"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

Thursday, 30 April 2015


A video of a black woman in Baltimore publicly beating and berating her son, maybe all of fourteen years old went viral.  

Yet another black youth physically abused and degraded in public by a person in authority and the Facebook mob yells for more of the same. 

"It's what's been missing" they yell. 

Are daily shootings, stabbings and drug-dealing in the streets of Toronto and disproportionate black and aboriginal jail populations in Canada really because of over- indulgent,wealthy parenting ?

D'ya think?

The black woman Mayor of Baltimore ,with  the Ferguson experience before her, attempts to deal with the breakdown of law and order in her community society, by  sternly referring to an angry mob as thugs and issuing dire warning of consequences if order is not restored. 

How much more dire can it be than dead at twenty-four years old with a snapped spinal cord at the hands of the police ?

In Toronto, a policy encourages police officers to stop and question young black men for no reason but to create a file in their name.

In Toronto to-night demonstrators gathered to support the Baltimore protesters. One would have to be dense not to recognize identification. 

At what point I wonder, do people in authority here 
understand ,they have already gone far too far?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


It's amazing how much a memory stores. Yesterday, I re-called the evening the Chief Financial,Officer stalked out of a council meeting. 

The issue being discussed was annual increases to water rates.

I cited  that water is a public utility. It is also publicly owned natural resource. 

I drew comparison with other utilities and noted 
Corporations such as hydro, natural gas, radio,
television and telephone are all compelled to seek approval and provide justification for increases to rates. 
I suggested a total  lack of justification would not be well received by the government agency charged with responsibility for giving approvals. 

At that point the treasurer it seemed  perceived he had been maligned and with a few pointed words along those lines, took his leave.

The Mayor turned in my direction apparently seeking a response to the treasurer's discomfiture. 

I suggested the video tape be viewed with particular attention to audio. A recess followed presumably to do just that. The CAO circled the table and the other directors left. 

The CFO returned to the table at the next meeting. He apologized to Council for his precipitate departure of the previous week. 

I never received an apology. 

But more significantly, neither did I ever receive a satisfactory explanation of why the price of water continued to escalate at an exorbitant rate each and every year.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


This Saturday is Spring Planting Day in locations across Aurora, Newmarket,East Gwillimbury and 

Thousands  of trees  provided by South Lake  Conservation Authority will be planted by hundreds of volunteers organized by Neighborhood Network. 
More volunteers are needed.

Former Mayor Tim Jones continues to be involved with the helping organization contributing to the town's well-being eight years after leaving office.
I am reminded of early years when a location for planting was denied in Aurora. 

A small example of Mormac determination  without good intent. 

A comment this morning adjures blog-readers to
move on from Mormac. Easily said. 

Apparatus set up then through staff replacements and re-organization effectively and systematically centred the control.

Recent resistance to Council's attempt to exercise budget control is a sample.

Staff obstruction to a reduction had full support of the Mayor. He opposed the motion for staff to provide information on spurious logic there is not ongoing control in the treasury dept. 

What precisely was that $440,000.software for Work and Asset management system bought in November 2011 all about ? Is it up and running yet and how much more needed to be spent to get it there?

The disgraceful episode of obfuscation took place in public. How much goes on behind closed doors? 

The apparatus set up by the former suits the current Mayor just fine. Staff can safely ignore or challenge Council direction so long as the " repository" of  control is dominated by the head of council. 

Councillor Mrakas motion requiring specific information should have been immediately amended to reflect Councillor Kim's observation the decision can be made without further ado or information. 

As the Mayor said; "it is Council's prerogative"

The unseemly tussle between elected and appointed should have ended promptly and the cut made there and then.

It may still happen. It should. 

Maybe the days of bafflegab are coming closer to an end.

Monday, 27 April 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A WATERSHED......PERHAPS":

"I've spent time contemplating blog's future.
Time for change? New theme. New design. Different focus. Starting over. Now and Then This and That Freewheeling. Still thinking. "

Personally, since you are no longer a sitting councillor, the pollitical ctitic role is no different than anyone else. you could sit in Tim Hortons over coffee and say the same thing with the same result.

If I were you, I would shut the whole thing down and enjoy the time off.

Your concern for my well-being is touching. But I will be judge of best practices. The right to criticize political decisions is a given but Tim Horton's is not the same as my comfy chair and IPad. 
Signs are this Council may be different to the last and the one before.  
Decisions in the best interest of the community -at -large might become the rule rather than the exception. 
Happier days may be here again but it's a long hard road back and the good guys will need all the help I can give them. 
Even if it's just filling in the details. It's often the nitty-gritty that completes the picture.

Sunday, 26 April 2015


In the term before last, three individuals were sued by the town's Mayor using tax resources.

A critical comment was posted anonymously to The Aurora Citizen blog. 

According to the Mayor, the CAO and solicitor were entirely occupied with the issue for several weeks.

An external lawyer was consulted for legal authority to litigate.

A further fee engendered.

The Town solicitor commenced proceedings
without specific Council authorization normally required.

The  only affidavit filed was by  town solicitor.

The decision in the case was severely critical of  the town solicitor for evasion and lying.

Separation from town employment with generous settlement resulted.  

