"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Second Thoughts

After holding on to it for  a  couple of days, I posted a lengthy comment yesterday.  Then I changed my mind and removed it. 

It referred to nefarious activity including a fatal  street  shooting. It was connected to the wild and  woolley stories about Toronto's Mayor,  After  I posted it , it occurred to me I  have no proof of the story. I don't even know  who  sent it to me. 

What business do I have  passing that information along the line?  None at all. I removed it. I don't know if harm came of it. I know next time I  get  such a comment  Iwill go with my first instinct. 

I thought of other  NEGATIVE comments published  about politicians at all l;evels and all stripes.  which are not my opinion. 

Obviously, there's a line of demarkation.  I need to determine where that is. 

I've known  a few politicians in my time and  seldom met any who did not experience  tremendous humility at the moment of being elected.. They are people like everyone else. 

It's the   business of politics that's more intricate than one might imagine. 

The last  sentence of the  removed comment was "Time to take the blinkers off. Stop whitewashing"

But I'm not whitewashing. Judging by the number of people with a real aversion to him, Rob Ford 
is an unlikely politician. 

Yet he is the Mayor of the lmost  populous and diverse city in Canada. 

The terrible things  being said about him now,  were being said before he was elected. 

Three's nothing smooth, urbane or unctuous about the man. He is what you see. He's not handsome. Nor articulate. He's clearly bull-headed, Not easily persuaded. No artifice surrounds him. 

Yet he won a sufficient number of votes to put him in the  Toronto Mayor's chair.

He didn't steal it.  No Tamany Hall  or the like helped him into it. No ballot boxes went missing.

Winning the Mayor's office in Toronto. is surely recognized  as a Herculean  accomplishment .

Not only has he not enriched himself at the public trough, he donates his salary to charity. And that wasn't  made public until the brothers  were jointly  subject to  particularly scurrilous accusations..

So why, you might ask did The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail do what they did. 

Because for all the reasons cited above, they thought they could.

They were mistaken. 

Therein lies the  fascination. 

Whatever they hurled at him. However much the muck was raked. 

He's still standing.

And they're not looking  all that clean and tidy. 

When iyou comes right down to it, even if you know what crack cocaine look like, how do you know,
from a video, it's  being smoked in a pipe.?

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Nothing is Clarified

We  are still watching the  circus at Toronto City Hall with awful fascination. It has long since taken on a life of it's own and where it goes nobody knows.

We have seen the publishers of the Toronto Star and  Globe  and Mail  make reporters responsible for the separate stories about Toronto's Mayor and his brother. 

Obviously the veteran publications have undergone changes in policy about what they  require iin the way of  attribution before they publish a story. But are we also to believe the decision about which stories are published and where ,by journalists.  Why should that be  an acceptable  account ?

It's  not going down too well. 

Councillor Doug Holyday  said  he believes Star reporter  Doolittle has seen a video. He did not say he
believes the video is authentic.

That led the  bemused reporter to claim the Councillor was contradicting the Mayor's  statement,there is no video of him smoking crack in a glass pipe  in the company of a couple of Somali drug dealers. 

When I was first elected , a regular surprise was how often people in a  place  together, could listen to a presentation  and hear something different.   It still happens. 

Last week we watched  Mayor Ford negotiate his way through the crush and refuse to answer questions about the video Tured out he received legal advice to say as little as possible,.

That made sense. 

Then we  watched political  pessure that he should address the issue of the video.

So he did. Did anything change or improve>? . I don't think so. 

Then the Globe got into the act with the story about  Councillor Doug Ford, the Mayor's brother

New fuel to the fire. 

The  publisher of  the blog Gawker is currently being interviewed on T.V. He's being asked to vouch for the existence of the video.   There's nothing  persuasive about his  responseHe's hoping the video will surface and there might be extra copies around. 

He has collected over $200,000 to pay for the video. 

 I  see no  reason at all  to believe his story. Who is he? What's his background?  Whis vouches for his integrity?

In the meantime , the  Duffy- Wright story in Ottawa  continues at a different pace in a different environment.  The RCMP i are involved. That seems about right. 

It should result in a different outcome. 


A friend sent me this to watch. I have, several times and forwarded it to others.

http://www.youtube.com/ watch popup?v=FxnBr09n70

Monday, 27 May 2013

A Late Night Thought

When I was younger but not  young ,  if I started  reading a book, I had to finish it. 

Then I  realised  when I was halfway through  a book and still waiting  for the story to begn...it wasn't going to. So I  would put that book down and forget it.  Then it ddn't take half a book to know it held no interest , I would know in the first three pages

Then therewere massive tomes of books that took thirty pages to describe a scene. I could skip that nbumber of pages and miss none of the story. 
When  I write  a post and comments come in that I am over-reaching  or I'm out of my depth or current history is irrelevant to the story, and little else to support the  contention, I realise some read my posts  despite having no interest.

Or for no reason  other than to  take exception. 

That's tedious. It  doesn't contribute except perhaps to the  satisfaction of the person  being  negative 

I don't do this for fame or fortune. which is probably  a good thing. 

I do it to indulge an inclination to fill in the  gaps  or a  put a different perspective  in stories other people tell. 

