By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
For mayoral candidate William Pickard, it’s all about accountability.
The Thamesville resident says there’s a distinct lack of it in Chatham-Kent government and that’s why he is running for the mayor’s chair.
“I saw that no one was running against Darrin Canniff,” Pickard told The Chatham Voice recently.
“I looked at the situation and decided somebody’s got to run against that man.
“I want that council out.”
There are three candidates running for mayor, including Canniff, Pickard and Andy Fisher.
According to the 72-year-old jack-of-all-trades, Chatham-Kent’s elected leaders need to stop “drastic changes” and embrace development for the entire municipality, not just Chatham.
He cites the Murray Street homeless shelter and the Downtown Chatham Centre redevelopment as two projects he disagrees with, but admits “there’s no one straw that broke the camel’s back” on his decision to enter the race.
“There’s many straws,” he said.
The semi-retired Pickard, who runs a small bookkeeping business part-time, believes he would be good for the job as he is “very analytical” and able to “look behind the scenes.”
Pickard, who holds an Honours B.A. from the University of Windsor and a teaching degree from Althouse College, spent a brief period teaching.
He also spent part of his working life selling furniture and at one point owned two area furniture stores. He was employed in the consumer finance business for many years, even working for a spell in the GTA.
Pickard also ran a chicken farm for a time, and worked in various local factories including Navistar.
If he becomes mayor, Pickard would like to see smaller government and less bureaucracy and a greater focus on private business and small business – not big chain store investment.
“We need more grassroots industry and independent business,” Pickard said. “We need to let capitalism, at a low level, take care of itself.”
Homelessness and lack of affordable housing are other issues he would immediately address, Pickard said.
He’d also like to see things left alone, especially when it comes to the DCC.
“We destroy the old and we destroy the old at massive cost,” he added. “We don’t need it. You are not going to give Chatham something it doesn’t already have.”
Pickard did not discuss COVID-19 but admits he’s unvaxxed and “proud of it.”
As for transparency. Pickard thinks Chatham-Kent has a long way to go.
“Every election our municipal government talks about transparency, but this has not improved in C-K.
“So many things are done in the backroom and this has a fishy odour.”