MAC'S MUSINGS: An honour most city councillors would rather shelve

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Claude McIntosh

This is one honour Denis Carr hopes to avoid, as do his colleagues around the city council table, present and future.

"I don't want to be on the wall," assured the affable veteran councillor when asked about the recently inaugurated "Wall of Memory" just outside the councillors' room across the hall from the second-floor council chambers.

Considering the sole requirement for getting on the "Wall of Memory", Carr and Co. have good reason to strike the honour from the bucket list.

The memorial - photos and plaques - is the brainchild of Mayor Bob Kilger, a little noticed campaign promise, that recently received council's endorsement without much thought.

"In the last municipal election I committed to a special recognition for those  who passed away during their terms of office," said the mayor.

The first to be honoured are Guy Leger and Huguette Burroughs both of whom  died while serving on council; Leger was a veteran councillor while Burroughs was midway through her first term.

Leger was an excellent legislator with a proven track record as a councillor and probably, if timing and circumstances had been different, would have been a good mayor.

Burroughs was still getting her feet wet as a councillor when she passed away. Legally blind along with other health issues, she was an inspiration to those who suffer from a health infliction. She had been a gifted journalist, one of the best to work the local beat.

At the ceremony, the mayor noted that Burroughs and Leger were strong advocates for Cornwall's francophone community.

Bad choice of words that could be misconstrued by some anglophones who feel marginalized by language laws.

The fact is that while both Leger and Burroughs were francophones, they didn't operate with a pro-francophone agenda. They felt they represented the entire community.

The idea of establishing a memorial for members of council solely because they died in office is questionable.

It should take more than tenure, regardless of length, to be memorialized at city hall. The misfortune of dying in office should not be the criteria.

There are other ways to honour deserving deceased members of council.

The mayor's intention was noble but the policy is flawed. Somebody who serves a week or two qualifies for the honour. It cheapens the honour.

Having said that, there was a glaring oversight. Emile Menard, the first mayor of the "new" Cornwall (annexation) died in office: Aug. 12, 1957. Incredibly, nobody at city hall was aware of this fact.

@ST: REAR-VIEW MIRROR @R: Sturdy tin ice cube trays that lasted a life time, unlike the made-in-China plastic jobs sold today. ... @ST: Leo Bissonnette's @R: pet store on Sixth Street East, between Marlborough and Gloucester streets, and the talking Myna bird that screached "hello" to customers. ... The summer brush cut. ... When a refrigerator lasted at least 20 years. Sure they weren't energy efficient but you didn't have to buy one every 10 years. Ditto for other appliances... A car with speakers on the roof driving through neighbourhoods announcing the pending arrival of the circus. ... Leaflets dropped over the city by an airplane. The speaker thing was outlawed because of noise and the air drop was deemed littering. ... When being gay had a far different meaning. ... Every home had a clothes line and Monday was the designated wash day with grocery shopping on Thursday. ... Just about everyone had a garden and vegetables were canned at one of the local canneries; a side of beef purchased from a local farmer was kept in rented freezer space at the Co-Op on Eleventh Street West. ... When Cornwall had a dozen butcher shops and your mother would send you for a a pound-and-a-half of hamburg put on the family bill that was paid every week or so.

@ST: TRIVIA ANSWER @R: The original @ST: Emard Lumber @R: was in Smithville (Hickory, Hazel and Wood streets) south of what was then Highway 2. Smithville disappeared when the mill expanded.

@ST: TRIVIA @R: This Cornwall doctor who died in 1979 was made an honoury chief by the St. Regis Mohawks when he retired.

@ST: THIS & THAT @R: Not hard to figure out why the big boys in the banking biz are raking in record profits - just take a look at what they are paying to use your savings account stash (.5%) while loaning it out at 6%. ... Amazing, isn't it. It now costs more to tear down a building than it cost to build. ... The appointment of @ST: Rick McCullough @R: as fire chief ends the ridiculous experiment of having two deputies run the department. 

@ST: HERE & THERE @R: Reader Dave McCleary points out that while the oil barons were  forcing dealers in Cornwall to charge $1.29.9 a litre July 7, the same companies were setting the pump price at $1.17 just down the road in Lancaster. ... Will Super Guy run in 2015? Super might say he hasn't made up his mind but according to news sources the PM this week ordered his MPs to inform him of their intentions. ... Instead of having a nomination meeting, the provincial Liberals might want to pull straws. Short straw loses and has to carry the cross when Deputy Preem Andrea pulls the plug on her new best friend. ... Preem Kathy is called Ontario's first "openly gay premier." Sounds like we aren't sure about some of the others. ...  

ALSO Stop the press. Sources say that a graduate of the St. Lawrence College print journalism program landed a job with a newspaper, as a reporter no less. ... S-F's excellent city hall reporter @ST: Cheryl Brink @R: leaving the paper in a couple of months. She's marrying and will live in the U.S. Her fiance recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan. @ST: Kathryn Burnham @R: also departing the newsroom. She's returning to university to work on a master's degree. ... With fewer than 35 families still attending services and a shortage of available priests, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Hogansburg was forced to close its doors last Sunday after 179 years. The parish priest told the Watertown Times that the "writing was on the wall." Not far away, Alexandria-Cornwall Diocese faces a similar challenge when it comes to keeping churches open.

@ST: SPORTS STUFF @R: Hard to believe, but the Cornwall Lion's Club Sports Awards dinner will turn 50 next May. First winner of the coveted Jacques Richard Memorial Trophy, the dinner's top award, was Doug Carpenter. Dinner chair Dave Muprhy (how many hats does this guy wear?) working on something special to mark the milestone.

 

Organizations: Lawrence College, Highway 2, Roman Catholic Church in Hogansburg Watertown Times

Geographic location: Cornwall, Smithville, China Sixth Street East Marlborough Lancaster Ontario U.S. Afghanistan

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  • Carmen Wynn
    July 15, 2014 - 15:18

    I would like to know if they do decide on the "Wall of Memory" as Emile Menard was my grandfather and I would love for him to be recognized for being mayor of Cornwall (unfortunately, it was only for eight months)