Monday, December 5, 2005

Here is how we start things on Bowen.

Every three years, since 1999 we have held elections for a municipal council. Every three years we have what can only be described as an "inaugural ball" in true Bowen fashion. Tonight was a fantastic example.

The evening began with a singing of Oh Canada, a blessing from a Squamish minister, and invocation from the Island padre, Shelagh MacKinnon and the official swearing in of the new mayor and council. Mayor Bob Turner missed his cue on his oath of office prompting past mayor (and councilor) Lisa Barrett to express concern that maybe he had had a change of heart. From there on in, it was all fun. Council made it;s first two decisions - to send Peter Frinton and Alison Morse to the Islands Trust, and to borrow some money so we could conclude a long time process and buy some green space right in the village. Each of the councilors said a piece with Alison Morse topping it all for me with a comment that she spent 30 minutes this morning watching killer whales feed on herring off her south shore property.

After that, the artists took over. Pauline LeBel offered a couple of songs and bestowed rocks to each members of council, Wendy Merkley, dressed as "Ricardo" and Mad Mabel passed out awards and ribbed and mocked and brought every one back to together and then present the official trappings of office for the mayor: a pair of size 12 gumboots, a sou'wester and a golden scepter made out of a spray painted plunger. Adorned in these robes of office Bob introduced me for a rousing chorus or two of "Our Island's Ours Again" and we adjourned to eat cheese, drink wine and pass a merry hour while Brenda Reid and Teun Schut gamely lilted standards in the background.

This is an inauguration unlike any that happened across this province tonight. It is a uniquely Bowen event, combining the sacred and important legal stuff with the ribald hilarity and high spirit that really represents this place. I hope to God we never lose this sense of fun, and that our municipal politics never strays from the honest good fun of tonight. If they ever should do so, may they always remember to come home.