There can perhaps be no greater evidence of a politician’s contributions to their community than being honoured at a retirement celebration. Earlier this month, now-retired Council members Allan Armstrong and John Thompson received such an honour. The pair were the guests of honour at a retirement celebration in Morewood on November 4 – a dinner event which was open to all wishing to attend at a cost of $25 per person.
Allan (Al) Armstrong most recently served as the Deputy Mayor of North Dundas, though he was first elected to Council in 2003 as a Councillor. He served continuously through all the years since, being a firsthand witness and contributor to decades of change and growth in the community.
The 2018-2022 term of Council was Armstrong’s first as Deputy Mayor, and therefore his first term as a sitting member of the upper tier Counties Council for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. In 2021, The United Counties were in for quite a shock when Warden Frank Prevost, who was a member of Counties Council by virtue of being the Mayor of South Glengarry, was arrested and charged with three counts of child luring and one count of sexual assault against an adult. Upon Prevost’s resignation, Deputy Mayor Armstrong’s colleagues at the Counties Council table put their faith in him to take over as Warden.
“I am humbled that my colleagues around the Counties Council table saw fit to bestow this honour upon me,” Armstrong said after being elected Warden. The Warden of the United Counties changes yearly. Following Armstrong’s decision to retire, many of the candidates running for North Dundas Council in the municipal election last month noted that he was leaving very big shoes to fill.
Also retiring from the Council table is John Thompson, owner of a local Chesterville business, John Thompson Electric. Thompson’s tenure is just as impressive as Armstrong’s – he completed four terms on Council. During his most recent election campaign in 2018, Thompson told reporters that he wanted a chance to finish what he started, and voters certainly gave him one.
In a Q&A with the Times in early October, Councillor Gary Annable pointed out that one good reason for voters to support his bid for re-election was the fact that with Armstrong and Thompson retiring, he would be the only member of Council remaining with any significant experience to boast of, besides Mayor Tony Fraser. Annable was re-elected with more votes than any other candidate. We may never know if this was because of his comments, but it seems clear that North Dundas voters value wisdom and experience.
Neither Al Armstrong nor John Thompson could be reached for comment. Happy retirement, gentlemen! You’ve earned it.