Posted July 30, 2015
Recently during the debate to set new budget guidelines for the City of Guelph’s 2016 budget, the NDP dominated council spent almost two hours debating then it ended up with agreement to let the staff prepare the budget with no guidelines from council.
So what? Some would say.
Two of the doctrinaire progressive councillors, both former NDP candidates for the Ontario Legislature, James Gordon and Phil Allt, read prepared statements that reflected the former Farbridge administration’s method of preparing a budget.
Their job is to represent the people who elected them, not read left wing policies during an important debate. Their leftist mindset was made up before they heard any suggestions from other councillors.
Coun. Mike Salisbury joined them in denying Mayor Guthrie’s election promise to keep the 2015 property tax rate at the same level as the Consumer Price Index inflation rate of 2.2 per cent.
Well that was then and this is now. This same majority of progressives were responsible for the 3.96 per cent property tax increase for this year. The only members of council who voted against this increase were Mayor Cam Guthrie, Councillors Christine Billings, Dan Gibson and Andy Van Hellemond.
Was this a planned progressive effort to embarrass Mayor Guthrie?
That 2015 property tax increase achieved the dubious distinction of having the highest tax rate of 14 peer municipalities.
It would appear that in Guelph politics, nothing has changed when it comes to curtailing costs, becoming more efficient, and correcting the $14 million Urbacon mess. For no other reason than recognizing that the people voted for change in the October civic election.
Who was it that said: “The socialists will spend the public’s money until the money runs out?”
There is a great divide in this city that has stalled needed programs and capital projects because of ideological differences. The progressive cohorts on council are controlling the agenda, aka the old Farbridge agenda.
That’s like letting Karen Farbridge still run the city without being elected.
The progressives were stunned when their leader was so soundly defeated. But they are striking back.
It started with the vexatious, frivolous and vindictive complaint against Glen Tolhurst who was defeated in Ward 6. Susan Watson, Farbridge friend and defender applied to have Mr. Tolhurst’s official election expenses report be audited by the Compliance Audit Committee (CAC). Her application was made almost six months after the election.
In the Tolhurst report there was a donation to his campaign of $400 from citizen’s activist organization GrassRoots Guelph (GRG).
Former Mayor Karen Farbridge appointed the CAC in 2014 and it’s made up of three members. After hearing Ms. Watson’s reasons for an audit, two of the three members voted unanimously to order the audit. The whole principal of any organization having an odd number in the decision process is basic to ensure a balanced outcome. In this case, the newly appointed chair of the CAC did not participate in the Watson hearing.
Watson and her entourage of supporters claimed that GRG was a third party and ineligible to make donations to candidates in a municipal election. In fact, GRG is an incorporated organization called GrassRoots Guelph Voters Association Inc. And as a corporation under the Municipal Elections Act, GRG is permitted to donate to candidates.
It should be noted that GrassRoots Guelph was not invited or participated in this meeting to decide if it was acting illegally in donating money to Mr. Tolhurst.
Enter the city appointed auditor, William Molson of Toronto.
He has created a situation in which the city is now facing misrepresentation that could result in spending thousands of public money. It is based on the whim, called a complaint of Glen Tolhurst’s financial declaration, in the 2014 civic election, by a doctrinaire socialist.
This has all the elements of making our city government the laughing stock of municipalities across the province. It’s because the city appointed an auditor who is investigating a defeated candidate who spent less than $4,000. Then, spending public money to assuage a petty complaint by a sore loser.
An estimate of the cost of Ms. Watson’s complaint so far is more than $10,000 and counting. That’s your money.
The situation could escalate if there is a trial before a Superior Court judge, and results in damages to personal loss of reputation lawsuits and the reputation of the city for this foolhardy attempt of retribution.
This is the way the progressives wage war, with your money.
If you believe this charade should end, call your councillor and tell him or her to pull the plug on this vengeful, costly expedition. Their numbers are listed on the city website, Guelph.CA