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Brousseau says race isn't over, push for mayor's seat is on

'We do not need to recycle the old boys' club to find leadership in our community. You cannot have new direction with old leadership.'

Johanne Brousseau is full of quiet confidence about her standing in North Bay's mayoral race.

"We do not need to recycle the old boys' club to find leadership in our community," she says, Thursday. "You cannot have new direction with old leadership."

See related: BayToday's aggregated 2022 municipal election coverage

While the two previous political debates provided an opportunity to discuss issues with opponents Leslie McVeety and Peter Chirico, Brousseau says she wanted a chance to expand on the issues discussed and provide further clarification as to her position (see video above).

See: City Hall transparency, accountability dominate mayoral debate

And: Mayoral debate looks to the future and examines the past

Brousseau says she's "tired of the negativity" surrounding the campaign and hopes the voters will see through pie-in-the-sky promises and the bully debate tactics she says are at work and instead value her strong business sense and straightforward, thoughtful approach come election day.

"It's a Trump approach," Brousseau says, later adding, "If you examine the changes he wants to make, you will find it is totally out of touch."

Of course, Brousseau is referring to her mayoral opponent, Chirico but she's too polite to just come out and besmirch the former deputy mayor's history, likely to the chagrin of her backers. It is understood in her inner circle that Brousseau will speak to Chirico's record while showing leadership and taking the high road during this campaign — and beyond if elected mayor.

See: Brousseau says she's ready for mayoral challenge

"I had a successful business being respectful. I had to make tough decisions during that time, such as laying people off. It was tough but it was always done in a respectful and polite way, that's how I am, I've always been like that," Brousseau shares. "I still believe, today, that you go for the high road. This is the person that will represent you in the office of the mayor. I will never go for the attack, below the belt."

In an election cycle that has heard calls for change at City Hall from some, Brousseau unabashedly touts the record of the sitting council. "You take the good and you make it better. You want to keep building on the past. You don't want to start from scratch. The change is there will be more community input. We are going to engage with the community."

See also: McDonald not giving any municipal election endorsements

And: Lack of mayoral leadership made me run: Chirico

Brousseau adds, "Those are my beliefs and those are my standards," to wipe the slate clean, without bias, read the reports and make a decision. "How does it relate to the city as a whole, not to just one or two individuals?"

See also: Which mayoralty candidates support new Recreational Centre at Omischl?

On the construction of a new community centre/twin pad arena, which has become a wedge issue in this election, McVeety and Chirico are against the location and question the financing. Brousseau wants to wait and see what the updated price is in January 2023 for the project at the selected Omischl site.

Asked if she would abandon the project if those numbers, combined with the $25.77-million worth of net zero federal funding, do not add up satisfactorily, Brousseau reluctantly says she would but cautions on the time and money lost by such a move, exacerbated by the teetering viability of the arenas in North Bay.

Asked about the perception that there is a lack of community support for the arena project, Brousseau responds, "When people say we don't need it, then your children and your grandchildren are not going to come back to live in North Bay, that's for sure if we don't have sports facilities."

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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