‘To whom much is given, much is expected’ – Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP-elect Rob Flack

city_scope_logo-cmykLess than an hour after the polls closed in Thursday’s provincial election, the takeaway from the campaign in Elgin-Middlesex-London presented itself.
For the most part, the eight candidates ran a clean race with no mud-slinging, vitriol and finger-pointing evident.
Around 10 that evening at the Knights of Columbus Hall, as Flack was bathing in the adoration of his supporters, word was relayed to him Liberal candidate Heather Jackson was waiting outside the room to offer congratulations.
You could tell Flack was truly moved by the gesture of the city’s former mayor.
A classy moment all around in a world dominated by raging rhetoric and damning divisiveness.
After the brief exchange, Flack continued with his words of thanks, which included a fitting tip of the hat to the riding’s previous MPP, who stepped aside at the end of February.

“I want to acknowledge Jeff Yurek, you know folks, he did a great job as Heather (Jackson) just said and I really do wish him all the best.
“Again, big shoes to fill and we’re going to do our very best to do it. So, thank you for that.”

Rob Flack and Heather Jackson June 2-2022

Flack pointed to the strong mandate voters awarded Doug Ford – his second majority government – and noted it is a mandate that will benefit Ontario residents.
But he admitted a lot will be expected of himself and the Ford government.
“Doug Ford achieved a pretty convincing win tonight. He’s got a strong mandate, but it’s a mandate that will achieve results.
“And, as I always say, to whom much is given, much is expected. There is a lot expected of us here in Elgin-Middlesex-London and, with this government, I’m convinced we’re going to give it back.”
Jackson, meantime, observed the last month has been a blur. Compared to campaigns during municipal elections, this 28-day campaign surely must have felt like a ride aboard the express train.

“We had great conversations at the doorstep and the debates and there are a lot of people who feel their voice needs to be heard better. So, I’m hopeful in going forward that people will listen to the voices that need to be heard.”

She observed, “It’s insane. You just go and you keep going for a couple of more days and get everything cleaned up.”
As for what is next for Jackson?
“Maybe a couple of days off would be nice. And see what the next chapter brings.”
For Kroeker, this was his first political campaign and he praised Flack for winning the riding.
“I think he’s run a great campaign and I look forward to working with him as the MPP of Elgin-Middlesex-London.”
Kroeker added, “I’m certainly grateful to the people of Elgin-Middlesex-London who trusted me with their vote and who also trusted me with their confidence.
“We had great conversations at the doorstep and the debates and there are a lot of people who feel their voice needs to be heard better.
“So, I’m hopeful in going forward that people will listen to the voices that need to be heard.”


It hasn’t always been the case in the past, however, Thursday night the outcome in Elgin-Middlesex-London riding mirrored what transpired elsewhere in Ontario in the provincial election.
Rob Flack ensured the riding remained swathed in blue with a convincing win in a field of eight candidates.
The NDP’s Andy Kroeker was a distant second while former St. Thomas mayor Heather Jackson finished third but it was a dog fight between those two right to the final bell.
But a closer look at the numbers is warranted to illustrate some interesting subplots.
First of all the voter turnout in Elgin-Middlesex-London was a disappointing 44.6 per cent, well below the 59 per cent in the 2018 provincial vote. Just over 98,000 individuals were registered to vote.
That very closely mimics what transpired across the province.
Doug Ford was handed his second straight majority government with 40.8 per cent of the popular vote, good enough to garner 83 seats at Queen’s Park.
It was such an overwhelming victory that both the leader of the NDP and the Liberal Party stepped down immediately afterward.
The latter, with just eight seats, is not able to claim official party status.
Yet the Liberals slipped past the NDP in the popular vote, mind you, it was by less than 5,000 votes although the latter had almost four times as many seats with 31.
Let’s throw this out there. Is it fair to say it wasn’t so much a case of the PCs winning, instead they lost less than the other parties?
Compared to 2018, they had 397,000 fewer votes this time around.
The NDP really took it on the chin, losing 818,500 votes compared to four years ago.
The Liberals pretty well maintained the status quo – as dismal as that is for them – losing just 7,200 of their votes.
The winner this time around was the Green Party which gained 14,700 votes, but only leader Mike Schreiner has a seat at the table.
Now let’s look locally at how things shake out.
Rob Flack finished the night with 22,363 votes, well down from Jeff Yurek’s tally of 29,264 in 2018.
Andy Kroeker, the NDP candidate garnered 7,970 votes, less than half of the 16,923 Amanda Stratton compiled four years ago.
Polling even worse than the NDP provincially.
On the flip side, Liberal Heather Jackson with 7,615 votes doubled the count recorded by Carlie Forsythe in 2018.
She had 3,857.
Certainly a better outing for Jackson than Liberals elsewhere in the province, but again only good enough for third place.
As for the Green Party locally, Amanda Stark with 2,043 recorded a negligible gain over Bronagh Morgan who came home with 2,029 in the previous provincial vote.
Credit has to go to Matt Millar of the New Blue Party of Ontario who finished fourth in the riding, ahead of the Greens with 2,237 votes, or 5.1 per cent.
As for the other three candidates, well mercifully the wait for results was measured in minutes and not hours.
Brigitte Belton of the Ontario Party fell just short of 1,100 votes.
Dave Plumb of the Freedom Party, in his second kick at the can, lost 17 votes to finish with 261.
And then there’s Malachi Male of Consensus. How best to position his night.
Well, in baseball jargon there is the Mendoza Line. Named after shortstop Mario Mendoza who in nine major league seasons failed to bat .200 in five of them.
You guessed it, Malachi failed to reach the Mendoza Line, falling three votes shy.
To his credit, he hung in there and didn’t bow out early as was the case in the 2018 St. Thomas mayoral race.”


