Visit badly planned

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Staff, Comp­ton

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.

photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Lib­eral can­di­date Wil­liam Hogg (right) looks amused as Lib­eral leader Michael Ig­nati­eff tries on work gloves in Comp­ton last week.

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