The ongoing case against Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou has an odd parallel in Collingwood. Our own petty, revenge-obsessed council’s threats to sue people who caused no harm nor have ever been charged with a crime has an echo in a comment made during Meng’s recent extradition hearings. Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said she was “skeptical of the validity of the United States’ claim,” according to the report, and commented something worth quoting. Of course, many local people are also skeptical … click below for more!
I’ve been wondering what the purpose is of the declaration that now starts every council and standing committee meeting. It’s a symbolic gesture, of course, but I cannot fathom what it’s meant to accomplish or who its audience is. The most recent declaration reads: For more than 15,000 years the First Nations walked upon, and cared for, the lands we now call home: Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Ojibwe, and many others who cared for their families and communities, the way we now … click below for more!
James Madison, one of the US’s Founding Fathers said that a government “…without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a tragedy or a farce, or perhaps both.” Sure reads like someone describing our own council and their refusal to listen to the public during their discussion on the recent interim control bylaw (ICBL) that killed growth, development, and jobs in Collingwood: both a farce and a tragedy.* Thomas Vincent, developer of the Balmoral … click below for more!
Council waving its hands. Making ineffective flapping gestures. It sounds like it should be some sort of metaphorical phrase. Something from the Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra episode of Star Trek. But hand-waving is actually a metaphorical term that means failure to deliver the goods. And also trying to deflect attention from your failure. Wikipedia describes it as, … a pejorative label for attempting to be seen as effective — in word, reasoning, or deed — while actually doing nothing … click below for more!
A quidnunc is “a small-minded person, focused on petty things.” That’s how Gord Hume describes them in chapter five of his book, Taking Back Our Cities (Municipal World, 2011). Hume adds, “We have far too many of them on municipal councils across Canada.” I wonder what he’d say if he learned we had nine of them on ours? Hume continues: It’s the councillor who pops up with odd little motions, or quibbling about a word in a motion, or can’t … click below for more!
Floccinaucinihilipilification*, the longest non-technical word in the English language, is when you consider something to be unimportant, worthless, useless, or generally valueless. Basically, it means it’s rubbish. As Robert Heinlein wrote in a 1951 scifi novel: Digby was a floccinaucinihilipilificator at heart—which is an eight-dollar word meaning a joker who does not believe in anything he can’t bite. Robert A. Heinlein, The Puppet Masters (1951). I was thinking of that word as perhaps the most wittily appropriate to describe the report from … click below for more!
I see Collingwood Council wants the province to end the lockdown, but hasn’t said anything about improving public safety or accelerating the vaccinations if that happens. That suggests to me they are okay if the coronavirus spreads again, and strains our hospital’s already stretched capacity to deal with it. At least, that’s the message I got from the latest facepalm-worthy discussion and motion by council this week. As reported on CollingwoodToday: Collingwood council is demanding an explanation from the province … click below for more!
Former councillor Tim Fryer is back on the agenda this coming week, making another delegation to the Strategic Initiatives Standing Committee about the true costs of the judicial inquiry (aka the Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry, or SVJI). I admire Tim’s tenacity at trying to get the truth out to the public about this debacle. My respect for him has risen considerably since he’s been off council, but I wish he had been such a bulldog for the truth when he was at the table (I wrote about Fryer’s last appearance in front of the committee here).
At the very end of the agenda, you can read Tim’s letter, starting on page 161*and continuing through page 166. What’s most interesting is that he included a letter from the town to EPCOR, included on pages 163 and 164. That letter shows the town agreed to pay EPCOR’s legal costs over the SVJI of $250,000 or more. Yet those costs do not show up on the town’s most recent official accounting of the costs for the SVJI (read it here)**
I figured if a $4 Walmart or $8 Tim Horton’s expense charge could be included then certainly something like the $250,000 or more of EPCOR’s legal expense coverage, as per the Side Letter Agreement terms established with council after the CJI was initiated, should be too.
It’s sad to see any council devolve into pettiness and paranoia, but not surprising when this thin-skinned group does. In a story on CollingwoodToday, council voted 4-3* to censor “fact-check” letters or comments from the public. It’s so very Stalinist of them that they need staff to ensure the public’s comments march in step with the party line. What next? Purges? Gulags? Show trials? Oh wait, we already had that with the SVJI. And what qualifications do staff have to … click below for more!
Anyone having supervisory responsibility for the completion of a task will invariably protest that more resources are needed. Hacker’s Law of Personnel, coined by Andrew Hacker in The End of the American Era, Atheneum, 1970. At the end of the Feb. 8 virtual meeting of Collingwood’s “Strategic Initiatives Standing Committee,” under “other business,” Councillor Jeffrey (~2:02:20) worries about the “lack of staff resources” the mayor has at his beck and call. She wants to “make sure he has the benefit … click below for more!
As I predicted (correctly) late last year, Collingwood Council was given a dumbed-down, $700,000-as-important-as-clean-drinking-water-report-about-the-judicial-inquiry-report. More than 900 pages of the original report reduced to a mere 15 to report on the report. And as I also predicted, it would include pie charts. You can read it here: “STAFF REPORT #CAO2021-02 Phase One – Collingwood Judicial Inquiry Next Steps. You can also look at the PowerPoint presentation made to council — which, as I also correctly predicted, would have the report … click below for more!
Collingwood has joined other local municipalities asking the province to revamp its Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA; a guide from the Information and Privacy Commissioner to the Act is also available here) to make the process more restrictive and less open. While some of those changes might seem appropriate to outsiders, I see buried in the wording of the request some dark challenges to our democracy. The story in Collingwood Today is titled, “Freedom of … click below for more!
Imagine an issue so important, so utterly non-partisan that both the National Post and the Toronto Star — two newspapers of widely divergent politics, perspectives, and ideology — agreed. That issue is that municipal politicians running for higher office should resign from their municipal roles on council. But our own Mayor Brian Saunderson, running for the Progressive Conservatives, has decided he’s above all that, and will stay in office. I’ve already written that I see his resignation as the only … click below for more!
During the previous council’s four years (2014-18), I documented the aggressive efforts to stall the local hospital’s desperately-needed redevelopment by a group of those on council (aka The Block*). Every other municipality in the region enthusiastically supported the hospital’s plan; only this group on Collingwood council put up roadblocks. And they were significant roadblocks raised at great expense to the taxpayer. Collingwood council SHOULD have taken the lead to promote their own hospital, but couldn’t get past their self-importance. As … click below for more!