A Canadian city is keeping it in the family this upcoming local election.

Two brothers who haven’t spoken to each other in 30 years are facing off in a bizarre mayoral race in Ontario this fall.

Brothers Bill and Charles Steele are the only two candidates who will appear on the October ballot for mayor of Port Colborne — a city of about 18,000 people just over 20 miles west of Buffalo, New York.

Charles is challenging his brother Bill, the incumbent mayor of the city who served 17 years on council before he was elected mayor in 2018, CBC reported.

He said he decided to try and oust his brother because he wants to see “regular people” run for office.

“If I hadn’t run, then my brother would have been acclaimed mayor because nobody else is running,” Charles told the outlet. “A lot of politicians have silver spoons in their mouths. We could use some new thinking.”

Port Colborne mayor Bill Steele
Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele is being challenged by his brother Charles, whom he hasn’t spoken to in 30 years.
Niagra Region

Bill said he’s declined to talk about his political opponents in past elections, and wouldn’t make an exception for his brother.

“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 said. “I’m here to talk about what we’re going to do for the city when we’re victorious.”

Neither brother wouldn’t say why the two haven’t spoken in decades, but Charles said he spent years away from his family and hometown when he moved to British Columbia for several years.

Charles told CBC he has nothing against his brother, but added that he’s unhappy with the way he is running the city.

He said he’s unsure what his parents would make of their children fighting for the mayorship.

The two clash on their plans for the small lake-side city.

Bill has proposed plans to redevelop the city’s lakefront as a cruise destination to support local businesses, which his brother disagrees with.

“So far, it’s up to $10 million … and I can’t imagine cost overruns and what it would cost,” Charles told CBC.

“They want to build a pavilion and things like that, but [people from the cruises] really don’t get off the ships and come into the business section of town,” he added.

Bill, who runs the family insurance brokerage firm in Port Colborne, said he’s not worried about losing his seat to his brother.

“I’ve raised my family here. My roots are here. I run a business here, so everybody knows who I am,” he said. “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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