'It's just not something I do'
“I don't comment on people who are running — it's just not something I do,” Matichuk said, shortly after the conclusion of a Sudbury Police Board meeting. “I haven't done that to date and it's something I won't comment on.”
Matichuk was reacting to Dan Melanson's decision to run for mayor, which he announced Tuesday morning.
“I haven't discussed it with her,” he said. “She sent me an email congratulating me this morning. And I will be talking to her.”
Melanson and members of Matichuk's campaign team founded the Greater Sudbury Taxpayers Association, which has lobbied for many of the issues Matichuk campaigned on in 2010. But Melanson said links between the mayor, the GSTA and himself have been overblown.
“You guys in the media are making a bigger deal about that link than anyone else,” he said. “We've been friends for years and continue to be friends. (But) I have not had anywhere near the influence in regard to the current mayor's term of office as (the media) thinks I do.”
While stopping short of any direct criticism of Matichuk, Melanson spoke at length about the need for a mayor to be able to get support for their agenda on council.
Matichuk's term of office has been plagued by open conflict with some members of council, as well as defeats on issues she campaigned on.
Melanson said he knows how to work with A-type personalities.
“I have a totally different leadership style than the current mayor does,” he said. “I've spent almost 40 years dealing with very difficult personalities, large egos, people who typically are take-charge kind of people. And I've been able to lead them for many, many years.
“So I can bring the same style to city council and it can turn out to be a positive thing … I can work with the people I need to work with to move the city forward.”
If he wins the mayor's race, Melanson said he will approach each member of the new city council and try and build bridges with them as his first order of business.
“I'll reach out to them and talk to them (and say), 'I respect you, for your views and for getting elected in your ward ... and you need to respect me for my position in regard to the entire city.' Because that's who I represent.”
When asked to comment on Melanson's statements, Matichuk again declined.
“People say things, but I'm not going to comment,” she said. “I think it's important look at – how can I put this? – the whole picture. And as far as I'm concerned, once you start getting into that, you don't see the actual reality.
“There's going to be a lot of people (running). It's a democratic process. Look at all the councillors that are running right now. There's going to be more people running for mayor. So I don't want to get into that right now.”