Who will ‘Steele’ the Port Colborne mayor’s seat – estranged brothers finally face off at mayor’s debate

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Published October 3, 2022 at 2:42 pm

Charles Steele, 67, left, is challenging his brother, Bill, 60 for the Port Colborne mayor's seat in the upcoming municipal election.

This is the mayoral debate that everyone in Niagara – and far beyond – has been waiting for: The Steele Brothers’ Showdown.

Incumbent Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele, 60, has not talked with his older brother, Charles, 67, for over 30 years. Neither has given a reason.

However, they are now opponents for the mayor’s chair and their story has now made it into American and overseas newspapers.

They’ll finally have to talk to – or more likely, at – each other now as the Port Colborne-Wainfleet Chamber of Commerce has finally brought the pair together for the Mayoral Candidates’ Debate on October 12 at the Roselawn Centre (296 Fielden Ave) with the much-anticipated family feud starting at 6 pm.

Bill is a one-term mayor, elected in 2018, but was a city councillor for 17 years prior to that. Asked about his brother, all he will say is that he never talks about his opponents.

“I’m here to get Bill Steele elected. I’ve got a great campaign team, we’ve got more people on board this campaign than we’ve ever had,” he’s told the media repeatedly. “I’m here to talk about what we’re going to do for the city when we’re victorious.”

Charles is a little more vocal, first saying he chose to run against Bill because it looked like he was going to run without opposition and thus be acclaimed to the seat.

From there, as the opponent, he was a little more pressed as to why. He said he felt more should be done for the homeless, a growing concern in the city.

“For years, I’ve seen neglect in the city and, you know, all politicians seem to be lacking in health for the average citizen,” he said, adding affordable housing as one of the major concerns he would address.

“They (the municipal government) should have been doing this 10 years ago. Now it’s becoming popular because there’s a lot of homeless people. I’m seeing more and more homeless people all the time … and that’s sad. There are a lot of homeless people coming to town and Port Colborne doesn’t have a shelter. We need to have more humanity.”

However, Bill, who also runs the family business C. M. Steele Insurance Brokers, also wants to develop affordable housing with the help of local organizations, like Port Cares.

He added he’s not concerned with the challenge from his older brother.

“I’ve raised my family here. My roots are here. I run a business here, so everybody knows who I am,” he has repeated. “I campaigned on open transparency, being honest with the public, and I’ve always done that in my 21 years of service.”

 

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