Greater Sudbury mayoral candidate Paul Lefebvre received a notable endorsement during his official campaign launch earlier today, with past mayor Jim Gordon offering his support.
“I thoroughly endorse this man,” Gordon told Sudbury.com during today’s campaign launch at First Round Sports Bar and Restaurant in Val Caron today. ”I think that we need a leader, and this man is a leader.”
Lefebvre’s experience as past Liberal MP for Sudbury will come in handy while navigating the bureaucracy that accompanies things such as funding applications, Gordon said, adding the candidate’s status as a practising lawyer will also help.
Greater Sudbury, Gordon said, has “just been dragging, dragging, dragging, and it really comes down to leadership. If you want a city to really progress, good times or bad times, you need somebody who knows how to communicate and listen to people and how to make things happen; how to bring people together to work with people in a unified way.”
Following his campaign launch, Lefebvre sat down with Sudbury.com to reflect on his burgeoning campaign for which he’s currently seeking volunteers.
Gordon’s endorsement means a lot, he said.
“It’s humbling, from someone of that stature in our community who has helped build our community, has been a leader in our community for decades,” he said. “I’m quite honoured to have his support.”
Today’s campaign launch follows an announcement in late April in which Lefebvre said he intended to seek the mayor’s chair and that he was still hashing out his platform’s nuances.
At least two of these points have been figured out and announced today, including a commitment to tackle climate change, which he described as a key pillar of his campaign.
“Sustainability must be at the heart of everything that we do as a city,” he said. “Every development, every policy and every investment we make as a city must conform with our commitment to reduce carbon emissions.
“We need to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and the world will need more and more critical minerals and metals produced right here in the City of Greater Sudbury and Northern Ontario.”
With Greater Sudbury positioned well to be a leader in green technology, he said, “The job of the mayor is to promote this all over the world,” which he intends to do.
Another pillar in his campaign will be working toward an “equitable community.”
“A truly prosperous community is an equitable community, and every Sudburian, regardless of age, income, ability or identity, deserves to live a dignified life,” he said. “The health and resilience of Greater Sudburians must be part of everything we do as a city.”
As part of this, he pledged to work on resolving the poverty, homelessness, addictions and mental health issues which continue to affect Greater Sudburians.
Lefebvre’s election campaign slogan, “Together, making good things happen,” taps into both this idea and the sense of a united Greater Sudbury he tried to symbolize by launching his campaign in Val Caron.
Since amalgamation, there has been a perception among some people in the communities surrounding Sudbury that they aren’t as connected. This, he said, must not happen.
“Only if we rally together will we be able to reach our city’s enormous potential.”
Lefebvre is one of five registered mayoral candidates in Greater Sudbury for this year’s civic election, scheduled to take place on Oct. 24. The slate also includes Miranda Rocca-Circelli, Evelyn Dutrisac, Don Gravelle and Bob Johnston. Mayor Brian Bigger has also announced his intention to register.
Gordon retired from politics in 2003 after spending decades as a leading figure in the local political scene. He was first elected to Sudbury council in 1971 and was elected mayor in 1976, a position he held until 1981, when he ran as a Progressive Conservative provincial candidate in Sudbury; a position he secured and maintained until 1987. He was re-elected to council as mayor in 1991 and held the position until 2003, during which time he became the first mayor of the amalgamated City of Greater Sudbury. Gordon was named to the Order of Canada in 2014.
Although Gordon’s time as mayor didn’t overlap with Lefebvre’s time as an MP (2015-21), Gordon said he worked with Lefebvre on an effort to bring refugees into Greater Sudbury and that he was effective.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.