The hypocrisy, it burns, it burns…

HypocrisyThe Block on Collingwood Council can’t seem to go a week without diving into their deep, private lake of hypocrisy. Remember how they whined and snarled about the partnership last council formed with PowerStream to own and operate our electrical utility? How the Jeremiahs at the table lamented that a partnership deal was bad for the town.

Now they want one for our airport. Ah, the hypocrisy.

Yep. A story in the Connection last week noted, “…the two best options for the municipality would be a full sale of the property or a sale that includes a private and public partnership.”

Partnerships were evil when the last council created them. Now The Block thinks they’re good. Hypocrisy is in their bones. They can’t help themselves. I suppose their remaining handful of supporters will say at least they’re consistent.

This is the same cabal that has been secretly scheming to sell the airport behind closed doors, without any public consultation, or engagement. Without even informing our municipal neighbours who are partners on the airport board (a Municipal Service Board created under special provisions in the Municipal Act). They never even discussed it with the people who work there or who have their planes at the airport.

But of course, the Block have never consulted, engaged or informed ANYONE outside their tiny circle about ANYTHING. That would be open and honest and run counter to their secretive, closed-door ideology.

And you, the taxpayer here, have never once been told why The Block are so intent on selling the airport. Or been asked if you agree with selling a publicly-owned asset. It’s all been decided behind closed doors. Secrecy and deception: the watchwords for Collingwood Council this term (14 closed-door meetings about the airport as of last November and one on Mar. 26 this year: 15 meetings behind closed doors and not a single public statement made to the public about WHY).

When the last council approved exploring the sale of half of our electrical utility (a fully open and transparent process), it was decided to weight the responses based on the corporate culture at 70%. The actual money we would receive was weighted at only 30%. In other words, the community benefits, the improvements to service, to customer relations, to efficiency and operations were valued significantly more than the cash we would receive. The long-term health of our utility and its relationship to the consumers were paramount.

That’s way too community-minded for The Block. Cash is a shiny bauble they can’t see past; the other is way too complicated, too intellectual to comprehend. They want the money and screw the benefits to the community:

The town will send out a request for proposal (RFP) and Joy said the proposals will be weighted with 60 per cent being tied to the financial offer and 40 per cent to the non-financial factors such as the regional economic benefit.

Regional benefit? Loud snorts of disbelief all around. Name a single regional initiative The Block have undertaken this term. Just one. I’ll wait. Take your time. Dum dee dum (whistles tunelessly)…

Anything? Right: none. Not one in almost four years at the table. Limpets are more regional than The Block. Saunderson’s lapdog, Councillor Madigan even huffed and puffed how he was at the table for Collingwood taxpayers only. Basically telling our neighbours to sod off.

Regional? After Collingwood bullied and insulted and shat upon our regional partners who actually shared in the airport’s costs and operations? After driving our regional neighbours away from the table? The hypocrisy: it burns, it burns.

In fact, The Block have aggressively acted against our neighbours many times: in selling Collus (more than 4,000 customers are outside the town’s boundaries and none of their municipalities informed or engaged), destroying our hospital’s redevelopment plans (it’s a REGIONAL hospital), refusing to support the province’s largest rural industrial development and its 1,400 regional jobs (at the airport, of course), in the secretive deals over the water pipeline that runs through our neighbour’s boundaries.

The Block’s deception and secrecy over the airport, and its meddling in areas where the airport board had legal jurisdiction (as an MSB) offended Clearview and Wasaga Beach so much they withdrew their financial support for the airport, then they withdrew from the airport board. So our council has decided to dissolve the board.

Yes, it’s closing the barn door after the horses got out. But you’d like to think that in an ethical, open and accountable council, some attempt would first be made to engage the neighbours and try to mend the broken fences, rebuild relationships, restore Collingwood’s tattered reputation. I know, I know: no one uses words like ethical or open when talking about The Block.

Nope. The Block will have none of that. They don’t build or rebuild. They take down. They destroy. They rampage. They dictate. Like with all schoolyard bullies, it’s not in their nature to work with others, to engage or consult. And it won’t change until they’re all gone from office, next election. Only then can the community start the healing process and we can again engage our residents and neighbours in an open, ethical process.

Collingwood deserves better.

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