The mess

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

If we knew how to make a bet­ter mess out of our demo­cratic process, we would have a hard time beat­ing this year’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion. While, in Mon­treal, al­most a dozen peo­ple want the job of mayor, sure to be scru­ti­nized by the pop­u­la­tion, the me­dia, and ev­ery po­lice corps au­tho­rized to op­er­ate in town, around here, so many posts were filled by ac­cla­ma­tion that this news­pa­per will have to go to the non-ex­is­tent plan Z to bring you news! Gone will be the de­bates, the in­nu­en­does, the ru­mours of all sorts.

Mind you, un­less some sort of Einstein of pol­i­tics had de­cided to run against the in­cum­bents, they would have re­ceived our en­dorse­ment.

Still, some new blood is al­ways wel­come, es­pe­cially those of the ‘lit­tle faith’ va­ri­ety. Then, maybe - as in we never know- when bids are com­ing in with a 40% dif­fer­ence be­tween the high­est and lower bid­der, some coun­cils may think twice and call the friendly po­lice of­fi­cers at UPAC, the spe­cial unit set up to com­bat cor­rup­tion, rather than go­ing for the low­est bid­ders im­me­di­ately. Since our towns’ bud­gets are rather con­strained and we would un­der­stand that no­body would spend our money on a long dis­tance call, may we re­mind them that they of­fer a toll free num­ber. If they don’t al­ready have it, this news­pa­per’s gen­eros­ity will ex­tend as far as print­ing it for free: 1-888-444-1701.

Nat­u­rally, we do not ex­pect our lo­cal politi­cians to fol­low the daily tele­vised hear­ings of the Charbonneau Com­mis­sion; they are too busy at work look­ing af­ter our in­ter­ests, af­ter all. And as we all know, it’s all al­le­ga­tions, noth­ing proven in a court of law, yet. And yes, when some­one of­fers you a brand new LCD tele­vi­sion at 40% off, he has to sell it fast be­cause he needs money right now!

Well, this is what democ­racy is all about. Par­tic­i­pa­tion. Not only as vot­ers but as con­cerned cit­i­zens who care about the process and would not hes­i­tate to spend some time de­fend­ing their ideas and their val­ues. The lack of vol­un­teers will­ing to serve, this is what they are if one looks at the stipend given for their ser­vices, is dan­ger­ous in any democ­racy. More so at the most ba­sic one: our mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, where lo­cal ser­vices are pro­vided, where one knows most of the peo­ple and is fa­mil­iar with our prob­lems. That so few chose to run is not a good har­bin­ger of what’s to come.

When no­body shows up, un­less there is call for a boy­cott, most peo­ple agree that there is no need for the in­sti­tu­tion.

And while the ac­tual Pre­mier, Pauline Marois, is a strong de­fender of lo­cal school boards, she can hardly not take no­tice that when so few are vot­ing, keep­ing them may not be nec­es­sary. When the only po­lit­i­cal party that she can rely on for com­pro­mise is known for the abo­li­tion of school boards, then po­lit­i­cal re­al­ity may set in and they may well dis­ap­pear in the near fu­ture, with cat­a­strophic re­sults for the An­glo­phone mi­nor­ity.

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