Your GuelphSpeaks Weekender

By Gerry Barker

Posted October 2, 2015

The Guelph File

Mercury editorial rides above the madding crowd – If only the Guelph progressives would do a Mulcair – The great goose management strategy – Candidates who want to be Members of Parliament

 

Mercury editorial tries to put lipstick on a pig

Guelph’s newspaper of record, recently offered its interpretation of Susan Watson’s abortive attempt to deny third party participation in municipal elections. Her efforts resulted in costing the citizens $11,400 for an audit that absolved Glen Tolhurst and GrassRoots Guelph from contravening the Municipal Elections Act (MEA).

If the city-appointed audit said there was no breach of the MEA, why are the citizen’s required to pay? The Mercury editorial loftily claims it’s a matter of interpretation. It goes on to say that the case became “a matter of polarized viewpoints.”

Before going further, it is important to understand that not only the city must pay the costs of this exercise but also Mr. Tolhurst has substantial legal fees to pay, to defend him against charges that were totally dismissed by the auditor.

The Mercury stated: “In the end the auditor found Tolhurst made a few minor errors in his election expenses report.” Those errors totaling less than $2o4.60 did not satisfy the auditor that Mr. Tolhurst contravened the MEA.

Yet the Mercury says: “By the letter of the law, those minor filing flaws were enough to qualify the audit as warranted and not something that should have costs covered by the complainant, as might have been open to the audit committee to order.”

Throughout the editorial, the person who launched this frivolous exercise, Susan Watson’s name is never used. But Mr. Tolhurst’s name is used along with GrassRoots Guelph.

The Mercury headline atop the story reporting the Compliance Audit Committee’s final report stated, (paraphrased), Committee says Tolhurst will not be charged.

It is a sad day in city journalism when such a biased editorial in the paper of record, continues to support the administration today and for the last eight years, with equivocation.

GuelphSpeaks has written 687 posts in three years about the abuses of power, fiscal mismanagement, failure to investigate vital issues, not getting both sides of the story, and failing to apply critical thinking during that period of the city’s administration on the Mercury editorial pages.

Unfortunately, what can you expect from a corporately owned newspaper that has its editor in chief working at the Kitchener Record? When the late Lord Thomson remarked, “news is the stuff we put around the ads,” he set the benchmark of editorial content for the Guelph Mercury and Guelph Tribune.

For years the emphasis in the TorStar owned Metroland, operators of the Mercury and the Guelph Tribune, has been on the advertising revenue particularly the money spent in the Tribune for so-called “City News” multiple pages. The estimated annual cost to the city is estimated to be more than $500,000.

Is that not a reason to keep the political leaders in the community comfortable when it comes to managing the news in favour of the incumbents?

This editorial proves that no matter how hard you try, you can’t put lipstick on a pig.

*            *            *            *

It’s happening to NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and it can happen here

Reviews of the Friday French language debate between the federal leaders showed that Mulcair’s support in Quebec is eroding rapidly. And it’s mostly due to his stand on allowing Islamic women to cover their faces while swearing in to becoming Canadian citizens.

The dainty half-face masks are a custom among many Islamic females and indigenous of their culture, before deciding to become a Canadian. A recent decision by the Federal court said the women did not have to remove their Naqib for religious reason. Ta Da! It’s a Charter issue under the subtext, freedom of religion.

The question remains, when does the Charter of Rights and Freedoms kick in, before or after becoming a citizen?

The Harper government is appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the court decision and insist that during a citizenship ceremony, they must reveal their faces.

Mr. Mulcair was in favour of allowing the women to cover their faces even if it was in a private citizenship meeting with a judge.

The trouble emerged when most people in Quebec want the faces uncovered during the official citizenship ceremony, regardless of their previous cultural demands.

He has alienated many Quebec NDP supporters leaving the campaign wide open to the Liberals and the Conservatives.

Now, if only we could have a “Naqib” moment in Guelph to loosen the grip of the NDP-dominated progressives in our city government, the playing field would be leveled and common sense would return.

*            *            *            *

Cheeky geese create another $50,000 policy debate

Apparently, the city administration has recognized that Guelph has a Canada goose problem. Living near Riverside Park, one has do the doo-doo dance while strolling along the river

This has prompted creation of a Goose Management Strategy. Estimated cost $50,000.

Here are some suggestions: Hire some goose dogs to keep chasing the pooh birds until they go to Cambridge or winter in the Everglades. That would diminish their numbers as the alligators and pythons would relish dinner.

Perhaps set up public pooh stations for geese. Of, course training them could be a problem. It would be similar to the problem of training late night revelers relieving themselves in public downtown.

The trouble is the geese have been allowed to get too comfy in the Guelph parks and no longer migrate.

Maybe we could hire that guy who flies his light plane with the geese in formation. Ah, but where does he leave them?

“Fly me to the moon

Let me play among the stars”

Frank Sinatra, 1970

*            *            *            *

This is an election where experience counts

There are seven candidates running for the Guelph federal seat in Parliament. It’s a pretty good gig as there are plenty of incentive because the pay and perks are above the Canadian family average. The candidate’s approved election expenses are paid by the government, provided they obtain enough votes.

Of the seven, only one, Gloria Kovach, running for the Conservatives, has campaigned in both civic and federal elections. She has also served as President of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. Her record as a city councillor for 24 years gives her the edge among all the candidates, being the most qualified of the seven candidates to represent Guelph.

Her chief opponents include Lloyd Longfield for the Liberals. He is a past president of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and has never been elected to public office. Spending on his campaign appears to be more than the other candidates.

Running for the NDP is newcomer Andrew Seagram, who also has never run for public office, let alone being elected a Member of Parliament.

Gord Miller for the Green Party was a senior civil servant as Commissioner of the Environment in the Ontario government. He too is a newcomer running for elected office.

Other candidates include:

Tristan Dineen representing the Communist Party of Canada

Kornelis Klevering of the Marijuana Party

Alex Fekri of the Libertarian Party

It is an eclectic mix representing a number of views that make up the Canadian mosaic of political interests.

There is a growing feeling that the three major candidates on the left of the political spectrum will suffer from vote-splitting. The most likely strategic voting victim could be Lloyd Longfield with two other candidates, Miller and Seagram, vying for the same constituency.

The most surprising outcome may be the support of the Green Party’s Gord Miller.

When the dust settles on October 20 the winner having had the most effective ground game paired with experience, will be our new M.P.

 

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