Two candidates vie for SDG Counties Warden

CORNWALL – There are two candidates in the running for Warden of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry to begin the 2022-26 term.

Councillors Tony Fraser (North Dundas) and Bryan McGillis (South Stormont) each seek the top spot at SDG Counties Council. They are the only two of the five eligible members of the 12 person council who have put their names forward.

Current Warden Carma Williams (North Glengarry) – whose term as warden expires this month – is eligible to seek a second consecutive term. She told The Leader that if a qualified candidate stepped forward who she could support, she would not seek a second term at this time.

“I will not be seeking a second consecutive term as Warden,” Williams said. “However, I may decide to enter my name for another year at some point during this term.”

Fellow North Glengarry Councillor Jamie MacDonald is also not seeking the wardenship and is instead throwing his support behind the candidacy of Fraser.

“I am not running,” he said. “I am supporting Tony Fraser. He ran for it and lost to Frank Prevost in our infamous hat draw. Tony is a good councillor and will do a good job as Warden.”

During warden elections, if there is a tie in the vote and a re-vote does not resolve the impasse, the winner is selected from names placed in a hat.

Three of the last six contested warden elections have been decided by hat draw.

Councillor Francois “Frank” Landry (North Stormont) is the other eligible candidate for warden.

He however will not seek the position at this time. He was elected mayor of North Stormont after serving the past four years as deputy mayor.

“This is my first term as mayor and I will concentrate more of my time with the township in year one,” he explained.

The seven new members to Counties Council, Jason Broad (South Dundas), Marc St. Pierre (South Dundas), Andrew Guindon (South Stormont), Theresa Bergeron (North Dundas), Steve Densham (North Stormont), Lachlan McDonald (South Glengarry) and Martin Lang (South Glengarry) are ineligible to serve as warden until they have been on council for more than one year.

In his candidacy for warden, Fraser said he felt his leadership skills as North Dundas mayor, and through discussions at the SDG Council table will be a benefit if elected Warden.

“I’m looking forward to the next term,” Fraser said. When running for warden, he said it is important that all members feel heard around the council table.

“We need the varied opinions from the different members of council, and a warden has to ensure everyone is part of the dialogue,” said Fraser. “For the inaugural warden, it sets the bar for the term in how council runs and its priorities.”

This is Fraser’s second term on Counties Council and this is the second time he has sought the top spot.

McGillis served as SDG Warden in 2010. He explained he was running for warden this time, in part because he has the most experience around the council table.

“There are going to be seven new members in this new term, and I have the experience and knowledge to support every Council member ensuring they have the time and tools they need to make good decisions.”

McGillis explained he wants to continue fostering the relationship between the SDG Council, the City of Cornwall and the Akwesasne Mohawk Council.

He said he has already connected with Cornwall’s mayor-elect Justin Towndale to that end.

The election of the warden will take place at a special council meeting on November 21 at the SDG Counties administration building in Cornwall. The Inaugural meeting of Counties Council will follow on December 2.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader