Tag Archives: Susan Watson

The three cheesy political moves designed to suppress your vote in 2018

By Gerry Barker

May 28, 2017

There is an interesting parallel comparing the controlling antics of the Bloc of Seven dominating city council and the Walt Disney classic “Snow White and the seven dwarfs.”

Before beginning our tour de fromage, keep in mind that for every action there is a reaction.

We all know who Snow White is in our comparative exercise. If you don’t, send me a self-addressed envelope and I will reveal who it is. We are going to play a little game when it comes to the seven dwarfs. I’ll name them and you mentally attach the names of these councillors who act and resemble our players in this exercise in political shedding of the Cheddar.

Here is the list of the Disney Seven. Make your choice beside the appropriate dwarf.

Doc                        Reader’s Choice

Happy                   Reader’s Choice

Dopey                    Reader’s Choice

Bashful                 Reader’s Choice

Sleepy                   Reader’s Choice

Sneezy                  Reader’s Choice

Grumpy               Reader’s Choice

I know, a couple of them are easy to identify with current members of council’s Bloc of Seven. But there is one other character in this bubbling pot of political fondue. The unelected defacto leader of the Bloc of Seven, Susan Watson, led the attack to stop Online voting by importing an Assistant Professor, Aleksander Essex, from the University of Western Ontario. He informed council that it should not proceed with Online voting because it lacked cyber security and trust. More on this later.

If you just arrive in town from a trip to the Moon, here is the scoop on the Bloc of Seven and how they lost their Snow White in the Kingdom of Guelph’s forest.

With a couple of exceptions, the Bloc votes on most issues as a group. The exceptions include the recent defection of Cathy Downer who voted for Online voting and retaining the operational Committee of the Whole (COW) system.

There have been three key occurrences involving the Bloc that were offensively planned to stop progress of the business of council. All three were self-serving and cheesy politics rolled into one gigantic cheese ball.

The infamous walkout by the Bloc of Seven

The first was the walkout January 25, 2016 by the majority of Bloc councillors to thwart a meeting to discuss the Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc.’s (GMHI) disastrous failure.

Well here’s the skinny. We believe the closed meeting was to discuss a personnel matter, a legal reason. When the Bloc of Seven did a head count, they were outnumbered 6-5 because two of that group were absent.

But let’s hear Phil Allt’s response: “You will have to trust that this rather simple message is of importance to all Guelph residents. By denying a quorum we were defending the integrity of the city as a corporation and staff.”

No, Mr. Allt, you and your colleagues were complicit in covering up the most serious mistake of the previous administration ever recorded in the history of the city. We learned in May 16, 2016 that the GMHI losses over five years was $26.6 million and an impaired loan of $65 million provided by Guelph Hydro, a wholly owned utility by the city and controlled by GMHI.

Aside from the Allt explanation, it wasn’t until May 16 that the truth and details were revealed. Did Mr. Allt take back his pious worded stated four moths earlier? “By denying a quorum we were defending the integrity of the city as a corporation and staff.”

Ah, the essence of Blue Cheese permeates that statement

Whistle while your work

The next Havarti experience by the Bloc of Seven came when a straw vote was held in a COW meeting last month to reaffirm allowing Internet Online voting in the 2018 civic election. Prior to that vote, Susan Watson expressed her disapproval of the Online voting. Two weeks later, she trotted out the Assistant Professor who specializes in cyber security and Internet voting to bolster her position.

Essex is not a resident of Guelph and dumbed down the Bloc of Seven to believe it was too risky to use in 2018. This was stated despite the fact that 13,000 residents voted online in 2014 without any threat, loss of privacy or security. Also, 97 Ontario municipalities use Online voting, Unfortunately it failed to impress the deniers and the system was cancelled by a 7-6 vote.

You don’t have to look further than British Columbia where the final outcome of the May 4 Provincial election is still not confirmed. The province does not have electronic or Internet voting. This is what happens when your election system has not caught up with the 21st century.

This motion to defeat Oline voting was an orchestrated effort by the Left on council to suppress voting. The denial affects hundreds of Guelph citizens who are disabled, the elderly and those whose schedule denies their vote.

The only conclusion is that the Left saw Online voting as a threat to their re-election.

Crackers anyone?

The latest power move by the cheesy Bloc of Seven was to kill the new council operating system called the Committee of the Whole. Last fall council voted to approve the system with a 12-0 margin. It eliminated the individual committee meetings thereby opening the process of government to allow transparency and accountability.

So here comes the Limburger part. The Left noticed that two supporters of the COW, Councillors Cathy Downer and Andy Van Hellemond, were absent and quickly called for a vote that killed the COW by a 6-5 margin.