A third lawyer was consulted by the new Council to determine if legal fees for the action should be
paid by the town.

Fee for the advice was over $8,000.

Fees incurred for the action prior to termination of the contract were  $45,000. Paid from town resources. 

Since then, further litigation by the former Mayor  to recover claimed costs of $250,000 has incurred additional cost. No final invoice or conclusion known at this time. 

The residents sued were successful in defending themselves but not in recovering full  costs. No,compensation from any  source for stress of being sued by a body with the sole function of public service. 

The case may have been without precedent but is itself a precedent. 

The town initiated the proceedings. Resources   were provided from town coffers. Incredible as it was, it did happen.

Forthright comments are welcome and appreciated They may not be published.

Discretion must be the better part of valour.


A  relevant comment received to yesterday's post is not

It takes the focus from where it belongs. 

Council has final responsibility for decisions made. Staff are accountable to Council for advice provided. 

Professional advice submitted to Council in writing should be debated and accepted or      rejected.

Council is no place for a tug-of-war with staff.
Although it has been happening out-of-order for year this stand-off is particularly enlightening. 

Mayor Dawe's fetish against "micromanagement "
does not extend to his own conduct.

The Mayor recently surrendered the gavel to his trusty sidekick, to place a motion before Council for a traffic plan of his design to be reviewed by staff. 

Traffic division is part of Infrastructure and Environment.  Staff complement includes a traffic engineer. A traffic advisory committee may still be in place. Function is to plan for safe and efficient movement of traffic.Budget is likely several hundred thousand dollars. Maybe as much as the purchase of culture. 

The Mayor's motion passed without controversy. A more direct hand in management is unlikely to be seen To what purpose you may ask? 

It happens regularly and makes for  an interesting juxtaposition. 

During the Mormac era staff were replaced,Directors responsibilities shifted under the pretext of re-organizing and recruiting requirements of the Municipal Act  routinely ignored. 

New hires were undoubtedly apprised of the source of all power. She Who Must Be Obeyed exercised unlimited control under cover of receiving advice from professional staff. 

Clumsy,ugly,inept and destined to fail, it did but at great expense. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were expended totally unrelated either to public service or authority under The Act. 

The year after it ended no budget savings were noted. Budgets have continued to climb substantially ever since. 

Reckless spending is not the only thing that didn't change. 

Saturday, 25 April 2015


I've spent time contemplating blog's future.  
Time for change? 
New theme.
New design. 
Different focus.
Starting over.
Now and Then
This and That 
Still thinking.

Meanwhile back at the ranch,Town Treasurer's excuses not to provide Council with information
on staff conferences prompts a reaction.

"it is going to take months " "to go through and develop a repository for 2014 for each staff person's training, what they got ....To go person to person,credential by credential"

Brock Weir, The Auroran reporter, has a tape
recorder on the desk in front of him. Be assured...the quote is accurate. 

Also nonsensical and preposterous.
Obfuscation at its worst. 
Flat obstruction of Council authority. 
In the circumstance, reasonable to surmise willful avoidance of disclosure of how funds are used.MIn a previous discussion,the CAO had a great deal to say about benefits derived and Budget funds should not be reduced by half.

At Tuesday's meeting, the Mayor took his usual stand and spluttered meaningless twaddle about Council trying to "manage the business" and if that's what they want to do, he knows of "six salaries that could be cut" and reduce the budget "big time"

Yes indeedy "big time" is what it's about.

He could not have been referring to six council salaries. In their entirety, that's not as much as the employee training and conference budget.

He opposed the motion because of all the work to obtain the information and Council did not know what they intend to do with it when they get  it. 

Apparently though, with the exception of Geoff and Jeff, Council knows quite well what they intend. 

The resolution directing staff to provide the information was approved. 

$100,000. is a third of a point in the tax rate. 

Not highly significant in a fifty-odd million dollar budget.

But in terms of a Council taking responsibility.....it's  a watershed ....long overdue.

Friday, 24 April 2015


Around the camp fire young ones were moving from one lap to another. Sticks were selected and marshmallows toasted. Some were thrown into the fire to flare. 
I didn't provide the marshmallows. It wasn't my place to comment.
Life experience helps to shape one's values.
Even if just a treat, for me it goes against the grain to throw marshmallows into the fire to watch them burn. 
A candle burning in a lantern on the picnic table caught  Reid's attention.He leaned his arms on the  table watching the flame. 
Several watched the four year old watching the flame, hands folded sensibly at a distance.  
Then, without warning he raised a  finger and touched the glass. The wail that rose in the dark likely struck fear in the hearts of all who heard.
Ice and various emollients were marshaled to soothe the pain. It took a bandaid for the event to become more interesting than painful. 
If only Reid could have learned without hurting himself. 
A facebook post this morning referred to a "brutally honest" obituary for a twenty four year old. She died from a heroin overdose. 
The senseless reality of the death was simply and sorrowfully stated. I found nothing "brutal".
Teen years are hazardous. Survival is not certain.
For some it's easy .For many it's not. 
In large part, the idea that honesty is brutal may be the problem.

Sunday, 19 April 2015


Council has discussed a staff recommendation to update the Strategic Plan.

