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Babel-on-the-Bay: The problem with problem gambling.

Usually in diatribes against the sin of gambling, you get disjointed, uninformed and confused information based on bible studies, imagination and urban legends. It was interesting the other day to read an objection from someone with a surfeit of supposedly scientific information. A gentleman named Rob Simpson signed the article. He is reputed to have spent ten years as the chief executive of the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre. That meant the Ontario government provided about $3 million per year for his organization to arrange for professional studies of problem gambling.

These studies would probably have shown that problem gambling (Read more…)

Scripturient: It’s Official: Collingwood is Closed for Business

As I predicted, Collingwood Council officially closed the town to business, growth and development, last Monday night. And just for good measure, council sprinkled the ground with the salt of malice, just to further deter a particular developer from building here. Which sends a message to everyone about how this town respects and values development. Anyone […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: Toronto Star doesn’t know diddley.

Got up a bit late the other morning and found the wife grumbling over her coffee and the Toronto Star. She had read an editorial that annoyed her. Her complaint—on which she was quite voluble—was about the Star’s new stand on a casino at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. Since she has always been in favour of having a full blown casino resort operation at that location, her complaint needed explanation. It turned out her complaint was about how little the writer knew about the subject.

Her first complaint was that the Star editorial writer suggested that blackjack and roulette tables (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Pedal fast, pedal hard, death lurks.

As a youngster, exploring the City of Toronto by bicycle on bright summer days was a wonderful option and a great learning experience. Those were gentler times and traffic was not too congested in a city of less than a million people. Add another one and a half million people in the same area and you have an entirely different situation. Cycling in the same traffic lanes as automobiles on major arteries today means that cyclists are going to get injured and killed.

There are very good reasons for this inevitability. They are a temperate climate, topography and traffic congestion.

(Read more…)

Scripturient: Connection Got It Wrong

The story in this weekend’s Connection about Block 9 underground parking incorrectly suggests council is doing something right when it was actually trying to do something wrong. But they tried to take credit for doing good when their efforts at malice failed. I expect mistakes like this from the Enterprise-Bulletin because it doesn’t have anyone on […]

Scripturient: Block Nine Revisited

I went down to the harbour today to take a couple of photographs of the piece of town land known as “Block 9.” I wanted to show my readers just how little a piece it is and what condition it’s in now. The aerial photo above shows the property outlined in orange (the photograph is several […]

Alberta Politics: Timing of NDP election finance bill’s planned implementation a direct shot at foundering Tories

PHOTOS: NDP Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley at yesterday morning’s press conference on Bill 1, An Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta. Below: Premier Rachel Notley, PC Leader Ric McIver. With Bill 1, An Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta, there can be no question that Alberta’s NDP government is playing hardball with what’s left of […]

The post Timing of NDP election finance bill’s planned implementation a direct shot at foundering Tories appeared first on Alberta Politics.

Babel-on-the-Bay: You have to admire Toronto’s Mayor Tory.

What do you want Toronto? With an unapologetic news media and an unrepentant collection of councillors ganging up on him, the best mayor Toronto has had in almost 50 years is hardly feeling much love. The poor guy has been doing the best job he can. He has been hustling hard now for just six months and he has shown that he can handle that mind-numbing job with class and style.

It is hard to believe that Toronto wants Rob Ford back. And it is for sure that they do not want poor Olivia Chow bicycling down to City Hall (Read more…)

Scripturient: Waterfront No-Brainer

Two terms ago, the public and media often referred to council as “the gong show” – no doubt from the number of inane comments and witless questions made at the table. One wonders if that nickname should not be revisited for this term. This week’s gong for inanity goes to Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson for […]

Scripturient: Good News for the Rec Facilities

A story in this week’s Collingwood Connection vindicates the decision to build the two new rec facilities last term. According to the story, usage of the two facilities – the new arena at Central Park and the renovated Centennial Pool – is soaring. Plus as an added benefit, Centennial pool is able to host competitions […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: An e-mail on preferential voting.


Dear Minister McMeekin:

You must have missed reading Babel-on-the-Bay on March 26 this year. That was when one of the postings was devoted to Toronto council’s request to your Ontario ministry for preferential voting in that city’s municipal elections. The posting was about why this might not be a good idea.

It is obvious that under the pressures of your ministry’s work load, neither you nor your staff have had time to analyze the city’s request. Should you require further discussion of the subject, this writer would be pleased to help.

First of (Read more…)

Scripturient: Openness and Transparency?

Legitimacy is earned through accountability. Accountability is produced through transparency. Those words are from an opinion piece by Ian Lee, published in the Ottawa Citizen, back in 2008. Important words; words that should be carved above our own council table in large letters. Although it seems like he was writing about Collingwood Council, Lee was actually […]

Scripturient: Illegal or Just Inappropriate Meetings?

