MAC'S MUSINGS: 'Fiberals' are thinking election in a big way

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Claude McIntosh

Preem Kathy is too busy running the province (and jogging country roads) to think about running in a spring (if the snow clears in time) provincial election. That is what she says. However, she is a politician and God provides special fibber dispensation for politicians. Good thing too, otherwise the Hon. D. McFibber, now living in the Excited States of America, wouldn't have a shot at purgatory, let alone a free pass form St. Peter upon arrival at the Pearly Gates.

Fact is, the preem and the Fiberals are thinking election ... and in a big way. They might even get the jump on Deputy Preem Andrea and drop the writ before she drops the axe.

In the meantime they are on a not-so-discreet vote buying campaign, using our money, of course. It should be noted that the Libs didn't invent vote-buying on the eve of an election, but they have become very good at it.

Recent happenings in our neck of the woods suggest that the Fibs are in full election mode: Preem Kathy was in the cheese capital of Eastern Ontario last week saying cheese with a $1 million cheque for the rebuilt St. Albert cheese factory. And on Thursday, stand-in mayor Bernadette Clement was handed a $2 million cheque for flood relief by Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Glen Murray, wearing his best Tory-blue bow-tie, with potential Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry Liberal candidates John Earle, looking very Liberal with a loud red tie, and Del Jones, both of whom were trucked in to do cheerleader duty. Grant Crack, MPP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, played a supporting role for Bow Tie Guy. They closed out the tour with a cheque presentation in North Glengarry-Prescott-Russell to the tune of several million dollars. Crack could be in trouble, thus the extra generous handouts. Logic says that reclaiming the brass ring in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry will be, charitably put, a mega challenge.

Meanwhile, in a Conservative-held riding just west of us, the Kemptville campus of the University of Guelph is closing for lack of funding. It is a riding the Liberals don't have a hope in hades of winning.

Not sure, but it might be the first time in recent memory that yet-to-be party-nominated election candidates have been used as a props for such an event, as was the case in Cornwall. I've always wondered why political masters of all stripes don't use a suffering taxpayer in a photo op at these cheque presentation events. It is, after all, our money, not theirs.

Crack piped up (pardon the pun) that there is nothing worse for a voter than to have a flooded basement. He might have added that a flooded basement is nearly as traumatizing as a Hydro One bill arriving in January, or for that matter any other month.

For anyone wondering, no, the fix was not in. B. Clement, designated local Liberal flag-waver who is on a first-name basis with Preem Kathy, just happened to be acting mayor for March, and Builder Bob just happened to be out of town on this day, and Bow-tie Guy just happened to drop by with the cheque on the same day. And it was a coincidence that MPP Jim McDonell, who took the local riding from the Libs in a landslide, was overlooked by the excited Liberal master of ceremonies who had to re-adjourn the cheque celebration after a city councillor pointed out that protocol, if not downright decency, required Gentleman Jim to say a few words. Nope. Just a whole lot of coincidences.

TRIVIA ANSWER L. G. "Archie" Lavigne and Dick Aubry were named by their council peers to fill vacant mayoral chairs. Lavigne replaced Emile Menard who died just months after being elected in 1957. Aubry was named to replace Ron Martelle who stepped down in his second term to open a private investigation business.

TRIVIA This drug store was on the southeast corner of Pitt and Second streets in the former Dover's Men's Wear store. It's name had a heavenly ring to it.

ROUND'N'BOUT Instead of Quebec threatening the rest of Canada with a referendum every 10 years, let's have a country-wide referendum to see if anyone cares if they stay or go? ... Did I read that right, that Preem Kathy has promised that the Libs, if re-elected, will not hit the middle class with any tax increases. Gee, where before have we heard that no-tax promised? At leasts she isn't putting it in writing. ... Welcome to new S-F managing editor Hugo Rodrigues (name like that he should be pitching for the Yankees) who arrives from my second favourite Ontario city, Brantford. He becomes the first bilingual M.E. in the paper's history.

HERE & THERE The "Big R" (aka Ray Morin) was one of the many folks touched by the Seaway News story of Cornwall high school teacher Stephanie Grady's fight against a rare form of cancer and the fundraising campaign to help send her to Boston where experimental treatment is available. So, at the Cornwall Curling Centre senior men's end-of-the-month (February) luncheon "Big R" passed the hat. In a matter of minutes, $600 was raised for the Grady family. The generosity in this community never ceases to amaze.

IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR A South Stormont reader recalls Sheek Island and the magnificient, awe-inspiring Longue Sault rapids, silenced and buried in the name of progress, and wonders what kind of tourist-attraction they would be today, not to mention the scenic drive along old Highway 2 that wandered through the quaint Lost Villages. ... The sign on Highway 2 that announced "Longue Sault Rapids 1 Mile Ahead". ... Snetsinger's General Store in Moulinette and the Pleasant Haven cabins. Another casuality of progress was a 500-year-old elm tree in Moulinette under which explorer Samuel Champlain was said to have rested during a voyage up the St. Lawrence.

SPORTS STUFF Long Sault's Jesse Winchester is on the Florida Panthers' injury list. It is described as a lower body injury. Early in the season he missed three games with a lower body injury. In December he suffered an upper body injury and missed 14 games. ... Can't blame the NHL owners for not wanting to play in the Olympics every four years. Why remind the fans back in Canada that they are watching a watered-down product in the regular season. ... Remember when $2.50 got you a standing room ticket at the old Montreal Forum? And that guy with the trumpet? Think his name was Dutchie Vandelen. The pre-game pitcher of draught and steak at the Forum tavern for $4, plus tip. Today you almost need to take out a second mortgage for an evening at the Bell Centre. ... Here's a switch: A National Felony League (aka National Football League) owner (Jim Irsay, Indianapolis Colts) was arrested on the weekend and charged with drunken driving and possession of a controlled substance. His bail was $22,500. Pocket change for Irsay who is worth $5 billion, give or take a million.

Organizations: University of Guelph, Hydro One, Yankees Seaway News Cornwall Curling Centre General Store in Moulinette Florida Panthers NHL Montreal Forum Bell Centre A National Felony League National Football League Indianapolis Colts

Geographic location: Ontario, Excited States, America Cornwall North Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Kemptville Canada Pitt Quebec Boston Sheek Island

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