Melanson denies blaming Irvings for massive snowfall

Campbellton — Roger Melanson, New Brunswick’s Minister of Finance as well as Transportation and Infrastructure, is denying allegations that he has been blaming the Irvings for this winter’s massive snowfall.

In a story published in The Manatee last weekend, Melanson allegedly blamed the Irvings for the 15-foot snowbanks that put a 6-year-old girl in a coma on Saturday, from what doctors are calling “extreme scenic monotonia.”

“New Brunswick is not the only province with lots of snow and trees, sure,” Melanson was quoted as saying in the story on Sunday. “But cases like these here are on the rise — no doubt about it. I blame the Irvings.”

“Of course I don’t blame the Irvings for the snow,” Melanson chuckled. “I meant the trees only — the trees are certainly their fault, not the snow. But of course I was quoted out of context, as usual.”

When asked to explain exactly what he meant by the Irvings being responsible for the trees, Melanson suddenly became angry. “I think it’s pretty obvious isn’t it? More than 6 million hectares of forest? That’s 85 percent of the landscape, greater than any other province in Canada. And now we’re seeing that people are literally sick of looking at trees. I’ve been warning people about this for years,” he snarled.

In a related development, Melanson will be announcing a new provincial license plate today as part of the “Be Aware, Don’t Stare” public awareness program aimed at parents driving New Brunswick’s ever more dangerous roads. The new plate, slated for spring release, is intended to remind drivers that extreme scenic monotonia is a growing concern in the province.

“We put a big snowbank and some trees on it crossed out with the new slogan … we tried to get a moose on the plate too, but the message became confusing, and it wouldn’t fit.”