Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 02.02.08
Stanstead, Quebec


A letter from His Worshipfulness, the Mayor

STANSTEAD, QC | Dear Citizens,

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a Happy 2008. I realize my wishes come a month late but we had to delay printing this Newsletter because it has taken since the Christmas party to untangle the thong from the photocopier. Incidentally, for those of you who've asked, our Receptionist Mrs. Churnhelm should be out of traction soon.

As we Ring in the New Year, I look forward to serving you as Mayor and working with your Town Councillors to make our Community a model of Prosperity, Growth, and Good Will. But to do so, we need Your Cooperation. Drive-by eggings aren't particularly helpful.

Obviously, there is some tension in Our Community. That is why I am writing today, to "clear the air" and "set the record straight."

To start on a Positive note, I'd like to thank everyone for attending our Budget Meeting in December in such large numbers. Participation is key to a successful Democratic Government. But when a healthy Exchange of Ideas degenerates into a hostage situation, there are no winners.

The main "controversy" in our 2008 budget was, of course, our decision to institute a Special Tax to recoup the losses the Town suffered in our recent Nigerian investment. We made this decision after considerable Reflection. We simply have no other recourse. We have tried time and again to reach our contact in Nigeria, Dr. Dambiko, but he no longer responds to our emails.

Many people in our Community have expressed "concern" that we risked Your Tax Dollars in the first place. However, please realize that Your Council acted in Good Faith when we ventured into this "Special Opportunity." We were assured by Dr. Dambiko that our help was "URGENT" and that the transaction was "100 percent SECURE." In retrospect, perhaps we were seduced by his shrewd use of capital letters.

Yes, it's unfortunate that we lost $1.1 million (I shouldn't even mention the .1; it's really more like just $1 million) but that's the cost of doing Business. As the saying goes, if you want to make an omelet, you have to go to the store to buy some milk.

Having assessed the situation, we have responded Quickly and Decisively. With this Special Tax, the Town will recover our losses in a mere fifteen years.

It is true that we did borrow from the Firefighter's Pension Fund for our transaction and that, having recently learned of this accounting modification, the Members of the Fire Department have threatened to resign "en masse." But they make this threat a couple of times a year, so I wouldn't especially worry about it.

Of greater concern is the Poisonous Climate that is being created by certain "elements" in our Community. I refer especially to members of our local "media" who are clearly "blowing things out of proportion" and "slinging mud." I mean actually slinging mud. You should see the front of my house.

I particularly resent the Insinuation that I somehow personally benefited from this unfortunate situation, simply because I recently installed an outdoor patio and hot tub. This is pure coincidence. I am offended by the suggestion. The photographs in particular were in Poor Taste and especially hurtful to my wife, Doreen, who, she has urged me to explain, does not normally sunbathe in that "manner."

But I intend to take the High Road and will therefore refrain from alleging that the source of our local editor's longstanding Bias against this administration is his paranoid delusion that Town Snow Removal Crews purposely push snow in his driveway, which is completely Unfounded and would be Petty even if it was true, which it isn't.

Instead of "focusing on the negative" and constantly seeking out "bad news," the Media could be helping to remedy the situation by highlighting the Positive. What is the benefit, for instance, in continuing to harp on the Budget Meeting hostage incident (which was really all a misunderstanding, we realized once the tear gas cleared)? What about all the Council Meetings where there ARE NO hostage takings? How come we never hear about those?

We all make mistakes. As the saying goes, hindsight is fifty-fifty. And so, I would like to "turn the page" and "move on." Your Council is ready to Move Forward with our next major project; next week we'll be opening the bids for our new biodegradable compost bins.

Yours Truly

The Mayor