Visit badly planned
That the Liberals were not able to announce, until last Tuesday minutes before we went to press, that Michael Ignatieff would visit Compton early Wednesday morning doesn’t augur well for the once Ruling Party of Canada’s chances in Compton-Stanstead.
If it hadn’t been for an “unplanned” event, a group of students at the Louis St.Laurent school talking to him through the fence, this would have gone down as another useless day in the life of a political campaign where every second counts. Even then, Sherbrooke’s major daily questioned its spontaneity. Why the agricultural policy of the Liberal Party was unveiled in Compton remains another of the mysteries of this year’s campaign. The main effect was that the next day La Tribune gave its front page to a vehicle that will be made locally and destined for… Mars.
But, as was the case last summer in Magog, that the region brings relief to the Liberal leader, gone is the stiffness and as soon as he spots Angus MacKinnon, he looks like a man who would move here the next day. The jokes
are spontaneous, he seems happy, the forced smile so present disappears and his French is less academic. Still, the day’s questions were more about a ‘soon to disappear from the map’ candidate than the platform.
This was the only event during the day as the next one was an event on the South Shore of Montreal later in the evening. We hope that nobody on the ride to Montreal looked outside the windows of their bus; not a Liberal sign in sight, huge one for the Bloc. The evening event saw Mr. Ignatieff going back in his politician mood, a tad too artificial to be almost the opposite of the man in Compton.
At that morning event, Mr. Ignatieff, questioned by La Presse’s Vincent Marisal, dropped the bombshell that he had consulted with the Quebec Liberals on certain points of his pro- gram that clearly are provincial responsibilities. His local candidate, William Hogg, repeated it on Monday at a press conference where he presented his view on his party’s municipal platform.
In his press release he attacked incumbent MP France Bonsant and the other Bloc MP’s of “not having raised a finger to help push municipal infrastructure needs. Rather, it was local provincial MNA’s, led by Monique GagnonTremblay, who had to play the role as “substitute” federal MP so that these files could move forward.” Mrs. Gagnon-Tremblay, through a spokesperson, refused to answer our questions, saying that she doesn’t get involved in federal elections.
Mrs. Bonsant, who Mr. Hogg attacked in the same press release as having done nothing for the Pat Burns Arena, was blunt: “I was never asked by Stanstead. Yet, I have been involved directly in $38,000,000 of infrastructure programs in Compton-Stanstead.”
As we went to press, a promised answer from Christian Paradis, the Conservative lieutenant in Quebec, had not been received.
While this newspaper went to press before yesterday’s English debate, watching tonight’s French one will be inspiring and participating at the one organized Thursday, at the Universalist Church in North Hatley, is almost a duty for those who care about democracy, recent events showing that people are willing to die simply to be able to attend a debate.
Liberal candidate William Hogg (right) looks amused as Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff tries on work gloves in Compton last week.