Mike McCrank

Carole St-Aubin
Pontiac Oct. 13, 2021 

Mike McCrank attended Victoria High School in Shawville then went straight to work at Gillies Bros. lumber mill in Braeside, ON., then at J.E. Boyle’s in Davidson, where he worked for approximately eight years.

“I then worked as an armed bodyguard in Ottawa where I was responsible for the safety of ambassadors, foreign diplomats and military attachés,” said McCrank.

He then owned and operated a convenience store in Vinton for about 16 years, at the same time he got into politics and became councillor for eight years. McCrank subsequently became the  mayor of Litchfield, a position he occupied for 20 years. Finally, he served almost 14 years as warden of the MRC Pontiac.

After he shut down his store he took a job with the Ontario Lottery Corporation at Hard Rock Casino in Ottawa as a security supervisor and an emergency medical responder, where he was required to take training on dealing with and resolving crisis situations.

“As of today (Sept. 30) I am officially retired from the workforce,” said  McCrank, who is looking forward to catching up on maintenance and other projects around his home. 

Working in the security field McCrank says he has had to do a lot of problem-solving and crisis management.

Through the years McCrank took training in Ethics, Fiscal Management and Budgeting through the Federation Québecoise des municipalités (FQM) hosted by the Quebec government. 

Most recently during the pandemic lockdown, McCrank took a course with Florida Atlantic University in Hotel and Tourism Management.

McCrank whose family is originally from Venosta, QC lives at his ancestral homestead, established in Vinton by his grandfather 1921. He and his wife Margaret Ann Mousseau raised two sons, Brady and Patrick and are relatively new grandparents of granddaughter Abigail.

McCrank says his interest in politics was sparked because he wanted to help modernize Litchfield and bring more infrastructure to the area. 

Having lived his entire adult life there, McCrank said “I have always been involved in recreation associations since an early age, helping to get an ice rink and a ballpark built.”

It was when he became a business owner that he also decided to get involved in local politics. He claims he got to know almost every inch of the territory during his years in office.

“Then in 2009 we had a big crisis to deal with when the pulp mill shut down in Portage-du-Fort; it was a big blow to our community, then when the PFC mill in Mansfield followed suit, we lost around 40% of our tax base, so we had to be creative make deep cuts to our budget and reorganize so we could continue on,” McCrank explained.

Working with more 

cohesion

Having watched some of the MRC meetings on Facebook McCrank felt there was an apparent disconnect, a lack of cohesion between the mayors and probably even a lack of knowledge on the files being discussed.

He believes that local governments need to work together on many levels so they are able to make sound and lucid decisions. 

“To hear mayors say they were aware or didn’t have the proper information is a bit uncomfortable, especially since the Quebec government is giving them more and more power to make these important decisions,” he added.

High-speed internet

 “I would work to get our internet and cell phone services updated,” said McCrank.

Though he was instrumental in bringing both the fiber optic cable in the Pontiac as well as our existing cell service to the Pontiac, McCrank believes nothing has progressed much in the past 10 years, adding that sums of government money were announced but never used. 

“There is a niche there that could create jobs in the area,” said McCrank.

Relaunching of the forestry industry

Relaunching the forestry industry by planning to extract different species of wood from Pontiac while being respectful of the streams, waterways, and reforestation is important to McCrank, who said it needs to be done in a sustainable way.

“I want to make a positive difference, I know the territory pretty well, I’ve got positive attributes, I value other people’s opinions and I would like to build a formidable team of employees, we are at the forefront of the population,” said McCrank

McCrank said he wants to build a good working relationship in regards to regional issues and also wants to work toward regaining and maintaining the Pontiac’s lost health care services. He also plans to work with land use planning to fight for the survival and the diversification of Pontiac’s local farming community. 

“It used to be viable and I’d like to see that return,” he added.

“As mayor of Litchfield I also sat at the regional table and had a hand in starting up the bicycle trail using funds from the Volet II, which was financed with the return on ‘stumpage.’  The Quebec government used to pay the MRCs a return on wood that had been taken out of your territory, he explained.

He also sat on the board of economic development [then called the Centre local du développement or CLD) and says he played a role in helping actualize the rice and hops farming projects. 

“The rice didn’t catch on but we have a good market for hops. I think there are unlimited possibilities in farming,” he concluded.

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