Background details are scant.

Haste  and fanfare ushered in a downtown renewal plan before the 2010 election. It was the child of  Economic Development.

During  preparation, owners concerns about requirements were swept aside in the process. Unrealistic requirements don't necessarily stop development...though they look great in  text...they just slow it down for a decade or three.

A new Council was elected in 2010.

$85,000 for a consultant study was approved for review of the Strategic Plan. A new version  was adopted in 2012.

The new horizon of  "exceptional quality of life for all " and private investment in the downtown core was far removed from the town's ability to deliver.

The previous plan was straightforward and concise and equally meaningless. The five year review was on schedule. Considering municipal limits to influence events, no particular expertise was required. Nobody was battering down the doors with proposals to destroy the quaint charm of the block between Wellington and Mosely. 

In fact ,owners, including the town had jointly listed for sale the entire block of buildings on the west side of Yonge.

But simplicity and realistic expectations are not necessarily part of the planning exercise. It is an inexact science. 

Empires are built on less than this. 

The New Plan was adopted in 2012. 

On behalf of staff, the  CAO expressed deep appreciation for Council's confidence.

Years passed(3).  Time and vast resources were expended following various will o' the wisp endeavours in line with The 

The Giant  Leap Forward lurched from pillar to post.One 
Dreamy Dynamic followed another in quick succession. 

Payroll was created, re-organized,re-titled and consulted to fulfill the Grand Design. 

All for nought. Like bubbles from a clay pipe, they vanished 
like a rainbow. Except for a couple.

A final recommendation to spend millions to replace 
under-used sidewalks in the "downtown" with decorative concrete  and  stylish street furniture to create a designer showcase a la Plan was presented and failed to
gain support. And another one hit the dust. 

However, a town loan program to entice private sector investment in improvements to private property was approved.The town became a banker. 

Moving on to the current Council and a three year review of the Strategic Plan to determine what ,if anything, has been accomplished and is the town still on the right path.

Councillor Thompson is correct. 

Staff are recommending an early review. Again with the consultant fees.

Councillor Humfryes feels it can be done in house without a

Councillors Mrakas and Pirri see it through a similar prism.

The recommendation is referred back for staff to provide 
a " Report Card" on what has been achieved since Plan adoption in  2012.

The report should be interesting, likely creative and occupy time. 

No deadline  is proposed.

Friday, 17 April 2015


David Brooks spars with Mark Shields on PBS newshour. Both are acknowledged expert political journalists. 

Brooks writes a column for New York Times,authors books and teaches at a university.

Night before last he was a guest of Charlie Rose  to talk about a book newly published . The conversation was intense.

Individuals featured in the book all had achieved significant events that made a difference in other peoples' lives.

Mr Brooks was not renouncing his own success.  

He described his childhood. Dad had a record and music store and mother was a teacher. From seven years old, he knew he would be a writer. 

He described a moment of joy in his life. He came home from work ...his three children were tossing a ball about in the back yard in the afternoon sun and everything was perfect.

His children are now grown and successful in different parts of the world.  He is divorced but that's not significant. 

He acknowledges success in his career but stressed  "that doesn't make you happy" There needs to be an aspect of life 
that comes from giving.

There was more. The conversation has pre-occupied me since.

David Brookes is thoughtful, intelligent and a moderate thinker 
His childhood seemed ideal. His children were a joy and his career a marked success. Charlie Rose  is a friend and colleague. They move in exalted circles. 

Yet something clearly eludes him.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


Several comments to yesterday's post commended the advantage of donut shop employment. One referred specifically to Tim Horton and how friends initially laughed at the idea of a coffee and donut shop.
Tim Horton's was not initially an attractive venue. The  late Dave Thomas made Tim's what it became and it has moved along  further since he died. 
Though donut shop employment and potential opportunity was not the point of the post, it's not the reason comments weren't posted. 
I did something. I know not what. It caused the loss of the comments. 

But I think I also failed to make the  points I felt important.

Millions of dollar debt is owed to the province by students who graduated  in fields in which there are no jobs.

Government  contributes generously to universities producing these graduates. Faculties  are well compensated but  government offices are filled with graduates from other countries. 

Several generations of Canadian youth have already been processed through a system without a future. 

John Tory, Mayor of a city with a larger  budget than some Provinces, skims the surface of city problems with spins and pirouettes that dazzle the eye and delight the media. 

Premier Kathleen Wynne, esteemed leader, holds press conferences about a tiny step that may or may not reduce climate change, in terms  of conversation with a six year old grandchild. 

For most of its history Canada identified as a hewer of wood and  drawer of water.

Then two wars close together killed hundreds of thousands of Canadian youth and Canada became an immigrant and an industrial society.

Frank Stronach  came from Europe with twenty dollars in his pocket and became a billionaire. Mostly in Aurora. 

Brian Mulrooney signed a free trade agreement with the Elephant to the South and accepted  money from an arms dealer.

Now a city state is making agreements to subsidize jobs in the coffee and donut sector to solve the problem of unemployed youth. 

Those who survived wars and economic depressions, worked hard for modest wages, paid taxes and built schools, universities,colleges and hospitals for a better future for their children. 