Before the cheesy crowd could exalt over their victory, the City Clerk, Stephen O’Brien, offered the option of suspending procedures and re-voting the issue. The concerns of councillors emerged when they discovered there was no alternative immediately available. The vote had the effect of dismissing the staff recommendation to retain the COW.

Following a break, a second vote was taken with only Coun. Leanne Piper opposing.

Following the meeting there were some interesting comments made by those who voted to eliminate the COW.

Coun. Gordon said: “The first (vote) was a signal, the second was maintaining our democratic process until we can reassess.’

He went on to claim that, “it has a lot of problems, it’s ineffective, it’s confusing.” He added that it doesn’t matter if this committee made things easier for staff. “That’s not our job.

James, that being the case, why did you vote for the COW systemlast fall? Is it your plan to reassess the COW before the next election? Your bench mate Phil Allt agreed with you saying that the “highlight was public confusion as one of the biggest issues.”

There they go again, the breeze brothers defining what their job is. If what they say is true, who’s confused here, you two or your constituents? Your job is to help and inform your people to understand the issues.

Holding regular closed session meetings does not help public clarity of city business.

Please pass the Camembert and crackers.

 

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Here are the poster councillors who bugged out on online voting in 2018

By Gerry Barker

April 27, 2017

Last Monday night, by a slim one-vote majority. Council voted to not use online voting for the 2018 civic election. The seven rejecting online voting include: James Gordon, Phil Allt, June Hofland, Mike Salisbury, Karl Wettstein and Leanne Piper and, surprise Bob Bell.

I’ve always has respect for the W1 councillor but this decision is doubly baffling.

His comment that: “The only valid argument for online voting that I have heard is the issue of accessibility for those that need it,” Coun. Bob Bell said. “For me, what’s important is that we protect the integrity of the process.”

Bob, did you have your hearing aids in? Did you not vote for online voting as a member of the Farbridge administration? Were you not re-elected in 2014? Were you not the beneficiary of online voting in that election? Or, maybe you didn’t know but check the 2014 advance poll results to see how many voted for you online.

Did you think at that time that online voting was an insecure method of casting a ballot?

In the straw vote conducted in the Committee of the Whole you voted to disallow online voting two weeks ago. This was before you heard the compelling arguments from Aleksander Essex, a professor from the University of Western Ontario. Does he live in Guelph? Is he familiar with the more than 97 Ontario municipalities who use online voting, including the City of Toronto and Ottawa?

The professor said: “We are in unchartered territory here. He continued: “There are insufficient advances in the technology to implement it (online voting) at this time.”

Gee, where was the professor three years ago to speculate on the lack of technology that was used by the city in 2014?

Did the Farbridge administration request an opinion from the professor in 2013 when online voting was being considered?

Were the two experts paid to make their presentations to council? If so, who paid for their attendance?

Former city councilor Maggie Laidlaw said council was “naive” when it gave the go-ahead to advanced online voting for the 2014 municipal election. Well that did not help her to be re-elected.

Naivety has nothing to do with it, fair and square the outcome was validated and Maggie, the Mayor and Todd Dennis were defeated. Two others did not run.

This is all about poitical risk management by denying people to register their opinions in a 21st century manner.

So here is what has to happen in 2018.

The citizens have to collectively register their opinions to reform our civic economy, already destroyed by secret spending of millions of public money.

The progressive candidates, no. read that regressive, need to be defeated. Let’s finish the job in 2018.

If I were Coun. Bob Bell, I would retire or he faces going to be hit with putting alleged online voting security ahead of those who are disabled and unable to vote.

That sounds like a losing platform.

This decision reeks of defensive political action to prevent election defeats that occurred in 2014 when the former mayor lost by more than 5,000 votes. It is facetious to blame online voting for the defeat. Just do the math. The total votes cast on Election Day was 45,000, more than half, 54 per cent went to Cam Guthrie. The overall breakdown result is self-evident. Guthrie won both the advanced poll and the Election Day vote, hands down.

Since 2014, the regressives tried to block the volunteer citizen’s group, GrassRoots Guelph, with a Susan Watson complaint that GRG could not donate money to a candidate. The Independent audit proved otherwise and her frivolous complaint cost the city $11,000 to process.

Then as chorus of the Fair Vote Canada Guelph chapter, MS Watson ‘s group expected to have the city reform the entire civic voting system by agreeing to allow proportional voting. That was turned down.

Now Ms. Watson and her dellow regressives have successfully stopped online voting in the city for 2018.

