The Jack Lang Medal and a bursary

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Dispatches fro the 148 by Fred Ryan

This particular column has two subjects, linked, both important to the Pontiac.

Dispatches fro the 148 by Fred Ryan

This particular column has two subjects, linked, both important to the Pontiac.
First, Mayor Jack Lang, who passed away, May 14. All of his fine personal qualities and volunteer contributions aside, I write of only one of his many titles, “Mayor”, because of his model career in this position. As a journalist, I covered enough of Jack’s meetings, MRC discussions, interviews and reactions to have built up an enormous respect for what he gave us all, not only his voters across Clarendon.
I valued his willingness to talk calmly about any issue or question, and
his clear-sightedness to see through the bafflegab that obscures so much
of municipal and MRC politics. Jack had 20:20 political eyesight, as I found on many occasions. He had a view of what is best for the whole community, and especially for the common person. Jack exemplified the importance of municipal leaders, especially ours, without indulging in dramatic exaggeration, blaming – or crying the victim.
I remember speaking to Jack during his final months – he himself wanted to make clear the benefits he saw in electing our MRC Warden. Jack’s sense of responsibility to his community shone though even during his last struggle; his positive attitude was so stimulating! Other writers and speakers have covered Jack’s many qualities much better than can I, and the size of the lines waiting outside Hayes funeral home and at the United Church testify to Jack’s stature and his lasting influence on us and our Pontiac community. There we saw respect – and love.
And the link to topic two is our Pontiac community. Bourse Pontiac, or the Pontiac Scholarship Fund, is, as was Jack Lang, a tremendous asset to our entire region. This fund provides over 20 bursaries to local kids going on to post-secondary education. There is no single better step our kids, and grandkids, can take to improve their own lives and to improve the general life and economy of the Pontiac. Higher education is not designed for everyone – not yet – but even so, it is an important goal we should encourage in our coming generations.
The scholarship committee is entirely volunteer and demands time and difficult decisions, often, over the allocation of these bursaries. The folks involved deserve the MRC Pontiac’s Jack Lang Medal for Community Contribution, and that’s one of the proposals of today’s column. 
How about it, honourable mayors of the MRC, how about creating a Jack Lang Medal for this purpose? The details to consider are many, and will surely need more volunteer participation. The medal would not only be a fitting memorial to Jack, it would be a very fitting honour to so many of Pontiac’s hardest working leaders in so many areas and fields. So, over to you, MRC-Pontiac! Can you do this . . . by the end of 2017?
My second suggestion is similar. Couldn’t the Scholarship Fund create (or name) a bursary, the Jack Lang Bursary, for one or two of our kids going into political science, government, or communications? Surely one or two of our businesses would support such a bursary – as they support so many other scholarships. Perhaps Clarendon Municipality would take the first step in making this a reality?
And while we’re on this subject of the MRC making significant decisions, wouldn’t it be progressive if the Council of Mayors resolved to support a resolution before Parliament to make National Aboriginal Day, June 23, a national holiday?  Wouldn’t this be a great signal that the Reconciliation Process is, finally, reaching all Canadians?
    (abawqp@videotron.ca)