Now they  find themselves forced out of modest homes, their only asset after a lifetime of hard work and high taxes, with higher taxes to buy culture for the privileged few.

The best their grandchildren should hope for is a job serving coffee and donuts.

And for entertainment, the spectacle of Ex -Senator Mike Duffy helping himself  generously at the public trough.

Or perhaps the adventure of an expedition to  Ukraine, courtesy of our federal government at a cost of half a billion dollars, to intervene in that country's domestic politics.

No lessons learned there from chaos in Iraq resulting from divine intervention of the wise and righteous. 

Wink Wink. Nudge nudge. Say no more.Say no more.


I'm scheduled to have one eye cataract surgery next Monday.
I haven't been advised not to read and write and gaze at the IPad screen for many hours every day but considering the discomfort experienced by mid-afternoon, I conclude it to be wise. 
I have a quick comment on Mayor John Tory's plan for youth employment in the city. Starbucks is to partner with the city
Along with twelve other business . Looks  like employers will receive subsidy.
It's not a new idea.
If Starbucks is a typical partner, It's not a good idea. 
Yes !Yes ! I know , it sounds like a positive step in the right direction.
Except that ....Donut shops  are not career oriented jobs. 
They pay minimum  or close to minimum wages. Subsidy  from government makes it less than minimum for employers
Donut shop jobs are not hard to find. 
"It's better than being unemployed" 
That depends on who you talk to. 
If you have a B.A or Masters Degree in Fashion Design,work in a donut shop is not a confidence builder or job experience  to add to a  professional resume. 
People who work in donut shops can hold their heads up as high as the next person for doing an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. 
But it's not the answer for thousands of university graduates with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. 
Maybe glib,fast-talking Mayor should scrutinize  the city's sunshine list for a handle why  the job supply continues to shrink. Except  for those upon whom the sun shines.
Judging by pay scales recently in the news, university teaching instructor on contract employment are not much better off than donut shop workers. 
Special Ed teaching aides were first cuts from the Toronto Boardof Education payroll  after the Province' last Settlement with teachers. 
Maybd he should think about multitudes of youngsters  coming out of Ontario Schools without basic skills and predictable futures in custodial institutions. 
I received a questionnaire from Ontario Liberals last week. I 
wonder about the salary for choosing the questions. 
Premier Kathleen Wynne wants to be able to explain to her six-year old grand-daughter merits of the Cap and Trade 
Agreement with Quebec to reduce climate change. 
A Conservative spokesperson says "the people" will not stand for price  increases which will result. 
He must have  been snoozing in the last election.
And why wasn't Christine Elliott out there supporting the agreement and giving an adult explanation for so doing. 

Monday, 13 April 2015


I took a break  at the week-end . Commented on a few Facebook items instead. 

Councillor Mrakas is using Facebook and that's a good thing. I commented on Elliot's Economic Principles but there was no reaction.

I commented on a video posted by an African-American's  that stressed his experience with police is exactly what it should be and counseled others not to be so quick to jump to conclusions. 

Tom Pearson of Aurora posted on Facebook. Stirred a few memories. 

Anna of Community Focus wrote a nice Facebook post about
the Arboretum and I offered a few more details. 

But none of that produced  further interaction. 

For me that's the only certainty that people are paying attention.I need to know my voice is not simply reverberating into space.

At least I have the trolls erupting under the bridge.

It's a lot of work to do what Councillor Mrakas is doing. He is just starting but he knows more than most beginners.
He watched  meetings and engaged when Allison  was a
He attended regularly during the last four years and is absolutely up to date. He's been waiting a long time to weigh 
In on the issues. 

Still, it's not the same as being at the table.

I can't help him there. I would like to think other than common sense there's a way  to deal with ....well you know.
But I do believe it's absolutely the right thing to communicate with people.  I just hope Facebook is the right tool. 

I think though I will stick to my blog to comment.

Friday, 10 April 2015


A thread has spun its length when comments are sufficiently convoluted as to be unintelligible. 

Mike Duffy's trial is interesting. Intimate personal details  from a daily journal could be left out but that's not going to happen. The Media frenzy has begun. 

Yesterday squishy rules for senate expenses were exposed.
PMO demands on a senator for party political events is unlikely to confound the enemy but public reaction to the underbelly of politics is never a given. 

 I have discovered a similar obscurity in Regional  rules on
payments to Councillors.

Something on Wikipedia caught my attention months ago. 

Former Georgina Mayor ,chair of South Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority, was charged by the Authority  
for illegal dumping. Media noted SLSCA suspended the Chair from his position and  remuneration.

A couple of things about the story resonated.

Although elected  by authority members to the chair, Grossi would have been appointed to the Authority  by the Region. SLSCA  members would not therefore have authority to suspend.

The second  dingdong related to remuneration. 

Salaries of Regional Councillors cover responsibilities assigned. No additional payments are due for service on

various Regional Boards and Commissions. 

I called SLSCA  for clarification. Sure enough,regional members are being paid $60. per diem for meetings. An annual honorarium of $10,000. Is paid to the chair. Conference allowance and mileage expenses  are also paid.

Members  participating in meetings by telephone conference
are paid half the per diem rate.

No provision is made  in the Municipal Act for telephone conferencing. 

