Well-deserved thanks for Guy
Perhaps one of the most telling comments to come out of Guy Lauzon’s retirement dinner was that the veteran politician has attended so many community events over the past 15 years that seeing him in public is no longer a novelty. Eric Duncan put it best when he said that Mr. Lauzon, the Conservative MP who has represented Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry over the past 15 years, no longer gets the red carpet treatment at various church suppers or county fairs. People here tend to see him more as an ordinary guy than they do their elected official.
That’s probably the way Mr. Lauzon – or Guy, as he likes to be called – prefers it. Over the past decade and a half that I have been working at The Glengarry News, I estimate that I have seen him at more than a hundred different events. He’s always quick to return my phone calls, even if he’s driving to or from Parliament on the 417, and he’s never shied away from controversy. Of all the politicians I have written about over a 20-year newspaper career, Guy Lauzon was the most visible.
Yes, you could say that part of the reason is geography. When I worked in Alberta, for example, I could hardly expect our MP to have a comparable presence in his com
munity. He didn’t have the luxury of having a home riding less than an hour’s drive from Parliament Hill.
But I am not that cynical. Mr. Lauzon would likely admit that his proximity to home enabled him to attend so many events, but that’s not what motivated him to keep getting out there. He was motivated by a sense of responsibility, that he held his position not through some misplaced sense of entitlement but, rather, through the good graces of his supporters.
On Wednesday, Mr. Lauzon confessed that sometimes, when he’s driving home, he thinks about his tenure in Ottawa as a dream come true. He spoke again and again about his battle with alcohol – a battle that most people lose – yet he, somehow, came out of it relatively unscathed and even graduated to become a Member of Parliament.
I will take some space here to thank Mr. Lauzon for his 15 years in Ottawa, for his commitment to dealing swiftly with the media, and for treating his political career not as a right but as an enormous privilege.
One won’t do; we need two
Here’s a thought that’s bound to be unpopular with all the people clamoring for one amalgamated school board in Glengarry: “One won’t do. We need two.” I agree that four boards are too many. We have way too much duplication of services with that many boards competitng for our students, but that’s not to say that competition isn’t a bad thing.
Competition sure works in the private sector. We’ll give our business to whoever gives us the best deal.
Doesn’t it stand to reason that the same might also work with education?
If Board A won’t give you the French immersion courses you want, haul your kid out of there and send them to Board B.
If Board B can’t provide your special needs kids with the services they need, then send them to Board A.
You could argue that with one all-encompassing board, there will be enough financial resources in place to ensure that every child’s need is met. That may be so, but the possibility of losing a child – and the provincial grant that goes with him – could also prove to be a powerful incentive.