Lisa Laflamme  a  T.V. news reader, tells her audience; "We are story-tellers . It's what people want from us"

The media has not always identified  itself  as story-tellers. They have presented as  authorities
producing well-researched  accounts with unquestionable evidence 

I think the social media is having a positive effect.  

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Scene Is Set

The Ford  Brothers have to figure out the  real enemy. There's plenty to choose . 

The Star and The Globe might just be  a front. Or, not. 

In the first place ,their business is selling advertising. If circulation drops ,they  lose sales. 

Was  the Globe selling fewer copies .?  How was the Star's circulation.

There's nothing virtuous about the newspaper business.  Business is business. 

Today we heard a  reporter  who could not  have been more than thirty, vouch for the truth of an allegation of something said to have happened thirty years ago. How could he ?

The  Globe states ten people told them Doug Ford was  a go -to  dealer for Hash when he was sixteen.  Only  hash heads could  vouch for that    Hardly likely  to be  choir boys or the local Boy Scout troop.

Both newspaper's stories have the same foundation. Shallow to say the least. 

The new Premier  Kathleen Wynne clearly does not recognize the  need  for good working   relationships with non-Liberal movers and shakers  in Toronto.  People do understand municipal government is little brother to the  Province. The relationship, therefore assumes a particular perspective. The slightest move can look like intimidation and or extreme bullying. 

The  Premier fired Paul Godfrey , the chairman of LGO, a prominent former city politician who worked productively with the  previous Liberal administration

Rob Ford defeated George Smitherman  for the office of Mayor . Mr. Smitherman  was a former  cabinet colleague of the new Premier. His greatest support came  from Provincial  Liberals. 

Doug Ford  has declared he will be a  Conservative  candidate in the next Provincial election.  He might be a  candidate for Party leadership.

The Liberal government is not secure.  Tim Hudac may be the best  thing they've got going  for them. 

Doug Ford would undoubtedly be a threat. 

Today we heard  about city services being transferred to  private contracts   from union and how many millions of dollars in savings that means to the taxpayers. 

CUPE might well be on the look-out for opportunities to discredit the Ford Brothers.

 Bob Rae has still not recovered  from his brush with CUPE . It was  twenty years  ago and he was leader of the NDP. 

We should not forget the  real cosy sweetheart deals possible within a massive administration like the City of Toronto. 

Remember the millions overspent on computers by a city employee beiing wined  and dined and   bedded by the computer salesman .It took a thirteen million dollar public inquiry to bring out all the sordid details but there they  all were,complete with elected officials.

It would be fool hardy indeed to imagine  it was a solitary  opportunity.  How many high-priced personnel  and city business associates would be more comfortable if the Ford brothers with  their inclination towards  blunderbuss politics were not in charge. 

Murdoch's Mysteries is  a favourite  program. I love the authenticity. The recreation of life in Toronto at the turn of  the century. They have pens and ink wells but they have overlooked the  blotting paper. 

The drama shaping up inToronto right now  is better than anything that could be imagined. 

And by the way ,Murdoch's superior, The Inspector , is typical Torontonian . The only thing missing is a Belfast accent. Does he not remind you of a couple of characters on the  real stage today.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

What a day it was for two days

I've hardly stoppd watching the news. The last thing I read was the Globe and Mail's explanation of  why they published unproven allegations  against Doug Ford  after spending two months ,presumably trying to find proof.

Over the signature  of  Robert Stackhouse ,The Globe states the "Ford Family" are "the most powerful  family in the most powerful city in Canada"

That would  bring a gasp of surprise  and  a wry smile to the face of every municipal politician in Canada.

As for the Ford  brothers, the most remarkable thing about them is how  alike  to every other Canadian  or to be more precise typical Torontonian , they are.

Maybe that's what The Star and The  Globe  and  Mail have against them. They're not part of the Rosedale  crowd or the Empire Club.

They're just Torontonians from Etobicoke who are perfectly satisfied to be who they are and  accept the city belongs to them and others like them.

You really have to wonder who or what  is it that has so much to fear  from Rob and Doug Ford.

John Tory has issued a warning to the newspapers. 

How much damaging stuff can be published without proof before people cease to believe anything you write.

By the way, the young things in the media keep referring to John Tory as a former politicians. 

Long  before he was a candidate for office, Mr. Tory was a significant influence in the Office of Premier  William Grenville  Davis.  

His intelligence and  sound judgement earned him great respect and considerable responsibility in  the business of the Province. 

He is more,much more, than he is seen to be.

Amongst all the momentous stuff we watched today, a snippet  appeared relating to the Royal Bank of Canada.  Apparently the Bank is anxious for Canadians to know they are no longer shipping  Canadian jobs overseas so that they  can maximize their  profits. 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The beat goes on

Yesterday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau used the words "doctored" and "whitewashed"  to describe  changes made in a  senate committee report on Senator Duffy's expense claims.

Today, Liberal M.P, Ralph Goodale used the word "doctored"  again in the same context.

Yesterday it was the N.D.P. party up to bat and again  today.

Question period in the House of Commons is in an uproar today as members .one after another, demand
answers and documents which they clearly believe exist and must be produced.

We are having our own debate about the situation in Toronto. What's wrong with that picture?

I can't see a problem.

I'm not comfortable about things turning around to accusations here. I've  removd the  negative comment  about Mayor Dawe .

I make two apologies one  to Mayor  Dawe and one  to the poster.

