Are you ready for another four years of Karen Farbridge as your Mayor?

By Gerry Barker

October 9, 2017

There were some events this past week that confirm that our city is controlled by a political minority that has held power for the past ten years.

The most startling announcement came from a division of Innovative Guelph. Two Guelph councillors, Leanne Piper and June Hofland, were promoting an event that would feature former Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge. Ms. Hofland is named co-chair of the event while Ms. Piper is serving on a panel with Brenda Halloran, former Mayor of Waterloo and Chris Fonseca, councillor in the City of Mississauga.

As the keynote speaker, Ms. Farbridge, a veteran of 11 years as mayor of Guelph, is being promoted to “Raising women’s voices: Overcoming barriers to Women’s participation in politics.”

The Innovation Guelph (IG) organization is hosting the meeting November 14 at the Farquhar Street offices of IG. That is to set up a campaign school known as “Guelph Wellington Women’s Campaign School” It is a collaboration of several (unidentified) Guelph community partners devoted to helping women overcome barriers and support them through the political campaign.

The promotion is titled: “Ask a female politician.”

Sounds like the Lavender Hill gang is on the warpath.

Since Ms. Farbridge’s defeat in October 2014 there has been a drumbeat of recrimination by Farbridge followers over their leader’s resounding defeat by, horrors! A man.

In years past, Innovation Guelph was a project initially financed by the city during the Farbridge term as a favourite project.

It’s mission statement is: “Innovation Guelph is building prosperity for community wellbeing by providing mentorship and business support services that help innovative enterprises start.”

So, do these lofty goals have anything to do with pure political action?

Let’s check out the composition of women members of council elected in 2010. Including the Mayor, six women were elected to city council. Along came the 2014 election and only four women were elected to serve. Three of the four are supporters of the former mayor and two are involved in the current “Ask a female politician” initiative.

What can I say? Asking the former mayor to speak at a gender-focused event to help women overcome the alleged barriers to obtaining political office is like throwing up a barricade where none exist.

Their motives are entirely sexist. What’s next, a forum for men to overcome the barriers of political office that some women claim exists?

Further, why is IG involved in sponsoring this forum that strays from its own mission statement? Is it not an organization dedicated for all people in the Guelph/Wellington area regardless of gender, colour, or sexual preference?

The program says there is no charge to attend and all genders are welcome.

Her hardcore supporters are still feeling the pain of the Farbridge surprise defeat. As for the rest of us, perhaps we may attend this self-serving soiree and ask some pertinent questions about Ms. Farbridge’s involvement in the Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. (GMHI) fiasco.

According to the announcement questions from those attending will only be asked of the three-person panel and not the keynote speaker. Of the panel only Coun. Leanne Piper represents Guelph.

Here are some questions that should be asked of the former mayor:

* As chair of GMHI, why were most of the GMHI meetings held in closed session?

* What was the role of CAO Ann Pappert as Chief Executive Officer of GMHI for four years?

* Did she report to you as chair of the GMHI board?

* Did GMHI, under your leadership, ever earn enough revenue to cover its operating expenses and if so, from where and how much?

* How could GMHI send a total of $9 million as dividends to the city’s general revenues between 2012 and 2015 when it was operating with a deficit?

* The shareholder’s equity is listed on the KPMG GMHI consolidated audit as $63 million. What form of equity of the shareholders (i.e. the Corporation of City of Guelph) made up that $63 million and is it recoverable?

* Why did GMHI borrow $93 million in two debentures from a subsidiary of Guelph Hydro? What happened to those funds?

* Why did Ann Pappert resign ten days following the May 16, 2016 report by Pankaj Sardana that she co-signed?

* Finally, is Innovation Guelph just another tool in the former mayor’s visionary toolbox to support her pro-environmental, power self-sufficiency and sustainability agenda to Guelph?

Regardless, three years ago voters soundly rejected Ms. Farbridge’s performance in retaining power by shutting down public participation using closed-session meetings. To now participate in a meeting to have women encourage you to run and donate to your campaign is not only premature but in my opinion, politically stupid.

But perhaps the announcement makes it clear what your intentions are concerning the October 2018 civic election with the following exhortation:


Come to think about it, perhaps Ms. Farbridge is setting the stage to run as a Liberal in the June 2018 provincial election to replace the retiring Liz Sandals.

Now, wouldn’t that be special.













Filed under Between the Lines

17 responses to “Are you ready for another four years of Karen Farbridge as your Mayor?

  1. Rena

    If this were not all so sad it would be funny. Especially your last comment. Thanks for the laugh.

  2. Louis

    I would seriously say to her ‘F..k off Farbridge, no one wants you as mayor, you were a disaster, and the only people who would vote for you would be losers and idiots.’

