The Weekender

This week: Burrowing under the rhetoric

Posted: Friday, July 3, 2015

A funny thing happened on the way downtown

After attempts to rewrite the script resulting in the resignations of the director and editor of her film, Premier Kathleen Wynne now says she will sign the necessary paper work to release her reality show documentary of life behind the scenes at Queen’s Park.

            Amazing! There is nothing like FrontPage exposure in the Toronto Star to experience a conversion of conscience. Unfortunately that horse is out of the Wynne barn. Now if she could only balance the provincial books.

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Don’t think Leanne gets out much

The determination of the bicycle crowd to install bike lines on Speedvale Avenue East, met with opposition recently. City staff has serious doubts about spending $14 million to move hydro poles and expropriate property to meet the cyclist’s desire.

One solution offered was to reduce the existing four lanes to three between Woolwich and Manhattan Court. This would reduce vehicle traffic to one lane each way with a left turn centre lane and…bike lanes.

Coun. Leanne Piper suggested that the city had re-marked major roads to accommodate bike lanes in several areas of the city and she claims: “They work.”

The increasing traffic congestion on these roads that Coun. Piper professes to “work” is the result of a hardcore minority lobby, supported by a majority of councillors, to force access by constructing bike lanes on major arterial roads.

           When cyclists accept responsibility for using the roads by meeting the same standards as owners of vehicles, then they might have an argument. The bottom line is they pay nothing toward the building and maintenance of the bike lane network, do not carry insurance and are unlicensed users of roads governed by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. Leanne, get off the bus and check out the reality of increasing daily congestion caused by the former council’s squeeze play to reduce vehicle lanes on major roads.

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Math was not one of her best subjects

Chief Administrative Officer Ann Pappert, has gone silent these days as her days of remaining as CAO of the city could come as a close in the early fall when her contract expires. She is and remains a Farbridge loyalist who’s past declarations include stating that the Urbacon settlement would not increase property taxes. Her explanation was the funds would come from three reserve funds … ergo; it won’t cost taxpayers a dime. Really? Who supplied the money for those reserves in the first place? Santa Claus?

           Boy! Was she off base on that one. Regardless a majority of the new council in 2015 foisted a 3.94 per cent property tax increase on the taxpayers. It was the highest increase in 5 years. But council found $600,000 to install bike lanes on Woodlawn. Go figure!

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Finally, the strangle hold on basic food costs could be history

The days of producers setting the consumer price for their products such as milk, cheese, butter, eggs, poultry, beef and pork appear to be numbered as Canada moves to join the new Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade zone.

The participants in this new trade agreement are adamant that Canada gets rid of the various supply management arrangements that protect growers from foreign competition. Translation: Open the border for competition that will result in lower prices for food basics. The Federal Government is indicating it will assist the growers with subsidies but that could endanger other trade agreements the country has made that disallow agriculture support subsidies.

          My, my, my, as my aunt Gladys used to say. We currently have some of the highest prices on those basic products of most countries in the developed world. Why should consumers subsidize the operations of those agriculture producers? The dairy folks are so awash with money that they are nationally marketing their own brand of yogurt. Wonder how that’s working for them as thousands of litres of zero per cent fatless milk is dumped onto manure piles. But that’s another story.

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When I grow up I want to be a fireman

Are our firefighters now the King Kongs of the organized labour movement? There is stealth bargaining going on right now between the Guelph Fire Fighters Association (i.e. union) and the city to develop a new contract. Because the fireman cannot strike, their contracts eventually go to a third party arbitrator for settlement. The history of this sordid system is we are now paying many firemen more than $100,000 a year because the arbitrator inevitably compares what other similar sized department are getting. The arbitrator does not consult the city as to whether it can afford these increases.

Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente describes firemen as part-time workers who are underworked and overpaid.

            Well are they? Incidents of fires breaking out have dropped dramatically in recent years. The introduction of smoke alarms, education and improved standards of construction, has reduced the number of actual fires to which the firemen must respond. Today theGuelph fire stations respond to vehicle accidents. The reason is the trucks carry oxygen bottles to treat the injured even though the firemen are not trained paramedics. The EMS medics on the other hand, are trained to use oxygen but their vehicles are not equipped. Go figure! The work schedules are another perk that permits firemen to work a special schedule that allows them more time off than any other public or private employer in the city. This offers opportunity for the more entrepreneurial among them to have another job or business.

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Are the Grits and NDP setting us up for a Pizza Parliament?

Adopting a proportional representation voting system is getting traction. Both the NDP and Liberals are claiming they will introduce the system if elected to form the next Federal Government. It’s a system that requires voters to rank in order their preference of candidates for the office. It is a system often described as electing a government of many parties. In Canada’s case, electing a “Pizza Parliament” composed of members of major and fringe parties with no majority winner. Two major examples where this system is in place are Israel and Italy, neither being towers of parliamentary procedures or effective government.

The proponents argue that coalition governments are more democratic and efficient. If the two countries above are any example, we’re in for a weird and inconclusive outcome if the new government approves the system following our election in the fall.

           This is a system that the NDP and Greens have been pushing for years. Can you imagine walking into the polling station and being handed a ballot with ten names on it and told to rank them in order of preference? It’s a voter turnout killer and a perfect way to “plump” by only selecting one name and ignoring the others. A spoiled ballot, you say? Well, you have expressed your choice and ranked them, not! This is more democratic and reflective of the people’s choice or intent. Bunk! I say. Fix the system we have. Imagine: Elizabeth May as Prime Minister with a little help from her friends in the new Pizza Parliament. Let the games begin.

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

4 responses to “The Weekender

  1. Joe Black

    Where are all the bikes ? I might at best seen two bikes all summer in those bike lanes . Did anyone actually survey on bikes ?

  2. Glen N. Tolhurst

    To do a survey, the “biker supporters” would only be able to count to five (4 fingers & a thumb on a hand) before they would have to change hands and lose count. Thus, no objective numbers to back up the rhetoric.

  3. Jerry

    Glen not all bicycle users are stupid and the implication shows were you stand?. I do agree that the bike lanes are not always needed on every road way.There are so many paths in Guelph that you can get to a destination
    pretty quickly without getting on roads and if you do need a street to get to your destination there are tons of side streets.away from heavy traffic.
    I will state again that we should go back to licensing and insuring bicycle
    riders for the safety of the bicyclist and for theft of bikes.
    Maybe what the city should do is put postings up on a website or maybe just better publications of the trails in Guelph.I have talked to many people that are not even aware of the fact that the trails are vast and get you anywhere in the city you need to go.
    cheers.

  4. DAVID BIRTWISTLE

    Having seen 2 young persons(ages 14-16?) biking down my street texting on their mobile devices I asked the GPS if IAW the law(s) governing vehicles if they were contravening such laws-nothing heard?!Licensing and testing of bicyclists long overdue as they continuosly disregard laws of the road

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