How to Win an Election

Anyone running for office should consider reading How to Win an Election, by Quintus Tullius Cicero, translated by Philip Freeman. It’s a short, small book subtitled An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians (Princeton University Press, 2012). It contains both the Latin and the English translation of Quintus’ letter to his more famous brother, the orator Marcus Cicero. Quintus penned it in 64 BCE when Marcus decided … (more–>)

Back to Horace

During the pandemic lockdowns, I heard a lot of people bemoan their inability to travel; on vacation, to visit relatives, to shop, or just to get out of their homes and see new places. People felt isolated, some went stir-crazy. We are a not merely a culture easily bored with staying in one place: our entire species has wanderlust. Two millennia ago, the poet Quintus Horatius … (more–>)

The Science Fiction of Robert Frost

Robert Frost was a great American poet, and I’ve enjoyed many of his poems over the decades I’ve been reading poetry. Some are a tad bucolic for my taste, but many also plumb the depths of human emotions so succinctly as to make Frost more universal than simply American. But while he never wrote any science fiction, his words have been used in that genre. Recently … (more–>)

A Call to Arms

A newly-formed group calling itself “Arms Around Collingwood” sent a questionnaire to candidates for this municipal election. And while I have never heard of them, they claim to have “a minimum 2,500 voting contacts in Collingwood.” Below you will read the questions they asked along with my answers. They requested that respondents “limit answers to 50 words or less.” Leadership Do you have any conflicts of … (more–>)

Another Abuse of Power and Position

As this term of council winds down, with only a few weeks before the election, it seems some members at the table can’t help themselves abusing their position and their power. Their sense of entitlement is an embarrassing display. At tomorrow’s council meeting (Sept. 20), Councillor Jeffery will make the following notice of motion: THAT Council appoint Acting Deputy Mayor McLeod as Deputy Mayor for the duration … (more–>)

What About the Code of Conduct?

I attended a two-hour seminar hosted by the town about Collingwood’s Code of Conduct last week. It was intended as an introduction to the policy for new candidates and a refresher for incumbents, and was presented by the town’s Integrity Commissioner, whose slides ranged from conflicts of interest to accountability, from public behaviour to confidentiality. Councillor Bob Madigan wasn’t there. Four incumbents running in this election … (more–>)

Just Gonna Leave This Here…

This headline appeared in CollingwoodToday: “Town councillor, deputy-mayor candidate charged with assault.” In Simcoe.com (Collingwood Connection), the headline was “Collingwood councillor, deputy mayor candidate Bob Madigan facing assault charges.” Bob Madigan is running for deputy mayor of Collingwood. Is this the sort of behaviour you want in your elected representatives? Given his past behaviour, this latest event didn’t surprise me. But by the time this reached … (more–>)

Hobbesian vs Benthamite Politics

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) was not an optimist about human behaviour. Writing more than a century after Niccolo Machiavelli, the English political philosopher argued in his masterwork, Leviathan (1651), that the quest for power was the main motivation for humans. And that our quest to acquire more would never cease until we were dead. He wrote: …in the first place, I put for a general inclination of … (more–>)

Ancient Election Wisdom

I recently came across this piece by Marcus Tullius Cicero (one of my favourite classical authors) on the Sententiae Antiquae website (a good source of classical Latin and Greek translations), taken from Cicero’s oration Pro Murena (35-36). Lucius Licinius Murena was elected as his election as consul in 62 BCE but was subsequently accused of bribery. He was defended by  Cicero, who recorded his speech for … (more–>)

What Just Happened?

I was startled to see that one of our candidates for municipal election — the third person in the deputy mayor’s race — dropped out shortly after submitting her papers. According to the town’s web page, Jordan Fleming filed her papers at 11:34 a.m. on August 19; two-and-a-half hours before nominations closed. She withdrew at 2:54 p.m. on Aug. 24. According to the interview in CollingwoodToday, … (more–>)

Please Take an Election Sign

C ollingwood residents: I would very much appreciate it if you would  allow me to place one of my election signs on your lawn. Please fill in your name, phone and address in the comments section below. This information will NOT be published and will be deleted after the election and signs have been removed. Alternatively, send me an email or call me to request one. Signs … (more–>)

Hypocritical Candidate Wants to Return to Council

Two more of our local “basket-of-deplorables” incumbent councillors (aka quidnuncs) have filed their papers for re-election: Steve Berman and Kathy “Me! Me! Me!” Jeffrey. So has former councillor Cam “Sleepy” Ecclestone, who announced he was running in the provincial election for the fringe “Consensus Party” then never appeared on the ballot. Readers will recall that both Berman and Jeffrey willingly participated in the bullying of former … (more–>)

Don’t Forget Who Blocked the Hospital Redevelopment

Among those incumbents running for re-election, are (so far), three who were part of the cabal on the 2014-18 council that actively and aggressively tried to block the Collingwood General & Marine Hospital’s redevelopment. Their efforts did cost the hospital money and time, and set the redevelopment back at least five years. Who can forget when that previous council brought in a highly-paid lawyer and a … (more–>)

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