Conspiracy Theories: 2014 Update

It’s time to update a piece I wrote in December, 2012, outlining the secret deals, backroom negotiations and “barbecue politics” that our council has been involved in since that date, more than a year ago. So here comes the update, the emperor without his clothes: Secret meetings: none Backroom negotiations: none Barbecue deals: none Sorry, I know this is a disappointment to local conspiracy … (more)

Time to get serious with distracted drivers

In March, the fine for being caught texting,  talking on your cell phone, or tinkering with your MP3 player while driving will jump from $155 to $280 in Ontario. That’s better, but not good enough. Distracted drivers are a growing threat to everyone sharing the road – other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. We are all at risk. As the CBC reported: The fine for … (more)

Lucretius and the Renaissance

It’s fairly clear, even after reading only a few verses, why Lucretius’s didactic poem, On the Nature of Things – De Rerum Natura –  made such an impact on thought, philosophy, religion and science in the Renaissance. It must have been like a lighthouse in the dark night; a “Eureka” moment for many of the age’s thinkers. For others, especially the church leaders, it must have … (more)

Collingwood’s municipal debt and 2014 budget

Tuesday, Council got a combined debt-and-budget presentation that set the stage for the upcoming, fuller 2014 budget deliberations starting next week. CAO John Brown gave us a recap of a report (produced by BMA Management Consulting) about the town’s debt situation and financial wellbeing. It was a mix of good news/bad news. The good is that it’s not as bad as it seems, certainly … (more)

Should councillors abstain from voting?

In an earlier post, I wrote that Collingwood’s Integrity Commissioner, Robert Swayze, proposed two changes to the town’s Procedural Bylaw: amending section 13.7 and deleting section 13.8. Last post I dealt with the former; here I will explain my concerns about the latter. Section 13.8 currently reads: 13.8 No vote – deemed negative – exception Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 13.7 of this By-law, … (more)

Legal Versus “Personal” Conflicts of Interest

In May, 2013, I wrote my thoughts about Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and the effect it had on the governance and procedural behaviour of municipal councillors. Back then, I wrote, The Act allows no grey areas: there are no “perceived” conflicts in law, only clearly defined legal ones. This is obviously intended by the stringent wording that lays out what construes a … (more)

BL2: Resistance is futile

I tried to resist. I really did. I avoided it for more than a year, skillfully averting my eyes from the store shelves where it sat, ignoring the emails with invitations, sales offers that dangled newly-released DLC packages before me. I looked the other way when ads popped on on websites. I have more serious things to do, I’d tell myself. Getting too old … (more)

Amo, Amas, Amat…. and what?

My well-thumbed copy of Eugene Ehrlich’s book, Amo, Amas, Amat and More, is dated 1985. It’s amusingly subtitled “How to Use Latin to Your Own Advantage and to the Astonishment of Others.” It’s still in print, it seems, or was as recently as 2006. I’ve read my copy on and off for the past 25-plus years, but have not been able to effectively astonish … (more)

Feb. 12: Happy Darwin Day

February 12 is international Darwin Day, the day when we collectively celebrate science and reason. And, of course, we recognize Charles Darwin’s birthday: February 12, 1809 (the same birthdate as Abraham Lincoln, by the way). If Collingwood made such declarations, I would propose we recognize the day in our municipality. Other Canadian municipalities have done so. Maybe we could raise a flag with Darwin’s … (more)

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