Babel-on-the-Bay: Coddling the Cyberphobic.

Why are we doing this? Why are we catering to the cyberphobes among us? Why should they dictate progress? Or lack thereof? After a career in computers with a side interest in politics, it should be easy to convince the politicians and their retainers of the ease of computer voting. It’s not. Cyberphobia is a ...

Scripturient: Dividends for dummies

A dividend, as defined by the Business Dictionary, is “A share of the after-tax profit of a company, distributed to its shareholders…” This is reiterated in the description from the Oxford Dictionary: “A sum of money paid regularly (typically annually) by a company to its shareholders out of its profits (or reserves).” So in order ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Is this Toronto’s coming of age?

In a scholarly work this past week from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, we learned that the City of Toronto is ready to cut the parental apron strings of the Province of Ontario. If you have never been involved in Toronto politics, you might even believe that is possible. It ...

Scripturient: The Blame Game

Remember The Name Game – that song from the Sixties that had those crazy lyrics: Shirley! Shirley, Shirley/ Bo-ber-ley, bo-na-na fanna/ Fo-fer-ley. fee fi mo-mer-ley, Shirley! Not the most intellectual lyrics of the era, I admit, but not forgotten and clearly suitable for local tastes. In Collingwood town hall, for example, they even sing their ...

Scripturient: The OPP investigation after 48 months

Forty-eight months ago a very small group of disgruntled, angry residents – some with burning ambition to take a seat on council themselves – complained to the OPP, allegedly about decisions made by the previous council. Decisions and people this group didn’t like. Decisions they thought – without any proof – were shady. People they thought ...

Scripturient: Budget Bullshit

The first question you have to ask after following Collingwood Council’s sloppy and inept budget process is “Where did the money go?” Then the second question you have to ask, “Are they really that dense?” Yes, but let’s start with the first question. Back when he promoted dismantling the water utility from its partnership with ...

Scripturient: Empathy and The Dog Allusion

Empathy, writes Martin Rowson, is one of the things that make us human, make us civilized, allows us to interact without tearing one another’s throats out. Without it, we’d have no civilization; we’d be like the beasts of the fields. And we’d have no dogs or gods, either. Empathy is what makes us own pets ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: Pride Falls.

Torontonians of all stripes and types have always been proud of their Pride Parade. Originating in 1981, the parade has cheerfully acknowledged the growing acceptance of diversity in a polyglot city. Today it is one of the largest events of its kind in the world and brings more than a million visitors to the city ...

Babel-on-the-Bay: For whom the Tolls Toll.

The premier’s office at Queen’s Park in Toronto has many roles. One of those is as a woodshed wherein one disciplines recalcitrant municipal minions who fail to realize that the provincial party in power makes all the rules. There was an awkward bit on a news clip last week of the Premier of Ontario and ...

Scripturient: Committee system still broken, still in use

“A committee,” wrote Sir Barnett Cocks, former Clerk of the UK’s House of Commons, “is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.” How very appropriate those words strike us as we gaze at Collingwood’s ineffective, severely broken standing committee system. The brainchild of the interim CAO, and the very model of ...

Scripturient: Will the Block’s hypocrisy never cease?

Last term, when they were raising their pitchforks to storm the bureaucratic castle, the members of today’s Collingwood Council – those we disparagingly refer to as The Block – were loudly castigating the former council for having once done a sole-source deal with the company that was the only Canadian supplier of a product in ...

Scripturient: Collingwood’s casino roulette

I want you to read the following motion carefully. Take your time. It was passed by the former council in March, 2013 in response to the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation (OLG) coming forward with a proposal to locate a gambling (“gaming”) facility in Collingwood: WHEREAS a properly developed Integrated Destination Resort which includes but ...

Scripturient: The Block torpedoes the hospital, again

When their sole-sourced consultant’s report failed to give The Block the high ground to oppose the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital’s redevelopment plan, the weasels on council and in the administration decided to undermine the hospital from a different direction. And they hired another consultant. That’s right: wasting $30,000 of your hard-earned tax dollars on ...

