Firemen deserve stability
Ifthere is one thing worse than lax management, it’s micro management. And the latest installment in the eternally long firefighter saga that has beset Stanstead almost every decade is the latest proof of what can go wrong when qualified people are at the mercy of well intentioned ones. At issue is a new fire truck, its price and specifications. The end result is that Fire Chief Mike McKenna has tendered his resignation.
Mayor Phillipe Dutil, at last Monday’s Council meeting, stated that this would be discussed with Mr. McKenna. We hope that he reconsiders. It would be easy to blame council for this; we don’t. They have a budget to respect and one only has to show up at any council meeting to see that raising money for investment and repairs in this town is a tough climb. Almost any dollar spent being scrutinized by some as if Stanstead would face bankruptcy with one more penny of debt.
But, we believe that the original specifications for Stanstead’s new truck were right and that, while the one in tender now will be sufficient and safe, it will not be the most efficient and the safest.
But there is a limit to the “generosity” of the Stanstead tax payers in providing the best equipment to a fire department that is in fact covering a lot more than our town. It took years to get a written commitment from some outlying communities to sign an agreement with Stanstead to share costs.
So, nobody will be surprised that this newspaper is formally asking that a RIPI, an Intermunicipal Fire Department, be formed in the next year in the Stanstead region and that it, and the Massawippi one, hires one chief.
As it is, Mr. McKenna is at the mercy of too many chiefs. We are also of the belief that all the fire departments concerned by this would be better off fiscally as they would have to coordinate, inside the Quebec government imposed parameters, the equipment needed by all, to be paid by all. We also believe that the fire chief should be an employee of the RIPI and get the benefits package that goes with the position. It is unacceptable that the Fire Chief doesn’t get insurance and pension coverage. Needless to say, it is also unacceptable that volunteer firefighters are not covered either. The Liberal party position in giving a tax credit, written about by the perennial Liberal candidate on this page, makes so much sense that we are amazed that the Harper government didn’t propose an immediate amendment to the Income tax act to implement it.
And if this seems too complicated, may we remind everyone that twenty years ago, police coverage was assured by local police corps. And the reasons why they gave way to the SQ and its hefty bill are remarkably the same as in the firemen’s case: endless meddling by politicians responding to the public concerns of higher taxes who questioned almost every decision made by those local police departments. Now, some may want to have the FQ (Feu/Fire Quebec) replacing our local fire departments; we don’t. Your tax bills will explain why to those who do.
Onthis 12th edition of Border Fest, which started out as a cloudy and cold day, turned around shortly after the parade into a beautiful warm day. A rock-climbing wall and zip line occupied the front lawn of the Stanstead College along with a BBQ stand. The Cultural and Recreational Association filled the gymnasium of the Sunnyside for ‘’Minute to win it’’ games. Across the street, the Firemen’s games added excitement along with face painting throughout the day. An impressive car show took place in the back of the Sunnyside School. We all enjoyed a wonderful dinner, prepared by the local IGA team. Shortly after that, the band, Black Dogs rocked the night away along with the beautiful fireworks.
This event wouldn’t be a success without our wonderful organizing committee Debbie Bishop, Stephanie Tobin, Jody Stone, Chris Goodsell, Sue Corriveau, Brigitte Lemay, Serge Tougas, Kathy Bedard, Paul Stuart and Marise Trépanier.
A special thank you to our hard working volunteers such as: Hélène Hamel, Roger Lussier, Réal Houle, Debbie Stratton, Sherri Stratton, Brenda McIntyre, Thérèse Tobin, Phil Desormeau, Michael Corriveau, Wayne Stratton, Guy Ouellet, Christine Allard, Patrick Allard, Charles McIntyre, Katie Murray, James Murray, Travis Rowsell, Mikael Carbonneau, Sean Scribner, Jenny Davidson, Conner Hickling, Lila Doucet, Matt Srihanu, Isaiah Craig, Paige Gagnon, Marie-Danielle Lafreniere, Anthony Spoor, the C.A.B Rediker, Stanstead Recreational Center and the Colby Curtis Museum.
I’d also like to thank the organizers of the Classic Import car show: Éric Fournier, David Loranger, and Deejay Lowtentik.
Also a big thank you to all of our sponsors; Town of Stanstead, Caisse Desjardins de Stanstead, Rock of Ages Canada, GranQuartz Canada, Ambulance de Stanstead, Pharmacie Chantal Richard, RythmeBeat.com, D.E. Graphix, Maître Électricien Patrick Bouchard, Municipality of Ogden, Municipality of Stanstead-Est, Deputy Pierre Reid, Derusha Supply, Rona A. Fluet & Fils, Autobus Ashby, Construction Goudreau, IGA Stanstead, Sunnyside Elementary School, Picture This On Granite and the Stanstead College.
Take note that I will be enforcing this during the next Border Fest.
I thank you all for understanding and hope to see at our next event. Have a safe summer!
A.J. Bedard President of the Stanstead
*If you have any questions or comments about this, please contact Marise at 819-876-7181 to obtain my information.