The Hate Brigade returns

The dyspeptic Hate Brigade was back in front of town hall last night, stirred into another mindless frenzy by misleading media stories, innuendo, and conspiracy theory. (Okay: they don’t have an official name, but it was that or Brian’s Bullies…)

Last term Brian Saunderson and Steve Berman were the Hate Brigade’s leaders; now Saunderson is deputy mayor, so the public aspect of the dirty work falls to the slovenly mooch, Berman. 

BFFsSaunderson made his cunningly timed appearance, entering the building to the anemic cheering of supporters; none of them apparently aware of how they’ve been duped over and over this term. Remember his promise of no sole-sourcing? Or public engagement in all major decisions? Now just shards among his many broken promises. Ah, the emperor was wearing his new clothes – at least to those of us with unblinkered eyes.

As expected, the abydocomist CBC released another story. That will be used to further the campaign efforts of those council candidates the CBC swears aren’t “friends” of anyone in the corporation. But CBC stories are looking more and more like the yellow journalism of Fox than actual journalism these days. Sad.*

The purpose of the Hate Brigade is not simply to protest any perceived wrongs: it’s to bully, intimidate, shame, insult and harass. These are tactics well-honed by both Saunderson and Berman last term. Followers are encouraged to wave poorly-written signs (who can forget Deb Doherty’s partner’s “inpeach council” sign last term?) and to send nasty or threatening emails to elected representatives and town officials.

For example, this one was recently sent to the mayor and copied to all of council and the CAO, from a fundraiser for Theatre Collingwood, who is also on the board of Collingwood Minor Hockey Association:

Given all the information that is now public – the Integrity Commissioners’ findings of your multiple conflicts of interest, the article below exposing corruption and the significant OPP investigation, you should resign as Mayor.
You have failed your councillors as a leader, you have been grossly negligent regarding your responsibilities and you have disgraced this community. You exploited your Mayoral position, denying an honest, democratic and transparent process to every resident of Collingwood. You should be ashamed.
Please do the right thing and hand in your resignation.
Jennifer Knight
Resident of Collingwood


Uli Rath – a well-known Saunderson supporter – was pictured waving a sign that was sort of readable (in a crayonish way). Saunderson’s bulldog, Mike Lewin, was there too. John Brown – the former interim CAO and arguably the most disliked person who has ever sat in the CAO’s office here – was in the crowd. Little wonder: Brown was the Palpatine Emperor to Saunderson’s Darth Vader. Saunderson voted to extended Browns’ contract twice – at more than $200,000 a year cost to taxpayers. Coming out to support the mob seems a small payback for Saunderson’s slavish support all those years. Jamie Berman – the longtime breadwinner in that household – was there chatting amiably to Brown.

All this over a four-year-old police file that doesn’t say the mayor did ANYTHING wrong. She’s hardly even mentioned. But it’s full of the sort of juicy allegation – all of it unproven, some of it demonstrably wrong – that the Hate Brigade feeds off. They’ve been told to hate the mayor’s brother, that he must be guilty of something even if none of them can identify just what. Doesn’t matter that the OPP didn’t charge anyone in five years, and are not going to. Haters gotta hate.

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