In this eastern Ontario race, every candidate's a winner
East Hawkesbury mayor, councillors, school trustees win by acclamation
Everyone running for municipal council in the Township of East Hawkesbury, Ont., this election is acclaimed — and they're cool with that.
The township sits in rural eastern Ontario, between Ottawa and Montreal, and is home to about 3,300 residents. This year all three school board trustees, all three councillors, the mayor and deputy mayor are acclaimed.
Mayor Robert Kirby was first acclaimed to the township's top job in 2003 and has remained unchallenged in each election since.
"It feels pretty good, actually. I'm happy to be acclaimed," the 71-year-old said in an interview by phone on Wednesday.
"I have no regrets, because if no one steps up to run against you, you have the feeling that you must be doing a pretty good job."
'People are satisfied'
Deputy Mayor Richard Sauvé, 64, has held the post since 2003, and before that served as councillor from 1991 to 2000.
During his 24 years in office, he's only twice had to run a campaign against an opponent.
"I think people are satisfied with [the job we're doing]. All the people on the council, we're all helping and involved in a lot of organizations and helping volunteers, and I think people like that and I think that's the reason why," he said by phone.
He admitted it feels "really good" to run against someone and win, but said an acclaimed council isn't necessarily a bad thing.
"For this year it's OK because I didn't want to do an election," Sauvé said with a laugh. "Usually there's people interested."
Residents care, mayor says
Kirby and Sauvé both dismiss the notion that residents are disengaged or disinterested in municipal politics.
"For sure they care," Kirby said. "I feel they're being well served. If you're being well served, you don't go out shopping elsewhere, usually."
"My personal thinking about this year is [that it's] because people are satisfied with the council right now."
Team's back together
Coun. Karina Sauvé — Richard Sauvé's niece — had to compete for the job in 2014. This year she, too is acclaimed.
"For us it's a win because I feel that we work as a team," she said by phone. "I'm looking forward to the next four years, to continue that team leadership."
Kirby vows not to seek a return to the mayor's chair next election. Richard Sauvé hasn't made up his mind yet, and Karina Sauvé said she'll probably throw her name in again — whether someone else does or not.