Mayor uses city resources to muzzle guelphspeaks blog

Posted February 7,  2015

When broke the news that Guelph CAO, Ann Pappert, requested an early review of her job before her contract expired in 2016, the Mayor went berserk.

The following is an Email he sent out to an undisclosed number of people. Guelphspeaks feels that you ought to know how our new mayor operates using your money.

A copy of this email from Guthrie is exactly as published. It is not known who the recipients were.

From the email entitled – Confidential – Not for blogging


I am writing to you all regarding our first interaction as this council with the writer of the Guelph Speaks blog, Gerry Barker.

The post in question is here:

Ann is our only employee. She cannot “stick up” for herself in public. Yet we can.

It is my advice that we shouldn’t contact or respond in any public way to this man or his post. When that has occurred in the past, it goes horribly sideways and only draws attention to what he writes. It gives him a spotlight and that’s the last thing anyone wants.

I am asking our HR department to look into this blog, and then to advise me of any action we can take as her employer, to protect her reputation. Preliminary advice from HR has been in agreement to mine, that we ignore.

I will not tolerate this whatsoever as mayor. These blogs distract us all and in-turn takes our collective focus off of helping this city.

I would be extremely upset if I found out any member of this council is in communication with a person who sole purpose is to belittle and disparage our CAO and our staff.

I will keep you informed of this issue and I’m willing to talk further in person about this if need be.

Thank you,


Cam, is that a criticism?

While he signs this personal attack as “Cam”, he is still Mayor of the City of Guelph. Before the mayor pops off any more, perhaps he should understand the law governing libel. The only defense of libel is the truth.

I do want to thank him for publishing the confidential email that only exacerbates his perceived problem and now reaches a far larger audience. He apparently does not understand that the Canadian Constitution allows free speech. His clumsy attempt to order unnamed persons who received his email to ignore guelphspeaks, is classic big-brotherism.

The blog in question is based on fact. That truth brought on the mayor’s broadside. It is amusing that he consulted the Human Resources department re taking action against the guelphspeaks editor.

Did he bother to consult with the city solicitor? The grammatical errors in the Email indicate that perhaps he didn’t check the copy before publishing it. Or, maybe he did.

The question people are asking is why is the mayor so vociferously defending the CAO? A senior manager whose pre-election record consisted of twisting the facts regarding the Urbacon lawsuit and misstating the public petition asking for an audit of city finances.

The mayor describes Ms. Pappert as the “only” employee who cannot stick up for herself in public.

Really! Why not? She is a public employee who is responsible to the people. When she made statements that misrepresented the facts, the public has the right to judge her performance.

This is not the first time Cam Guthrie has attacked me. A few weeks before the last election, I was quoted in the Tribune with sharing information between GrassRoots Guelph and the Guthrie campaign. In the view of GRG, we had similar goals.

I had met with Cam on two occasions prior to the October election plus he invited me to speak with his key campaign people in which information was shared.

Prior to that meeting, Guthrie and his campaign team addressed the GRG steering committee. After he left, the committee voted 17 to 2 in favour of supporting Guthrie for mayor.

After reporting this outcome to the Guthrie campaign team, we agreed to stay in touch and I informed them that GRG was working to elect members of council.

The morning the Tribune story broke, Cam was on the phone to me literally screaming that I had destroyed his candidacy by saying GRG was sharing information with his campaign.

Cam further denied any association with GRG and did not want our intended recommendation of his candidacy. In a subsequent article in the Tribune, Guthrie denied having anything to do with GRG and he, nor his team, shared information with GRG.

That published statement tells you something of his character.

I spent seven years as the only voice in the city that was consistently critical of the Farbridge administration. Cam spent 10 months mildly criticizing the mayor, his opponent. I’m sure to this day that he believes he singe-handedly defeated Mayor Farbridge.

In all the years of dealing with politicians and working on several campaigns, I never experienced such a response from a candidate or an elected official. I had nothing to do with the Guthrie campaign nor did most members of the GRG steering committee.

Guelphspeaks has been muted in the past four months commenting on the progress of the new council.

The gloves are off now. Cam is not paying attention to the people of Guelph who determined that change had to come in the administration of our city.

He seems afraid to offend anyone, present company excepted. The real issues and tough decisions are not being faced.

We’ll have more on this later.

There is hope that the lightning bolt of logic will enter his psyche and he matures quickly on the job.

So far it only proves that you can’t turn an insurance agent into a mayor overnight.

Sigh! Hope springs eternal.




Filed under Between the Lines

6 responses to “Mayor uses city resources to muzzle guelphspeaks blog

  1. geo

    He hired her. Thought she was the best person for the job.

  2. Shane

    Wow Gerry !!! i think we have just witnessed a Kathleen Wynne reaction from our mayor .. Deflect and ignore the facts lmao.. Just look at what happen in the Sudbury election they did nothing wrong even though the tapes prove other wise .. People hate facts but as humans we have become extremely ignorant to this type of behaviour . Because of people like yourself we closer to a true democracy.

    Thanks and keep up the job work

  3. louis

    I find the email suspicious, normally the grammar and punctuation would be better coming from someone who holds office. Check the details on it as some things people can spoof IP addresses and make it look it came from a city’s IP. I say its suspicious but curious what the IP is

    • Louis: Did you receive the Mayor’s e-mail? Has he denied sending it? If what you suggest is true, then the security of city hall emails is really suspect. I have every reason to know that what the Mayor wrote to a number of undisclosed recipients was deliberate and self-serving.

    • louis

      Never got an email from him, but I would still check the email header if I got one from him.

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