Many people expected some creative positive spin in the Chatham Daily News following revelations that Chatham-Kent lost a factory to Tillsonburg because nobody bothered to follow up with the entrepreneur. We weren't quite expecting to learn, in the true symbiotic photo-op style mayor Hope and the newspapers are famous for, that Hope has been busy rolling the dice promoting Chatham-Kent using his own unhurried technique.
Mayor Hope believes the future of Chatham-Kent lies in being included on a square of a special edition Monopoly board game. In a way, such trivial pursuits are only fitting for a mayor that treats our tax dollars like play money.
No doubt, he wants his auspicious caricature posted prominently above a less conspicuous "Chatham-Kent" label. In his mind, we needn't pursue meaningful business leads when we can compete with the likes of Toronto, Shawinigan, and Kawartha Lakes for a slice of cardboard rec-room notoriety.
This is an interesting strategy for prosperity. Somebody should remind him that monopoly money isn't real despite having numbers in big, friendly, easy-to-read denominations. Of all the factors potential investors consider when choosing locations to do business, inclusion in a Hasbro game is not liable to tip the board in our favour. It certainly didn't help the establishment formerly located at 745 Seventh Avenue.
With little record of substance to defend, we are only too accustomed to peculiar events staged to promote the mayor instead of the mayor promoting Chatham-Kent in a manner that's meaningful to investors. Mayor Hope continues to act as a lame duck leader, content to take instructions from handlers and smile for his daily media appearance waving from the window. There are still a couple of potential scandals he may need to spin before he uses up all the newspaper's film. Of course, they've had to go digital to accommodate all his photo needs.
Is this board game a genuine opportunity to promote Chatham-Kent, or simply one more in a long string of games - like missing meetings to tip-off basketball, missing conferences for some PR to announce the Olympic torch, and ignoring Retrofest to watch baseball in Tilbury? Even if it has merit, Hope's intentions are already suspect based on his Peter-and-the-wolf grin.
Nevertheless, we might as well cheer for our hometown. The mayor claims we can vote more than once, and his election ethics have already been exonerated so we should trust he knows how to work the system to his advantage. Visit www.monopolyvote.ca to vote early and vote often. If Hope gets his dream, Chatham-Kent will bump the Boardwalk. Being an election year, perhaps voters will remove these distracting games from the mayor's office with a long walk down a short board.
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