Yet another week has gone by and our mayor, Brian Saunderson, stubbornly refuses to do the right thing for the people of the town of Collingwood, and resign. He continues to pursue his personal political ambitions at the expense of both our taxpayers and the credibility of the office. Not to mention tarnishing the reputation of those on council and staff who refuse to stand up to him or call on him to resign.
Resigning would be the honourable and ethical thing to do, but I do not believe residents can expect that from Saunderson. You might want to take a moment and read what I’ve previously written about him and his campaign to be our next MPP here:
- An Honourable Mayor?
- Saunderson’s Role in Blocking the Hospital Redevelopment
- Why Saunderson Should Resign Now
- Saunderson’s Still Here
In announcing his run for the nomination, Saunderson essentially told voters he doesn’t care about the job of mayor he was elected to do. But he wants to stay in office sucking at the public tit and collecting his mayoral salary until he can walk away from it as MPP, in June, 2022. If that happens, I imagine he’ll shout “So long, suckers!” as he drives to Toronto.
If he doesn’t get nominated as the party’s candidate in April, 2021, he will be politically washed up in an office he didn’t want to be in, likely bitter and vindictive towards the people who failed to fulfill his ambition. That will be us, by the way: local taxpayers.
His refusal to resign shows how little he really cares about his $9 million judicial inquiry and its 300-plus recommendations about real and apparent conflicts of interest. It can now be seen as merely a tawdry ploy to get him votes in the last municipal election. He’s a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do opportunist.
If this is how he mistreats Collingwood’s electorate after barely two years in office, imagine how many more opportunities he will have to mistreat Simcoe-Grey’s residents if elected MPP.
Do it once and do it right, Brian: resign now.
This week, Saunderson has been sending emails to party members, which open with:
You may know that I, Brian Saunderson, the current Mayor of Collingwood have declared my intention to seek the Provincial PC Nomination for Simcoe Grey Riding.
Notice how he is using his current mayoral role to promote himself quitting it? Isn’t that rather hypocritical?
Logically, there is no substantial connection between being a small-town mayor and MPP, since they are vastly different in roles and responsibilities (not to mention salaries). Experience at either the town or county level really has nothing to do with how things get done in the Legislature. That would be like saying you’re qualified to fly a jet because you’ve had experience driving a car.
Municipalities are supposed to be non-partisan, but Saunderson’s campaigning paints a very wide streak of party politics onto everything now done at town hall. Every decision, every contract, tender, and payment becomes suspect: was it made because of favouritism towards his supporters and donors? Were non-supporters shut out and rejected? Is everything that council does simply biased subservience to Saunderson’s campaign? Are staff furthering his campaign? Is he using municipal resources in his campaign? Everyone gets tainted. Apparently, he doesn’t care.
In his email, he tells potential supporters he’s the mayor. He carefully doesn’t mention that he doesn’t want that job any longer, but to remind you he’s not just aw-shucks-plain-old-Brian-the-wannabe-MPP.
Being mayor is so 2018. Look at what he wants to be now! And if he doesn’t like being MPP, maybe in two years he’ll quit that job and run for a spot in federal politics. Commitment? Who needs that?
After some drippy stuff about how long he’s lived here (as if the length of residency made him a better candidate), he continues:
Having served on Collingwood and Simcoe County Councils for 7 years, I have established strong local connections and experience throughout the Riding that I feel are necessary for me to represent your voice at Queens Park.
Again, he’s trying to leverage his current position in office to achieve his private, political ambition to be in another office. Note that he doesn’t actually list anything he has accomplished in those seven years. I’m pretty sure listing putting up roadblocks to our hospital’s redevelopment, wasting $9 million or more dollars of local taxpayers’ money on a personal vendetta, or selling publicly-owned assets without public consultation wouldn’t go over well.
If promoting his “local connections” while stating he’s the mayor looking for another job isn’t a conflict of interest, then what is it? After all, if someone asks who these unnamed connections are, anything he says or names might be easily construed as influence peddling.
He ends by offering essentially nothing more than a virtual Zoom (a service highly vulnerable to hackers, zoombombers, and device/identity theft) meeting, for which you have to provide your own coffee:
If you would like me to call you or host a virtual coffee chat with others through Zoom; I would be happy to connect and talk further.
The right thing for everyone else in Collingwood who isn’t Brian Saunderson, the honourable and ethical thing to do for the good of the community at large, would be for Saunderson to resign his office while he campaigns for another. If he and his Block cohorts had not fired the town’s integrity commissioner last term, residents might have been able to complain about this, ask for an investigation into Saunderson’s apparent conflicts or perceived influence peddling. Perhaps that was part of the plan all along.
Simcoe-Grey deserves better.