    • Ann Meredith

      NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!!!!!
      Cam Guthrie is a great mayor, not since Norm Jary have we had one as good.

    • Sue

      Louis, that comment is rude and vulgar. You have every right as a citizen and voter to dislike and disagree with the actions of anyone elected to public office, but it’s possible to make critical comments without resorting to personal attacks telling someone to “f-off”.

      You often express strong negative opinions about a group of our local politicians – maybe you should do something about the things you are so critical of in others who have been democratically elected and consider running for city council yourself.

    • I believe in fair comment and public participation in government management of our business, something management of the city of Guelph has yet to grasp. But I want to remind folks that your comments refrain from using expletives and personal attack in the commentary section of There are plenty of good and healthy comments shared between contributors. Thanks y’all

    • Louis

      Sue , I had to deal with two terms of Farbridge. Where were you progressives when she was wasting taxpayer money and calling her out on her BS? I guess your memory isn’t great, remember urbacon? Why not go on YouTube and search ‘city hall whiskey?’

      Where were you progressives when she pulled that off? No where no accountability from her. Didn’t call her out on wasting taxpayer money. If Guthrie did that you would be on him very quickly.

      But i forgot you guys and all peas in a pod. If a conservative mayor did that you progressives would call him out and call for their head.

      Besides me run for mayor or council I would be likened to Trump. Besides I will continue to divide everyone to ruin chances that progressives get their dictatorship for four years. Enjoy them hope the Scientologists don’t get political pull and screw them over. Because if they do we all lose and if your preferred candidates are supportive of them and you aren’t then you have a choice. You can support them knowing the Scientologists will have more power. Or you can limit their power because Clearwater Florida got screwed


    “…all genders are welcome…”-Gerry,any thoughts/guesses/conjecture/etc. on which current male gender Councillors(MGCs) will attend?Perhaps you might consider having a poll?

  4. Capricorn

    We heard complaints of misogyny during the last election. Karen Farbridge and her supporters mentioned it often. I wonder what they call this exclusive support for women only? Must be a name for it. Distasteful to say the least. What ever happened to choosing the best candidate?

    • Louis

      I’ll call them out on their BS, they are reaching social justice warrior levels basically, they claim to be progressive when they really aren’t, they more or less shame people for not being progressive, but their club basically means straight white men need not apply.

  5. Glen

    Gerry – Perhaps you could go in drag to infiltrate the Farbridge gaggle.
    So, Hofland is co-chair, ain’t that sweet. Perhaps she can be enticed to “spill the beans” on the goings on of the GMHI board during her tenure on it and how multi tens of millions of tax payer dollars were squandered on such boondoggles as the ill thought out district energy caper.
    Little wonder the :key note speaker” won’t be answering any questions considering the costly “feel good make Guelph the centre of the green universe” crap she pushed during her reign. Are they going to have security pat down all attendees to make sure they are not carrying over ripe fruit suitable for pelting the key note speaker & her flunkies?

  6. george allan

    Completely f***** up the green energy file, lets give the women’s rights angle a go. Please Guelph, lets not make Guelphite a synonym for gullible!

    • Louis

      Basically I’ll go for no feminists, no progressives, no social justice warriors, no lefties, no Scientologists, no councilors who want Guelph as a sanctuary city,

      Frank Mallet who did the Scientology protest a few days back, got a nice email from James Gordon and Phil Allt, citing freedom of religion; they were both pretty rude about it too. Unless they lived under a rock, last time I checked, Scientology is a cult.

  7. Jerry

    Hi Gerry I know it is October and close to Halloween but that last comment scared the dickens out of me.I hope you don’t plan to put up Farbridge for mayor signs or worst a provincial liberal sign with Farbridge name on it in your front yard.You will scare all the kids and most adults away.


    Jerry :Not only boo,but a resounding boo-hoo if any scenario is true!

  9. David Birtwistle, thx for the BOO…HOO… 🙂

  10. Laura

    Let’s hope that Farbridge does not run again. I challenged her to be honest and tell taxpayers that growth does not pay for itself and taxes will go up to pay for the soft services like fire, police, social services etc. And waste management which are not covered by development charges. Also 10% of the cost of each new unit is not covered by development charges so how can the city becoming more dense and growing no to 191,000 be revenue neutral. The CN Watson report to Council indicated that growth creates a approximately 4% increase to pay new units. Yet this council continues to approve high density in the downtown and subsidizing the developers with our tax money to do it thus increasing their profits thru these so called incentives.
    After I challenged her to be honest about taxes going up I was attacked on line by one of her supporters. I was told if she told people that growth costs us all that she would not be elected. So much for honesty. one wonders what she will be telling people at her seminar for women who want to run for council.

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