Scripturient: Thoughts on local municipal governance

A popular political theory presents two basic and often contradictory models of how elected officials should (or do) behave as representatives. One is as a delegate: solely acting as a representative of the people who elected them. The other is as a trustee, serving (or attempting to serve) everyone under their governance. In practice, these ...

Scripturient: Madigan’s motion jeopardizes town

On January 15, Councillor Bob Madigan made a motion (seconded, of course, by his puppetmaster, Deputy Mayor Saunderson) to limit the progress of the Indigo/Eden-Oak/McNabb development at the south end of town. Madigan’s motion demanded that, …council provide no further approvals to the Eden Oak/McNabb development until such time as council as a whole has ...

Scripturient: Bullshit and hypocrisy again

You have to hand it to our Deputy Mayor: for all his many, many faults, he does do two things remarkably well: hypocrisy and bullshit. Neither does he do in halfway measures. No, when he dons their mantle, he wears the emperor’s new clothes with pride, head to toe. At January 15’s council meeting, Brian ...

Alberta Politics: Go figure! St. Albert report claims city will need 10 more cops because marijuana will soon be legal!

PHOTOS: St. Albert’s iconic City Hall. Below: St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron, City Councillor Ken MacKay, anti-smoking lobbyist Les Hagen, and former mayor Nolan Crouse. ST. ALBERTA, Alberta An arresting news story in a community newspaper on Saturday claimed Ottawa’s plan to legalize marijuana this summer will result in more than $3.5 million in additional ...

Scripturient: Who ya gonna call?

This song keeps running through my head: If there’s something strange in you neighborhood Who you gonna call? (your councillor) If there’s something weird And it don’t look good Who you gonna call? (your councillor) With apologies to Ray Parker, composer of the Ghostbusters theme song. More than three years after I left council, I ...

Scripturient: The report The Block don’t want you to see

Late last year, BMA Management Consulting produced a hefty 517-page report called a subsequent one for 2017* that examines a wide variety of socio-economic indicators in more than 100 Ontario municipalities: taxes, user fees, population, average home value, water/sewer, economic development programs and more. As Owen Sound notes on its website: The study identifies both ...

Scripturient: What became of Better Together Collingwood?

Rather amusingly, the Better Together Collingwood website is still online. The latest event noted on the site is a rally for Monday March 25, 2013. Its Facebook page also remains intact, although the most recent post there is dated Jan. 15, 2015. But what are stale-dated entries about non-existent activities of a fake association among ...

Scripturient: Brian suddenly realizes there’s a budget process.

Over on BBFFWS (Brian’s BFF’s Web Site) is a sort-of-a story about Collingwood’s 2018 budget. It’s really just some comments about a document this council won’t even get a peek at until sometime in late January, and won’t get through the approval stage until late spring or even early summer. Even though all of our ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: King Street. Where T.O. business goes to die.

Did you hear the exciting news? The streetcar pilot project on King Street in Toronto is moving people faster. What for, we are not quite sure. It seems that in the evening rush hour, you can potentially get home for dinner five minutes earlier. For whatever it is worth, you can also get to work ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: A station ghosts have forgotten.

As the winds of yet another winter blow through the beautifully restored but empty train station by Kempenfelt Bay, you wonder at the foolishness of Barrie’s city council. In the words of an old television series, they see nothing, they know nothing. The story of the train station started about 700 years ago when nomadic ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Black on black.

It never pays to be pedantic but enough is enough. I try not to sound off on how others write, spell, punctuate or capitalize. I can make my own mistakes. And if I get on my high horse, the wife calls me ‘Anal Alan’ after the role of the brother in “Two and a Half ...

Scripturient: It’s about the process, stupid…

My negative comments on the impending privatization of our electrical utility (and potentially our water utility once the first deal is sealed) drew some online criticism recently. None of those critics refuted any of the facts I offered, or attempted to debunk any of the numerous documents I quoted and linked to. Nor could they. ...

Scripturient: The secrecy and deception behind Collingwood’s utility sale

Meetings held behind closed doors late into the night. Personal vendettas. Kickbacks. Conspiracy theories. Scams and phony reports. Backroom deals. Unethical politicians conniving. Dubious legality. Shady characters pulling strings from the shadows. Scheming. Minions acting like thugs. Cowardice. Hidden contracts. Lies and deception. A deal they can’t refuse. A financial shell game. The betrayal of ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: The tiny, tidy minds of reformers.

