Scripturient: Budget Bullshit

The first question you have to ask after following Collingwood Council’s sloppy and inept budget process is “Where did the money go?” Then the second question you have to ask, “Are they really that dense?” Yes, but let’s start with the first question. Back when he promoted dismantling the water utility from its partnership with ...

Scripturient: EPCOR’s rate hikes create unrest

It seems EPCOR isn’t the most beloved utility service out there, despite the glowing comments the interim CAO made to staff recently. I was given a recording of his hour-long talk (aka sales pitch) for EPCOR and I can only say I hope no one listening fell for it (I’ll review his talk in another ...

Scripturient: Will the Block’s hypocrisy never cease?

Last term, when they were raising their pitchforks to storm the bureaucratic castle, the members of today’s Collingwood Council – those we disparagingly refer to as The Block – were loudly castigating the former council for having once done a sole-source deal with the company that was the only Canadian supplier of a product in ...

Scripturient: Saunderson announces another tax hike

At Collingwood Council, Monday night, Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson revealed The Block’s plan to foist its third tax hike this term on residents. Despite the report on the town’s financial situation by the interim CAO’s pet consultant that warned Collingwood is already overtaxed, Saunderson and his Block plan to raise your taxes AGAIN this term. ...

Scripturient: Collingwood Council’s missed initiatives

The word initiative derives from the Latin word initiare “to begin.” Since 1600, it has meant “introduce to some practice or system,” “begin, set going.” While any sort of action or engagement, positive or negative, can be classified as an initiative, generally one refers only to positive enterprises when describing political or social initiatives. I ...

Scripturient: Collingwood’s own Gong Show, part 1

Has there ever been a more inept, ineffective group at the council table in Collingwood? Certainly not in the 26 years I’ve been here. Not in the dozen years I covered it for the media, not in the 11 years I served on council have I seen anything so comical. Rogers TV really should put ...

Scripturient: Your $350,000 wasted

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request I filed recently shows a disturbing abuse of your tax dollars. Money was wasted that could have been spent on doing something good, something positive, something useful for Collingwood. Download the report here. In the two-year period between mid-2014 and mid-2016, the town’s administration spent $340,000 of your tax dollars on ...

Scripturient: 322 reasons why we’re better off with PowerStream

$322. More. Every year. $322. That’s how much more the average consumer household using 750 kW/month pays a year when connected to Hydro One, compared to the same household connected to Collus PowerStream. That means YOU will pay that much more, thanks to Collingwood Council. The Block, in particular. And it could be higher, if ...

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Winston Churchill and taxes #nlpoli

You have probably seen the quote and a picture of Winston Churchill flying around Facebook or Twitter since the provincial government introduced its budget in the House of Assembly a couple of weeks ago. “For a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself ...

atypicalalbertan: How Much are we Subsidizing Private Education?

I have been actively involved lately in plenty of discussion about the public funding of private education that we do in Alberta. I don’t believe that we should be providing any public funds to private education. If you decide that the public system is not for you, that’s fine, then you should pay for it ...

Scripturient: Betraying the Public Interest

At last Monday’s council meeting, Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson maneuvered so that interim CAO John Brown was allowed to publicly speak to the question of his contract being extended before any vote was taken. Even before anyone on council had a chance to comment on whether he should be allowed to speak. This motion was the topic of ...

Scripturient: The $1.2 Million Bird-Flip

Only 16 months into this term and I’m already worn out from saying “I told you so.” I warned you it would get worse just a few weeks ago. And look: IT DID. But you’re not really surprised, are you? The whole thing was choreographed by the Bobblehead Block Five through months of secret meetings and ...

Scripturient: When is a tax increase not a tax increase?

When blockheads don’t get what a levy is. This month, Collingwood Council voted for a tax increase that, through the admin’s sleight of hand, the bobbleheads believed wasn’t a tax increase. It was just the old shell game. According to a story in the Connection (which also didn’t get it), headlined “No tax hike, but ...

Michal Rozworski: Will Sanders’ rise be felt in Canada?

Co-written with Derrick O’Keefe and originally published at Ricochet. Even if he’s really only offering a pragmatic form of social democracy, Sanders has created a political space in the mainstream left that’s sorely missing in Canada. His insurgent campaign for the Democratic Party nomination has put inequality and systemic injustice front and centre in the ...

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 the town’s debt and financial status. Hand-wringing and hair-pulling. These jeremiads are enough to make a taxpayer wake up in the middle of the night ...

Joe Fantauzzi: The Political Economy of The Sharing Economy

Introduction Today, getting a lift to the store is as easy as loading an application on a digital device and summoning a roving car to one’s door. It is fast, cheap and, many argue, less onerous than ownership. The so-called sharing economy is on the radar of interests representing business, various governments in Canada and, ...

Joe Fantauzzi: From Participatory Budgeting to Co-operative Tenant Control: An Alternative Policy Recommendation For Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing (TCH) is a huge organization with a crucial mandate. Located in Canada’s most-populous city and the capital of the Province of Ontario, TCH provides housing for 164,000 low and moderate-income people in 58,500 homes. The agency, created by the City of Toronto in 2002[1], is the largest public housing provider in Canada ...

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – On Church, State, and Politics

    I’m consistently amazed by the audacity of organized religion and the amount of steamy-ripe-bullshit that it forces down our society’s throat.  The fetid promotion and glorification of ignorance coupled with the consistent denial of science and fact is a burgeoning cataclysm for the human race.  Organized stupidity, if left unchecked, will be the end ...

Scripturient: Consultants Run Amok

As the old saw says, a consultant is someone who comes in to solve a problem and stays around long enough to become part of it. So how many consultants’ reports does it take for council to figure out we’re spending too much money on consultants’ reports? More than three, apparently. Three is the number ...

Joe Fantauzzi: Raise Corporate Taxes To Fund Ontario’s Infrastructure Deficit: An Alternative Policy Proposal

The province of Ontario currently faces a significant public infrastructure deficit which is harming its economic productivity and its quality of life. The government’s own numbers estimate that deficit at “tens of billions of dollars.”[1] Some media reports have pegged the number at times in excess of $100 billion.[2] I propose a new policy paradigm ...

Scripturient: Screw the Taxpayer

Sitting down? Good. You might want a drink, too. A strong one. Ready? Get a grip on your chair. Here goes: Collingwood is looking at a 3.9% tax hike for 2016. And that’s just its own portion. Let me help you up. No, that isn’t wrong. It’s the proposed budget hike this council is contemplating. ...

Joe Fantauzzi: Notes on the Political Economy of the Hydro One Privatization or: Why Isn’t The Ontario Business Sector Paying Its Fair Share For Infrastructure?

Ontario’s provincial government faces a massive public infrastructure deficit. The province’s own numbers estimate the deficit at “tens of billions of dollars.” Among the high profile components of this deficit is transportation infrastructure. In response, the government says it has invested billions of dollars into transportation infrastructure since 2003. Ontario’s Liberal provincial government is in the midst of a ...

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and Lynton Crosby’s Monstrous Lock Box

Well there was Stephen Harper in Quebec yesterday, locking a promise never to raise taxes into a giant safe.Vowing to put a tax lock on our future. Stephen Harper is making a promise to keep his promise. A re-elected Conservative government would introduce so-called “tax lock” legislation that would prohibit increases to federal tax rates, Harper ...

Bill Longstaff: Enough of this low tax nonsense

If conservatives believe in low taxes in order to keep government small, so be it, but when they insist that low taxes are necessary for a healthy economy, they are talking rot, parroting a mantra that has been utterly disproved. The low tax theory can in fact be refuted with one word: Sweden. I could ...

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. ...