At the May 16 meeting, council approved the wording and adopted an Indigenous land acknowledgement.
This statement “reflects the lands, peoples and communities, including signed treaties of this area,” according to a report from Jon Hindley, the city’s corporate administrative and accessibility clerk.
“This draft statement should be considered as living and may evolve over time.”

“For a land acknowledgement to be meaningful, it should be delivered with a sense of purpose and authenticity.”

He added, “To ensure that the statement is not used superficially, Indigenous cultural awareness could be incorporated as part of the city’s development of an equity, diversity and inclusion framework.”
We spoke with Mayor Joe Preston on Friday (June 3) as to where does the city proceed with the land acknowledgement statement.
The next step, says Preston, is when and where is the statement incorporated into proceedings.
“Is it every council meeting? Is it at other city events? And we have to finish that discussion.”
The statement reads as follows:
“We acknowledge that the land on which we meet is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabek, Attiwonderonk (Neutral) and Mississauga peoples and is
now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
“We also recognize that this land is now home to the Munsee-Delaware Nation, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and Oneida Nation of the Thames.
“This land was settled through Treaty 2, the McKee Purchase Treaty of 1790, and we, as beneficiaries of the treaty recognize our collective responsibilities to the land and water.”
Hindley concludes his report with the following observations.
“For a land acknowledgement to be meaningful, it should be delivered with a sense of purpose and authenticity.
“The city recognizes that various terms may be preferred over others and that preferred terms may change over time.
“The city’s practice will be to honour Indigenous peoples in the community using the terms with which they wish to be identified. “As such, any changes or inaccuracies may be reported to the City of St. Thomas.”


Two years ago next week, it was announced the site of the former Colin McGregor Justice Building, adjacent to St. Thomas Public Library, is to become Westlake-Evans Civic Park.
The community hub in the downtown core is courtesy of a $500,000 gift from the estate of Donna Vera Evans Bushell, which is administered by Andrew Gunn.

Westlake-Evans Civic Park

Maddie King and Andrew Gunn on the site of Westlake-Evans Civic Park

The city also received $672,000 from the province and $1.4 million from the federal government. Cost of the redevelopment was pegged at $2.1 million back in 2020.
The civic square was originally expected to be completed last summer, however, work has yet to begin.
In our conversation yesterday with Mayor Preston, we touched on the delay in proceeding with the civic square.
“We want it to be a 2022 project,” advised Preston.
“We’re waiting for parts,” he laughed “How’s that. That may be a better way to put it.”

“So, some of it is how much of in a hurry are we? And can we continue to find it at a good price for the taxpayers but also at a speed that helps the city?”

In reality, it appears to be a victim of the supply chain problems facing so many aspects of life today. Where you can order an item but delivery may be months down the road.
Preston continued, “We’ve been exceptionally good at getting RFPs (requests for proposals) out early and it usually knocks a good amount of money off our budget on capital works.
“But, this year fees are coming in higher than we even thought and we knew there would be some inflation.
“And, there is a lot of pricing on projects that is above the value of the project.
“So, some of it is how much of in a hurry are we? And can we continue to find it at a good price for the taxpayers but also at a speed that helps the city?”
The park is back on Monday’s (June 6) council agenda in a report from Jeff Bray, Director of Parks, Recreation and Property Management.
He advises council, “The Westlake-Evans Park construction will be bundled with the library’s courtyard reconstruction project. Both are scheduled to be complete by December 2022.”

Related posts:

The Horton Market: Getting it right in a ‘COVID-19 2020 world’

Ceremony on a vacant lot at 16 Queen Street in St. Thomas a case of ‘standing on the ground of compassion’


Pointing to last week’s interview with Steve Peters and his intention to seek re-election to city council, reader Dave McCormick forwards this suggestion.

“I like the idea of shared services within the city and County of Elgin per Councillor Peters’ comments.
“Why don’t we start with police and fire services?
“Is it time to form a regional police service like Chatham-Kent and fire service as well?
“Surely there must be savings in those areas. It’s time to break the mould of doing things the traditional way and think OUTSIDE the box!”

Questions and comments may be emailed to City Scope

Visit us on Facebook
And a reminder, I can be heard weekday afternoons as news anchor and reporter on 94.1 myFM in St. Thomas. As always, your comments and input are appreciated.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s