Scripturient: Collingwood Council’s missed initiatives

The word initiative derives from the Latin word initiare “to begin.” Since 1600, it has meant “introduce to some practice or system,” “begin, set going.” While any sort of action or engagement, positive or negative, can be classified as an initiative, generally one refers only to positive enterprises when describing political or social initiatives. I ...

Scripturient: Council is privatizing our utilities

Collingwood council and its administration are planning to privatize both our water and electricity utilities. All, of course, without consulting you, the public. Some members of council have even stated – with a straight face, mind you – they would ask for your input at a later date. A date long after it’s too late ...

Scripturient: The PowerStream deadline looms today

Big day for Collus-PowerStream today: the deadline for acceptance of PowerStream’s sale offer for the remaining share of our utility expires this afternoon. And of course Council will finally deal with it at the special meeting called for noon, today, mere hours before it expires. Nothing like waiting until the last moment. They’ve had a ...

Alberta Politics: St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse says he won’t seek fourth term in surprise announcement this morning

PHOTOS: St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse at a Remembrance Day ceremony (Alberta Native News photo). Below: Councillor Cam MacKay, Councillor Cathy Heron, former deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk and former Wildrose candidate Shelley Biermanski. ST. ALBERT, Alberta In a lengthy statement on Facebook posted early this morning, St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse announced he does not ...

Scripturient: Thank you and Happy New Year

Twenty seventeen will arrive one second later than expected, thanks to the addition of a leap second added to balance the atomic clocks with the Earth’s actual time. One more second for my readers to browse, I suppose, although 2016 was such an awful year that few folks want it to stay around any longer. ...

Scripturient: The vulgar crowd

Profanum vulgus. The vulgar crowd. Not, however, as you might suspect, an apt description of the remaining few supporters of The Block that rules Collingwood Council. While perhaps appropriately described, to me that small handful are better described as naïve, gullible and even intellectually vulnerable, moreso than merely vulgar. But that’s not what this post ...

Scripturient: Council’s report card: Year 2, part 1

As we reach the end of our Council’s second year in office, halfway through its mandate, it is time again to assess the collective performance and list the accomplishments of our elected officials. To avoid accusations of egregious negativity, I will list council’s accomplishments first. And to avoid further accusations of meandering through overly long ...

Scripturient: Collingwood’s own Gong Show, part 2

As promised, here is the second part of the Gong Show analysis from December 12th’s council meeting. Like I said earlier, it’s perhaps more like a Keystone Cops or Abbott and Costello skit than the TV show. As always, you can follow along on the Rogers Community TV broadcast, starting at 2:16:30. Laugh aloud at ...

Scripturient: Collingwood’s own Gong Show, part 1

Has there ever been a more inept, ineffective group at the council table in Collingwood? Certainly not in the 26 years I’ve been here. Not in the dozen years I covered it for the media, not in the 11 years I served on council have I seen anything so comical. Rogers TV really should put ...

Scripturient: Collus share bid received

My sources tell me PowerStream submitted a bid to purchase the town’s share of the Collus-PowerStream utility, late on Friday, December 9. While the amount was not stated, I am told it is a “very fair” bid. This is so far going as I predicted in my earlier post. PowerStream paid $8 million cash for half ...

Scripturient: Stumbling towards the utility’s demise

This week, Collingwood Council met in a special meeting to discuss an request from its utility partner, PowerStream, to waive some conditions of the shareholder agreement. This meeting appears to have been called by the interim CAO, which seems to me to usurp the mayor’s authority, but we know the administration – in partnership with ...

Scripturient: Those pesky costs The Block forgot to mention

Who sends out your water bills? Collus-PowerStream. It’s all part of the shared services agreement. Yes, that simple little agreement that for 15 productive, cooperative years linked our water and electrical utilities with mutual resources. That same agreement The Block dismantled and handed over to the interim CAO two years ago to rewrite and update. ...