The grip that the regressives have on this council must end. We need responsible citizens to step forward and organize a reform movement to clean up the financial mess remaining three years after the former mayor has gone.

All you have to do is take a hard look at your property tax bills for the past three years and the user fees charged to use city facilities, to decide to help change the administration once and for all.

There is not a better time to start than now.

If you agree, send me your name and email to join our growing protest of this attempt to stifle our right to vote and participate in our civic affairs.

Contact: gerrybarker76@gmail.com.

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Just when you believed the influence of Karen Farbridge was over, read this

By Gerry Barker

April 24, 2017

How the worm turns.

Tonight is our last chance to support online voting next year

Before the 2014 civic election, council voted to allow online voting. This was a forward-looking approach to allow more voters to cast their ballot just like they did in Toronto and Ottawa. In fact, some 13,000 did use the system. There was no voter fraud, very few hitches; it exceeded all expectation by being available, fair and without problems.

Oh, there were naysayers. Today the majority of naysayers are all sitting on council with the majority voting to ban it. For some it is a classic flip-flop.

In a recent city council Committee of the Whole meeting, a non-binding vote was held to approve allowing online voting in the 2018 civic election. To the surprise of most people the following councillors voted to disallow online voting for the 2018 civic election.

Councillors opposed included Phil Allt, James Gordon, and Mike Salisbury, who were not members of the 2014 council that voted for online voting. So what’s their beef?

Then the following councillors who did vote for online voting in 2014, June Hofland, Leanne Piper, Karl Wettstein are now voting against online voting. Why? Other than adhering to a misguided ideological rationale, why the flip-flop? It seems silly in that all three benefited from online voting in their 2014 re-election.

How Coun. Bob Bell voted no to online voting this time is both baffling and not known how he voted when the former council approved online voting. He also benefited from it, winning re-election in 2014.

Coun. Cathy Downer was the only member of the progressive majority who voted to allow online voting next year. Coun. Mark MacKinnon also voted to allow the online voting system.

The future of online voting is now

Tonight, April 24, council will vote to allow online voting, or not. This is necessary because the original vote was conducted when the council was in the committee of the whole. I know, procedural bylaws can be confusing but tonight is the night for the final decision.

It will take two defections from the “no” side to let it proceed. Of course the risk the “no” faction faces is diminished chances of re-election next year.

So what influenced new councillors Gordon, Allt and Salisbury to vote against it?

Was it the influence of that ardent socialist Susan Watson who urged council to reject online voting? You remember Ms. Watson who, between she and her husband, donated thousands to elect former Mayor Farbridge and loyal supporters.

She will also be remembered as the social activist who persuaded the city to order an independent audit of former candidate Glen Tolhurst’s election financial report. It showed a donation of $400 from GrassRoots Guelph, an incorporated citizen’s activist group.

The auditor, William Molson of Toronto, said the donation was legal, however the $11,000 cost of this “frivolous and vexatious” exercise was not paid by Watson but by the citizens.

But you have to hand it to Watson. I so hope she decides to run for council. She is chairperson of the Fair Vote movement in Guelph. This is a New Democratic Party national organization to encourage voting reforms. They include proportional voting to replace the system of the first candidate past the post, winning the election. It’s system that has been in place since 1867.

The Trudeau Liberal government ran on reforming the Canadian voting system, recently walked away from it, much to the rage of the New Democrats.

So, now Ms. Watson is trying to convince council to suppress voting by not allowing online voting.

Words escape me to describe this two-faced attempt to force restrictive policies on the electorate by forcing reform of the voting system and at the same time, disallowing online voting.

The Farbridge legacy lives on

What it really illustrates is the collusion and conviction of the majority group of city council to carry on the leftists’ policies of the defunct Farbridge administration. It was one of failure not only at the polls, but resulted in millions being spent on the Mayor’s personal agenda to impose unwanted social and environmental projects.

In her eight years in office, the former mayor inveigled her supporters to tap into reserves to balance the city accounts due to excessive overspending of budgets. The assets of Guelph Hydro and wasting public funds on giveaways to developers to encourage high-density development were part of the Farbridge agenda to turn the city into a vibrant place for all citizens. How did that work for you?

It was the Farbridge plan to turn the city into an exciting urban downtown without the input6 from asking the residents. Earlier this year the Chief Administrative Officer, Derrick Thomson, announced the city was pursuing the Reformatory lands, owned by the province, to build a modern high-density complete community. The plans were to develop a community without cars, walking distance to shopping and jobs. Trouble is the city has spent millions planning an urban design for those lands but doesn’t have the money to buy the property.

