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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 […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Good writing, bad math in the Star.

The Toronto Star editors certainly enjoy stirring the pot. They are always in the market for 800 words of controversy to support differing opinions on current subjects. This is why it has always been easy to sell them op-eds (these are guest-written think pieces usually located on the page opposite the editorial page). Take the latest one that tries to use mathematics to explain why Doug Ford could win the Toronto mayoralty. They must have chortled over the reaction they will get to that one.

It will certainly generate a spate of letters-to-the-editor. Many of them will be about the (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: Hat-tip to cousin Dawn Danko running for School Board Trustee in Hamilton Ward 7

I don’t delve a lot into municipal politics, and I wouldn’t usually have a reason to delve into school board trustee politics (except perhaps watching with interest as Michael Ford, nephew of Rob, tries to use that as his springboard), and you wouldn’t think I’d have a specific interest in Hamilton school board trustee politics, but there are exceptions, particularly when there’s a relative of mine running.

I wanted to highlight to those folks who may be reading this in Hamilton and specifically Ward 7 that my cousin (in-law) Dawn Danko is running for school board trustee there. She has (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: The woes of the woman wannabe.

There was an interesting complaint the other day by a reporter that women cannot get elected mayor in Toronto. The complaint was that polls tend to show that while current candidate Olivia Chow might be well supported by woman voters, she loses when you add in the male voters in the poll. The writer goes on to say that no woman can do well municipally in the city since Toronto was amalgamated.

Bunk! All Toronto needs to see as a successful woman candidate is a woman candidate who is worth electing and understands the challenges involved. Exit polls on the (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The OPP Investigation

In order to clear up the misinformation, rumours and outright lies about the OPP investigation, spreading on social media by some candidates and among the angry bloggers, let me set the record straight. Here’s what we know: Approximately eighteen months ago, someone local went to the police and and filed a formal complaint. The police opened an investigation. […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Toronto: What Model Ford do you want?

It is hard to believe all the mealy-mouthed concern about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s health. Under their breath many of these hypocrites are saying: “Look’s good on you fatso!’

But never fear Torontonians, there is a model ‘T’ (for Toronto) Ford just for you. For mayor, your option is now a Douglas Ford. This is the older, taller version of Ford who was supposed to be the brains behind the throne for the past four years. Frankly, if Doug Ford was the brains, it is not much of a guess as to why things were getting derailed so often. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Toronto: A city seeking leadership.

The most obvious problem for those trying to put Olivia Chow into the mayor’s chair in Toronto is her inability to lead. Even if she could win, would she sit comfortably? If you analyze left-wing David Miller’s two terms as mayor between right-wing Mel Lastman and right-wing Rob Ford, it becomes very obvious that this political ping-pong is destructive and costly for Toronto.

The city desperately needs a period of positive progress. It needs a mayor who can lead an unwieldy and disparate council to set aside their differences and work to address the needs of the city. The city (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Morning Line for Toronto: Tory at 3 – 1.

This mayoralty contest is an uphill battle for broadcaster John Tory. His instinct was right last year when it was obvious that he saw no redemption for himself in going after the mayor’s job. The people who convinced him to run were also right.

Toronto needs John Tory more than John Tory needs the city. He is a businessman with typical business strengths and weaknesses. He can make decisions and stick with them. He is a strong leader and has demonstrated the ability to negotiate. He is also a political person. He is a Conservative in the Bill Davis mould. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Morning Line for Toronto: Ford at 10 – 1.

Despite the perverse forecasts of some purported pundits, Rob Ford is hardly likely to be supported for re-election as mayor by any large number of Torontonians. You can clean him up, wash out his mouth with soap and buy him shirts that fit but a klutz is still a klutz. The only thing keeping his faint hope alive is the fact that he has two strong challengers. If there was just one, you would simply write off Ford as just another ‘loser.’

This is not four years ago when people were taking the mayoralty race in Toronto for granted. (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Morning Line for Toronto: Chow at 6 – 1.

Olivia Chow has become something of a long shot in Toronto’s 2014 mayoralty contest. After a strong campaign launch in the spring, it has become clear to the media and the people hearing her speak that she lacks the one key ingredient Torontonians want: leadership. With a fractious, overly self-important council, her voice cannot be heard.

