Thursday, July 11, 2024
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – May 1, 2024

Bravo mayors

Dear Editor,
The warden should have vacated the chair during the Monday Apr. 29 special sitting of MRC mayors. As she herself admits, the purpose of the meeting was to propose her own resolution which constitutes a bias toward the outcome.
She was out of order after calling item 8 of the agenda. She delayed questions from the public for six minutes to, in her words, explain the need for the meeting that she called. She then proceeded to argue in support of her resolution under item 9.
In handling questions from the public, she allowed some to speak freely but quickly interrupted others when she did not like the preamble to their questions.
She attempted to call the vote on her resolution before input from the mayors. When Mayor Lafleur rose to speak, she engaged in arguing with him and then twice attempted to call the vote again before allowing other mayors a chance to speak. She did not allow the mayors to debate freely. After each mayor spoke, she challenged their positions rather than calling on another mayor. This is not in keeping with accepted meeting procedures to ensure proper and fair conduct while chairing a meeting.
Bravo to the mayors who challenged the warden and gave us some hope that good sense will prevail, and who have restored our trust in our local government by voting down the warden’s resolution.

Linda Lafortune, Otter Lake

Incinerator flaming out

Dear Editor,
It certainly appears that the warden’s dream of an incinerator for the Pontiac is flaming out in front of her very eyes.
I will admit that I had never attended a Council of Mayors meeting, so I didn’t know what to expect when I attended the Special Meeting called by the warden on Apr. 29. I will simply say that I have never witnessed a more poorly-run session in my life. The warden’s way of governing seems to consist of cutting people off and bulldozing her way through the issues. With apparently no rules of order, it’s a wonder that any business ever gets done at the meetings in Campbells Bay. But, despite a reputation for sitting on their hands and dutifully obeying the warden’s orders, it seems at least some of the mayors may have had enough of The Jane Show and they are starting to let it be known.
With that said, the meeting was called by the warden to obtain approval to spend $3,000 on an incinerator information mail-out to be sent to residents. It was quickly shot down by Mayor Lafleur of Otter Lake who showed great leadership on the issue, and he was joined and supported by several other mayors. It was also pointed out that there are local media in the Pontiac that could have capably gotten the word out to the people through paid advertising. So much for supporting struggling local media! The motion was mercifully defeated 17-1, with the warden vowing further discussion of the matter asap because, for whatever reason, she’s not giving up.
The meeting was well attended by concerned citizens who, as usual, voiced many well thought out arguments against the scheme, and they don’t plan on giving up either, until the incinerator plan has been scrapped. An interesting side note . . . someone must have had the clarity to summon the police, who took up a position across the road, ready to quell any violent protests that might have started from among the audience of mainly seniors in attendance - because you know what angry mobs are like.
It certainly appears that incineration in the Pontiac is quickly becoming a dead issue, and unless she has blinders on, the warden should be starting to realize this as well. It looks like she is in the process of losing the confidence of the Council of Mayors, and a vote to torch the incinerator proposal once and for all must be close in coming.

Gerry Bimm, Otter Lake

Silent supporters

Dear Editor,
I must admit, the warden’s recent statement at the Campbell’s Bay meeting that a referendum on the incinerator project wouldn’t provide an accurate opinion of our population due to a “low turnout” has left me scratching my head. In recent years, I’ve noticed that certain subjects touch a nerve with various people for whatever reason. Some feel the environment should be the priority, some the economy, while others LGBTQ+ rights and so on. I myself am a bit susceptible to issues related to democracy. So when flippant remarks are made about how referenda aren’t really a fair or accurate representation of a community’s will, alarms start to go off in my head. Maybe having lived in a communist country for several years has made me a bit sensitive to this type of statement, but having got an eyeful of how an authoritarian government truly functions, my alarms tend to be justified.
So, let’s not mince words here. Is the warden suggesting that if a small fraction of the population doesn’t participate in an election or referendum that the democratic process is itself null and void? Last time I checked, abstaining from voting was a right afforded to all Canadians. Does she recall she too was once elected? I am going to go out on a limb and say that not everyone in the Pontiac went to the poles that day. Should that election have not been held? Was her election a farce because there wasn’t a 100 per cent voter turnout? Of course not. If I advocated for this type of idea, I’d be putting myself in the same category as people like Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing.
Now, I know politicians often strategize their answers before speaking events, so I’m very curious to know if this “low turnout” line was something she had planned to say when confronted with the inevitable question of a referendum. Did she sit there and, in a moment of clarity, think to herself, “the majority support this project, yet won’t come out to vote for it, so I will be their voice and just push it through”? Whether this is truly how she feels or it’s just her hubris taking the wheel, I am genuinely impressed with her Olympic level mental gymnastics. Richard Nixon would be proud of her. The only difference was when Tricky Dick spoke of the “silent majority” he was actually encouraging them to come out and support him in an upcoming election, not renouncing the idea of the election itself.
At the end of the day, I actually feel for the warden. She is in a unique situation. According to her, this project has a great number of supporters but, in the event that push comes to shove, they won’t make the effort to show up at the polling stations. And the fact that she knows this for certain and is confident enough to forgo a referendum must mean that hundreds, possibly thousands, of people must have either told her directly to her face or by email, phone, and/or letters, that they indeed support it but won’t make any attempt to vote in a hypothetical referendum. Did everyone follow that? What an incredibly confusing set of circumstances she finds herself in. I’m starting to think that even these silent incinerator supporters (imaginary or not) aren’t very supportive at all.

Timothy St-Jean, Litchfield

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