The flag flap, going too far

by Allan Brown

Where to begin?  What’s been said that can’t be undone?  How many more negative posts must this town put up with?  Let me start here.

Taking an internal disagreement on how Almonte should have responded to the Humboldt tragedy, alerting the national media about it and sullying Almonte’s reputation across the nation has gone too far.

A  group of individuals who have not been happy with the mayor and council in Mississippi Mills, should really be looking in the mirror at this moment and trying to learn from this experience.  I’m not going to name names here, but you know who you are.  You represent a lot of good, concerned citizens and this latest salvo to discredit the government of this town has backfired.

Personally, I think the flags should have been lowered in a small hockey town like this and let protocol be changed after the fact.  I completely sympathize with the politicians’ dilemma to deal with this.   Professionally the mayor should not have used the term RATPAC to describe the ratepayer group behind once again another action to eviscerate the mayor and the council.  He regrets that. I have no sympathy for PRATAC.   These are good folks mind you but they are being led down the garden path by a few individuals who really have forsaken the traditional goodwill of this community.  The interesting thing is they don’t realize it.   They have denigrated, embarrassed, litigated, verbally abused, character assassinated the mayor and a number of councillors constantly.  A number of these individuals think that if you are not Almonte stock, generations of life here, you are not as worthy of an opinion.  I’ve read this expressed time and time again.  That is scary.

The backroom of PRATAC, the now very recently turned private Building a Future in Mississippi Mills Facebook page, was in a lather over this flag thing.  This FB page is the second generation of the old Almonte Coffee Talk that was eventually shut down.  The nasty, abusive language and attitudes being expressed on it were beyond the pale.  Even though they’ve shut the door to non-members, this is a small town, the word gets out.  A few individuals, and again you know who you are, had to have discussed releasing the mayor’s email to the CBC.  Correct me if I’m wrong.

The fact that they did not keep their eye on the big picture, the grief, the loss in Humboldt, shows a definitive characteristic of some of this group.  Self-serving.   If I was a member of PRATAC I would be questioning the implementation of their agenda, the individuals at the helm and how this action is perceived in the public eye.  This was a shameful, unnecessary, deliberate, politically motivated action that put Almonte’s good reputation on the line.  This could have far-reaching economic and social effects.  Not to be taken lightly.

A small group of individuals who I’ve seen use expressions and words far worse than RATPAC when talking about the mayor and council should hold themselves personally responsible for this debacle and the level of rhetoric and negativity we are all experiencing.  When did they get such thin skins?  You would never ever expect the kind of reaction from them about the use of the word RATPAC from the kind of vitriol I know they’ve used constantly.

I’m not against PRATAC.  I think it’s a good thing anytime folks come together to implement change in a community.  I am against some of their tactics.   Every organization has to be reflective at times if the goal is to mature and represent the good of the people in an honest and respectful manner.  If some of their officials and members are ditching your efforts, it’s time for a change.

I think this can be a watershed moment and a real healing opportunity for everyone in this town to become more respectful and kind in our dealings with each other no matter what side of the political spectrum.  This tragedy could have happened here.  Pray for safety, pray for your kids.  We are only here for one period.  I sincerely hope we all are in a healthy state of mind when the ref blows the whistle.

I will leave you with this.  If you have the time pls listen.  Written by a young man and former hockey kid in Kingston who could not sleep at night after hearing the news from Humboldt.  There is no argument.  “Use the tears to flood the ice and the prayers to keep us warm, promise me one more thing, leave the light on and put my stick outside the door”.

Respectfully, Allan Brown