When voters in Port Colborne head to the polls subsequent month, they’ll have two decisions for mayor: Invoice Steele, the incumbent — or Charles Steele, who says he hasn’t spoken to his child brother in about three a long time.
“I’m operating as a result of I consider in democracy,” the elder Steele, 67, mentioned. “I’m in opposition to silver spoon wealthy folks entering into energy … I’m out for the little man.”
If I didn’t run, Charles mentioned, then Invoice would have been acclaimed, which suggests he would routinely stay mayor. It’s not a uncommon prevalence. In 2018, 477 candidates for municipal workplace in Ontario had been elected by acclamation as a result of nobody ran in opposition to them.
For Invoice, the Oct. 24 election on this city of 18,000 on Lake Erie is like every other. “We’re simply going to run a marketing campaign like we all the time have,” he mentioned, later including, “I don’t discuss competitors, so I gained’t. Let’s discuss getting Invoice Steele re-elected.”
Charles, who normally goes by his center title, David, is a retired mailman. When requested in regards to the prolonged lapse in communication together with his sibling, Charles likened he and his brother to grease and water: “They only don’t combine.”
Invoice, 60, averted speaking about his older brother, however he does take subject together with his choice to run utilizing his first title, one Charles shares with their late father.
“All people retains calling him Charles,” Invoice mentioned. “He’s often called David. He grew up as David. Why he’s utilizing Charles, I don’t know.”
Individuals in Port Colborne appear to be confused, as properly. “I don’t bear in mind there being a Charles. Did Dave change his title?” reads a remark in one of many city’s native Fb teams. (The race has change into frequent fodder within the group.)
“Invoice comes from an enormous household, and all households are difficult. I suppose the Steele household is not any totally different,” mentioned Port Colborne resident Todd Shoalts, who’s lengthy recognized the household. He appreciates the current consideration on his hometown, together with from the New York Publish, however he needs it was targeted on the problems “reasonably than simply the final names of the candidates.”
The Steele household has deep roots in Port Colborne. In keeping with household lore, their Irish ancestors — actually, it was two brothers — settled there as United Empire Loyalists through the American Revolution. The city has a avenue named after the Steeles (and a pub, as properly). In 1898, the brothers’ great-great uncle established an insurance coverage firm, which Invoice now helms.
When Charles turned 18, he headed to Toronto. He gave the insurance coverage trade a shot, however it wasn’t for him. He quickly joined Canada Publish and ended up working in Vancouver for a stretch. Charles says he didn’t transfer again to Port Colborne till he was about 50.
Invoice, in the meantime, adopted of their father’s footsteps. He joined the household enterprise when he was 20. Now he’s the only real proprietor.
Throughout his 4 years as mayor, he’s strived to improve Port Colborne’s electrical grid and water system, and make the city a preferred vacation spot for cruise ships with plans to develop a leisure and cultural centre on the waterfront. He described himself as a reasonable who doesn’t consider authorities has all of the solutions.
Charles, then again, doesn’t help the plan to develop the waterfront, arguing that the mission will inevitably balloon in value. He believes town ought to as an alternative deal with enhancing entry to psychological well being sources, well being care and reasonably priced housing.
He accused his youthful brother of being too cosy with actual property builders and never doing sufficient to help low-income residents struggling to seek out housing. Port Colborne doesn’t have its personal homeless shelter, he famous.
That’s as a result of there isn’t sufficient demand for one, in line with Invoice, who was elected mayor in 2018. He beforehand served as a metropolis councillor from 1996 to 2014.
Nonetheless, housing affordability is a precedence, Invoice mentioned, noting the current spike in rental prices throughout Southern Ontario. The town is at present working with Niagara Regional Housing and native builders to create extra reasonably priced properties, he added.
On Oct. 12, the 2 brothers will take part within the election’s solely mayoral debate. It will likely be the primary time they communicate to one another in a long time.