While Chow was a very sympathetic figure at the state funeral for Jack Layton, that is not an image that can be played at this time. Toronto needs cooperation, conciliation and concern. This is a city that needs so desperately to recreate itself in (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Green initiatives for next term

Collingwood should be in the forefront for green initiatives in Ontario, not lagging behind. There’s no reason we should not be leaders in exploring new ways to reduce greenhouse gases, reduce our carbon footprint, promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly strategies, and reduce our energy costs. These will be some of my top goals for the 2014-18 […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Taoist Lessons for Politicians

Those who look down upon this world, will surely take hold and try to change things. So begins verse 29 of the 4th century BCE Chinese classic (Jonathan Star translation*), the Tao Te Ching. That verse suggests that those who feel themselves superior to the world and to others, who feel their actions, thoughts, views and beliefs are above […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Understanding the morning line.

There is a caveat to Babel-on-the-Bay’s publishing a morning line on upcoming elections. While we are more accurate than pollsters, a morning line is based on a knowledgeable observer’s assessment of the upcoming race. We make absolutely no guarantee. It is only fair to point it out. Once one of our carefully evaluated selections in a major stakes race in the U.S. broke from the gate in the lead and held the lead for at least two furlongs. And then the poor horse dropped dead. Nobody can forecast the future.

And that is why the morning line is different (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Looking forward to 2015-18

Looking forward to 2015 and beyond, here are some of the things I would like to see Collingwood Council and the town staff accomplish in the upcoming term. I have laid these out in my campaign website and literature already, but thought I should include something in my blog to complement those sources. Maintain our […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: A resourceful, resilient Rob Ford recovers.

Sometimes you have to eat your words. We said the other day that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford would not accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. He did—on his terms. With not so much as addressing the cause he was supposedly supporting, Ford pulled a number on the Toronto news media.

As someone who has supplied the Toronto media with background, articles and news releases over many years, you are sometimes amazed at how gullible the media can be. Rob Ford could pass wind and the Toronto media would want to report it. Mind you the Toronto Star would complain that (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Why Ford and Tory skip the ALS Challenge.

This item has more to do with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) than the Toronto municipal election, so we are running it before our ban on municipal elections items is lifted. Known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a terrible progressive neurological disorder that destroys the body’s ability to control the voluntary muscles. And until there is some relief found for people with this disease, it remains one of the strongest arguments in favour of assisted suicide.

The ALS Association in the U.S. lucked into a summer fund-raising idea this year that is racing around North America. It is the (Read more…)

Scott's DiaTribes: The Blog Days of Summer

Yes, I’m still here.. or the blog is. I’m waiting on a couple of interview submissions to some LPC nominees/candidates that have gotten delayed… and I’m waiting on writing another blogpost for a nomination race – hopefully the end of this week.

To be honest, I can’t wait until Parliament resumes.. as there will be much more juicy material to write on. Municipal elections also come up in October- and while I don’t write on them often, I’ve reason to this time.. I’ve already mentioned I’ve endorsed a couple of candidates for city council (Dan Fox in Ward 24 and (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: New post on the Municipal Machiavelli

I’ve written a short post that I trust will serve as an introduction to a longer piece I plan to write. It’s on the letter of Quintus Tullius Cicero to his brother on how to win an election (written circa 64 BCE). You can read it here: I will be working on a more in-depth […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: They have finally fired Bill Blair!

Enough of this mealy-mouthed graciousness, already! They are getting rid of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and good riddance to him. It is surprising that he had the gall to ask for an extension to his tenancy at Police Headquarters. Enough is enough. Mind you, just letting him go solves nothing. He remains culpable for the worst civil rights infractions in Toronto’s history at the G-20 in June 2010.

While some people complain about Julian Fantino, Blair’s predecessor being a loud mouthed bully but he just might have been more aware of when he was being used than Blair. And (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Are these Luddites stupid or ignorant?

‘Stupid’ is a derogatory term for a person who appears slow-witted and might not be able to grasp simple concepts. ‘Ignorant’ refers to a person who just seems uninformed. ‘Luddites’ are people who, during the industrial revolution in England, sought to destroy the machines that they perceived as threatening their livelihood.

Today’s lesson is about city clerks in Ontario who are charged under provincial law with managing the process of municipal elections. While it might seem more appropriate to choose someone less biased as to the outcome in these elections, most city clerks take their election responsibilities quite seriously. The (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: Globe and Mail Letter

Please, dear readers, take a gander at today’s Globe and Mail for a letter I wrote urging the establishment of recall at the municipal level of government. For the record, I also favour such a mechanism at the provincial and federal levels, but in this particular case, I was responding to an op-ed by Preston Manning that argued for municipal “responsible government,” which I consider to be the wrong approach.

My letter is fourth from the top.

Filed under: Democracy, Letters to the Editor, Municipal Politics Tagged: Globe and Mail, Preston Manning, recall

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