Run, don’t walk, for office!

That tingling in your extremities and nether regions? That’s the feeling of anticipation for Quebec’s municipal elections, which will be held across the province on November 3. It used to be that elections popped up in different towns almost every fall, but a while back the provincial government decided this was one more thing we quaint citizens couldn’t be trusted to manage ourselves, so it was regulated on our behalf – every town, all together, every four years. This way all Quebecers get to be whipped into a political frenzy as one, because heaven knows that always ends well

Here in Stanstead, there are a couple of council seats up for grabs but, with the incumbent in by acclamation, there will be no race for mayor. I’m a bit disappointed about this because, even though mayors are merely figureheads who get to cut ribbons, make speeches and ride in the traditional ermine-lined MayorMobile, they fulfill the valuable role of taking the blame for everything.

Unlike boring old council races, mayoral elections are sexy and exciting, especially in Stanstead, which is the home of Sexy and Exciting (but those are just their stage names).

In fact, if I had known our mayor wasn’t going to face an opponent, I would have put my name in myself – not that I have anything against our mayor. It’s just that I feel if you’re going to have your finger on the button that nukes Ayer’s Cliff*, you should at least have earned the privilege.

My campaign would of course have been more of a nuisance than serious. Come to think of it, that might have made a good slogan. Or maybe “Ross Murray: Putting the ‘Pain’ in ‘Campaign.” Or how about “Ross Murray: He’s Not Making Any Promises.”

Yeah, I would have liked to have seen my name on the ballot paper but, alas, that slip has sailed. I’ve missed the vote.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t offer my expertise to candidates elsewhere. Since I’ve been observing Quebec municipal politics for who knows how long (Sexy and Exciting tell me it’s been seven hours in total), here are some valuable campaign tips:

  • If someone offers you a bag of crisp 100-dollar bills, you’re probably being bribed. Say “no thank you.” If, on the other hand, someone offers you a crisp cucumber salad, you’re probably at a pot luck. Bon appetit.
  • Use the following words freely: “transparency,” “accountability,” “leadership,” “voice of the people,” “People of the Voices” (for First Nations elections only), “change” and “new blood.” Unless, of course, you’re old blood, in which case use “stay the course” and “experience.”
  • Do not run over cats. Even if you really hate cats, do not run over cats. Even if you have a deep-seated hatred for cats because once when you were a child a cat scratched you, and not just a little scratch but the kind where the claw hooks into your skin and just hangs there briefly, and it really, really stings and gets all inflamed – even if that happened, do not run over cats. Do not think that running over cats will appeal to the powerful anti-cat lobby, because the anti-cat lobby is not nearly as powerful as the don’t-intentionally-kill-anything lobby. If you have any questions about this, contact the mayor of Huntingdon, who is not running for re-election.
  • Do not say you enjoy running over stray cats and later claim it was a joke. You know what? Don’t joke at all. It just leads to hurt feelings. There’s no room for jokes in municipal government. Except in Ayer’s Cliff. (See how hurtful that was?)
  • Seriously, I cannot stress enough the need to stay away from anything having to do with cats.
  • Don't let this happen to you. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

    Don’t let this happen to you.
    (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz)

    You should be aware that if, God forbid, some terrible calamity should befall your community, the premier of Quebec may hug you. If you are not up to this task, you should reconsider running for office.

  • Be careful how you play the “hometown” card. If you claim that you have lived here your whole life while your opponent is nothing but an interloper, remember there are voters who remember that time in Grade 4 when you wet your pants on the teeter-totter.
  • Stay off the teeter-totters, especially at your age.
  • Do not hire Sexy and Exciting as your campaign managers, unless you know a good way to get glitter out of ermine.
* To non-local readers (AKA the world) Ayer’s Cliff is a lovely village 15 minutes down the highway. Despite the satirical tone, we citizens of Stanstead truly mean them no harm. Or most of us don’t, at least.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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31 Responses to Run, don’t walk, for office!

  1. El Guapo says:

    when I run for office, I like to portray myself as the worst possible option, then use the slogan “nowhere to go but up!”

  2. I vote ROSS MURRY – HE’S FURRY or ROSEMARY, HE’S CHEERY! Will you take me to Canadian Tire?

  3. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

  4. Ned's Blog says:

    Really terrific piece, Ross. In fact, your insight into Stanstead politics has inspired me to run! I’m just not sure which direction.

  5. ksbeth says:

    perfect timing as today, (after my 12 years of waiting), the former mayor of detroit was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison. hope some potential pols will read your advice before taking office.

  6. cat9984 says:

    We cats feel you may be a closet cat-hater because of your fixation on not killing us. To misquote Shakespeare: “The gentleman doth protest too much.”

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Just yesterday I read a piece by Stephen Fry who noted that when people quote Shakespeare, they’re actually quoting a character Shakespeare created, so really the quote has to be taken in the context of the play and the character. In this case, it’s Queen Gertrude in Hamlet, not exactly the epitome of moral, upstanding behaviour.

      This has nothing to do with your comment; I just wanted to distract you and I didn’t have a ball of tinfoil handy.

  7. Ross, too bad you’re not running for mayor; I would’ve given you my slogan from my Toronto Mayoralty attempts (/82 & 2000) the latter vs Mel “Shecky” Lastman (yes, the same mayor who called in Can. Army after 4-5″ of snow fell on Toronto) “if we’re gonna have comedians at City Hall, then let’s have a professional”! PS: so appropo now in Toronto City Hall, n’est-ce-pas?

  8. List of X says:

    It’s only a bribe if you promise to do something for those $100 bills. But if you run as Not-Making-Any-Promises-Murray, you should be fine.
    But don’t take the cucumber salad just because it’s not money – your opponent’s side can still spin it as a bribe, and will make you look like you’re really cheap to buy.

  9. Where I come from, People of the Voices is an affectionate term for schizophrenics, which in turn is a social epithet for writers. I think cats are cats everywhere, unless the somewhere is a cucumber salad, such as in western parts of Dover.

  10. My mayoral slogan will be: “A woman to watch out for.”

  11. benzeknees says:

    I think other provinces besides Quebec have also decided all municipal elections over the entire province should all take place on the same day – it happened in Ontario & will also happen here in Alberta soon. What about: “Tried & True” as a campaign slogan

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