Mayoral candidate Q&A: Ron Matechuk

How long have you been living in Thompson?

This coming spring it will be 48 years.

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What do you do for a living?

I am president of Matechuk Trucking Limited. I have been since the death of my father in 1982.

Why do you want to be mayor?

The same reason why I ran for mayor twice before and that is because I think we need change. A lot of the things that I had as my platform in the previous times I ran for mayor … most of them haven’t been met. So I still think that it’s time to go in that direction. It’s more than time. It’s 12 years late if you look at when I first ran. So I still like to challenge some of those things and make some changes.

What is your vision for Thompson throughout the next four years?

I think we have to get some changes in our economic development. We have to go back to more of the basics where we focus more on being a hub, because geographically we are the Hub of the North. There’s no changing that and we have to focus on that and bring what benefits we can out of it.

How do you plan on contending with the ongoing economic issues that have been plaguing Thompson lately?

The problem I see with the economic development the way it is proceeding now … we are training truck drivers, training loader operators. Sure, it’s getting these people in the position where they can get jobs, but we’re not creating actual jobs for truck drivers and loader operators for them to go to. And that’s what economic development is about is creating the physical businesses that they can work at, not just being qualified to get a job there. We need to get actual jobs is what we need and to be able to attract them and we haven’t been able to do that. And that’s why I say we have to focus on being the Hub of the North. There’s opportunities there that have not yet been explored.

Why should someone vote for you over the other candidates?

I think I have certain strengths. An example of that would be if I had been put on the negotiating committee for the [grant-in-lieu] there’s no way it would have got passed through as quickly as it did. There are issues there where our negotiating committee came back and said, “We had no chips to play.” And I disagreed with that at the time and I explained to them that we have this and we have that. They just didn’t play the chips is the problem. Vale got a great deal out of it. We didn’t.

Anything else you want to add?

Just that this is my third time running for the mayor’s seat and a lot of the things that were issues the first and second time are still issues today and we have to address them, such as the homeless shelter, such as the public intoxication. A lot of public safety issues need to be addressed. We’re aware of them, everybody talks about it, but nothing is really being done about it. So we have to get a little more serious.

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