I called the Region to discover .when or if the policy to prevent  double-dipping had  been reversed.

The search was lengthy. My experience was forty-three years past.

No policy was discovered . A resolution attached to a particular appointment noted no remuneration to be paid. 

York  Police Services Board has  regional representation. A Regional rep  has been Chair since early nineteen nineties. Police board members are not paid. Regional salaries are obviously. deemed to cover the service. 

In the last term,former Vaughan Regional Councillor Deb Shulte did not accept pay from Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. 

York Rehion requires both Conservation Authorities to submit statements showing members being paid and how much.

Statements  are attached to the Regional Report  on Members salaries and expenses.

Like revealing double-dipping and makes double-dipping O.K.

Thursday, 9 April 2015


"It can be assumed settlement discussions took place with other parties"

No such thing. Nor the professional courtesy of acknowledging a communication either. 

As long as the insurance company is prepared  to shovel funds in their direction,the barest of civilities were obviously not required. 

While flak continues to fly, a couple of other indices demand scrutiny.

Reversal of the company's initial denial of liability strikes a ding-dong.

What pressure was brought to bear and by whom, to coerce  the change of decision.

They were new to the municipal field. Their first contract with the northern six municipalities of York Region. The premium that won the contract was less than previous experience. 

Municipal Clerk John Leach explained to Council the company was keen to break into the municipal field.

Insurance was the Clerk's responsibility. Mr.Leach is no longer with the town. His position was eliminated for reasons of economy. 

Did the insurance company understand the field? Were they aware of the myriad of rules and regulations that circumscribe authority of municipal elected officials?

Did they believe abuse of authority and public funds to destroy a person's reputation was the corporate responsibility to defend? 

Who fed them that clap-trap? 

Or were they threatened  or bludgeoned into reversing the decision. 
Does documentation exist of the exchange between the parties? 

Who were the parties?

A first VP of the insurance company attended upon Council in the Spring and neatly skirted pertinent questions. 

A second V.P.  attended  closer to the election,clearly achieved the former objective and hit the bullseye.

He told of the company's normal policy  to aim for settlement. Stopped short of telling  why the norm was not effected in this case. Or ,why  advice of first counsel assigned was not accepted he was fired and  counsel of the group's  choice approved.

He disclosed figures of $845,000. as paid out but not the final tally. 

Candidate for Mayor, John Gallo and Councillor Gaertner were of the group receiving the benefit  from the town's insurance and refusing to settle. 

But the focus of Mayor Dawe and Councillor Abel did not lie in that direction. 

Ah Dear Me No !!! 

An added conundrum is why a VP of town insurance company  would appear at a Council meeting to accommodate a political strategy  during an election campaign. 

What sensible business executive does stuff like that?

Wednesday, 8 April 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WAKE UP PEOPLE":
I am not 17:21, but I agree that his/her question has some validity.
THEY are not hiding behind the town's insurance. That coverage is automatic. As someone being sued, you would expect two things. One, to prove innocence and Two, to not have to pay for any expenses if at all possible.
You don't have to like the people involved, but that is the system and they are using it to the full extent.
Evelyn has chosen to sue them, she has had opportunity to settle but continues on. She ran her campaigns on saving money for the tax payer. This does exactly the opposite. She needs to rationalize that for me. That is why she did not receive my vote last fall.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 8 April 2015 at 12:20


The information sought can only be provided by the town's insurance company. 

The first VP who attended on Council revealed little. The second offered selective information.

Normal company policy is to aim for a settlement, he said.
No reason offered for normal policy not being followed.  

$845,000 spent on legal fees. Having unlimited draw for legal 
fees is hardly an incentive to settle.Excessive costs incurred was the reason for 41% premiumincrease.The first V.P. who attended did not give that answer. Previous premiums were
inadequate to cover wide ranging changes in the industry
she said.

I am informed the insurance company initially denied liability. That certainly presents as logical in the circumstances .

Elected officials are protected against suits filed for corporate decisions. The action I filed was not against the corporation.

The initial insurance company decision was reversed. Defence Counsel was provided to the defendants. 
Weeks  later, the defendants chose different counsel. 
Litigation involves more than one party. As does Settlement. 
A settlement was reached before trial with the Aurora Banner,
A party to the defamation suit. 

The remaining matter is before the court and must be decided by the court. 

I  have expended substantial resources to defend principles 
Important to me. 

I regret I failed to win the trust of so many in the election. 

I do not accept responsibility for senseless,exorbitant and excessive waste of public resources.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A THANK YOU OUTSTANDING":

*slow clap* Well-played, 12:39.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 7 April 2015 at 14:20

Readers will have to check back for the lengthy comment made at 12.39.

I just read it again. 

A substantial difference in cases cited is that tax revenues,
town resources and elected authority were used and abused

in every instance against residents of our town.

Insurance indemnification of almost $845,000. has been used to defend the conduct. Resulting  in increased premiums of 41% in succeeding years. And nothing done by the immediate past Council to prevent the flow.

Responding to a  correction of my last post; I believe
the sole affidavit of evidence in support  of the SLAPP action was filed by then Town Solicitor Christopher Cooper. 

