Mayoral candidate Paul Lefebvre opened his campaign office at 450 Notre Dame Ave. Unit 106 today, making him the first person vying for Greater Sudbury city council to do so this year.
Lefebvre is one of nine candidates seeking the mayor’s seat at the polls on Oct. 24, for which he said voters have plenty of options, between incumbent Mayor Brian Bigger and eight alternatives.
The slate of nine candidates bring “varying degrees of effort or participation rate,” he told Sudbury.com prior to the opening..
“Mine’s full-time,” he added of his campaign. “I’m taking this very seriously, and that’s why I’m organizing a professional campaign as best I can.”
His approach thus far, he said, has been “do your best and see what happens,” which is what he intends to continue doing with his growing base of volunteers.
During his office’s grand opening, Lefebvre delivered a speech in which he highlighted the importance of economic development, instilling pride in the community and environmental stewardship.
Although he commended the current city council for adopting a Community Energy and Emissions Plan with a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, he said they need additional checks and balances to ensure they meet this goal.
He also questioned the receptivity of city council to move forward with funding opportunities, and said that during his time as Liberal MP for Sudbury he heard “crickets” when federal funds were available.
“They weren’t moving forward,” he said. “There was money on the table.”
Campaign volunteer Erin Danyliw introduced Lefebvre during the event, after which she told Sudbury.com his commitment to the environment and reaching all demographics drew her to his campaign.
While any candidate will claim they’re reaching out to everyone, she said, “he has done it.”
“The action that was behind the words, and not just meeting with the same people who have been doing politics in Sudbury for years but really trying to involve different people in the conversation,” she said, adding that this has involved young people.
This, she said, runs against the advice she heard in which he was cautioned that younger people don’t vote.
“Paul said it didn’t matter, they’re the ones who are going to be here.”
Lefebvre has amassed a volunteer base of 70 people and has a goal of bringing in 100.
“Given the size of the team that’s going to come together, we can’t have them in the house or have that online,” he told Sudbury.com, adding a base of operations became a necessity.
The campaign office includes a sit-down meeting area, tables and is encircled by photographs highlighting Lefebvre’s career, family and Greater Sudbury scenes.
Campaign lawn signs came in Tuesday night, and he has approximately 200 people lined up to receive them during the initial round.
The campaign office will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, during which Lefebvre said people can inquire about his campaign, volunteerism or pick either his brain or those of volunteers.
The group of volunteers will soon have a bank of phones to call residents, and will also be joining Lefebvre by knocking on doors. A campaign website has been set up, and can be found by clicking here.
Lefebvre also plans on using a truck to haul a mobile campaign office in a trailer to visit communities throughout Greater Sudbury in the coming weeks.
“I’m trying to hit 30 to 40 neighbourhoods in the community in 30 days starting in early September,” he said. “It’s interesting to hear the concerns from people, the ideas and the enthusiasm of some people for change.”
Lefebvre is the former Liberal MP for Sudbury and a practising lawyer. He announced his candidacy for mayor in April, and celebrated his formal campaign launch in Val Caron on June 23. At the launch, past mayor and Member of the Order of Canada Jim Gordon endorsed him.
For the mayor’s seat, Lefebvre is running against Bigger, Evelyn Dutrisac, Don Gravelle, Bob Johnston, Devin Labranche, Miranda Rocca-Circelli, and Mila Wong. Convicted purveyor of hate speech and perennial fringe candidate David Popescu is also running.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com