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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Logical Fallacies

Last night at council I referred to seeing what I believed was a post hoc fallacy in a report, or more properly a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Yeah, I probably annoyed some folks in the audience because I used Latin words and that confused them. But hey, they already think I’m a jerk because […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Collingwood in the Top Ten

There’s a story in today’s Financial Post that is headlined, “Collingwood’s debut in top 10 on ranking of business friendly cities is no accident.” No accident at all, as anyone on council, in staff or who follows local politics knows. We’ve worked hard to get to this. We deserve it. We told you during the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The mote and the beam

“Hide witch hide, the good folks come to burn thee; Their keen enjoyment hid behind a Gothic mask of duty.” Jefferson Starship: Mau Mau (Blows Against the Empire, 1970) I was thinking about those lines recently. They seemed appropriate given the events in town since last spring. I was also thinking about what Gord Hume […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Montaigne on Friendship, Liars and Politics

“I am seeking the companionship and society of such men as we call honourable and talented,” wrote Michel de Montaigne in his essay, On the Three Kinds of Social Intercourse (Book III, 3). “It is, when you reflect on it, the rarest of all our forms…” Montaigne was musing in his essay and others on […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Best of Times

I was overcome this weekend with an urge to re-read Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities. I suspect it’s because of its brilliant, powerful opening. That opening epitomizes for me Collingwood’s municipal election and the dichotomy between the two camps: positive versus negative. It was the best of times, it was the worst […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lessons From the Campaign Trail

I always learn something new, something valuable from every municipal election campaign. I learn from talking to people, I learn from community meetings. I learn from comments and emails I receive. I learn from other candidates, too – there are often good ideas proposed that can be developed by council later. Each election campaign has been a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Carrier’s Attack Ad

Former mayor Chris Carrier has a big, nasty attack ad in the Connection this weekend. He promises “facts” and attacks the current mayor’s “spin.” But any reader who has followed the debate over the real figures for the town debt knows it’s quite the opposite. You weren’t fooled, were you, dear reader? I didn’t think […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Promising What Can’t be Done

There’s a wrap up in the Connection this weekend with candidates’ comments on “accountability” I want to address. One deputy-mayoral candidate, Brian Saunderson, wrote, he would, “Strengthen the current council code of conduct to include dealing with siblings as a defined conflict and impose consequences for council members who breach the code.” Council cannot make a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Lobbyist Registry

I was in the local grocery store with Susan, picking over the collection of organic vine-ripened tomatoes, earnestly searching for the best couple of them. A man recognized me as a member of council and approached me, smiling, hand extended.* “Hi, Councillor Chadwick,” he said. We shake. “Can I talk to you for a minute?” […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Swimmer Comments on the New Pool

Here are some comments from a pool user emailed to me this week, slightly edited. I asked for and received permission to post these. Apparently some local people who don’t swim or use any of these pools – including our own – have been posting on social media that our facility can’t live up to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Real Facility Costs

Another misleading statement was made during one of the all-candidates’ meetings last week: that our new recreational facilities – the Central Park Arena and the Centennial Aquatic Centre – cost $20 million and that the pool was 30% over budget. Neither is correct. According to our treasurer, Marjory Leonard, who replied to my emails this week, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Your Election Choices

As the ballots start to trickle in, the campaigns wind down. The Collingwood election is essentially over – we’re just waiting for the results now. But if you haven’t cast your ballot yet, here are some things to consider before you make your choices. This municipal election has been polarized along several lines, but your basic choices […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Clarifying Municipal Taxes

Some candidates seem confused about municipal taxes this election. I thought I’d clear up a few facts about property taxes for your (and their) benefit. Property taxes are made up of three components: the municipal portion (roughly 60%), the county portion (24%) and the education portion (16%). The rate (also called the mill rate) for each portion is set […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Myth of Block Voting

I was amused by a recent comment I had voted “95%” the same as others on council. This was followed by the inevitable accusation of “block voting.” The complainer apparently wants everyone to vote in some helter-skelter manner. God forbid we should all agree on anything. It’s a tired old campaign tactic: to accuse your opponents of being […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Their Shoddy Potemkin Villages

In 1787, the Empress Catherine II took a long trip to the Crimea along the Dnieper River. She wanted to see how her subjects lived. Not wanting her to see the actual poverty and hardships of the peasants, her lover – and the region’s governor – Grigory Potemkin, had pretty, fake villages of canvas and […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Promising to do What’s Already Done

It’s good for councillors to know we’ve already accomplished so much that everyone wants to emulate us. Listening to the all-candidates’ speeches and reading the campaign literature is a real boost to the ego. A lot of new people are promising to do what’s already been done. Incumbents can comfortably sit back and say, “been there, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: My Speech at the All-Candidates’ Meeting

Here’s the two-minute speech I gave Wednesday night at the Collingwood Legion, plus the wrap-up: In two minutes, I can’t list everything this council and staff have accomplished on your behalf. But here are some highlights: We answered your demand for more ice and water time. Parents no longer have to drive their kids to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Buddhist Guide for Voters

While it was intended as a general ‘charter of free inquiry,’ the Buddhist Kalama Sutra (or sutta) contains wise words that all voters – especially local voters – should heed during the municipal election campaign. The Kalamas were a people in ancient India. Gotama visited them and stopped in a town called Kesaputta, where he gave a sermon, now […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Misconceptions About the Town Debt

Yesterday members of council received a letter from our auditors that should clear up any misconceptions floating around about debt and debentures. It is clear and succinct. I was also forwarded an email from a candidate (sent to his supporters) with misleading statements about how much debt there is. I don’t know if it was deliberately meant […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Ke Ji Feng Gong

Back in 2007, I first wrote about those Chinese symbols in the image above. They spell “Ke ji feng gong.” This is an update to that older piece, because it seemed appropriate to raise it in the midst of our current political campaign. It’s an ancient Chinese saying that means: “Work Unselfishly for the Common […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Montaigne: The Depravity of Our Morals

“Our judgments follow the depravity of our morals and remain sick,” wrote Michel de Montaigne in his essay On Cato the Younger (Essay XXXVII, Book I, Screech translation, Penguin Classics, 2003). That’s quite a condemnation.* Montaigne opens that essay by quietly commenting, “I do not suffer from that common failing of judging another man by […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: On the hustings

I’ve been going door-to-door for the past few weeks in my campaign for re-election. Stumping on the hustings, as it’s called in Canada. Or at least that’s how I’ve always heard it used. Hustings is an odd, old word, an anachronism that survives, seemingly, only in the world of politics. It comes from the days […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: My Rogers’ Cable TV Speech

Each candidate was given three minutes to speak for a spot on Rogers Cable TV recently. Here is what I said (in about two minutes): Municipal politics is really quite simple. It’s all about people. Caring about the people you live and work with. Caring if seniors can afford their taxes. Caring if the sidewalk […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: My BIA ACM Speech

This is the speech I gave at the BIA-ACO all-candidates’ meeting, Wednesday evening. The question all candidates had to answer was, “What is your vision to ensure that Downtown Collingwood thrives as a vital economic and cultural part of our community?” We had two minutes to respond. Here’s what I said: For our downtown to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Extra Virginity

For some time before I got this book, I’ve been aware that there is more to olive oil than meets the eye. Or tongue. How much more really was startling. When I started reading Tom Mueller’s 2012 book, Extra Virginity: the Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, I was simply amazed at how little I […]