Fire­men de­serve sta­bil­ity

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

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, Ryth­, 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

Recre­ational As­so­ci­a­tion

*If you have any ques­tions or com­ments about this, please con­tact Marise at 819-876-7181 to ob­tain my in­for­ma­tion.

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