Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Montague : Setting The Reckless Straight

Well... just when we thought the dust had finally settled on the Montague brouhaha, along comes today's copy of the Smiths Falls Record News, and with it an absolute gem of a Letter To The Editor. In my weakened, sleep-deprived state I just can't resist this one; I know I probably should but where's the fun in that, eh?

The letter writer takes issue with the Reckless article from last week headlined "Montague residents send clear message: We want change!" In her letter, the writer vigorously attacks the Montague Ratepayers Association, which she claims is entirely to blame for all of the problems of the township. Now, she's entitled to her point of view, and she's entitled to put it out there in the newspaper - but it can't go unchallenged, because it's full of innuendo, half-truths, distortions and inaccuracy.

She re-hashes The Lawsuit - which I'm not going to do here. That's not worthy of a response at this stage.

It's later on in the letter that things begin to go off the rails:
... nothing was more evident than the hostility that the MRA group fostered in our community
Hmmm.... apart, that would be, from the hostility of Doug "may or may not have declared bankruptcy" McEwen against Mr. MacTavish, or the hostility of David "leave if you don't like it" Schoular, or the hostility of the repeated attacks on Dianne Coates, etc., etc.

Moving on, our letter writing friend launches into a baseless and just nasty attack on Peter Kavanagh. She doesn't think he will try to keep Rideau Regional open, as he suggested - or that if he ever does travel to Toronto it will be at her expense and for nothing. I may be wrong but I would sooner pay travel expenses to someone going to kick Dalton McGuinty's ass than I would pay for people to use municipal vehicles for unlimited personal mileage, when no official business is involved. In fact if Dalton's ass is going to get kicked, I'd pay the whole lot.

I think any fair minded person after meeting Peter and hearing him speak at the all-candidates meetings would trust that he is a man of integrity who will be as good as his word. He has a track record of standing up to government, which is more than you could say for the previous government of Montague. Maybe keeping RRC open is a lost cause (this blogger doesn't accept that yet, watch this space) but at least Mr. Kavanagh's prepared to try, rather than roll over and play dead as this writer's preferred candidates did.

Next, she seems to think the low voter turnout (41.5% for reeve) de-legitimizes the result. She should be careful what she wishes for - her wonderful council who did such good work were elected with a turnout of 31.09% (for reeve, comparable figure). Looking at the election for deputy reeve, David Schoular won in 2003 with 493 votes, and lost in 2006 with 470 votes, by a margin of 350. So if these results are not legitimate, what did that make the previous council? All of which is irrelevant anyway as any statistician could tell you that you can extrapolate the voting behaviour of 40% of the population to be that of the whole with a trillion-to-one chance of error. Or thereabouts.

Finally, she thinks people were 'bullied' into voting the way they did. Newsflash: In this country we have secret ballots, precisely to prevent that from happening. It didn't happen, it's made up and malicious and for her to put it out there in the newspaper is irresponsible

All in all, this letter is simply stoking the fire of a divide the write claims not to like. And that's not helpful to anyone at this stage. Even it contained truth rather than lies, it still wouldn't be a particularly useful contribution. As it is, it deserves the fate it will probably enjoy in Montague at this time of year. Time to light the woodstove....