It was a good comment but  what's  going on  down there is unprecedented and doesn't really have anything to do with our affairs.

It has been compared to Mayor Berry in Washington . But it isn't true either.  At least  not  altogether.

Mayor Berry was arrested, charged , tried and spent six months in jail.

Now he's the Mayor again.

We've heard about a video. We haven't seen it  Many of the negative things said  about Mayor Ford  are accurate. But despite it all, Rob Ford was chosen by the electorate to be their Mayor.

What fascinates me  is  as much about the  people's right  to choose , as it is about a separate institution's  right to undo that  democratic decision.

It happens elsewhere in the world. Is it something we are prepared to accept. I don't think so.

I just heard Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday say the video under discussion was viewed  by two reporters on a cell phone in the back seat of a  car.

The conversation continues

I'm watching Charlie Rose talking to everyone who knows anything  about the horror of  yesterday's tornado in Oklahoma, bringing out  every aspect of  the disaster on people's lives and the  public response , from the  President on down  to  the people  on the ground. 

I can't help comparing  "the crisis in Toronto"

To-day , yesterday and the day before, the  local  frenzy has been that Toronto's Mayor  has nothing more to add  to the first three statements  he  already made on the  Star's assertion of a video .
compromising the Mayor, and offered for sale for $200,000 by  an American blog named  "Gawkers"

At the same time, the Mayor, it could be argued is either the victim or the subject  of the story, is  held  to be responsible for  the city making it to the late night American comedy circus and not good for the city's image. 

How can the person with nothing more to say be responsible for everything being said.?

Val Sears ,a  local communications expert  says Doug Ford's defense of his brother is the worst example of public communication. He says, it throws  down a challenge to The Toronto Star to respond . 

A marketing expert from the faculty of Queen's  University  who lives in Kingston, also had something  critical to contribute to the high level  media discussion  of  the Ford Brothers style of communication. 

So the Ford brothers are not sophisticated in the ways of big city political communication. 

 Would that make them typical or atypical of the people they represent, I wonder?

Could they be favorably or unfavorably compared to  former  Mayor David Miller or previous  to former Mayor , Mel Lastman in that regard ?

What  more  can the Toronto Star do now  that they haven't been doing  since the term began. 

The video they do not have or profess to authenticate but  confidently refer to, is the worst but by no means the first story they have told. that reflects badly on Toronto's Mayor. 

Even  news from Ottawa  and Peru about a senate spending scandal involving two  former media stars  and the Prime Minister's refusal to answer questions  has not been  sufficient to divert them  from their path. 

We watched the Prime Minister yesterday morning share with the Senate how "upset"he is about the conduct in the Senate and  his own office. 

He said  anyone  who believes he should profit from public service  should "leave the room now"

Wow,that  was a scary moment. 

But we all know that's al he could do.  A senate appointment is  good  for life until age seventy-five. 

Not like an elected office at the municipality or any other level of government .An election  holds until the next election. 

But not if you can make an elected member's life so utterly miserable they will be forced to quit. 

We are not unfamiliar with that scenario. 


From the mouths of babes

Habits are easy to  acquire.  Fortunately, just as easy to drop.  David Letterman may be politically seasonal In humor.

I decided last week when  Bea Arthur's  portrait was used , I could do without  Letterman for a while. 
The portait of the decesased  followed a bout of particularly tasteless  and humurless excess..

This week, I've been thinking about  a video seen  on Letterman regularly  during the presidential election.

Apparently a book had been written about Mitt Romney the Republican nominee  for president. A story was told how he took the family for a drive and the dog, an Irish setter, travelled in an open crate on the car roof. 

Th video showed Romney driving and the dog dropping over and tapping on the window.

Of course it could not have been authentic. Of course it was being done for a purpose other than entertainment

But at no time did I  hear  anyone suggest Mitt Romney should have to address the question of whether or not he actually took a trip in a car with the dog on a crate on the  car roof.

The election was in full spate.His image was on display . But at no time did I hear anyone demand he account  for what the vdeo depicted.

On Sunday , on Global television, Focus Onatrio  had the publisher of  Toronto Star  as guest. 

He was  jovial. Stated  reporters covering the story of the video made by  drug dealers and offered for sale  for $200,000. , are  convinced it  is genuiine.

I've seen ,on T.V.  two stills presumably taken from the video. One is a picture of a cheerful Mayor in his green football sweater, between two characters with beards and bandannas.The other I've only seen twice. It shows a figure in a business  suit, collar and tie with a pipe clutched close to its chest.

The head looks like it had been attached to the figure after the fact. I only saw it twice. And I'm  a sceptic. 

But how ard could it be? Anyone who kows anything about computers , knows hw easy it is to 
create  an image. 

Why has ithe media not  asked the  obvious question.about authenticity?

Why is  the sale of a video produced by two drug dealers, the responsibility of the city's Mayor to validate? 

He sad it  was not true. It was ridiculous. It was The Star continuing their attacks. 

Then they said"The Mayor must say something"He already  did. 

How often should he say it before being accused of protestng  too much. 

The latest headline has "Wynne and Trudeau "   mixing in. to the question. . 

Now that's rich. The squeaky clean Harper Conservatives have a video of Trudeau in  an ad doing a strip tease . The Conservatives are questioning  his judgement and fitness 

A class of Grade 5 students somewhere in Canada have cried foul. 

