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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: A Modern Take on Gorgias

Plato’s dialogue Gorgias is mostly about the difference between content and form. Or rather it’s about how Socrates saw the difference between philosophy – content and truth – and rhetoric – form and words. Both of which are practiced and studied today in much different forms from what they were in ancient Greece. But the […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Discrimination in municipal voting.

You know you are a second-class citizen in Ontario if you are a tenant and have moved since last time you voted in a municipal election. The municipal people across Ontario explain it simply: if you are a tenant, you are responsible to register to vote. If you are a real property owner, you are on the tax rolls and you are automatically on the voters’ list.

This situation is hardly an improvement over the time when the federal and provincial electoral officers hired enumerators before each election to create the voters’ lists. Even the city was enumerated by the (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Crito: Doing What’s Right

In his dialogue, Crito, Plato has Socrates gently admonish his friend, Crito, for his concern over what the uneducated public might think, or might spread by rumour and gossip, and encourages him instead to focus his attention on those ‘reasonable people’ who know the facts and in doing what is right: “Why, my dear Crito, should we pay […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Checking back on the Morning Line for Toronto.

This is a repeat of Babel-on-the-Bay’s entry of September 4 this year. It has been an overly long and arduous municipal campaign for Toronto voters and candidates. As we always used to say to our campaign workers: Vote early…and often!

This mayoralty contest has been an uphill battle for broadcaster John Tory. His instinct was right last year when it was obvious that he saw no redemption for him 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 (Read more…)

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 […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Entering the end game in municipal politics.

Political apparatchiks can get into endless arguments about how best to handle the end game in a municipal campaign. The key question is in setting priorities. You will never seem to have enough workers to do the ground job. So what takes precedence? It is a question John Tory, Olivia Chow and the Ford brothers must be asking themselves as their campaigns go into the end game.

What are the chances, for example, for a good roorback? A roorback is an American political invention in that it is something scurrilous about your opponent that you disseminate when is too late (Read more…)

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: 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, […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Just days to a Ford-free Toronto.

Toronto has had bluster, BS and bad news for the past four years. There is light though in the distance. It is relief at the end of a long tunnel of trouble. Toronto has endured enough. It is time to end the Ford era. It is time to call your friends and make sure they will vote for the candidate for mayor of Toronto who will replace the Fords. It is time for Torontonians to get solidly behind John Tory.

And they will. Despite the foolish doubts of the media, the confusion of the pollsters and the arguments of the (Read more…)

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 […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: As the horses are in the final turn.

This is stupid. The law has got to let us run a totalizator on the Toronto election. We could put it on the tote out at Woodbine when there are no ponies running. Punters could check the action on the 24-hour news channels. Here it is October 1 and the candidates are in the final turn. The Toronto mayoralty race alone could make a million bucks either for charity or the government coffers.

From here on the candidates are pounding down the straight-away. The dirt is flying from steel clad feet. The jockeys in campaigning colors are urging on their (Read more…)