A Statement of Claim is  documentation  filed by legal counsel on behalf of the litigant.

The last Council, when elected , voted to pay fees of $45,000. for  the SLAPP on advice from George Rust D'Eye. Which advice cost $8,000.

My own was another one of those solitary votes in opposition. 

A further suit by the former Mayor claimed additional $250,000 and as far as we know, the town is still footing legal bills to deal with the matter in a court in Waterloo. 

We are talking here of millions of tax dollars used in acts of
malicious intent paid for directly and indirectly from town
revenues. With the repeated and vehement  avowal of the former Mayor that none of my money would be used"

Taxes collected from hard-pressed homeowners could never have been intended to be used that  way. 

It took former City Councillor Doug Holyday in the last term, to litigate against Toronto  with his own funds  to stop tax resources from being so used  in the city. 


Omitted yesterday were a couple of legal extravaganzas early in the Mormac Saga

In a contrived tribunal  behind closed doors,the former Mayor conducted with lawyer John  Mascarin at her elbow, Director of Leisure Services,Chief Financial Officer and CAO were called separately and cross-examined,having been instructed previously not to speak to each other.

The issue was emergency work  in the new Recreation Centre on Wellington Street to correct a design flaw. (Litigation recently concluded in the town's favour)

In a previous life,Mayor Morris graduated from a course at Seneca College and held a job for a short time at the Newmarket court house.

I was the only Councillor with  previous experience of town administration. Nothing I had ever seen bore the slightest  resemblance to the proceedings at hand. 

Neither Councillors nor staff were briefed beforehand. 

It transpired the miserable, degrading spectacle was to establish grounds to terminate the CAO without honouring his contract. 

It did nothing of the sort.

The CAO did leave. Under the terms of the contract when he accepted the invitation to join the Town of Aurora.

He was neither first nor last in exodus. TheTreasurer,second in the trio trial, followed hard on his heels. 

Despite requirements of the Municipal Act, a new treasurer was appointed over a coffee in a donut shop. Council was informed after the fact. 

Morris had an encounter with a lawyer at a municipal conference in Ottawa about the same time. 

Since Toronto withdrew from membership in the eighties, the Ontario Municipal Association needed sponsorships from legal firms, contractors and banks. They all attend to solicit 

The Town lost a property sale to the Region. An offer was made at asking price for town-owned land for regional police headquarters. The point arrived for the CAO to continue discussion.  

But Oh Dear Me No. that could not be . An opportunity to humiliate the CAO could not be allowed to pass. 

Morris and MacEachern were something to watch. My mother used to say "you don't know a person unless you live with them" . That's true. But you can learn a lot about them by serving on the same Council. 

The offer made on September 12th was never repeated. 
IIn November The  Auroran ran a story on the refusal to sell. 

Well all hell broke loose. 
A leak occurred from behind closed doors. 
Fingers were pointed 
The story was denied. 
Region Police were not planning a move. 

Regional Police Headquarters currently occupy the top floor of their building on Don Hillock Drive. 

A  lawyer the Mayor met in Ottawa was  at a Council meting to advise on the emergency behind closed doors. 

Purpose of meeting would not be publicly disclosed. 

"Ah no! Councillor Buck, you will not trick me into revealing that"  The Mayor said sagely.,

Mr George Rust D'Eye was the solicitor on hand. His first function was to persuade moi not to attend the closed door meeting.

First he asked had I retained legal Counsel. 

"Why  would I do that." I asked. 

OH! No!  he was not suggesting it. His argument continued. 

If the issue ended up in litigation,I might hear something to my financial advantage. It would be a Conflict of Interest and new legislation made it a very serious offence, he advised.

I attended the meeting. I listened to the scheme. 

With great discomfiture at my presence, the lawyer advised Council of means to deal with a Councillor who insists on following  her own rules. 

New Code of Conduct legislation coupled with appointment of an Integrity Commissioner, provided Council with power hitherto unknown.  

Mr. Rust D'Eye was  introduced as a former Municipal solicitor in Toronto. 

Written advice was requested to follow. 

I attended the next meeting as a diligent Councillor should, to discover the reason, as an elected official, I should forego 
authority to exercise my own judgement.

The report was presented. Questions were asked and answered. 

 Mr. Rust D'Eye was not retained again by that Council. 

That happened regularly. If a solicitor failed to deliver the required message, they shopped around for one who would.

John Mascarin became the regular advisor after that.

This is a post that took on its own direction.AN 

Monday, 6 April 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "YOU WERE ASKING":

Hey Evelyn...Do you see an end in sight in this brutal tunnel?

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 6 April 2015 at 12:05


A trial by jury ended but for the Judge's instructions to the 
jury before Christmas 2013.

On a motion by  the defendants' lawyer, the Judge dismissed the jury. 

After subsequent proceedings and additional cost, I was informed the deadline for the decision was December 23rd 

The deadline has come and gone. 

Silence reigns. 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A THANK YOU OUTSTANDING": 

Who is Al Wilson?


Al Wilson held public office in the Mormac regime. He filed the complaint against me with the Integrity Commissioner.

A lawyer retained by himself and five others was instructed to "investigate" two blogs written by myself and prepare a statement for publication. 