How is it children can see unfairness  where  adults don't?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

It all adds up to a nasty billof goods

Adam son of Colin Vaughan,is the one skulking on the edge snatching at  the scraps. He's nothing like  his Dad.

It's not easy to sort out who's who in Toronto Politics any more. If we were interested ,we  could have a better idea who's who in Egypt.

Maybe  that's what the Toronto Star is up to. Keep throwing buckets of it over Ford so that nothing else  gets  the public's attention. 

 I don't know how  well I would get along with the Ford brothers. How could I know without being part  of  City Council

But with Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday  and their team, they have undertaken a monumental task. I admire that. 

A recent clip on  T,V, showed  a series of  separate incidents of the Mayor stumbling and tripping and  generally being physically maladroit.

Think about that. 

If a teacher  or anyone else did that to the  fat kid in class , would  there be a problem identifying  the sigificance?

I don't think so.

And I don't think the people of Toronto are misled by it either.


It would be interesting to know what's behind The Toronto Star's relentless attacks on  Toronto's Mayor.

We heard yesterday about a video offered for sale by drug dealers. Robyn Doolittle, a reporter at the Star, said she had seen it. She saw  someone who looked like the Mayor with the sun shining full on him and he was smoking a glass pipe. 

What   purported to be the video was shown earlier. It looked like the Mayor with the sun shining on him being held up on both sides  by a couple of guys who looked like they might be drug dealers if it can  be said  that drug dealers look like drug dealers .

In fact, if I were really cynical, I'd say it looked like a life sized cardboard cut out of the Mayor being held up by a couple of mean looking guys with beards and bandanas

He wasn't sitting at a table. He wasn't smoking a glass pipe. If there was "crack"in the vicinity, it wasn't

What does  crack look like anyway when it's being smoked in a glass pipe . I know cocaine is a 
white powder. I understand crack cocane is ersatz. So what does it look like and how would it differ from anything else being smoked in a glass pipe?

Robyn Doolittle, is a pretty little thing.  Wholesome. Young.  She bobbed her head to illustrate smoke being  suckedin and puffed  out and talked quite dispassionately.

The decision to publish the story would not have been hers.

Probably the same person who decided on the last scandalous assertion  attributed to a Councillor 
hostile to the Mayor. 

Then there was the  story from an erstwhile Mayoralty candidate who complained ,but not really , that the Mayor had  behaved inappropriately but she wasn't sure. Didn't she say she had to check her facts with Wikipedia?

So why would Robyn Doolittle be the one giving an interview?

For a  facade of innocence perhaps ? To pretend  The Toronto Star is not doing relentlessly what The Toronto Star is  relentlessly doing ?

You have to wonder ? Who  might it be at the Toronto Star who hates  the Mayor so much they are prepared  to  risk credibility? Or doesn't that matter either any more. 

Could there be a connection to Provincial politics? Toronto is  every bit as Tory Blue as  the Ford brothers epitomise.

Then of course there's  always Colin Vaughan skulking about on the edges snatching at  the  scraps.
And  Michael Layton . And Olivia Chow. 

Maybe Paul Godfrey ,now that he's returning to his managerial role at the National Post, will  turn his 
attention to the Toronto scene. 

Rob Ford's brother Doug has declared himself a candidate in the next Provincial election. A few weeks ago on Focus Ontario, he laughingly responded to John Tory's question; "will you be a candidate for  leadership?  "

He  answered    "Will you be my campaign manager?"

He most certainly looks like he would be a passionate and vigorous candidate.

Now, there's a serious thought. 

Maybe  Ontario  Conservatives will re-discover the formual for leadership that kept the Liberals  in the wilderness for  thirty-five years. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Times We LIve In

The  media says the government is refusing to release the formula for calculating  casino hosting fees. 

Well of course they are.They don't have a formula. The Premier jumped in with both feet 
when she heard  Ottawa Mayor's yelping discontent  and poclaimed all cities woukd be treated equally, The word formula was not used.

Monday morning would have been soon enough to respond to Ottawa's Mayor. After a few relevant queries  had been made. Te first being why is the business of gaming and lotteries managed  by a board rather than by politicians. 

Ottawa Mayor's reaction to the hosting fees offered to Toronto is a perfect example., 

It's  also  why there needs to be a formula. and an apolitical body to create  and implement it.
and all the other management policies needed to govern the gambling industry.

Now there's none. Paul Godfrey was asked  to resign for doing his job as it needed to be done and the entire board has resigned , not only in support of Godfrey but a Board  like that can only do its job without political interference.

Andrea Horwath is going to hold a press conference on Tuesday and tell us if  there's going to be a Spring election. 

The Premier is hoping  there won't. 

Councillor Ballard wants the town to ask Go to send a train north on a Saturday so Toronto Touristos will visit  Aurora Farmer's market. 

Town staff are  directed  to seek dispute resolution with Bell on the Cell tower even though it was activated on  April 29th.

And Pamela Wallen has decided to sit as an "Independent" Senator and continue to collect salary and expenses. 

The Day Will Come

By resigning from the conservative caucus , Duffy  has  no  role to play in the  Senate.  He still keeps a seat and the salary that goes with it. I'm not sure  he can be fired. 

