Apps are making us criminals

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og3PjvcR1Pc] Almost every week you read in the news about another taxi driver protest against Uber and its drivers. Taxi drivers go on strike, some rage against Uber and attack the drivers or damage their cars. Similar protests – albeit not yet as violent or large – have been made against Airbnb for its effects on local property values and changing social conditions like the loss … (more–>)

Time of Use Billing

Until I sold my business, a few years ago, and started working from home again, I didn’t realize how much of an aggressive assault on many Ontarians – especially seniors and stay-at-home parents – our hydro time-of-use  (TOU) billing is. I had a naïve belief that it was fair. A user-pay balance. A tool to encourage us to conserve and use our appliances more wisely. And I’ve … (more–>)

Ontario’s Sex Education

As Frank Zappa sang in his 1968 song, What’s The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?: What’s the ugliest Part of your body? What’s the ugliest Part of your body? Some say your nose Some say your toes I think it’s your mind, your mind, I think it’s YOUR MIND, woo woo I’m not a fan of the Wynne government, but I respect their current willingness to wade … (more–>)

Ontario’s Assault on Health Care

Earlier this month, the Ontario government took a shot at real medicine when it became the first province in Canada to regulate homeopathy. What the government should have done, if it had any real concern about our collective health or our health care system, is ban it. Instead, although it at first seemed an April Fool’s joke, on April 1 the Wynne government announced legislation that will do … (more–>)

What’s Wrong with Municipal Bonusing?

Until the early 1970s, municipalities in Ontario were involved in a free-for-all competition to attract business and industry. They offered tax breaks, free land, free infrastructure, utilities or services, housing — whatever it took to get a plant or office to open within their boundaries. A lot of small Ontario communities were able to attract businesses that way, and many got major industries. Of course, the … (more–>)

Ontario’s liquor sales conundrum

The C.D. Howe Institute released its report on beer and wine sales in Ontario, today, advocating for a more liberal approach and allowing beer and wine to be sold in other outlets, such as supermarkets and convenience stores. You can read the report here. I have a grudging respect for the C.D. Howe Institute, but not always an agreement with their conclusions, because I feel they … (more–>)

Our 21st Century Library

In the 20-plus years I’ve been on the Collingwood Library board, I have watched the functions of the library and its role in the community evolve and change to keep pace with the needs and demands of its growing number of users. It’s been a remarkable, exciting journey. Of all our civic institutions, I believe the library has best adapted to the new technologies and the changing … (more–>)

Time to get serious with distracted drivers

In March, the fine for being caught texting,  talking on your cell phone, or tinkering with your MP3 player while driving will jump from $155 to $280 in Ontario. That’s better, but not good enough. Distracted drivers are a growing threat to everyone sharing the road – other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. We are all at risk. As the CBC reported: The fine for distracted driving … (more–>)

Should councillors abstain from voting?

In an earlier post, I wrote that Collingwood’s Integrity Commissioner, Robert Swayze, proposed two changes to the town’s Procedural Bylaw: amending section 13.7 and deleting section 13.8. Last post I dealt with the former; here I will explain my concerns about the latter. Section 13.8 currently reads: 13.8 No vote – deemed negative – exception Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 13.7 of this By-law, every Member … (more–>)

Legal Versus “Personal” Conflicts of Interest

In May, 2013, I wrote my thoughts about Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and the effect it had on the governance and procedural behaviour of municipal councillors. Back then, I wrote, The Act allows no grey areas: there are no “perceived” conflicts in law, only clearly defined legal ones. This is obviously intended by the stringent wording that lays out what construes a conflict of … (more–>)

Canada Post writes its own obituary

Headline news this week: Canada Post moves to end home delivery. End home delivery? For me, both as  a writer, a lay historian, and growing up in an era where letters were important for communication, business, family and for art, that’s just crazy. I mean really, seriously, way-more-insane-than-the-OLG crazy. But, in an age of declining letter writing – where the tyranny of the Twitterverse is reducing our … (more–>)

All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again. That children’s nursery rhyme says a lot about the situation Toronto Mayor Rob Ford finds himself in, following the release of police reports, yesterday. The mayor is in, to put it politely, a pickle. Rather than reiterate all the brouhaha … (more–>)

Internet Surveys: Bad Data, Bad Science and Big Bias

Back in 2012, I wrote a blog piece about internet polls and surveys, asking whether internet polls and surveys could be – or should be – considered valid or scientific. I concluded, after researching the question, that, since the vast majority lack any scientific basis and are created by amateurs – often with a goal to direct rather than measure public opinion – that, Most internet … (more–>)

Reflecting on our successes this term

With just over a year left to go in this term, I’d like to take a few minutes to consider all the accomplishments of this council over the past three years. They are not inconsiderable, and worth celebrating, I think you’ll agree. Most recent are the two new state-of-the-art recreational facilities; jewels in our community. Centennial Pool Aquatic Centre is now open, to the public’s delight … (more–>)

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