May the biggest promiser win?

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Added: Thu, 09/27/2018 - 10:30am
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Allyson Beauregard
Rédacteur / Managing Editor

Pontiac’s future was painted brightly September 13, during the all-candidates forum organized by the Pontiac Chamber of Commerce and CHIP FM (more: page 2).
While only five of the Pontiac's eight candidates participated, the meeting lasted
nearly three hours and despite criticism of the Liberals’ policies, particularly the dismantling of our health-care system, there was plenty of praise for Pontiac's beauty and natural resources -- and big promises for a better future. 
There were pledges of a new hospital, free education, free parking at the Pontiac Community Hospital, promises of decentralization, free public transportation for students, seniors’ housing, better high-speed internet and phone coverage, plus major education and infrastructure investments. Everyone emphasized keeping youth here, creating and maintaining jobs, and stimulating the economy. 
All these promises…. how many are realistic and how many will be kept?
When the ex-publisher of the Pontiac Journal asked whether the candidates support independent community media, given massive government cuts for advisories and public notices under the Liberals, everyone, except
Mr. Fortin (who wants cheaper alternatives) stressed the importance of community media and the need to support it. This support, they all agreed, is necessary to inform the public about government programs and policies, and also to keep the 40+ jobs Pontiac’s newspapers provide. Local newspapers are crucial to the democratic process, providing, and digging for, information.
Ironically, flip through this and the two previous editions to find all this so-called support.  Other than 2 notices from the Green Party’s Mr. Fleury and one from Mr. Fortin, there is nothing.  All claim no budget to inform the voters! All candidates were happy with the coverage from the newspapers (our responsibility), but none felt obliged to actually support newspapers by purchasing advertising.  As Mr. Ducharme’s letter on page 5 states, it appears candidates rely on smiley-faced posters, maybe a mailbox pamphlet.  Is this adequate communication – to you?
Local newspapers work hard to bring you the best information possible during elections and all year long; but isn’t this a two-way street?  Local businesses, organizations and politicians all want their events covered in the paper, but by putting their advertising on Facebook or Google, their dollars go to California, and their message is not getting to the localities they represent.  
When asked at the forum why the Pontiac is still struggling, despite promise after promise, Mr. Fortin said it is partially because we’ve been “sold a fake bill of goods” too many times, referring to companies who arrive promising hundreds of jobs and investment.
Does this include the fakery sold us every election?  Take that thought to the polls. When you mark your X, think also of where we would be without our local newspapers.