A federal riding in Markham had an M.P. once who was expelled from the Liberal caucus.  His name was Jag Badhuria.He became an embarrassment to  the government because of his conduct. 

But he could not be  expelled from Parliament. Markham  voters collected petitions for him to be removed as their member and a by election held. But that  never  happened. He had been elected to the seat and there he stayed until the next elecition.

He even went on a trip to Asia at  public expense  while having no role to play in the House of Commons. 

In the next election, he  again sought the  Liberal nomination. 

I'm not sure I've  ever heard of a Senator being  removed.  A retirement age  of seventy-five was introduced  a number of years ago. 

A recent retirement of a Senator who was suffering from Alzheimer's   was in  the news  but that  probably only happened when the facts became public.

Duffy's situation may be  enlightening to us all.

The Prime Minister's handling of the situaition has not been impressive so far. How long he can turn a blind eye to the situation remains to be seen. 

I don't think the story is going away soon. 

Contrast it with the firing of Paul Godfrey and  resignations of eight members of the Ontario Gaming and Lottery Board. 

Not much grace was attached to that.  The Premier blunders in to the question of an equalising factor between cities. She declared on a Sunday night that Ottawa would receive the same as Toronto. It's unlikely she paused to discover the facts. 

Now we hear it was Charles Sousa who fired Godfrey and then the story was leaked. 

Charles Sousa was a rival candidate for the leadership. He is a provincial member from Mississuaga 
Probably knew all about the cancellation of the generating plants. Formerly associated with the Royal Bank of Canada.

Paul Godfrey was probably paid an adequate salary for the job of Chairman of OLG. Still the job was a public service. 

Dalton McGuinty saw fit to keep hm in the job. His performance  must have been satisfactory. 

Paul Godfrey started as an alderman in North York. His successful career has been  very public. He is an icon in the Jewish community.

There's something mean-spirited in the Kathleen Wynne government that couldn't handle the separation  with  more class. It's not worthy of a government. 

They may rue the day.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Truth and Consequences

Paul Godfrey is out as Chairman of Ontario Lottery and  Gaming, Government confirms.

 That was Kathleen Wynne's first blooper.

Ottawa's Mayor  demanded equality in hosting fees between  cities .  Without waiting to see how things work  the brand spanking  new premier  assured Hottawa  there would be.equality. 

As f the two cities are the same. 

Right there ,  ignorance and recklessness sounded a warning knell. 

Even with Toronto Mayor's support ,the vote for a casino  was not a slam dunk.  

The deal had to appeal  With a good deal ,the Fords could easily persuade the  people of  the merits of a casino outweigh the negatives. 

Jobs and revenue  and  jobs are  always good persuaders. 

The government is refusing to release the formula forhosting fees. Of course they are.  It would  certainly show wrong the Premier was, when she  charged into the discussion without  first consulting with the agency in charge. 

Chairman Godfrey out  on the eve of a strike at the LCBO   cannot be seen as a plus. 

An election now   would  mean  the Liberals  tossed for certain sure.  

No business can take confidence from this performance.  

All the elaborate planning for McGuinty to  step aside to escape  consequences for a political decision that cost  Ontario's taxpayers and hydro users  millions  of wasted resources. 

I heard ion Focus Ontario, most of the money  squandered  for an extra seat to keep the Liberals in power must be recovered in higher hydro costs,

The consumer pays.  Of course we wll. Don't we always?

If Andrea Horvath votes to keep them in  power in the  face of cmplete incompetence , the NDP will carry the  overflowing can.  .

Kathleen's winning smile will not  help Ontario's voters  to forget  their  troubles. 

The entire OLG board has resigned with the ouster of Paul Godfrey. 

Oh dearie me . 

A few dibs and dabs

Grant funds are included in the town's budget.

Any Aurora group or individual  is entitld to make  an application for financial support from the fund.

There is criteria and if they qualify and there's money  in the budget they might be successful.

But only if they make an  application.

We often hear  criticism from  a food bank supporter for not providing funds to their charity.

The answer is simple.

Everything the  food bank receives   is by  voluntary donation  from the community.

The   region, province  and federal government  are responsible for adequacy of social services and assistance. Consideringthe vast majority of those on social assistance are children  I think it's scandalous  for there to  be reliance on a food bank.

During Tuesday's meeting ,Councillor Gallo referred to funds   for Councilors to pay for tickets and such to support various charitable organisations. He thought it was hypocritical to suggest ,it was not right to buy those tickets.

I had to remind Coucillors it is for the individual to decide wheher to appear to be supporting a charity and all the while using taxpayers money to do so.

I never have.

I do not criticise those who do.  The policy pemits it. But I don't care  to be called a hypocrite either.

BTW  nothing in the correspondence from the Craigs , Curator of  Georgina Military museum
indicates the museum is a charity.

The letter noted there had been generous support from  Georgina. At the  same time , his Wednesday missive acknwledged the answer to the request for funds would likely  have been  the same  had  the request for funds  come before Council.

That  only added to the mystery. 

Agenda Item 6

It was a memorandum requiring direction from Council.. Attached were two letters soliciting funds. One from  Georgina's Mayor and a second from an outfit claiming to be operating something called a military museum in Georgina.  After the meeting  I learned it occupies the burger and french fries stand  at the corner of the road turning into the Village of Sutton.. 

