2018 municipal election.
A positive and self-funded campaign
First and foremost, Bromwich wants voters to know the nature of his campaign.
I am going to run a positive campaign focussing on the good things that I have tried to accomplish, and the good things I hope to work on for citizens as a councillor in the next municipal government,
he says. Bromwich also emphasizes he will pay for his campaign out of his own pocket:
I will accept no donations to my campaign because, if I am going to effectively serve the community, I cannot be obligated to anyone or any special interest group.
Strategic plan and Roads Needs Report
When asked about his platform, Bromwich referred to a comment he often hears from constituents:
Taxpayers often say, Carl, I wish the Township had a plan. Well it does. It has two actually. The first is the municipality’s strategic plan, The Path Forward, which I intend to make my playbook, and the second is the Roads Needs Report which should serve as the guideline for all road repairs. These are the core of my platform.
More specifically, according to Bromwich’s campaign literature, he is committed to
- treating every resident equally;
- listening to front line workers for their expertise;
- working with local businesses to ensure TMV doesn’t lose any economic development opportunities;
- making TMV the Number One tourist destination in Renfrew County;
- respecting the heritages of the communities within the Township;
- encouraging arts and culture;
- re-investing in the Railway Station and its programs;
- developing the Fitness Centre as a sustainable initiative;
- supporting the needs of first responders;
- investing in recreation programs;
- promoting our trail systems as a four-seasons destination; and
- co-operating with neighbouring municipalities for mutual benefit.
Ward system ensures basic democracy
One of the key points in his platform is his promise that, if re-elected, he will work to reinstate a ward system in the Township of Madawaska Valley.
You know, back in 2004, before I was on Council, I spent three days at Ontario Municipal Board hearings fighting against the elimination of our ward system along with two other Madawaska Valley residents, Ray Pastway and Brian Mizzen. I said it then, and I say it now, a ward system is the only way to ensure basic democracy.
This is not just Bromwich’s personal view. He points out that the ward system was actually suggested as a means to ensure voter confidence in municipal government on page 13 of the Township’s own strategic plan.
Accountability and transparency
When it was pointed out to Bromwich that an analysis of the minutes of regular council meetings has revealed that during the current council’s mandate there has only been one declaration of pecuniary interest and it was him, the Councillor responded that he
respects the Ontario Municipal Act to a T.” He adds, “As a councillor, I signed a Code of Conduct which I adhere to, and I will continue to do so.
If elected, he would also like to work to reducing the number of closed meetings and in-camera sessions, and he would like to see more information posted to the municipal website and the site itself made more user-friendly.
Audio transcripts of meetings should be easy to find. Right now you gotta go pretty deep to access these, and there should be a big button for complaint forms, he explains.
Experience affects decision making
Bromwich, who moved to the area 45 years ago, built a home in Wilno for his wife and family by himself. He says learned a lot from his father-in-law, Vincent Borutski, the long-serving postmaster in Wilno.
He taught me the importance of life lessons, says Bromwich.
Over the years, I have worked hundreds of jobs. Everything from
dishwasher to truck driver to salesman to working for a multi-national
corporation. All of these experiences taught me things that will determine
how I respond to situations at the Council table.
In addition to life lessons from a range of jobs, Bromwich has five-and-a-half years of Council under his belt. During that time he has served as Chair of Recreation Culture and Heritage for two terms, Chair of Fire and Prevention, Chair of the Community Policing Advisory Committee, Vice-Chair of Emergency Services and Prevention, Chair of Economic Development for one term and Acting Mayor for the last year.
Determination and a sense of humour
Carl Bromwich doesn’t give up easily. Once in the 1980s, and again in the 1990s, he ran unsuccessfully for a position on the Sherwood, Jones and Burns council. After amalgamation he ran unsuccessfully for the Township of Madawaska Valley. Then after the resignation of a councillor, the Municipality sought resumés from interested individuals and a special meeting was held at the arena to select a replacement on August 23, 2013. Bromwich thought he would “take a fourth crack at it.” He reminisces about his official entrance into politics:
There were seven of us including Kim Love, Elser Lee Archer and Bill Schweig who had put our names in. We all gave our speeches and then I went out for a cigarette while the councillors voted. When I came back in, I learned that I had tied with Love. So, they literally put our names in a hat – and it was a “Cat in the Hat” hat to be exact — while I went out for another smoke. When I came back in everyone started clapping because my name had been drawn. That’s how I got appointed to Council.
While his entrance into municipal government may owe something to The Cat in the Hat, Carl Bromwich hopes to be the cat who comes back for another term to serve the citizens of the Madawaska Valley. Bromwich vows to
represent the residents and the corporation equally
and promises to
be available to hear residents’ concerns, answer their questions and listen to their vision for the community.