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.
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.