Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Multiple Mayor-Go-Round

You know you’re getting older when you start to verbalize about “the good old days.” You wax poetic about when times were allegedly better.

Perhaps this is what Montreal’s municipal officials had in mind when it was decided that this city needed a third Mayor in seven months. The Charbonneau Commission into political corruption is taking the summer off, but its effects have been wrecking havoc like a slow moving tsunami.

First there is an unseen earthquake in the middle of the ocean, and then a wave slowly builds and works its way towards land. Next comes multiple warnings of the damage that might be hitting landfall, followed by a plethora a naysayers who believe it's just "Chicken Little" hype and then, WHAM! The wave hits and politics as we know it is wiped out! Politicians will spend the summer cleaning up, but in the fall, the ground in the middle of the ocean should be rumbling again.

And with that let’s welcome in Mayor Number 3. If you’re keeping score at home, he is Laurent Blanchard, a two term city councillor who was the Chairman of the Executive Committee. He now has the thankless task of steering this rudderless ship until November when voters go to the polls to pick yet another Mayor. This came about because the last interim Mayor, Michael Applebaum, resigned amid his arrest on corruption allegations, lasting just over six months. It’s like watching a reality show that uses tax dollars.

But what makes this new guy interesting, is that he seems to remind us Baby Boomers of the better days of our childhood. He looks a lot like Captain Kangaroo!

Is this the city’s plan? To lull us back to the 60’s; a time period we have scrubbed and polished clean of all its problems, as we reminisce through rose coloured glasses? After all, the 60’s brought us prosperity. Montreal was still the envy of the rest of the country, even Toronto. We were still Canada’s largest city. We got a shiny new Metro system; Expo 67 was THE party of the decade; the Montreal Canadiens claimed half of all Stanley Cups award in the ten year period; Major League Baseball was coming to Canada for the first time with the beloved Expos; infrastructure, and the suburbs were built up at a dizzying pace. And while the roads weren’t necessarily paved with gold, at least they were paved regularly.

During this time as kids we had Captain Kangaroo, a grandfatherly gentle soul who shared wisdom, along with his pals Mr. Green Jeans, Mr. Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose. I still have fond memories of the early mornings, setting up the TV table while still in my PJ’s, enjoying a breakfast of pancakes, wondering when Mr. Moose’s riddles and knock-knock jokes would release of torrent of ping-pong balls to fall on the Captain’s head from the sky. Those were good times.

Perhaps it’s a desire for those simpler times that have brought us another grandfatherly gentle soul who will guide us through the summer and early fall, as we wonder who the ping-pong balls will fall on next.

Boomers will no doubt remember the theme song. Check it out as it plays over a gallery of photos showing Montreal’s new mayor.

Who knows, perhaps this is the beginning of a new renaissance for the City of Montreal; a fresh start. Because, if there’s one thing I learned from daily doses of watching Captain Kangaroo, it’s that the future is always bright if you just think good thoughts.

That’s the Stuph – the way I see it!

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