It’s late February as I write this and still our mayor, Brian Saunderson, refuses to do the ethical, the moral, and the RIGHT thing for the town and resign his office while he openly hunts for another, out-of-town, better-paying job.*
It’s been more than a month since he admitted he doesn’t want to be our mayor and instead wants to be the riding’s next MPP. Seems to me he desperately wants to be somewhere else, getting more money and out of Collingwood as fast as he can. But he’s still, brazenly taking the mayor’s paycheque while he campaigns for another job. I don’t know how others feel about it, but it seems to me he’s trading ethics for base personal ambition at the taxpayers’ expense.
And you must be asking yourself what about all those high-and-mighty recommendations in his beloved judicial inquiry (aka the SVJI) that say council members should avoid apparent conflicts of interest? After all, the town spent many millions of our tax dollars to get them (instead of spending the money on fixing roads and sidewalks). Does he think those recommendations don’t apply to him while he campaigns to get out of his commitment to serve Collingwood? It appears blatant hypocrisy to simply ignore those recommendations when they prove inconvenient. And it surely discredits the report.
I’m told Saunderson’s campaign to be the next MPP has the endorsement of a local blogger** who was cited in a 2007 human rights complaint against Maclean’s magazine over alleged racism. The magazine was “accused of publishing eighteen Islamophobic articles between January 2005 and July 2007.” Although the BC Tribunal dismissed the case in 2008, in its ruling it stated that the “article at the source of the complaint contained historical, religious and factual inaccuracies, relied on common Muslim stereotypes and tried to ‘rally public opinion by exaggeration and causing the reader to fear Muslims.'”
The federal Canadian Human Rights Commission also dismissed the complaint against Maclean’s but noted in its ruling that, the article “was obviously calculated to excite discussion and even offend certain readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.” The lawyer for the complainant was “disappointed the tribunal made its decision without hearing ‘the compelling evidence of hate and expert testimony.'”
Wikipedia further notes, “The articles in question included a column by Mark Steyn titled “The Future Belongs to Islam“, an excerpt from a book written by Steyn.” The local blogger is noted in the complaint as claiming to be “forwarding Mr. Steyn’s longer novel, America Alone, to all his friends so that they are also aware of the problem: “I read America Alone and am lending it to my friends and preaching from its pages to anyone who will listen.”
Regardless of the outcome of the complaint, it is troubling that a local person was identified in it as an example. However, I have yet to see any sign of Saunderson distancing himself from this endorsement. Do we really want a mayor — let alone an MPP — endorsed by anyone cited in any human rights complaint in this manner? ***
Collingwood and Simcoe-Grey deserve better.
* You might want to take a moment and read what I’ve previously written about Saunderson 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
- Enough B.S. (Brian Saunderson)
- Seven Years in Politics? But Where?
- Should Children be Recruited in Party Politics?
** The same blogger apparently endorses Councillor Bob “Lapdog” Madigan to be appointed as replacement mayor when Saunderson jumps ship. It must be because of Madigan’s great list of accomplishments as councillor these past six years. Oh, wait… he doesn’t have any. Perhaps it’s because he’s been such a strong, vocal advocate for… uh, nothing comes to mind. Well, he must have championed some public causes, some projects for the greater good. Hmmm. Can’t recall any of them either. Well, perhaps it’s his oratorical eloquence and his memorable speeches. Okay, nothing memorable there, either.
Maybe it’s simply that he’s played a poor man’s Guiliani to Saunderson’s Trump for six years, albeit without the sparkling wit and wisdom we’ve heard from Guiliani. I suspect it’s meant as his reward for unthinking, unquestioning loyalty. As Polonius said to Claudius,
…I do think, or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath used to do, that I have found
The very cause…
Perhaps councillor Madigan might want to weigh the import of such endorsements as well.
*** Especially given the criticism the provincial Conservatives have taken over their failure to tackle systemic racism in this province.