The Last Words from Outgoing Councillors at Their Last Meeting

Last night, the 2018-2022 Guelph City Council met for the last time in the newly renovated chambers, and for five of the people there, it was the last time they’ll be sitting at the council table (for at least four years anyway). In the course of the meeting, all the outgoing councillors were given a chance for some last words, and here’s what they said…

Mark MacKinnon

Thanks very much, Mayor and to the horseshoe it should come as no surprise that that my comments will be brief, and I talked to staff in advance, so I don’t need to speak very much on this…

One thing that I will just pass on, because we all we have had great experiences here, and we all have experiences that we can talk about from politics, but I’ll just give you this one thing actually, and I told some of you already. It’s something that came from reading a book, and it’s something that’s really impacted me and I think everyone can consider that.

It particularly surrounds the Golden Rule, and everyone knows the Golden Rule is that you should do unto others as you would like them to do unto you; treat other people has you’d like to be treated. And this book that I was reading, which is science fiction book, it actually said that they kind of had that wrong. Treating others how you want to be treated should be the Silver Rule, because the Golden Rule should be treating others how they want to be treated.

From that perspective, I often treat others how I want to be treated. So I’m a little jokey, I don’t mind some cutting memes, I don’t mind a little bit of controversial debate and some fieriness, but maybe I didn’t consider enough what other people want. How do they want to be treated? Maybe how I want to be treated isn’t appropriate for everyone.

So that’s just something I’ve learned, unfortunately, probably eight years too late. But it’s something I wanted to pass on because it really impacted me when I read that and it really should be the rule: When you’re working with other people, whether it’s constituents or people in the city, treat others as they want to be treated.

Thanks, everyone.

Mike Salisbury

Thank you, Mr. Mayor, thank you to my colleagues, thank you to staff, and thank you to the constituents who supported me through this whole journey.

This has to be one of the most inspiring jobs I’ve ever had, a seat at the table making important decisions about how to make our city the best place that it can be. I think the only piece of profound wisdom that I’d like to part with is something I learned equally probably too late, but eventually it sunk in, and this is may be for those who are going to be new around this table.

I would frequently find myself in debate with somebody whose opinion I thoroughly disagreed with, I thought very poorly of it, and I had to remind myself that despite how I thought that opinion was inconsistent with what I thought was right, everyone around this table is here for the same reason, and that is that they are trying to make this city the best city possible. I also had to remember that their opinion, in such a complex arena as this, even when we totally disagree, is also right.

I had to remind myself of that because it takes it out of the personal and into the professional, because the best decisions we make are a compromise. Again, thank you.

June Hofland

I want to tell everybody how much I love this job.

Every day, this job challenged my worldview, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Mayor Guthrie, for your kind words. I’d like to thank my colleagues, and our staff. It’s been a pleasure to work with experts.

I’d like to thank my friends, and my family. I’d like to thank the people who voted for me and my constituents, and all the people that helped me get elected for four elections. It was a lot of work and I so appreciate their efforts and their contributions.

I would really be remiss if I didn’t thank my ‘work spouse’, Councillor Allt. He always had a lot to say, and we always have fun together. Very respectful. And I have one other person that I need to thank and that’s Councillor Downer because she asked me to run. Thank you very much.

James Gordon

I did want to mention something that might not be obvious to people watching. We’re all here, as it’s been mentioned, with a shared desire to serve our community the best way that we can, but what might not be apparent is that this is a micro-community. This is a family here around the horseshoe, and while families have disagreements, they always rally together and support one another. I’m very grateful for that.

It took me an inordinate amount of time in my eight years to get in the groove – I think some would say I never got there – but I appreciate all the support from those who helped me out in getting there. It was mentioned that we worked this last term in very challenging times, but I have a fear, and I know this group will manage it well, that the next four years are going to be extremely challenging in terms of even just preserving what we know about democracy and healing the divisions that have been created.

I know that my colleagues  who are still going to be here are up for that challenge, and I want them to know that I’ll still be here for you in whatever way that I can. So, thank you.

Bob Bell

Just a couple of words, I guess. Mostly, I would like to wish everyone well on their future endeavours. I agree with Councillor Gordon, I think that the coming term is going to be very difficult and I would encourage everyone at city council and city staff to think outside of the box and try and change as fast as the environment is changing around them. Thank you.

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