The request was for Aurora to purchase 100 tickets at $5. a shot and distribute them between Legion members and cadets.

I hadn't read the letters until  now.

It's a good thing. 

Councillor Ballard who seems to be a one man cult of all things  military was first up with a motion to 
buy tickets as requested by "The Craigs" 

Several  argued in support.  I didn't. The debate went around the table twice before it was settled with the motion defeated.

Today we received an e-mail from Mr.Craig. He is a Councillor in Georgina. He said the vote would  likely have been the same in Georgina Council. He was responding to an e-mail from an Aurora Councillor willing to buy ten tickets out of his own pocket and hoped others would do the same. 

I will not .

The Craig's letter promoting ticket sales was accompanied by  a letter from Georgina's Mayor Rob Grossi.  He said;

     "The chance  to visit our museum and take this memorable journey should not be missed by anyone. I invite you to seize the opportunity to view these extraordinary exhibits and celebrate with us onMay 5t for "Georgina Salutes".I would ask that you support the request of the museum's Curator and purchase the amount of tickets suggested, to distribute to associates and members of your community, so that they,too, can honour  the memory of our fallen soldiers."

That's what he  said. 

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of every year for close to a hundred years  people the world over have  remembered those who  paid the  ultimate  sacrifice in war.

Few homes  were unaffected. 

We do not  use artifacts of war to remember our dead or honour their memory

Thousaands of stories have never been told.  Veterans who saw active combat spent the rest of their lives  trying to escape the memories. 

Despite the sacrifice, its clear  no lessons were learned .

Nichola Goddard is a name that quickly comes to mind 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


A few months ago  Council received a report on a renegotiated contract with the Culture  Centre  Board.The  Recreation Director and town solicitor were occupied on the project for eight months I believe. 

Space was to be turned over for museum purposes. We understood the space might be available by May 1st. 

Later we had a consultant's report on the museum collection. That too took several months to complete. Mr.Downey was assigned to that  project as well..

I am not normally impressed with consultant studies. Most are  a compilation of information obtained from talking to staff. Public input  is usually provided by the same small group that take an interest in stuff like that. 

They are very well-meaning  people but their numbers are negligible and as   representative of the ccommunity, they are not.

The  report on the museum collection was substantial. An inventory was completed. The value of the collection was authenticated. The condition of textile artifacts were determined to be in dire need of attention. Some artifacts were determined to be missing. 

Storage was also determined to be  inadequate

The  building as a suitable repository and exhibition space was  determined to be exemplary. Which wasn't surprising considering we spent $2.3 million renovating it for a modern,state of the art home for the Aurora museum.

Good work was done  by the consultant, the director and a curator.  We were ready for next steps.

We did not take the step. After spending tens of thousands of  dollars on a study , we did not act. .

A majority vote, including the Mayor and Councillor Pirri ,decided no action  should be taken  until after the Culture Master Plan was completed. 

It wasn't even started,

Last night we approved reconsideration of that vote . It will happen at the next  meeting. 

But that's not what I wanted to tell you. 

An exhibit was hoped for on July1st. But a problem presented. The Culture Centre  does not open on
 Statutory   holidays wen people are free to recereate.

We learned the space allocated for the museum would not be available until after November. The Culture Centre  had accepted  a booking in November

The Farmers Market  will be accommodated  .

Free of cost. 

That's what  I forgot to  tell you.

Jesus wept. 

Humpty Dumpty sat on a stool. Humpty Dumpty was a greedy fool, Obviously

Robyn was here yesterday. Added a couple of apps to my ipad.

 So, I've been listening to news 
The updated story about the Illustrious Senator Mike Duffy. Who perched on a stool in the  loobby of Parliament for years and was acclaimed for his erudition by politicians of all stripes. 

The gilt has  worn off the gingerbead so-to-speak. Senator Humpty Dumpty Duffy turns out not to be  so  squeaky clean  as to justiufy his appointment to the August body of the Senate.

Seems  Prime Minister  Stephen Harper's  Chief  of staff made a gift  of $90.000 to Duffy to repay  the ill-gotten gains siphoned from the public treasury.

The  Prime Minister's Chief of Staff is apparently a multi-millionaire.  He just handed over a cheque as a gift. He's probably the one who advised the Prime Minister he needed a new image.  One with a personality. 

We had a conversation about that on Sunday at the family gathering. The consesus was the effort has failed.  Events  contrived to  create a warm and fuzzy feeling about Stephen Harper have  all been for nought.  Slightly nauseating in fact. He is still minus a personality.

Now we have  the Honorable Peter Van Loan making statements about Duffy having "shown leadership" by re-paying money he should not have claimed in the  first place. 

You have to wonder what kind of air freshener they us  in the  Halls of Parliament  that makes them think  people can be taken in  so easily. 

They continue to add insult to injury.

This  observation is not an  advertisement. It is not paid for by anyone .

It is written by me, myself, alone. 

What kind of fools do hey think we are? Or maybe they don't. Maybe they are just so G.D. arrogant they think they  don't need to worry about what wethink 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

It's too much to bear

What a nightmare  for the family of the young father .

How will they ever come to terms with his death?

Magnificent Magnolia

Monday, 13 May 2013

We will return

The jury  was  to have been chosen tomorrow.  Wirnesses  might have been  called.
For a reason, not my business to release, it will not happen.

