Great sadness

It was only two-and-a-bit months ago that county council shared a toast to the Queen.

That day they recognized over 70 years of her reign and this past week Warden Kelly Linton offered a tribute  respecting her death. 

It is profoundly sad, a phrase repeated morosely by loyal subjects beckoned to line the mall near Buckingham Palace. The reflections were similar in Edinburgh as the Queen left Scotland one last time. 

This great sadness epitomizes the reality that none living today will see that kind of grace again – certainly from a Queen.

While not considered rabid monarchists, our family enjoyed that linkage with England, enough so that the Queen’s message was sought out at Christmas. Even royal weddings formed part of our upbringing, getting up very early to watch CBC or CTV. It is a custom we have instilled in the youngest of our family members.

Those roots in England and Scotland were never so appreciated as when we landed there for a convention and made a point of sightseeing along the way. Many of the street and village names here started there and in a bit of bizarre awakening, our world seemed to make more sense.

On one of her visits to Canada we were invited to attend and happily did. For a few moments at a distance, we got a view of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Memories do fade, but we remember a sense of awe and the feelings of respect as she mingled with the crowd. From her work during World War II until recent days she served as a role model for dignity in public service.

We were reminded watching coverage of her call to Britons, citizens of the Commonwealth, and interested others during the depths of the pandemic and she offered hope to see others again. It was not frantic, nor a command, but advice from someone who saw much in her lifetime. Patience in tough times and a kind word for others helps make the unbearable manageable.

Hearing God Save the King ring out within hours of her demise was jarring, but reflective of how the monarchy and life works. Life moves on.

As this sadness fades and a respectful period of mourning comes to a close, conversations will start anew about the monarchy and its role in the future. 

For now, let’s appreciate an unparalleled life of devoted service to others.

Councillors are people too

In the absence of a Chamber of Commerce-initiated Centre Wellington candidate night, people and community-based organizations have come together to organize an event for all candidates.

The Fergus Legion will open its doors on Tuesday, Sept. 27 to the public so the community can have a proper candidate night. Hosting that evening will be the Centre Wellington Community Foundation (CWCF). Wightman TV will be on hand to broadcast the event and provide a link for those who want to watch or attend but cannot. For clarity, the Advertiser has helped with arrangements. 

Much effort will be expended in the days ahead, developing a format to ensure as many questions and ideas can flow as possible. Were time not such a scarce commodity before mail-in ballots arrive on doorsteps, it would have been nice to see at least two more events. Between the number of candidates, wards and issues, we are certain venues would swell in Elora and Belwood as well. We do need to be pragmatic under the circumstances.

This current election in Centre Wellington may be the most important election in recent memory. That claim rings often most years, but decidedly different this time is the number of new faces and alliances – known and unknown. 

Without getting apoplectic, the decisions made by voters this fall will empower a group of individuals to  govern local matters for the next four years. A continuing surprise to us is the number of people who do not recognize the consequence of their vote. Bad can be very bad, particularly as it relates to finances and long-term commitments. This point holds true for all municipal contests across the province.

Finally, we want to address the infatuation and special attention heaped on mayors-only events while candidates for council wards and trustee spots sit idle. A mayor has but one vote. Yes, he or she manages the culture of council, but it is the individual councillors who express strong opinions and are called upon to vote. It is often the councillor who meets with a ward resident and brings concerns forward. They need a voice too and with the CWCF and this candidate night, their voices will be heard.

Free to speak, free to attend, free to participate. Freedom is a wonderful thing.