Supporters of Johanne Brousseau met at the Capitol Centre, Monday, to hear her confirm what many suspected — she would declare her candidacy and run for the mayor's chair in North Bay.
See related: Brousseau makes it a race for mayor of North Bay
Brousseau is wrapping up her first term as a city councillor, during which she served as the chair of the council's community services committee and admits the top job has been on her mind since Mayor Al McDonald announced early on in this past term he would not seek re-election. She narrowly missed earning the deputy mayor's position when she finished less than 300 votes behind Tanya Vrebosch in 2018. She will take on Peter Chirico, himself a former deputy mayor, and any other challengers who file before the August 22 deadline.
"I've never entered a race I didn't know I could win," says Brousseau, later adding, "I want to give North Bay a choice."
Seeking the mayoralty means it's win or go home for Brousseau and she is ready for the race. There is no council seat to fall back on if she comes up short.
"It's a calculated risk. I believe North Bay is ready for me. The Mayor coined it about six months ago. He calls me the 'silent leader,' and I guess I am," says Brousseau. "I have led in my own way."
As far as campaigning against Chirico, Brousseau says, "I will do things differently," but she clarifies she had made up her mind to run long before he filed his papers.
Brousseau's team says to expect a platform release soon and the candidate says she will proudly run on her experience and reputation.
She says she has been emboldened not only by the support of those in attendance but also spurred on by the feedback she receives from members of the community she has encountered over the past few years encouraging her to run for mayor.
"Listening to the people," will be an essential part of a Brousseau administration, she says, as well "as laying out how people can get involved in projects."
For instance, she prides herself on being prepared ahead of meetings and votes. Brousseau says it's not uncommon for her to review the same report multiple times while also posing questions to City of North Bay staff on municipal business.
"I want to continue the momentum that the previous councils have set and, basically, they are passing the torch to the next people to continue the projects that were started and to continue the vision for the next 10 years, to direct the future councils on where we're going to go," Brousseau says.
Always a staunch supporter of the community and recreation centre, Brousseau also acknowledges cost will play a big factor in moving forward.
"We need to wait until we get that true costing from the general contractors and then [the next council] will decide which direction to go," she adds.
Brousseau remains firm on the site even if the project falls apart and supports the Y-shaped design if the project goes ahead.
"If everything falls to pieces, I do not want to backtrack on the location because if you do that, it'll be another four years waiting."
On the homelessness, mental health and addiction file, Brousseau advises the issues are the domain of the provincial and federal governments but acknowledges the municipality still plays a role in political advocacy.
"We need to get our other levels of government reacting faster. Because the standards are not where we would like them to be, they are downloading costs onto us and putting more burden on municipal service."