What Uncle Festus found in Moose Jaw

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

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My cynical friend, who wishes to remain anonymous (Julie), likes to give political advice. The latest musings: “You can fool some of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time. That’s usually enough.”

Uncle Clary in Belfast, Northern Ireland loves his Guinness. Even his dog is named Guinness as is his parrot and cat. Life is a lot simpler for the two of them when they go off to their pub, The Crock and Bull. When he calls out “here Guinness”, both the server and the dog, parrot and cat come running. Clary always feels sorry for Roberta, his wife, who doesn’t drink. When she wakes up that is the best she is going to feel all day while Clary has nowhere to go but up.

Uncle Festus was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Given all the negative fallout from the rejection of the Liberals in Saskatchewan and Alberta he offered his services to Justin Trudeau to be a bridge to the west. Trudeau said that was a bridge too far.

Festus loved growing up in Moose Jaw where the town limits’ sign was on the same pole. And when you wanted to have a night on the town it only took 20 minutes.

Uncle Festus has decided to be the Open Mike Column’s Western Correspondent despite not being asked. He says he will be giving a flavour of the mood of the people (not the politicians).

This is his first report. Festus and three friends headed state-side for some fun in Bismarck, North Dakota. It’s a boring ride there. North Dakota is so flat if your dog runs away you can watch him go for two weeks. They found a bar with a sign saying, “Old Timer’s Bar All Drinks 10 Cents”. Thinking it is too good to be true they ordered good old Canadian rye and cokes. The owner, who was also the bartender, says “that’s 40 cents total”. They drink their drinks and order another round. Same price of 40 cents. Finally Uncle Festus’s friend Chester asks the bartender/owner “How can you afford to serve drinks at this price”? The owner responded, “A few years back I won big in the power ball lottery. Always wanted to own a bar so I bought this one and discount the prices”. Uncle Festus said, “That is some story.”

As the Moose Jaw crew sat there drinking they couldn’t help notice a Group of Seven (not the artists, they are all dead) at the other end of the bar. They didn’t have drinks in front of them and hadn’t ordered anything the whole time they had been there. Uncle Festus asked the owner “What’s with them?” The owner responded: “They are people from Eastern Canada. They are waiting for you Saskatchewanians to pay for them.”

Please direct any comments to Uncle Festus. He is listed in the Moose Jaw phonebook – the one that has one yellow page.

Once Bitten, Not Twice Shy. Tried in the past to have the two Lambton committee meetings live-streamed for public and media access. This time successful to county council’s credit as the committees are where a great deal of the debates take place. And with the shrinkage of the media often there is no one attending to report the meeting. One of the reasons councillors were opposed was the “low ratings”. So brought sure-fire ways to increase ratings as we go forward.

  • Have a Masked Councillor (just like the Masked Singer Reality Show) wearing a full-face mask and costume. Masked Councillor recites favourite sections of the Municipal Act and, for an encore, the Drainage Act while other councillors try to guess who it is. Just like on game show Jeopardy, staff give answers and councillors guess the question.
  • One car chase per meeting.
  • TV Bovine Bingo for those watching at home between council reports.
  • Nude Meetings (summer months only, based on the Jerry Seinfeld observation “there is good naked and bad naked.”)
  • Free Netflix for anyone who can prove they watched an entire meeting.
  • “Jumping the Shark” is a TV term for when a show is desperate and does anything to try and get ratings. Expression came from a Happy Days’ Show when Fonzie jumped the shark. For Council TV have an episode where a councillor jumps a shark in Bear Creek. A sure ratings winner.
  • New council format just like the Price is Right. Lots of prizes for those in the audience. “Come on down Mabel from Oil Springs.”
  • Guess celebrity mayors from across Canada in the audience to be introduced.
  • Televised live from remote locations. Survivor County Council. Hold county meetings on Stag Island. The ratings will build as councillors are voted off the island. Won’t be hard to guess which councillor will be voted off first after the rest read this column.

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been”. Sworn in as Mayor 31 years ago on Dec. 2 by friend and mentor the late Justice Bud Cullen. Was scared of the responsibilities being the youngest mayor of Sarnia ever. Looking at today’s pictures vaguely resemble the young mayor then. The red scarf has been there from the beginning along with the red ties (hundreds of them). Mayor Marceil Saddy used to introduce the Unidentified Man when he was an alderman (a quaint term) by saying “by the Grace of God and the Mistake of the Electorate”. Some days his comments ring true.

If memory is correct predicted in 1988 inaugural remarks we needed a world-wide Internet system, electric cars, digital cameras, and small cell phones so we could text and call people, annoying them 24 hours a day, along with high definition TV, Dr. Ho’s back pain relief and a Global Positioning System.

Also predicted 31 years ago the Toronto Maple Leafs would soon win the Stanley Cup (who would have guessed?) I could be wrong about my recollections and usually am.

“Thanks for the Memories”. A big salute to “Deputy Mayor” Janis who has been supportive through the best and worst of times for 31 years. Behind every semi-successful minor celebrity politician is a very stunned executive assistant. First mayor who Janis trained was Andy Brandt. He exited Janis’ Mayor Training Programme in 1980 to great success at Queen’s Park. Not like the current office holder who is in the Remedial Training Programme (still).

“Deputy Janis” reminded me that we did not get off to a good start on Inaugural Day 31 years ago. After the swearing-in ceremony allegedly the Unidentified Man called in every 30 minutes to ensure Janis was answering the phone “Mayor Bradley’s Office.” Now how could that be annoying?

Thanks Janis on behalf of the people of Sarnia for your dedication, humour, personality, kindness to citizens and professionalism. Hopefully your beloved Toronto Maple Leafs will win a Stanley Cup before another 31 years pass.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mayorofsarnia/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/mayorofsarnia If you have any ideas or comments please call me at 519-332-0330 Ext. 3312 or 519-336-8092 or email mayor@sarnia.ca.