It will be November before it proceeds.

I believe I can say without repurcussion, the  most difficult  aspect of litigation is not being able to share the experience.

In November, it will be fifty months since Notice  of Intended  Action  was  delivered.

The second difficulty is not having control of the processs.

In the  meantime, there's Labrador, a lovely day with my family yesterday and summer ahead.

Tomorrow our attention will be re-directed.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day

I  received a comment yesterday that Council is a horror story. To the extent conversation on this blog might be  partially responsible for that impression,  because I am the story teller, I would like to correct it.

In contrast to the last Council, there really is no comparison .

I doubt there is a more transparent Council anywhere. We talk about everything. If the decision isn't going the way the Mayor wants it , there's  often a deferral and  the decision  nay well be reversed.

If Councillors allow themselves to be persuaded  by something that wasn't discussed in the open
that's transparent.

It's not hard to follow . I think  knowing about it is wholesome .

Councillors Gaertner, Gallo and Ballard ,for  a reason I cannot fathom, appear to be determined to past battles not their  own. Gallo not so much.

They were  elected on their own merits.  Voters chose them from a slate.

Other candidates  would not be  wasting  precious time trying to get them defeated. Their effort would be taken up trying to get themselves elected.

Why  the trio would squander opportunity continuing  to fight  battles lost is quite beyond

I run for office because I don't know anyone else who would represent me the way I want to be represented. Over the years. there  have  always been enough people to vote for me  to represent them  as well.

I revel in the opportunity. But I'm not there to generate a  slumber zone around me. I  like to feel
 electricity. It's how we all know we are alive.

So I contribute to the environment of Aurora Council. People adapt. As long as I'm there  everyone  gets  drawn  into the conversation and  we all have a jolly time fiercely or not ,   expounding  our various  views and no harm done.  Sometimes  meetings are  volatile but  mostly vigorous at least.

Why would anybody want it to be different ?

We are alive. Let's enjoy the experience .

It will not come again.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Not precisely flotsam

I have a few minutes between working and taking sustenance. Not long enough to write a post.
Nor could  I give it my full attention. Which my detractors would undoubtedly say 'Thank
Goodness for small mercies.

I am occupied on my computer. Giving my full attention to  the task in hand and getting  into the swing of it. Time is of  the essence.

I dearly wish I could share . But needs must... I can't.

Not until the fight is over and perhaps not even then.

I am engaged in an entirely different experience and discovering  the fight is fought  not at  all as  one might  expect being in a different arena and  all.

We are  considering a new "Procurement Bylaw" at  Council.  It gives staff authority to spend up to $200,000. without   deferring  to Council.

At the moment it doesn't look like it will fly. But it has  been  deferred for a month  Which often means  an issue comes back  with a changed mindset.

I pointed out to the Mayor his support is probably due to his experience in he private sector.  Where a company owner makes a decision and passes on to  his trusty staff  the authority to carry through without further consultation.

Of course it's speedier. More efficient.  It is also private not public business. If a mistake is made,
the resources at risk are also private not public.

Not so, said  the Mayor. It's how the Region does it.

I went to  the Region's inaugural meeting.  I  listened  to the Councillors introduce themselves, their families, their campaign organizers and all and sundry.

I am not persuaded  the Region  has an act I wish to follow.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Mask Wearers

"Give a man a mask and he will tell the truth."   Sounds like an argument for anonymous comments  to blog posts.

Harrison Ford was a guest of Charlie Rose  to-night. The talk was about his  character role in the movie about Jackie Robertson , first black player in white U.S. baseball. 

Later I watched a program on  TVO  about the life and times  of  William Shakespeare . I am now not sure where the quote  above emanated but I think it was from Ford  the actor  on playing  a character role and assuming a different personality.

I've had to attend to other things in  the last several days although I have read  the comments  and incoming mail .One e-mail  respectfully sought a response .

It stated different positions of the Toronto  and York Region Boards of Health on cell  towers and
phones and asked me to explain.

The Toronto Board's position in the nineties was that evidence  of  harm from cell towers or phones
is not certain.  Therefore  the  Board  recommends  100% more of whatever for protection than the Federal recommendation.

I did write a response , Then I decided adding my two cents worth  to the different positions of various expert authorities,  would  add nothing to the discussion so I  deleted  it and decided to spend the rest of the evening  listening and hoping to hear something  illuminating.

In the late news, skin experts were talking about  the  risk of  skin cancer from exposure to sunshine.
The last  medical spokesperson  noted behavior does not change with knowledge. People still do what they  like.  Even when they've had a bout with skin cancer they will expose their skin without  applying sun block.

For some reason it made me think of a comment I wanted to make  for several weeks.

Andy Rooney was a popular curmudgeon who ended  Sixty Minutes  every Sunday night with a custy comment. He was in his mid eighties. Still doing a job he  excelled at.  Wood work  was his hobby.  He complained regularly about the indignities of growing old. 

"It sucks" he said,

All of a sudden, so to speak, he was dead.

He had minor surgery  for a simple  ailment and died from  complications of  the surgery.

I could imagine what he would have had to say about that,

How could there be complications from minor surgery for a simple ailment?

Either there is no such thing as minor surgery or  a major mistake was made in the process.