Collingwood’s three standing committees consist solely of three members of council, each.* These committees of three each hold regular, published monthly meetings, hear public delegations, address public issues, post an agenda, receive staff reports, vote on issues, have recorded minutes, have staff to record them, and make recommendations back to council. In other words they are treated identically to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Signs – of the Apocalypse?

Councillor Cam Ecclestone made a comment at council earlier this month that he had been contacted by several residents concerned about the new sign on the Rexall Drug store on Huron Street, its size and colours. Coun. Doherty chimed in about it with similar comments. Aside from the question why anyone would contact a member of […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Not-My-Fault Dance

There’s a story in this weekend’s Collingwood Connection about the PUC board meeting this week. The board confirmed that council’s dumping unexpected costs on the utility will mean an unplanned increase in the cost of your water this year. One of our council representatives tried to dance around it as if he wasn’t among the causes of that increase. This hurtful rate increase […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Rethinking Parking

Parking in Collingwood – especially downtown – has been a contentious issue since at least the mid-1980s. Numerous studies have been done advocating a variety of answers, none of them entirely satisfactory to everyone. The factions of free versus paid parking have been warring as long as I can recall. No council has managed to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: We Need a Different Integrity Commissioner

Monday night’s council meeting again underscored why the town needs someone new in the role of integrity commissioner. Lawyer Robert Swayze presented his report about a complaint filed against councillor Deb Doherty and it was accepted by council in a recorded 6-2 vote*. But his report shared the same flaws his previous report about former Deputy […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Cold Camembert, Collingwood Style

Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth made comments last week about how awful it is to eat normal airplane food as an excuse why she billed more sumptuous meals to her taxpayer-funded expense account. Her arrogance only made Canadians agonize more over how we should abolish or reform the patronage cesspit of our appointed Senate. Her words also sparked a wave of […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Gated Communities

I’m not a big fan of gated communities, but even if I don’t personally want to live in one myself, I understand the reason for them, and sympathize with homeowners in those zones. Apartments are basically gated towers that restrict access to residents or keyholders and no one complains that they isolate the residents. Few people […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Abdicating Responsibility

Collingwood Council has, in its short time in office, abdicated much of its responsibility to the business of government and to the people of this town. Council has sloughed off the duties they were elected to shoulder with remarkable alacrity. Some of that responsibility landed on staff, who assumed control of the budget process and drive […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Closed for Business, Hostile to Seniors

Closed: that’s the message Collingwood Council sent to business during its recent budget discussions. We’re making it more expensive to run a business here, and by the way, we’re hostile to seniors and low-wage earners, too. Under the tissue-thin pretense of keeping taxes low (which they aren’t, really), council approved a staff initiative to remove the costs […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: The Bully Pulpit

“I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit!” US President Theodore Roosevelt uttered those words in office (reported in the February 27, 1909, issue of The Outlook magazine), coining the phrase ‘bully pulpit’ in referring to the presidency as an ideal platform from which to expound his […]

Babel-on-the-Bay: A paean for once-great Montreal.

Political writer Chantal Hèbert recently wrote a requiem for Montreal in the Toronto Star. She described the city as a political orphan. It is no surprise. Montreal has become insular. It is a city that has forgotten its wondrous past and searches for a future. It is a city that has forgotten that for people to give a damn about you, you first need to care about others.

It was not always like this. There were happier times. There was a glorious Expo and the world came to Montreal. And then there was the crack of the bat by les (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: When losers are choosers.

Somebody needs to rap knuckles around Toronto. People who should know better keep coming up with really dumb ideas and nobody tells them to stop being stupid. Once again the gremlins are trying to screw up the way people vote. It is so bad that even Mayor John Tory wants to get in on the act and support preferential balloting.

Preferential voting is a no-brainer for dumb voters. Can you imagine the simplicity of lining up maybe four candidates for councillor in your ward and marking the ballot: 1, 2, 3 and 4? That is when ‘1’ represents the candidate (Read more…)

Babel-on-the-Bay: Common-sense thinking at Toronto City Hall.

What is this we hear about an upgrade of Woodbine Entertainment Group to a full-fledged casino? The operation deserves it. It was a bad move when Woodbine got caught in the battle between former Mayor Ford and the downtown cyclists. It was almost as though those downtown councillors had never been to Woodbine Race Track. They had no concept of the services Woodbine offers and the excellence of the operations.

First of all Woodbine is Canada’s premier race facility. It hosts the richest horse races on turf or dirt in Canada. Even if you have never punted a $2 bet, (Read more…)