"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 8 January 2020


A Councillor is not allowed to impugn the motives of another Councillor. Rightly so. According to rules of debate, it compels focus on the question under debate. On the other hand, when no other reason is offered in support of the motion, motive becomes the whole of it.

Finger cramps are part of my problem with blog posting...and aging of course. Commenting on Facebook is easier and very convenient. but only seen by a limited number. My grandchildren have set me up with a keyboard for my ipad and a tray on my walker. So I sit on the reclining chair with everything at my fingertips, so to speak. I’m giving you the picture to explain any shortcomings that may be with this post. The late great Andy Foote, who had the last few minutes of “Sixty Minutes” on a Sunday night, used to complain about growing old. He had a routine minimal surgical procedure and never came out of it. He didn’t have anything to complain about after that.

I never thought much about growing old. I certainly never imagined how it would be with a personal computer. In the history of mankind, old age has never been so interesting. It is my intention to avoid even the most routine surgery. Unless of course life becomes so miserable it presents as a suitable exit.

Anyway, to get to the subject of this post...a ward system for the Town of Aurora....What have we heard to recommend it? Are people complaining about poor representation? I don’t think so. If they were, why did Council decide to reduce the number of Councillors in the last election? Who asked for that? Or was it merely a step in the larger strategy? Was the ward system the real purpose of the plan?

Here’s where we get down to motive in the absence of logic. The question of wards was on the ballot already. Voters said no.

Our Mayor uses “Getting things done” as his modus operandi. It’s a good one. But not exactly what we think of when that getting done is against the expressed will of the people.

So who benefits from the ward system? Well who moved the motion and amended it in a most peculiar fashion? An amendment cannot change the purpose of a motion. This motion authorized funds for a planning study. Then amended to add unanimous support by Council for that which was to be studied. The amendment was not in order. It should have been ruled out of order.

So who is the apparent architect of this fiendish plot? Councillor Michael Thompson is the mover and shaker there-off. What do we know of the Councillor? Not a lot...Why is that? The Councillor keeps his head down and stays out of trouble. He likes the job. He wants to keep it. He is prepared to do whatever it takes. But he’s not alone.

And the easiest way to ensure the job is theirs ad infinitum is with a ward system. No town wide campaign...no responsibility for decisions made that do not affect the Ward. Easy to classify as a full-time position and collect benefits like health plans, life insurance, pensions and termination settlements in the event of defeat at the polls etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

If the pattern of Markham is followed, each Ward Councillor would receive a budget. They might share an office and staff so they can follow a private career or operate a business and milk the system for everything it has to offer.

Don’t tell me I’m exaggerating. It’s happening all around us. The former Regional Chair collected a quarter of a million a year from the Region and practiced law at the same time.

The Province obviously intended to do some re-organizing to correct the situation but got cold feet in the face of Doug Ford’s lack of political skill.

The situation is as bad as it can be. Like every public institution, municipal councils in Ontario have become their own reason for being and that is to serve the people who are supposed to be doing the serving.

My fingers have held up this far but now I have to review the copy.

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