MRC Council Report – Public questions spark translation challenges

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Carl Hager


Carl Hager

CAMPBELL’S BAY —Wednesday, March 22, 2018 the regular meeting of the MRC council began in a tumultuous fashion during the public question period, when language and translation issues caused tension. Gaetan Turgeon, owner of JOVALCO, expressed his disappointment with the slowness of the MRC’s response to his request for financial aid and he threatened to close his operations in the Pontiac. Turgeon insisted he cannot fix broken machinery without help from the MRC. He also noted that a $2.5 million project was just announced in Thurso, once again indicating a loss for the Pontiac. Warden Jane Toller responded that Turgeon needed to get his paperwork in order so that the SADC could study his business plan and then be able to make recommendations regarding financial assistance.
Turgeon spoke in French and said he did not understand Toller’s answers which were in English. This is not the first time a language issue has come up at the MRC when the public has addressed council.
Ron Godin, representing the Algonquin First Nations, also spoke about forestry and how the forests were being stripped of their resources and soon nothing would be left. Godin spoke mainly in French and translation issues complicated this exchange also; the MRC is looking at ways to improve translation at the meetings even though these services can be quite costly. 
Paula Armstrong, a biologist, spoke about Mount O’Brien and how this ecologically important area in the Municipality of Alleyn and Cawood could be exploited and preserved at the same time. She said two tent pads were planned for campers to use as they explore the trails of the park. On May 5th an event will be held at the park.
Fraud funds returned
Toller stated that the money embezzled in the recent fraud case involving the MRC (see page 7) will be returned to the municipalities, which will help them with their budgets.
She also said they will be looking at how other MRC’s collect fines, in order to set up best practice to avoid similar problems in the future.
Encouraging women in politics
A committee has been struck to look at ways more women can be encouraged to get involved in politics, whether at the municipal council level or at the MRC. Currently only about one third of the MRC members are female. Committee
members so far are Doris Ranger, Karen Daly- Kelly, Kim Cartier-Villeneuve and Sandra Armstrong.
A photo of the MRC’s first female warden, and the first female mayor of the Pontiac, Elsie Gibbons, will soon be displayed in MRC chambers. The photo was donated by Gibbons’ son and an unveiling ceremony will be done to mark the occasion.
Election expenses
A report was tabled detailing the expenses of the Warden candidates. Jane Toller spent the most on election expenses, almost reaching the allowable limit of $7,600. She will receive some reimbursement as prescribed by law because of the number of votes she got in the 2017 election.