"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

Monday 28 December 2009

A Sideshow

last year gave a hint of things to come.

Professor Robert McDiarmid of York University, by invitation of the Mayor, made a presentation to Aurora Council. He had carried out a study and claimed a connection between contributions to candidates by corporations and unions and planning approvals. He was unable to close the final link in the chain because votes in public planning meetings are not recorded . So he couldn't prove his theory.

No matter

He was not disturbed. He did a masterly job of convincing himself he was on to something real. Insinuating wrong -doing against others is modus-operandi of the Mormac regime so the Professor's theory was a good fit.

McDiarmid pulled a few figures together from a number of GTA municipalities and did what academics do. He wrote a paper.

He checked councillors' campaign expenses against a list of planning approvals and leaped over tall buildings to the conclusion that councillors had sold their souls.

Aurora wasn't one of the municipalities he scrutinised. No matter. He was sure the particulars were the same here.

Subsequently the Professor was a panel guest on Rogers T.V. He had much to say on the subject.

Don Cousins, former M.P.P. and former Mayor of Markham was also a panellist.

Heady with the attention, McDiarmid contended candidates should not even be allowed to finance their own campaigns . He seemed to suggest campaigns should be financed from public funds.

They are. Partly. But not at the municipal level. Mr. Cousins dismissed the Professor's ideas.

"Nobody would put their name forward for public office with all those rules" he firmly stated.

Then the Province put forward new rules about who should be allowed to contribute to candidates' election expenses and they imposed limits.

Professor McDiarmid declared his ideas vindicated.

The problem is. The Professor doesn't know, how much he doesn't know about municipal campaigns.

A few weeks before the new rules, I was a guest at a well attended Liberal fund-raising dinner where M.P.P. George Smitherman's political career was being celebrated. Scant weeks later, Mr. Smitherman declared himself a candidate for the Mayoralty of the City of Toronto.

Such a campaign will undoubtedly cost millions of dollars. Does anyone imagine funds raised at the Liberal fund-raiser in his honour, would not find their way into Smitherman's campaign coffers?

Does anyone believe funds raised do not come from people who need to ensure smooth passage to people with decision-making power ?

Does anyone think for a minute, if John Tory throws his hat in the ring for the Toronto Mayoralty, Toronto Conservatives will not avail themselves equally from the same pool of resources.

It will be a battle of Titans. Few holds will be barred.

We will hear Shakespeare lines and Churchill quotes and probably little that's original . Scheckels will be scattered plentifully along the way.

Money will still make the difference despite Professor McDiarmid's puny efforts and new Provincial regulations.

Here in Aurora, we will continue to scratch happily like free-range chickens.


Anonymous said...

...er, that would be George Smitherman, not John.

Anonymous said...

I see you've corrected it.

You're welcome.