The camera zoomed out from the golden falcon resting on the table next to Mayor Marcel Roy. Its wings were raised, anticipating a takeoff. It was a spot-on mascot for a city council meeting, even if the agenda tonight was less than explosive.
“In 2018 September in comparison to 2017, the crimes against persons had decreased by one. Crimes against property has decreased by 14,” Councillor Mel Van Betuw read in a monotone from the police commission’s meeting minutes.
“At the end of September there were five dogs and 20 cats at the shelter, none fostered.”
All of a sudden, this routine report on cats and dogs pivoted to the major national event of the week with the drop of a single word.
“The board discussed the timeframe between recreational cannabis usage by police and reporting for duty,” Van Betuw announced. “The mayor suggested it be the same as in the military, which is 24 hours.”
He continued, “the board instructed the chief to advise his members that they require all police officers to go at least 24 hours from the time of cannabis usage before reporting for duty.”
Twenty-four hours? It’s hard to call it “recreational” cannabis when you have to plan it a day in advance. Mayor Roy chimed in with an explanation.
“With all this recreational marijuana going forward, there’s a lot of different issues. Calgary has issued a 28-day no-use of recreational marijuana, which basically gets down to null and void. The military has two [policies]: eight hours if you’re doing paperwork and 24 hours if you’re doing vehicles or weapons.”
He added, somewhat unnecessarily, “once the officer is on duty, there should be no use of recreational marijuana.”
From there, it was time to hear from the youth council mayor. Unsurprisingly, the city’s youth had also heard about their friend Mary Jane moving to town.
“Some business that was discussed included cannabis legalization and the impact on the youth,” the youth mayor said. “We also talked about a youth council social media strategy. We will make an Instagram page. We will continue to discuss ways to engage the youth in Weyburn and provide entertainment for young people as well.”
Non-drug-related entertainment was the subtext–although it’s nice that the youth now have options.
“The youth council made a motion to recommend that council appoints Lincoln Alexander to fill the last vacant seat on the youth council.” The youth mayor pointed out, “Lincoln is present tonight.”
“Welcome, my friend!” exclaimed Councillor Dick Michel as he made that very motion.
“Lincoln?” Mayor Roy nodded toward the audience. “Step up, if you would please.”
The new councillor joined the mayor for a picture, jokingly adjusting his shirt to pantomime the mayor buttoning his suit jacket. Both of them grinned.
Rounding out the day’s youth news, Councillor Michel performed his civic duty by bragging about the city’s sports teams.
“On Friday, the Weyburn Bantam Young Fellow Falcons captured the league title in football!” he proclaimed. “Weyburn defeated the Moose Jaw Razorbacks in Moose Jaw to claim this title. Gentlemen: a job well done.”
“I am going to the mayors’ caucus and administrators’ meeting on Thursday,” Mayor Roy remarked. “I will make note to the mayor of Moose Jaw that we beat them there. We will make sure that this well known at the mayors’ caucus.”
Rare is the day that mail delivery gets in the crosshairs of a city council meeting.
But here in Canada, Estevan was dragged into a national firestorm over what everyone (me) is calling “Mailboxgate.”
“On August 17, 2015, Canada Post converted the city of Estevan to the self-serve mailbox model,” a gray-haired woman with the postal workers’ union ominously testified to the room of wary councilors.
“In an article in the Estevan Mercury on November 4, 2015, ‘not only were some people flustered with the loss of door-to-door delivery, but there were also concerns with the locations of the mailboxes. Some were upset to have the mailboxes in their yard.'”
Yes. In their yard–where ANY rabid moose or wayward hockey puck could attack without warning. And if you think I’m kidding about those deadly hazards…I am. But not about this:
“It has resulted in an increase in people who experience severe injuries as a result of slips and falls,” thundered the woman, “which HAVE occurred while attempting to access community mailboxes.”
After painting this dystopian image of Saskatchewan’s murderous mailboxes, she concluded her blistering sermon by saying, “we’re requesting the reinstatement of door-to-door delivery in Estevan.”
Mayor Roy Ludwig scanned the room for questions. “Well, thank you so much for coming–”
“Can I ask when you would discuss this and when we would have an answer from you?” the woman immediately grilled him.
“I think this evening,” he replied in a slow monotone. “We’ll discuss it and we can get back to you probably tomorrow.”
He quickly perked up as she stood and gathered her belongings. “And you are more than welcome to stay! I always ask everyone–no one does,” he pleaded as she exited the room and councilors chuckled uneasily.
“Bye-bye,” he called after her.
But there was no time to mourn her departure, for a series of bombshells immediately sent shock waves as far away as Frobisher.
“One lady asked me this week regarding our plants…I know we have the new planter that will be going up on King Street,” Councilor Shelly Veroba began her inquisition calmly. “So she’s asking if there’s going to be a process for perennials versus annuals.”
Mayor Ludwig mulled it over. “That’s a fair question. I know people have been asking that.”
Wait, not even the mayor knows the critical floral selection process for Estevan? What if the city is attacked by radicalized allergens? What if lower Saskatchewan is invaded by hungry deer? WHO WILL DEPLOY THE FERTILIZER?!
“I think we need to get it out to the public as to why we choose the annuals versus the perennials,” Councilor Veroba warned sternly. Hear, hear, madam.
“I also had another inquiry,” she continued in wide-eyed disbelief. “People are curious about a clothesline bylaw. They’re saying there are people out there being stopped from hanging their clothes.”
She shook her head at this sad state of affairs. “I think it’s an urban legend. There’s no bylaw. So if you hear that, it’s just rumor.”
I should hope so. Canada is the land of the free and the home of the brave, so everyone is entitled to have the wind off McDonald Lake dry their britches on the line.
“Councilor Veroba,” the mayor attempted to defuse the situation humorously, “were they suggesting we were airing our dirty laundry?”
Everyone chuckled. The postal woman shouldn’t have left early.