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All I want for Christmas is…

December 13th,2023 | Opinion

There are a lot of things on my Christmas list this year. If every one of them arrived under the collective Gatineau Hills tree this year, everyone would have a place to live, nobody would go hungry, garbage woes in La Pêche would be solved, and Chelsea would stop spending money on the things it can’t afford. Oh, and the Black Sheep would reopen, but that one’s a long shot.

We need a sleighful of treats from the jolly man, so if you’re listening, Fat Man, here’s the Low Down’s Christmas wishlist for 2024. 

Affordable Housing Money

Critics have called the Gatineau Hills housing landscape a “crisis” since Chelsea’s Caryl Green was in power in 2020. And yet our newspaper is still running front page headlines that read, “Wakefield mom has no options.” The MRC unveiled a promising housing strategy, but the only thing that will make a difference is a big cash dump and incentives for developers to build more rental properties. Quebec must also cut the PST for all rental construction projects, just as Ontario and the feds have. 

A New Attractive Offer for Teachers, Nurses, Public Workers

Teachers are tired, overworked and underpaid, and shouldn’t be working the picket lines to get a raise just before Christmas holidays – especially when Quebec MNAs voted themselves a $30,000 raise earlier this summer. Premier François Legault gave himself a nearly $62,000 raise this year, but won’t give teachers the 20 per cent they are asking for over the next five years? Kids are missing critical school time again after establishing a rhythm post-COVID. Pay the teachers, nurses and public sector nurses what they want because all three are far more important than any politician.

A Playoff Berth for the Paugan Falls Rapids

While it may be a bit too much to ask in their first season in the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League, wouldn’t it be nice to see the Rapids’ hard work pay off? It’s impressive to see players giving 110 per cent while trailing 7-1 with a minute left on the clock. Most teams would just cruise to the final buzzer, but the Rapids don’t ever quit. We’ll never quit on you, either. Get us to the playoffs, and we’ll help you steal a round. 

Returned Calls From Our MNA

Readers may have noticed that we finally got our MNA Robert Bussière on the record to talk about Bill 15, tuition hikes and other issues. But it wasn’t because he called us back. After at least a half-dozen interview requests this year went unanswered, we caught up with Bussière for a press event in Farm Point and, in classic Bussière fashion, he quipped, “I always call you back.” No, you don’t, but it would be nice if you did. We’re the local paper, and you’re the local politician. Significant initiatives on the table will affect the people you represent, and, yet, you won’t talk with them. You can do better, Bussière.

Fiscal Responsibility in Chelsea

After learning that Chelsea bid more than $5 million over what the Déry Quarry in Farm Point was valued at, it makes you scratch your head and wonder why Chelsea is tossing around cash like it’s candy canes. Chelsea is $50 million in debt, and Mayor Pierre Guènard told residents to expect severe cuts this year. Where is all the revenue from the hundreds of new houses that have popped up over the last few years? Wasn’t this inevitable growth supposed to pay for itself in Chelsea and provide cash flow for more services? Figure it out, Chelsea.

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HELLO SUMMER!

THE LOW Down is on holidays!

The office will be closed from July 10 to July 23. There will be NO EDITION published on July 17 or 24. Our next edition will be on July 31.

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A fiery 40th

Wakefield’s treasured wooden bridge – a village icon that had spanned the Gatineau River for 69 years – was a fiery inferno. Villagers were out on their docks or scattered along the riverbank, watching the structure crack and bust apart span by span – many of them, like Garnett and her partner, Norma Walmsley, aghast as the violent flames tore through the nearly 90 metres of wood in a matter of minutes. It was precisely 40 years ago from this edition’s publication date. 

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Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

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