Thanks to all you masked commenters for keeping things going  during the last few days.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Ye Shall Not Pass

I've said it before but never with such vehemence as on Tuesday

I startled myself.

I related an incident from  the term previous to last. Hydro Ontario proposed increased power
on overhead lines.

Tim Jones was Mayor. Morris took ownership of the issue. The pot was stirred to a roiling  boil.

A person with the title of doctor was invited from Trenton University to testify  children  could contract leukemia from hydro wires. The last time she was on the scene, a  pedlar's suitcase of gizmos  was displayed to protect people from "dirty" electricity in their homes. Like from light switches and wall outlets.

A particular meeting , organized by Morris, brought  enraged residents  to a face-off with Hydro officials . An angry male demanded the name  and address of an official  so that he could be sued  when the resident's ten year old  was diagnosed  with cancer.

The crowd  roared with laughter and applauded  the genius of his wit.

I thought; My God man, are you listening to whst you are saying?

My  reaction grows every time I hear someone use grevious  perhaps fatal harm to their
children as a reason for bureaucracy to  be doing something different.

Until Tuesday I've stayed  calm.  I've pointed  out choice of domicile is still a personal decision.  I've stated  if  I believed my child to be at risk, I woild not  wait for  bureacracy to make the decision  that would remove  the risk.  I would waste no time removing my child pretty damn fast.

On Tuesday night, driving home, I had to come to terms with my fury.

This argument  is constant.  We give it a pass.

I thought of parents and children who, every day endure the unendurable, the terrible reality of childhood cancer, the desperation, hope dashed  time and time again  and for many the inevitable end  and  the sadness that never leaves.

The  child who wasn't allowed to grow up.

I thought of the difference, ,if all  that was needed was a change of address .

I understood my  anger.

While so many  continue to endure the worst of life's experience, properly-owners casually refer to the awful possibility of harm to their children as a reason to bludgeon  bureacracy to bend to their will.

It cannot  and it should not be allowed to pass. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Play's The Thing

 A comment last week  said it must be hard to maintain objectivity at Council and  everything is depressing.

It's not hard . Nor is it depressing.  There has never been a time when Councillors were so much exposed under the microscope. It takes getting used to. And living  up to.

I  have an advantage. I know stuff  other Councillors do not.  

For example ,when  spectator benches are full and many choose to be belligerent, others are there to hear and understand the right way of things. 

Councillor Gallo commented this week, people have a right to represent their interest.  Of course they do. 

Councillors have the same right but they also have a responsibility  to  reflect different perspectives.

A  modern Canadian community is not a medieval oligarchy. We have no ruling class.

Council  is political theatre.  Supremely authentic .

The play is perfectly cast. Each writes and delivers his own lines . He plays his own role without flaw.

Says  exactly what he intends.  No time or opportunity for re-writes. 

The  Mayor is the lead character.  If he fumbles, he fails and the  play brcomes jagged  and hard to follow.  

But the fault is clear.  

My determination to be frank and free without fear or favour, makes mine a pivotal role and puts others at a disadvantage. Clumping together in  a majority is an exercise of power.  But the audience does not neccessarily  have a postive view of it. 

Critics abound  

The list of characters is complete  with  the  notable exception of romance and sex. 

The  wise one, his nemesis,  the victim, the  foolish one, the scurvy knave  all have parts.

The hero's role  has the potential to shift from week to week.

Thisplay has a four year run with an option for  an extended booking.
It's real.
It's contemporary history.
It calls for skills that must be learned.
It's an incredible privilege.
An opportunity to make a  difference.
And well worth while. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

It's so Easy

 Development charge fees deferred in the  extended agreement between the town and St. Andrew's College are over two  million dollars. NOT  $240,00.

And that's only for the current building plans of addition to the dining hall and ice arena.   A deferral for the building program in 2002  was already in place.

My main concern is  preferential treatment  for St. Andrew's over other "stakeholders " in town.

Not so much what we are doing for St. Andrew's as what we are not doing for others rquiring building permits from the town.

No payment up front for Development charges. No building permit.

It's as simple as that.

I daresay every  building contractor in the town could make an argument about why
development charges should not be paid on the basis of this or that benefit  to the community.Not the least would be revenue from  new tax assessment.

Development charge revenue is easy money. Easy come. Easy go.

A project recently approved calls for ornamental lighting on Wellington Street. It is  being extended
towards  the town centre.

It is being paid for with development charge  reserves.

The theory justifying  CDs is that growth must pay for growth.

How does new housing create a need for ornamental lighting.

Development charges  are taxes. Every new home carries a hidden tax of at least  $50,000  for the levy alone.  Property assessment calculated on the basis of  sale price means the  homeowner
pays taxes on taxes forever and a day.

Politicians talk a lot about integrity in government . Codes of Conduct and Ethics Codes are bandied about like candy.

I don't find integrity in providing relief from DCs for one and not  another.

I don't find it in taking the loot to pay for  projects  made neccessary by growth  and spending it on projects  that have nothing to do with growth.

New homebuyers have no idea how  much the price and the mortgage for their homes has been jacked up with hidden taxes.They  would rather not.

Builders do. But  they are mostly interested in just getting on with the job. They complain. But they pay up. They just pass the cost on as an overhead  to the buyer.

But I know. Municipalities take it because we can. Not because it's right.

It's found money. There's no accountability.