Shut Up and Eat Your Snow­shoes!

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Staff Ma­gog

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.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Or­ford MNA Pierre Reid at a press con­fer­ence about snow­shoe trails on Mont Or­ford.

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