Shut Up and Eat Your Snowshoes!
The Jack Douglas novel of the same title took a humorous look at moving to the Great White North (well Ontario…) by an American family moving from New-England in the 60’s. Well, since they would have travelled through here if they had done so in snow-shoes, they are lucky that they didn’t do it this year.
In an area where politicians are always trying to get a photo op, for a measly $40,000, we will be spared a press conference by a PQ minister announcing that the said sum would have been given to the snow shoeing activities at Orford. The $100,000 that would have brought the trails to world standards is in limbo. This after the government spent $20,000 on surveying the land to ascertain that the less than 700 meters of new and renovated trails would be acceptable to the master plan of Mount Orford and that the matching $40,000 has been raised by the promoters.
As they are today, the trails cannot be homologated by the International Ski Federation, the Swiss based body charged with regulating the sport. While the exact number of skiers is not known, 500,000 entries were registered last year, local Orford Liberal M.N.A. Pierre Reid, a mathematician by training, estimating the unique visitors at about 40,000, most coming from the region and south of Montreal.
This was divulged at a press conference organized, not by the PQ, but by Mr. Reid. The project, already approved by the civil servants, will not be financed this year. While Mr. Reid clumsily –he is not very good in partisan politics- tried to let numbers speak, this time saying that 66% of the money spent from the program where the money should have come from is spent in PQ ridings when only 43% of voters voted PQ; statistics usually have a way of being twisted in favor of someone. When the Stanstead Journal reminded him that the PQ riding covered at least 80% of the territory, he was at a loss of words.
Still, as is the case of almost all projects related to sports and tourism that he has pushed, he was passionate defending the paltry sum that should have gone to the mountain. And all media present were for once nodding their heads in unison, this doesn’t make much sense. It seems that the Sport Infrastructure program where the money should have come from, a program under suspicion for blatant favoritism under the Charest government, has not become more transparent under the PQ who has refused to simply publish the list of the 84 projects accepted to date. As of Monday, only 35 were known.
Looking at those who received the grants it looks as though small projects have been completely left out in favour of larger ones. The Liberals will try to get some answers in the National Assembly this week.
Orford MNA Pierre Reid at a press conference about snowshoe trails on Mont Orford.