By Gerry Barker
Posted August 16,2015
Newspaper Yuk of the week
This week’s winner is the Mercury’s headline “ Getting to the bottom of the Topless issue”. Is this an inverted triangle of an unfortunate choice of words? You be the judge. LOL
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The fall-out of the Susan Watson bomb that fizzled
When “city hall watcher” Susan Watson got out of bed Friday, she probably poured a double single malt into her morning coffee. It would turn out to be a bad day for the lady after trying to skewer former council candidate Glen Tolhurst and GrassRoots Guelph.
As it turned out the lady was not the skewer but the skewed.
William Molson, the independent accountant hired by the Compliance Audit Committee (CAC) to audit Mr. Tolhurst’s election expenses report, exonerated Tolhurst and GRG of campaign non-compliance charges in his final report.
Susan Watson’s claims directly were responsible for arranging this expensive charade of false accusations claiming wrongdoing by Mr. Tolhurst and GRG.
Most people would agree that the costs of this abortive attempt to discredit individuals and a citizen’s activist group should be borne by Susan Watson.
At the least, she should apologize to Mr. Tolhurst on the basis of unfounded charges that caused him great personal aggravation and anxiety for more than three months, not to mention personal expense.
While she’s at it, she should apologize to the people of Guelph for this baseless attempt to force her will to prevent accepted democratic rights for citizens to participate and render opinions without the threat of recourse.
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Is Mike Duffy a Trudeau plant?
What genius thought that Mike Duffy, the rotund, affable Senator, who savours the good life, could be a hidden Trudeau plant?
Don’t scoff. The key witness in the Duffy fraud trial is Nigel Wright, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Harper. Wright is a religious man who believes in the Christian adage that one must help the poor and addicted.
Well, he sure came through for the Duff giving him a personal cheque for $92,172 to make his awesome appetite for the good life bills go away. He had piled up some dubious expenses as the travelling senator from Prince Edward Island. His Senatorial colleagues were telling him he overspent on his expense account and had to repay the money.
Then the RCMP got involved and Duffy has been charged with fraud, and a host of other serious offenses involving his days as a Canadian Senator.
While that case continues in an Ottawa courtroom, consider this. Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Harper’s former chief of Staff, is a wealthy and successful businessman who now works for the Onex Corporation, headed by Gerry Schwartz, a long time Liberal supporter.
Nah! That’s not happening.
Duffy may go to jail for his financial indiscretions, but he’ll have a whale of tale to write about how it all turned out. The book may help destroy the Canadian Senate, as we now know it, and make enough money to pay back Mr. Wright’s $90,142 charitable gift.
Nah! That’s not going to happen.
The Duff will spend his remaining days of freedom at his favourite watering hole buying drinks and reveling the gathering with his life experiences.
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It’s time for our CAO to investigate the Waste Management mess
As guelphspeaks.ca reported this week, there are serious management problems ongoing in the operations at the city’s Waste Resources Innovation Centre (WRIC).
In a letter from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) the city was ordered to clean up several areas of the site that failed to meet the standards of the certificate of agreement signed by the city.
This was no idle gossip or hearsay evidence, it was from the provincial authority that governs waste management operations including Guelph’s WRIC.
It all started with numerous complaints of foul odours emanating from the WRIC and affecting local residents. The waste management went into damage control and assured the residents that they were investigating the source of the neighbour’s complaints.
Then this week, eight WRIC workers were sent to hospital with respiratory and eye problems from a mysterious toxic material in the recycling centre of the site.
The sequence of complaints that have ranged for more than a month and a half is evidence of a lack of supervision and management of the site. Ann Pappert, the Chief Administrative Officer of the city, should immediately investigate the operation and reassure the public that these events will not occur again.
More importantly, she should insist on open and transparent operations of the waste management system. These would include giving the public advisory committee more authority to oversee the operations. The waste management staff should produce printed quarterly operational reports with financial details to the public. These would be inserted in the Thursday edition of the Guelph Tribune and on the city website.
The waste management has an obligation to the citizens. It’s time to live up to them.
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A personal point of view
On a final note, Barbara and I would like to thank the many folks who supported us during the audit of Mr. Tolhurst. We were summoned to explain to Mr. Molson, the auditor, about GrassRoots Guelph Voters Association, Inc. We are pleased at the even-handed way Mr. Molson investigated the charges of the alleged campaign illegalities brought by Susan Watson.
In our opinion, this was a personal assault on the rights of all citizens to participate, be active and run for office in a municipal election without the threat of post-election legal action by disgruntled opposition advocates.
What happened last October was a historic example that democracy works. The people prevailed and thousands voted for change.
Unfortunately that change is slow in coming.
There is a definite split on city council and only the people can change that by being vocal and encouraging their councillors to be open-minded and support needed changes in the way the city is being run. Gerry Barker