The lawyer advised there was no legal provision for a Council to file a complaint . So Wilson did the deed. The Five others 
attached signatures. 

Staff were directed to publish the statement in two local newspapers. and  on the World Wide Web. They did that but without town I.D.in the newspaper publications. 

Cost  of the publication is not known at this time. 

The lawyer's fee was $43,000 or thereabouts. It included about $4,000 paid to a P.R.firm  to "ameliorate damage " caused by the Integrity Commissioner decision. 

The complaint was dismissed. The commissioner ruled the parties had acted as judge,jury and prosecutor "for purely political purposes"

meeting of the six complainants lasting six hours, ending at one o'clock in the morning, resulted in a decision by the parties to dismiss the Integrity Commissioner .

His retainer  for a twelve months contract would have been the cost of that exercise plus the fee  for processing the complaint. 

The day his decision was provided to myself by the Town clerk was the day that official "decided  to take early retirement"

A five year contract had been signed eight months previously. The settlement would likely have been the value of the remaining four years and four months.  

The Statement  of Complaint had been read into the public record by another of the parties and the entire process was  taped for public viewing by Rogers Cable Television. 

Despite various steps taken In the process,  litigation proceeded to trial and $845,000 in fees to defend the action was reported  to Council  at a public meeting immediately prior to the last election.

Councillor John Able made the statement the litigation was about winning millions in damages. Mayor Dawe murmured his concurrence 

Town insurance premiums increased the year following, by 41%. 

The same group  authorized litigation in the previous term against three citizens . The action was ruled to be S.L.A.P.P. ( litigation for the purpose of silencing public criticism) and dismissed.  

The town solicitor filed the only affidavit in the case.  A finding in the decision was his answers had been evasive and not truthful. 

The solicitor was terminated by the new Council with a settlement.

$45,000 legal costs incurred by the former Mayor were paid by  the new Council on advice by a solicitor for a fee of $8,000.

The town is currently defending an action by the former Mayor for remaining costs in the action against the three residents. 

Additional  fees were incurred in the first two years of the 2006 term for several lawyers to pursue an action for invasion of privacy of the former Mayor by predecessor Mayor Tim Jones. 

No costs for these  proceedings are known. Records were shredded in the weeks following the 2010 election.

Former Councillor Wilson was first elected after a second campaign 
His platform was "fiscal responsibility"

Along with three of the parties involved in the recurring legal proceedings, litigation and complaint , he was not re-elected. 

Mayor Dawe and Councillor Abel were two of the replacements. 

Saturday, 4 April 2015


Lindsay's sister Is about to give birth. Lindsay's mother has cancelled Easter dinner.

Lindsay is Stephanie's friend. She has purchased a turkey. Stephanie the makings and the two are happily occupied in my kitchen. Music is playing and they are singing along. 

"Can you open the oven" Lindsay cries and in the turkey slides.

I am in my big comfy chair ,enjoying a glass of red wine and called upon occasionally for my renowned expertise. 

Do you  have string Grannie or what do we  do with giblet thingies ? 

I have whatever and I know all the answers. 

A pale blue cake iced and decorated with robin sized Easter eggs adorns the table. 

Grand-daughter Robyn in Newmarket has posted a  picture of a dark chocolate cake of her making, mounded high with candy coated Cadbury eggs  They are my favorites. It may be, they are everybody's favourite and eaten by the handful. 

Five year old Clair in Gig Harbour ,Washington declares the cake to be yummy. They will be back soon. Can't save any cake though. 

Dinner  to-morrow at Heather's house. To-morrow is my son Frank's birthday. We do not speak of which.

The gathering is smaller this year for a variety of reasons. Smaller numbers ,in the tens, means a sit-down meal can be planned. I can't remember when that happened last.

I do remember  though the first outing with the new baby and  3 year old Stephen. Swimgs at Paddington Green were the destination.

The brothers and sisters will  be together again tomorrow to celebrate an unbroken chain of more than sixty years.

I wasn't thinking of that all those years and thousands of miles distant. But I was fairly proud of myself all the same. 

Friday, 3 April 2015


A resurrected forty year old photo on Facebook stirs memories of a long and friendly association. Ron Wallace was at the start of his career and recently relocated from North Bay. 

The story foremost in my mind now is more recent.  

The Mayor and five members of 2006/10 Council  expended $43,000  public resources to retain a lawyer to read two of my blog posts for material to file a complaint with a new Integrity Commissioner.  

No provision exists in Code of Conduct legislation for a Council to file a complaint.

A statement of complaint prepared by the lawyer was filed by Councillor Al Wilson.

The Mayor and four other Councillors attached their names and in a public meeting of Council, by formal resolution, directed staff to publish the statement in the Aurora Banner, The Auroran, and on the Town's web site. 

The statement was published in both newspapers. 

Ron Wallace went further. He read the blogs and  found no words to support the complaint filed by Councillor Wilson. 

A news story to that effect was published in The Auroran alongside the statement signed by six members of Council. 

The complaint was refuted in The Auroran. 

The Integrity Commissioner was second to come to the same conclusion. He dismissed it and found it had been made for "purely political purpose"

After a six hour meeting of the six signatories, the Integrity Commissioner was "stripped of his authority" 

It was his first and only decision.

