Disrespectful treatment of the mayor, again


Immature blockheadsThere’s a seemingly innocuous story in the Connection this week titled, “Collingwood to sell railway to County of Simcoe for $900,000” that underscores the ongoing disrespect The Block and the local media have for our Mayor.

Down at the bottom of the piece there is a quote from The head of The Block, Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson. That clearly shows how the local media collude with The Block to promote their personal agendas.*

Saunderson doesn’t speak for council or the town. The mayor does. Using a quote from him instead of her is a flagrant act of disrespect. And it doesn’t matter that his words are mere fluff. They’re’ included to keep him front and centre in the public eye, while sidelining the mayor.

But it gets worse. In the Enterprise-Bulletin’s coverage, Saunderson is given significantly more opportunity to bloviate in his usual self-aggrandizing way. A presentation at AMO to a minister? So what? It has nothing to do with the rail line. Nor do his comments on the town’s reserves. It’s all just part of his sly campaign to be mayor.

And even the usually laconic Block minion Tim Fryer is given a chance to mumble his incoherencies at length; although they say nothing about the actual sale, they bloat up his own image in print.

Our mayor wasn’t asked for a comment by either paper. This is highly disrespectful of the mayor and her office, and shamelessly sycophantic of the local media. No wonder few people read local newspaper these days: readers can see they lack credibility.

Section 10 of the town’s Code of Conduct bylaw says:

…official information related to decisions and resolutions made by Council or the Local Board will normally be communicated in the first instance to the community and the media in an official capacity by the Mayor/Chair or designate;

And section 226 of the Municipal Act says the mayor shall,

…act as the representative of the municipality both within and outside the municipality, and promote the municipality locally, nationally and internationally…

Get that? The mayor represents the town here and outside. Not Saunderson and not Fryer: that’s the mayor’s role. Why push them to the forefront, other than to aid their premature campaign bids? (as if either of these highly unpopular council members has a snowball’s hope in hell…)

Yes, I am aware that The Block treat this bylaw with the utter disrespect they show for other policies and laws. But an objective, professional media wouldn’t aid and abet their scurrilous attempts to get themselves re-elected at our mayor’s expense.**

I believe normal people are too ashamed, too embarrassed to behave in the blatantly egotistical, self-serving and disrespectful manner as The Block does. It certainly embarrasses other people to see them behave like this.  Which they do. A lot. Yet none of The Block have shown anything close to remorse for their behaviour this term. The definition of a sociopath includes:

  • Unreliability;
  • Untruthfulness and insincerity;
  • Lack of remorse and shame;
  • Inadequately motivated antisocial behavior;
  • Poor judgment and failure to learn by experience;
  • Pathologic egocentricity;
  • General poverty in major affective reactions;
  • Specific loss of insight.

You might want to check this list too, for the signs, which also include,

  • Having an oversized ego;
  • Lying and exhibiting manipulative behavior;
  • Exhibiting a lack of empathy;
  • Showing a lack of remorse or shame;
  • Behaving irresponsibly or with extreme impulsivity;
  • Having few friends.

Scary, isn’t it, how so many of these ‘warning signs’ seem familiar this term…***

Any credible reporter would follow the journalist code of ethics, and not collude with their friends’ attempts to get re-elected. It’s cringeworthy and shameful that it happens here in our own media. Have they no editors who know the rules and the boundaries?

You will never read or hear in local media about The Block’s blatant abuses of power, their illegal acts, their conniving and scheming in secret, their numerous breaches of the public trust and their many lies. No matter how overt, how blatant their actions, no matter how they flout the laws, no matter how unethical and immoral they are – the local media will not report on it because they don’t want to upset their friends’ feelings. Or they’re simply too lazy to do the work.

Throughout this term, The Block have consistently behaved in a disrespectful, arrogant and uncivil manner towards our mayor and got away with it. This must stop. It is immature. The Block look like a passel of spoiled children in a playground having tantrums when they don’t get their way.

And the media should stop treating the Block with kid gloves.

Collingwood deserves better, both at the council table and in our local media.

* The journalist code of ethics requires reporters to “take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it…” and to “provide context” – but you don’t get any of that in these pieces. Neither article mentions that this sale was initiated last term. Talks with the county about the sale were almost completed, but were interrupted by the 2014 municipal election. The writers let The Block take credit for something they finished only after fumbling around it for the past two and a half years.
** Section 10 of the Code of Conduct bylaw also requires members of council to be honest, and demands,

…information concerning adopted policies, procedures and decisions of the Council or the Local Board is conveyed openly and accurately…

But as we’ve learned this term, this group is incapable of conveying anything openly or accurately, let alone honestly. See my previous article on the lies we were told by The Block about the sale of our public utility and the retention of the unpopular interim CAO. Their dishonesty is documented many times in my earlier posts.
*** To be fair, the first list also includes “Superficial charm and good intelligence.” No one will ever accuse anyone in The Block of having either attribute.

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Ian Chadwick
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