Reflecting on our successes this term

With just over a year left to go in this term, I’d like to take a few minutes to consider all the accomplishments of this council over the past three years. They are not inconsiderable, and worth celebrating, I think you’ll agree. Most recent are the two new state-of-the-art recreational facilities; jewels in our community. Centennial Pool Aquatic Centre is now open, to the public’s delight … (more–>)

What is a councillor’s role?

A question was asked of me recently about the appropriateness of the Deputy Mayor being at a meeting last summer to discuss the possible purchase of the new recreational facility structures. From the question I inferred that the asker did not approve of a politician being there. I disagree, and made my point that it was appropriate. It was hardly a secret meeting – it included numerous … (more–>)

Why Quebec’s Proposed Headgear Law is Wrong

The Province of Quebec is proposing to ban the wearing of any and all religious headgear (including hijabs, turbans and yarmulkes, as well as other religious symbols) from public facilities and public service – affecting teachers, hospital workers, daycare workers, nurses, civil servants and (we assume) politicians. The law would also cover “ostentatious” crucifixes, which has led to darkly humorous speculation about police stopping people to … (more–>)

Creating an Age-Friendly Community

The most interesting and inspiring seminar I attended during the recent AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) convention was “Synergies for Senior Friendly Communities.” It was about creating “age-friendly communities,” not simply for seniors, but heavily tilted in their direction.* Speakers included Mario Sergio, Minister responsible for seniors (Ontario Seniors’ Secretariat); Mayor Debbie Amaroso, of Sault Ste. Marie, Mayor Jim Watson, of Ottawa; and Dr. John … (more–>)

Casinos redux

First let’s clarify the terms. A “casino” was never really in the discussion, although just about everyone used that term. What the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) offered was a “gaming facility” as they euphemistically called it. A gambling joint, others said. It was to be a warehouse-like, windowless building with up to 300 slot machines. No keno, no gaming tables for poker or blackjack, … (more–>)

Troilus and Cressida

I’ve always found Troilus and Cressida a difficult play. The characters all seem jaded, cynical, opportunistic, stuffily sanctimonious, lecherous or simply underhanded. Some are merely unpleasant, others are despicable, reprehensible. All seem self-serving, more concerned with their own gains and goals than that of the greater war around them. It’s difficult to understand why it was listed as a “comedy” (although oddly placed in the folio, … (more–>)

It’s All About the Money

Almost every council decision comes with the subtext question, “Can we afford it?” Everything not procedural or administrative is usually about the cost. Who pays, whose budget does it come from, is the money in reserves, can we get funding, can we use development charges, will it raise taxes, are there other options, are there partnerships – all these questions run through most discussions. Will it … (more–>)

The open government report

On Monday’s agenda, council received a 21-page report from the clerk on the nature and mechanics of open government in Collingwood. This comprehensive report, titled the “Accountability and Transparency Policy,” because it also introduced a revised, formal policy, listed all of the bylaws, policies and legislation by which council and staff operate. This is such an important and useful report that I felt it worthwhile to extract … (more–>)

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