Reading about the recent report on political reform for our cities from the University of Manitoba, reminded me of my old friend David Crombie. It was almost 50 years ago that he was still a nascent conservative and teaching at Ryerson and I was handling communications for the Ontario Liberals. We had some spirited and ...

Alberta Politics: Wildrose-style insurgency smacked down in St. Albert as progressive Cathy Heron elected as mayor

PHOTOS: St. Albert Mayor-elect Cathy Heron with the author of this blog post last night at her victory celebration. Below: Newly elected councillors Natalie Joly, Ken MacKay, Ray Watkins, Jacqui Hansen, and re-elected incumbent Wes Brodhead. ST. ALBERT, Alberta Let’s start with the basic score: Cathy Heron, widely perceived as the most progressive candidate for ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Cole considers claiming the mayor’s chair.

The Toronto Star’s columnist on city issues, Edward Keenan, thinks black activist Desmond Cole would bring some excitement to the race for mayor next year. He thinks that the race would be a bit of a snooze without Cole. When you consider that the main contenders so far are incumbent Mayor John Tory and wannabe ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Two NDPers on bicycles.

Reading a fatuous op-ed in the Toronto Star the other morning was funnier than the comics. It was signed by two city councillors who are New Democratic party supporters. And it was not just the superficial treatment of the subject and the bad editing that was funny. This was a highly biased opinion piece by ...

Song of the Watermelon: Vancouver By-Election Endorsements

Just in case anyone is wondering how I will vote in this Saturday’s Vancouver municipal by-election, here’s the plan: City Council: Pete Fry (Green Party) School Board: Judy Zaichkowsky (Green Party) Allan Wong (Vision Vancouver) Mike Lombardi (Vision Vancouver) Erica Jaaf (OneCity) Estrellita Gonzalez (Green Party) Janet Fraser (Green Party) Diana Day (COPE) Carrie Bercic ...

Scripturient: The dogshit dilemma

We have a problem with dogshit. Well, all municipalities do, of course, but ours is increasingly evident: it’s everywhere. And with the growing popularity of pets and our growing population, it’s becoming worse.* How do we deal with it? We pick it up, of course, as we dispose of it in our own garbage bins ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Hepburn’s humour.

Columnist Bob Hepburn must be weaning off the writing habit as he continues for his 30th year at the Toronto Star. Luckily, he has not lost his sense of humour. He wrote a couple weeks ago that the media should not ignore former Toronto Councillor Doug Ford. And then he wrote more recently that Toronto ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Toronto’s Tory talks the talk.

It was Doug Ford’s challenge. He actually asked Toronto Mayor John Tory to rename Etobicoke’s Centennial Stadium after his late brother Rob. It is very hard to say whether Tory—considering that Doug Ford says he will challenge him for the mayoralty next year—was baiting a trap or just proving Ford is an egotistical ass. Now ...

Alberta Politics: Thinking about St. Albert’s aspirants for the mayor’s office: You can elect a candidate, but you can’t make him work

PHOTOS: City Councillor Cathy Heron, who is running for mayor of St. Albert, on the campaign trail. Below: Councillor Cam MacKay, who is also seeking the mayor’s job, fishing in Winnipeg in 2016, a screenshot of a social media post he published, and former councillor Malcolm Parker, the third mayoral candidate in the Oct. 16 ...

Alberta Politics: FOI filings show Councillor Sheena Hughes’ controversial comments didn’t end with her ‘sack of hammers’ remark

PHOTOS: A screenshot taken from the City of St. Albert video of the Feb. 17, 2015, City Council meeting, showing Councillor Sheena Hughes speaking about changes to the School Site Allocation Agreement, which she found unsatisfactory. Below: Councillor Cam MacKay, Councillor Bob Russell, George Cuff, author of the provincial municipal inspection report made public in ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: In search of leadership.

This is not as simple as Diogenes with his lamp, searching for an honest man. There are many possibilities in life for leadership and many who believe they can fill the need. In Canada, we tend to assume that when the need arises, a leader will step forward. We could not be more wrong in ...

Alberta Politics: The game’s afoot! The time is now to demand candidates reveal their donors, not after the Oct. 16 municipal election

PHOTOS: St. Albert’s renowned city hall, designed by Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal, formally known as St. Albert Place. Below: The three candidates for mayor who are now now officially in the race, Cathy Heron, Cam MacKay and Malcolm Parker. ST. ALBERT, Alberta Is it just my imagination, or does the number of people seeking public ...