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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 […]

Scripturient: The Horns of a Dilemma

Poor Borg. One almost feels pity for their confusion. The members of Collingwood’ Council’s block-thinking collective were faced with a difficult dilemma on Monday: should they stick to their pettifogging ideology or break from it and support one of their own? Dogma versus friendship and loyalty. Monday night, another report from the Integrity Commissioner bashed […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: What do Trump, Ford, Harper have in common?

If you think the front runner for the Republican Party nomination for American President is a joke, you did not understand Toronto’s former Mayor Rob Ford either. And Stephen Harper has his own place in Hell next to both of them. All three show signs of being misanthropes—which means they really do not like people. These guys are not there for the people they say they care for. They are users, not caregivers.

These are people care so little for others that it is only their ego that feeds them. Trump and Harper appear to share a hair fetish. Trump’s (Read more…)

Scripturient: Tourism and Collingwood

Tourism is the world’s fifth fastest-growing industry and growing at five percent per year. A recent story on CBC Radio this week suggests growth has been even higher for Canada, thanks to our lower Loonie: at least six percent. According to the Tourism Association of Canada, in 2013, Canada’s tourism industry: Represented more of Canada’s GDP than agriculture, […]

Scripturient: Strat Plan Wrap Up: Addintional Comments

Yes, the web page really does call for “Addintional Comments.” Well, I suppose consultants aren’t hired for their spelling or grammar. Otherwise there wouldn’t be all that bizarre capitalization or the missing punctuation. But you’re here to read my summation of the Collingwood’s fledgling strategic plan, not my editorial critique. Which is pretty simple: woo-hoo. I reiterate […]

Scripturient: Strat Plan Part 6: Culture and the Arts

The fifth and final objective in Collingwood’s developing strategic plan (the woo-hoo plan) is culture and the arts. For something so important to the community, with such a huge potential, it encompasses a mere two goals. Disappointingly, neither of them relate to its huge economic potential, which everyone else seems to understand except this committee and […]

Scripturient: Strat Plan Part 5: Healthy Lifestyle

I suppose we can all agree that a healthy lifestyle is better than an unhealthy one. And to a certain degree, a municipality can help residents choose a healthier one or at least give them opportunities to pursue it. But you have to ask just how seriously committed a municipality is to a healthy lifestyle […]

Scripturient: Strat Plan Part 4: Economic Vitality

What, you may ask, is meant by the term “Economic Vitality” – the third objective in our town’s strategic-plan-in-the-works? Apparently it’s one of those motherhood statements people make on soapboxes and campaign platforms that have little grist in them to mill into actuality. Sure, we all want a town that has a lively, thriving economy. […]

Scripturient: Strat Plan Part 3: The Waterfront

The waterfront. It defines us geographically, historically and culturally. What could be more important to Collingwood than its waterfront that covers the entire northern border of this sleepy, lakeside town? Well, pretty much anything else it seems, if you you’re on Collingwood Council. Pick the most irrelevant, pointless, self-aggrandizing effort – like rewriting the Code […]

Scripturient: Strat Plan Part 2: The Shuffle Game

In the second part of my critique of Collingwood’s woo-hoo strategic plan, I will look at the shuffle game. This is where consultants give contestants – I mean participants – a limited series of options and ask them to shuffle these around in order of their perceived priority. Then the results are collated and the […]

Scripturient: Fiddling While Rome Burns

You know that legend about Nero fiddling while around him Rome was burning? It’s a popular metaphor for political cluelessness, for inaction, procrastination, for politicians oblivious to the important business of the city while they play games. For municipal leaders who focus on the petty, the trivial, the irrelevant and the self-serving, while major issues are ignored. Pretty much sums […]

Scripturient: Another Secretive, Self-Serving Committee

This week, Collingwood Council passed a motion to appoint the Block Five to a new standing committee. The standing committee system, you will recall, is a system of secretive committees that operates predominantly out of the public eye, with limited council attendance, and often without even media presence. Committees conduct town business beyond the pale of […]