Women’s Institute Time Line unveiled in Tea Room
Political debate at the national level is highly rehearsed drama worthy of the biggest opera productions. Locally, like the best intentioned amateur production, they are not to be criticized with the same criterion as the former. So it was at last Thursday’s Stanstead By-election debate. Organized by the Stanstead Journal with the indispensable help of Gisèle Daviault, the six candidates vying for the post left vacant by the departure of Councillor Rollande Rouleau faced some forty citizens who had taken the time to come to the Pat Burns Arena and see and hear firsthand what they were all about.
Moderated by the publisher of this newspaper, the event was informal with no clock to time to the precise second the answer given.
So from the first question, “How often have you attended council meetings over the last few years?”, it was easy to see that this was not a well-rehearsed and polished-to-the-last-word debate. When a candidate, Michel Corriveau, questions the why of the question, you know that this will be either a long evening or a short one. It stayed on time, Mr. Corriveau being able to defend his realization, even if he questioned the question again. Apart from Mr. Denis Dubois and Georges O’Shaughnessy, none of the candidates had found time to attend a couple of meetings in the last few years, Mr. O’Shaughnessy being almost a fixture at every meeting for the last year.
The surprise of the evening was that one of the town’s worst kept secrets came out in the open. It is almost impossible to bring entry level jobs in town as the granite industry pays higher wages than other industries do. And the town is unable to keep its educated youth; one of the few exceptions being candidate Nicholas Ouellet. The election is this Sunday.
Representing the local schools at last Thursday`s event were (l. to r.): Irene Humphey, rep. North Hatley Elementary; Catherine Zahra, Ayer’s Cliff Elementary Principal; Dyanne Saanum, Stanstead County President who presented the cheques; Elaine Baylis Creary, Princess Elizabeth Elementary School principal; and Heather Stratton, secretary for Sunnyside Elementary.
Around forty people attended the debate.