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Political Trump family ties in Port Colborne mayoral raceOUS News

There’s a fight going on on the shores of Lake Erie, and hey bro, it’s a doozy.

Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele was not sure what to expect as the registration date for the election of 24 October. After 17 years on the city council and a stint as mayor, he certainly thought he would have challengers.

“No one came forward,” he says. “So we saw the praise, but then we had a candidate throw his name out at the last minute. So here we are, in election mode.”

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But when he saw his opponent’s name listed as “Charles Steele”, he was initially confused. He has a brother named Charles David William Steele, but says, “His name is not Charles. It’s David. He’s always been known as David. It’s David Steele.”

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In addition, the brothers hadn’t spoken in over 30 years and “David” had never run for public office before. But it wasn’t long before it was confirmed that Port Colborne would have the front seat of a decades-long family feud. And about the name?

“I’ve been told that you should use your first name in business and important matters,” says Charles Steele. “So I use the name Charles. It’s that simple.”

United Empire loyalists arrive in Canada.

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Port Colborne is a town of 20,000 that is best known as the gateway to the famous Wayland Canal, which connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, for about 3,000 ships annually. The construction of the first iteration of the canal in the 1830s brought with it an increase in population, which eventually led to the inclusion of the village of Port Colborne in 1870.

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But the first non-native settlers were United Empire loyalists who arrived in the 1770s after fleeing the American Civil War. And the head of one of the first two loyal families to take root was William Steele, an ancestor of Bill and Charles.

Adding to Steele’s legacy, his great-uncle DeWitt Carter was mayor in 1918 and his great-grandfather CS Steele served as mayor in 1927.

Port Colborne circa 1911.

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It is not clear why the brothers lost contact so many years ago. While the Bills stayed in Port Colborne to run the family insurance business, Charles moved to Toronto for several years before returning 15 years ago.

“The only thing I would say is that he’s made some bad decisions in his life,” says Bill. “He has put his family in isolation and that’s where we are today.”

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“We have different perspectives on politics and life and things like that,” says Charles.

Charles Steele

Charles Steele.

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He is yet to speak and does not plan to call another during the campaign. An argument is the only way for the two to communicate. And while both are open to the possibility, Charles acknowledges that he is the clear underdog with very little experience.

,Yes, I would consider a debate, ”says Charles. “He has 20 years of experience. He knows what it’s like to run a council, so I’ll be at a bit of a loss there. But I think I have enough issues to get people to vote and hopefully for the better.” I can change his life.

Charles says he plans to run a grassroots campaign, devoting most of his time to knocking doors. He says he cannot afford an expensive advertising campaign. To be successful, he believes he needs to connect with voters who think the city needs a new direction.

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Meanwhile, Bill is proud that the city’s downtown core remains vibrant, while other similarly sized cities are suffering from high vacancy rates. Affordable housing is a priority, as sewer and water rates are under control. And he says that it is not the job of the mayor and council to bring new doctors to the area, but they have made it a priority.

“We’ve been lucky,” says Bill. “We have recruited three new doctors in Port Colburn over the past year and a half, providing more services at our local hospital, which is an urgent care center. It is no longer a full-fledged hospital as it was built in 1959 .

And all of those issues will be discussed as the election campaign unfolds – but nothing will be as curious for voters as Port Colburn’s battle for non-sibling love.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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