Born in Montreal to recently arrived Irish immigrant parents, I lived in what was then a rural francophone community of 5000, about 40 km north of Montreal. I graduated high school in 1976 and completed Dawson College in 1979 with a diploma in sociology. During this time, I worked at the Chomedy Youth Clinic as a crisis worker. After graduating from Dawson College, I moved to Toronto to work in the retail electronics industry, eventually becoming a buyer and then national marketing manager for Wavelength Technology. In 1990, needing to settle down and tired of traveling across the continent, I entered the Ontario public service as a correctional officer.During my career with the Ontario government, I held a variety of positions:
-Volunteer co-ordinator for three facilities, managing 240 volunteers and developing networks for inmates to return to the community.
-Recreation officer, designing activities and programs for a diverse inmate population.
-Acting sergeant for a two year period, managing 120 staff in a medium correctional facility as well as care custody and control of inmates.
I’ve been a Guelph resident since 2015. Presently, I’m assigned to The Maplehurst Correctional Facility in Milton which is a maximum security facility. I split my time between there and Ontario Correctional College where I work with new recruits. I took time at nights to return to Humber College and complete a diploma in Recreation and Leadership, and this eventually led to my teaching at Sheridan College in the Community Justice program for 3 years as well as becoming a Fitness Appraiser for The Ontario Correctional College training new correctional officers in the area of fitness and performance.
In my civilian life, I got married in 1990 and moved to Georgetown where Elaine and I bought our first home. In Georgetown, I uncovered what I found to be a dysfunctional local government and ran for council (in 1993) as a responsible development candidate focused on protecting the green spaces and aquifers. Although I tirelessly worked with my supporters, I did not win. I became a member of a Citizens Liaison committee and became a vocal critic of irresponsible developers and continued the fight as an organizer . In 1996, myself and seven other concerned people realized there were a large number of working poor families living in our community that were not eating or feeding their children properly so we organized and opened The Georgetown Breadbasket food bank, which services hundreds of families still today.
In 1997, I became Chief Steward of my local union and represented my brothers and sisters at the Labour Board (this required a bit of an educational upgrade so I enrolled in the Alternative Dispute Resolution program at University of Toronto). I represented our local at the Brampton Labour Council from 1996-98, taking part in the Days of Action marches opposing Mike Harris Tories damage to our public safety net. In 1999, I was trained by my union OPSEU to become an investigator for its Equity unit. I investigate abuses under the Ontario Human Rights code, and I continue to do this on an as-needed basis for OPSEU across Ontario. I opened and ran my own personal training studios in Rockwood in 2003 and offered rehabilitative physical training as well as strength training or sports specific coaching until 2013.
In 2006, I became a board member of an environmental charity called WasteWise in Georgetown – this organization takes people’s junk, books, old clothes or furniture and resells it. The money we make maintains 8 full time employees and the profits go to pay for environmental causes. Some of the places we have donated thousands of dollars to paying for scholarships in environmental studies at every school in Halton Hills,school tree planting, Credit Valley Conservation Authority, Bruce Trail organization, The CRC of Rockwood, and the Council of Canadians to mention a few places . We also reach out to guest speakers such as Maude Barlow and bring her in to educate people on water rights and environmental concerns. I still am a board member at WasteWise, working with a variety of organizations that are focused upon preserving our Earth.
I was also a Scout leader for some years, a program deliverer for The Duke of Edinburgh Awards program for youth, and a Co chair for a kids 1st program raising monies for breakfast programs for kids in Peel Region in conjunction with Peel Regional Police as well as raising monies for women’s shelters and Sick Kids Hospital. I have been a Liberal campaign manager and on local Liberal riding associations but after many years, I couldn’t believe what was happening to our province and resigned from the exec in 2003. In 2004, I worked on Noel Duignan’s campaign in Rockwood thus changing my political stripes.
I’ve been married to my wife Elaine going on 30 years and our son graduated from University of Guelph with a Bsc and provides environmental assessment for wildlife and wetlands. I am an avid skier and softball player, motorcycle enthusiast and outdoorsman. More than anything, I believe in people receiving the political representation they deserve. I have been a pain in someone’s butt when they are not doing the right thing for decades and will continue to do that when it benefits the community as a whole. I cringe at the thought of another four years of Liberal corruption and mismanagement almost as much as I fear an ultra right swing with Doug Ford, who believes in a libertarian style of government which swirls down to less government ie: more consolidation of services and tax cuts which just don’t work.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions, just ask me. If you want to help make Ontario a better place, and Guelph an even better place, join me in moving our agenda ahead and restore our social safety net, improve education and fix poverty, starting with our kids.