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Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s not the pipelines, it’s the bitumen.

Thank goodness for mayors who can call a spade a spade. Not every city enjoys that luxury. The only problem is that mayors and their municipalities have no jurisdiction over pipelines. What they do is posture for their voters and then conveniently remember it is not their bailiwick when the going gets tough. Toronto Mayor […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: It’s not the pipelines, it’s the bitumen.

Scripturient: De Officiis: Cicero on Political Obligations

No phase of life, whether public or private, whether in business or in the home, whether one is working on what concerns oneself alone or dealing with another, can be without its moral duty; on the discharge of such duties depends all that is morally r… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: De Officiis: Cicero on Political Obligations

Babel-on-the-Bay: What if nobody voted in the by-election?

We had a by-election for council in a Barrie ward the other day. Admittedly it was the middle of winter but you would think that more people would have voted. Out of almost 10,000 potential voters, only 17.5 per cent bothered to vote. It makes you wonder what the heck the city would have done […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: What if nobody voted in the by-election?

Scripturient: Collingwood’s Finances: Great Shape!

There’s been a lot of doom-and-gloom bandied about over Collingwood’s alleged dire financial picture this term. There have been the-sky-is-falling presentations and nightmare-inducing consultants’ reports that paint a bleak picture of… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Collingwood’s Finances: Great Shape!

Babel-on-the-Bay: Justice denied: The Yatim trial.

At one time the Toronto police force was among the most respected in Canada. It had the overwhelming support and trust of the citizens it served. That is no longer true. The trial of Constable James Forcillo for murdering Sammy Yatim has told Toronto citizens that the police consider themselves above the law. The lesson […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Justice denied: The Yatim trial.

Scripturient: Where Have the Ratepayers’ Groups Gone?

Why don’t Collingwood’s ratepayer groups and associations last? In the 25-plus years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen several come and go. Every one has dissolved, evaporated or imploded within a year or two. Seldom do they last longe… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Where Have the Ratepayers’ Groups Gone?

Scripturient: That WTF Moment

WTF. Those three letters crudely but superbly sum up the two-page response made to the two members of council who recently sent out an inappropriate media release, pretending it came from the town. The letter was written by Remo Niceforo, President of … . . . → Read More: Scripturient: That WTF Moment

Babel-on-the-Bay: No Morning Line for by-elections

There are two types of by-elections. There is the one that gets a pre-selected candidate into a seat and then there is the scramble version that is almost impossible to forecast. It looks like we have one of those unfathomable ones coming up. The by-election is in Barrie, Ontario on February 1 and it is […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: No Morning Line for by-elections

Scripturient: Lessons from the paper

There’s a story on page B2 of the January 1 Enterprise Bulletin (not online yet*) that offers us three lessons. Two lessons on how the local media fails us, one on cringe-worthy political ineptitude. Those lessons are: How far the credibility … . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Lessons from the paper

Babel-on-the-Bay: “The last election under first-past-the-post.”

That statement by our new prime minister is likely to be the one to haunt him for years to come. It is like many such statements in the heat of an election campaign—effusive, rhetorical, quotable and foolish. And to give the promise a reality would be a disservice to Canadians. First-past-the-post voting will serve us […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: “The last election under first-past-the-post.”

Babel-on-the-Bay: Life in a world without heroes.

There are no longer heroes in North America. Small children used to look up to police in their uniforms and want to emulate them. Now they fear them. And it is the fault of the police themselves. The police have placed themselves beyond our reach. They have made a sham of the controls society should […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Life in a world without heroes.

Babel-on-the-Bay: Pay yourself first.

It is a rule that the rich have to follow. They are taught that you always pay yourself first. It is how they stay rich. Take the situation of Chief Executive Officer Paul Godfrey at Postmedia. The company loses hundreds of millions of dollars every year and the stock is in the toilet. If the […] . . . → Read More: Babel-on-the-Bay: Pay yourself first.

Alberta Politics: Every time you bug this 85-year-old city councillor, your library could lose a few books! Have you got that, people?