The Municipal Clerk, with a five year contract signed nine months previously, provided me a copy of the decision as required by process.

The following day, an e-mail circulated by the Chief Administrative Officer informed of the Clerk's decision to take early retirement to spend more time with her family. 

A public relations firm was retained at public expense  to ameliorate damage caused by the decision of the Integrity Commissioner that six people used the process for purely political purposes. 

Soon it will  be six years since Ron Wallace and The Auroran set things straight. 

I'm not sure I thanked him.  

I am setting that straight right now. 

Thank you my friend, I am forever in your debt.


Good Friday continues to be a significant anniversary.

Every Wednesday in Lent at 7.00pm the Stations of the Cross were commemorated in the parish church. 

Thirty lashes, crown of thorns pressed into his head, cross loaded on to his torn, bleeding shoulders, falling under its weight, finally a man pulled from the crowd of spectators to help him complete the distance to the place of his crucifixion.

At 3.00 o'clock on Friday afternoon, the oil lamp suspended over the altar, that burned twenty-four seven throughout the year, was extinguished, the Eucharist removed and the Tabernacle door left wide open to emphasize the emptiness.

And so it stayed until Mass was celebrated on Easter Sunday

Whatever else can be said about faith, it provides spirituality. meaning and purpose to life. 

The Life of  Christ and the three years of his ministry, short as it was and terrible as its end, has enriched the lives of millions since he walked the earth. 

Even if the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost angles prove difficult, one would have to acknowledge his influence simply as a man was phenomenal. 

Not much about his teaching can be denied. 

He certainly paid a terrible price to show us the way. 

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Hi Ev
here is yet another Provincial Liberal Tax Grab , I heard about this on a Toronto radio talk show yesterday which was the very first time I had heard word one about it , A funeral director from Bancroft called in to let Bill Carol in on this non publicised ghoulish tax , According to the director the tax rates have been increased and the time that the estimated worth of the deceased needs to be reported to the province is a mere 90 days  from the time of death or the appointed trustees are in default of the law , Quite rightly the funeral director pointed out that estates can be complicated and further complicated by grieving loved ones such that 90 days is incomprehensible , but no matter, the government wants what they believe is theirs whether your dead or alive , This dirty little tax secret seems to have slipped through everyone’s radar. High time it made the front pages !!
Who pays estate administration tax?
The tax is imposed on the estate of the deceased person.
The tax is paid as a deposit when the estate representative applies for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with the Superior Court of Justice.
Cheques for paying the estate administration tax are made payable to the Minister of Finance.
Tax rates
The current tax rates are:
  • $5 for each $1,000, or part thereof, of the first $50,000 of the value of the estate, and
  • $15 for each $1,000, or part thereof, of the value of the estate exceeding $50,000.
Note: There is no estate administration tax payable if the value of the estate is $1,000 or less.
The estate administration tax is calculated on the total value of the estate. For example, for an estate valued at $240,000 the tax would be calculated as follows:
    • $5 per thousand for the first $50,000 of the estate
      • $50,000 ÷ $1,000 = $50
      • $50 X $5 = $250
    • $15 per thousand for the remaining $190,000 of the estate
      • $240,000 - $50,000 = $190,000
      • $190,000 ÷ $1,000 = $190
      • $190 X $15 = $2,850
For a total of $3,100 ($250 + $2,850) payable to the Minister of Finance.
View the table that lists the estate administration tax payable for estates valued between $1,000 and $5 million. Round the value of the estate up to the nearest thousand to see the amount of tax payable.
Filing an Application for Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee
For information about estates and applying for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee, visit the Ministry of the Attorney General's website.
Filing an Estate Information Return
Beginning January 1, 2015, an Estate Information Return must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days after a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee has been issued. However, this does not apply to anyone who applied for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee prior to January 1, 2015.



A comment suggests National and Provincial Affairs as topics for the blog. The  idea is to stop writing about town affairs because nothing can be done to change things. 

I do write about the Harper Party and problems left behind by the Honourable Dalton McGuinty. Not  so much as about local affairs. Though it does seem obvious, if things can't be changed here, they can't be changed anywhere.

Rattling cages,disturbing the peace or torpor, however one sees it, shaken not stirred out of complacency is not necessarily a popular choice but the worst of the crazy schemes were scuttled in Dawe's first term in the Mayor's chair. 

Acquiescence and compliance in the community became less evident at the same time all logic became conspicuous in its absence. 

I don't think it's time  to stop writing about town affairs. 

Council's bafflegab commentary on budget control ,or lack thereoff, this week is a singular example of the reason.

The Grand Pooh Bah and His Eminence Gris were compelled to explain in garbled prose why they dusn't interfere with the administration's spending plan for 2015. 

No direction given to cut spending. Instead a diffident request  to "find savings"

"Increase revenue by $100,000 " is meekly suggested. 

While Council hands out  $370,000. to "purchase culture" and $70,000. to the Historical Society for no apparent purpose, the administration is asked to find new ways of gouging an additional $100,000 from the tax-paying community .

I have to draw attention to the contradiction in case it doesn't get noticed. 

They know not what they do !