In a last-minute turn of events, a three-way race for mayor in Casselman turned into an acclamation. Just before the 2 pm registration deadline on Friday afternoon, incumbent Mayor Conrad Lamadeleine and former Mayor Claude Levac pulled out of the race, giving the top municipal job to current Councillor Daniel Lafleur, who was also Deputy Mayor of the village from 2006 to 2010.
“I’m there, I’m a businessman,” said Lafleur, who owns funeral homes in Casselman and Embrun. “I really enjoy politics, it’s not for the money, I’m there for the people,” he said, adding that he already goes to the village office everyday and talks with employees. Lafleur said he wants to continue the work council has done in recent years with attracting commercial and residential development, but he also wants to attract new businesses and implement a five-year plan for the municipality to follow. Lafleur also highlighted his past community and professional experiences involving junior hockey, serving as an examiner on the Ontario Board of Funeral Services, the Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, and Club Richelieu.
Conrad Lamadeleine, who has been in municipal politics for 25 years, said he spoke with Daniel Lafleur last week and Lafleur explained to him how much he would like to serve as mayor. “I ask him if he thought he could do a good job,” said Lamadeleine, and when Lafleur assured he could, the incumbent mayor agreed to give him the opportunity to serve.
Lamadeleine said he has treated being mayor as a full-time job, but his past activities include being an insurance broker, dry cleaning, and operating a maple sugar bush. He is especially proud of the major commercial and residential developments that have been taking place in Casselman including several fast-food restaurants to locate near the Highway 417 interchange. He said getting those businesses was because of persistence. “You have to contact these people five or six times before they’re interested.”
Former Mayor Claude Levac was going to run on a platform of preparing the village for amalgamation in four years with The Nation. “The Village of Casselman is ready for fusion with The Nation,” he said, stating amalgamation will be better for the municipality in the long run but eventually there will be positive results. Levac said a merger would lead to considerable savings and reduce staff salary costs. He said he spoke with Daniel Lafleur and decided he was not ready for the demands of an election campaign and is confident Lafleur will do a good job as mayor. Levac said he plans to remain active as a supporter of Casselman amalgamating with The Nation. He believes that the Ford government will start requiring smaller municipalities to amalgamate once it has completed its recently announced plans to reduce the size of Toronto city council and change the functions of Regional Municipalities in southern Ontario.
Six candidates are running for Councillor in Casselman, including incumbents Anik Charron and Marcel Cléroux. New candidates seeking a seat on Council are; Paul Groulx, Mario Laplante, Francyn Leblanc, and Joanne Sirois.