PHOTOS: St. Albert City Councillor Bob Russell – fending off annoying letters from voters since 1950-something! Time to send him back to the greenhouse? (St. Albert Gazette photo.) Below: A crowd of irritating readers at a recent library event. Probably every one them sent an email to Bob Russell, dammit! Below that: Proof that I […]

The post Every time you bug this 85-year-old city councillor, your library could lose a few books! Have you got that, people? appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Scripturient: Our Know-It-Alls

Collingwood Council obviously knows more than anyone else in municipal governance. More, in fact, than anyone else in the entire country. In fact, they may all be geniuses in local governance issues. Otherwise, why would council cancel their individual subscriptions to Municipal World magazine at the start of their term? Previous councils subscribed to an issue for each member of council, […]

Scripturient: Climate Change and Collingwood

Climate change is arguably the single most pressing, most important, most challenging issue to affect governments at this time. Our world is suffering and weather is getting extreme in many parts. It’s affecting crops, wildlife, safety, water… everything. But what are Canadian municipalities doing to combat it, to reign in their use of fossil fuels, […]

Scripturient: Feathers A-Flying in Collingwood

Chickengate: despite urban chickens being outre among the trendy these days; a fad long abandoned by hip who are now pursing some new form of glitzy hobby, some folks in town want to raise chickens in their yards. Seems we’re only a few years behind the trendsetters. What next? Urban cows? Urban sheep? Urban bison? It’s […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Go big or go home.

It hardly matters what level of politics you are contesting. “Go big or go home” are the watch words. The entire country witnessed the scenario through the recent federal campaign as the losers struggled with their old Bill Clinton-style “It’s the economy stupid” campaigns. They actually forced the Liberals to take a different tack. It was the tack that won the country. The best example before that though was John Tory’s campaign for mayor of Toronto last year. His SmartTrack transit plan was an excellent example. John Tory went big.

The really smart thing about it was that it was (Read more…)

Scripturient: The high cost of affordability

Affordable housing is crucial to the economic and social vitality of every municipality. Without it, people cannot afford to live here, which means they will look for jobs in places they can afford. Young people, especially, will move to places they can afford better. Collingwood is especially vulnerable to housing issues.* Given that the growth trend […]

Scripturient: Apps are making us criminals

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 […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: What editing standards at the Toronto Star?

It has always been an understood thing that the editing standards in the sports section of a large newspaper are often more relaxed than those of the general news. The editors tended to give the jocks in sports a looser rein. And it now seems that the Toronto Star—touted as Canada’s largest newspaper—has decided that simple decency is not needed on the city hall beat.

To describe a faction of councillors at Toronto City Hall as a den of snakes is an affront to the democratic process. It is the right of councillors to make up or change their minds (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: If you fail to try, you are guaranteed to fail.

While watching from the catbird seat in Barrie, Toronto is still our city. We were both born in Toronto. We wept for the Leafs through the 70s and 80s. We were there for the Jays in their first World Series and the repeat. We bet on John Tory as mayor last year to return our city’s honour. We saw the Pan-Am Games as a provincial success. We were enthusiastic for the Olympics because it is a rite of passage for a great city. We could not be more disappointed with the ignorance of the naysayers.

Great cities lead. They build (Read more…)

Scripturient: 17 Pages of Blather

Zero point zero zero zero three eight. That’s the percentage of the population of Collingwood who made the effort to comment on council’s much-touted, revised, 17-page code of conduct before it was approved, Monday night. That’s 0.00038%, based on an estimated 21,000 residents. In other words: eight people. Only eight people out of 21,000 cared enough […]

Scripturient: Fortuna: Why Plans Fail

Niccolo Machiavelli used two words in his book, The Prince, to describe the factors that influenced events. In English these are virtue or character (virtu), fortune or chance (fortuna). Only virtue is internal – our nature – and although it manifests as voluntary action, it can only be somewhat, but not entirely controlled.* The other […]

Scripturient: Team Assessment

Following my last piece on the relevance of Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, to Collingwood Council, I felt I should explore some of Lencioni’s ideas, as well as look at how a team’s performance is assessed. Teams (or groups) can be assessed several ways: the best way is internally (by their […]

Scripturient: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

You can’t help but think, when you read that title, of five block-thinking, dysfunctional members of Collingwood Council. But, relevant as that description may appear in our political sphere, it is actually the title of a book by Patrick Lencioni, about how teams fail to coalesce and work together. I found it at a local […]