You know, I keep thinking of Kevin Coster in the movie “A Field of Dreams” who believed converting a cornfield into a baseball stadium: “If you build it, they will come.” Trouble is, we don’t have a Shoeless Joe Jackson to seal the deal.

The real issue is where did the money go when the former mayor ran Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. GMHI for four years?

How does this affect online voting or visa-versa?

In 2010, shortly following the civic election, the Mayor informed council she was setting up GMHI to manage city assets. This was to be an independent, incorporated body operating separately from the city, although owned by the city. Here’s the organizational set up for GMHI as reported in a news release:

“GMHI is a holding company set up by Guelph City Council to manage select City of Guelph assets, which currently includes Guelph Hydro Incorporated and its subsidiaries, for the purpose of maximizing revenue potential and strengthening community prosperity. GMHI is governed by an eight-member Board of Directors including the Mayor as Chairperson, four City Councillors, the Guelph Hydro Incorporated Chair and two independent community members.”

The Board appointed Chief Administrative Officer Ann Pappert, as Chief Executive Officer of GMHI. Operations started in 2011. From the start, GMHI was the corporate vehicle to continue the mayor’s Community Energy Initiatives. In July 2013, GMHI filed an annual report as follows:

“Guelph, ON, July 10, 2013 – Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. (GMHI) held its second Annual General Meeting today to update shareholders on its 2012 accomplishments and 2013 future directions.

“A top priority for 2013 is addressing a recent Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel recommendation that a number of local energy distributors, including Guelph Hydro, be consolidated into larger regional distributors. Given the possibility that this situation could be provincially mandated or driven by the regulator, the Ontario Energy Board, GMHI has endorsed a Guelph Hydro staff investigation of solutions that may include sharing services and resources, or more formal mergers and acquisitions. “Consolidation is a distinct possibility regardless of how it is achieved. We will continue to be well prepared to respond to all opportunities for lower energy costs for customers, improved efficiencies, better access to technology and sustainable solutions.” (Signed) Karen Farbridge, Chair of GMHI.

“An additional priority for GMHI this year is to pursue a new energy project designed to create a thermal (heating and cooling) distribution network – often referred to as District Energy – that will allow for flexible, efficient, competitive and secure local supply and delivery of thermal energy to Guelph in the future. About half of Guelph’s total energy demand is for thermal energy. The District Energy project represents a significant opportunity to ensure a reliable local supply a midst economic uncertainty and increasing climate change concerns.”

Part of those unfulfilled grandiose plans by GMHIL was to build two large natural gas generating plants, one in the Hanlon Business Park and the other on city owned land. These units were to make Guelph self-sufficient producing its own electricity.

The fallout of these schemes was loses of $26.6 million and being stuck with an impaired investment of some $69 million, borrowed from Guelph Hydro, as of 2015 in which GMHI has no revenues to even pay the interest. It’s held on the city books as an asset but that will be written down over time. The  reason is that GMHI has no income to even pay the interest on the loan.

Are you beginning to see the corporate anxiety to sell Guelph Hydro?

As a shareholder in the City of Guelph Corporation, I now understand why the GMHI annual report failed to contain the following important details that were in the public interest and ignored.

There is no operational financial information provided in the former mayor’s 2014 annual statement of GMHI including an audited balance sheet, a listing of expenses and revenue; The status of the annual $1.5 million dividend paid to the city by GMHI; a statement of the “accomplishments” reported by Chair Farbridge; no overall statement of operations and future plans of GMHI; No indication of taxes collected and paid; no identification of the auditor as appointed by the Board or evidence of an audit. These details are required under the provincial Corporations Act and are public documents.

The most interesting part of the Chair’s 2013 report was the long dissertation about how Guelph Hydro may be merged or sold if the province mandates it. Four years later, the correct council, through its Strategic Options Committee, is shopping Guelph Hydro. I know, they don’t like that description but that’s what the majority on council authorized it to do.

In almost seven years, the fallout from the GMHI operation has cost the city some $96 million. May 16, 2016, Pankaj Sardana, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of GMHI revealed much of the disastrous cost of this misadventure conducted at the taxpayer’s expense. He told council much of the details of an ill-planned project that was shrouded in secrecy and described as a project that should never have been started in the first place.

In July 2016, a staff report revealed additional information that was equally devastating. Ten days after the Sardana GMHI report, co-signer CAO Ann Pappert, left the city. The only remaining city councillors who were paid to serve on the GMHI board for four years, are Coun. June Hofland and Coun. Karl Wettstein. They both remain on council and are silent on their involvement.

It’s ironic that Ms. Hofland was chair of the council finance committee for those four years and failed to express concern about the downward financial spiral of GMHI and its management.

So why do these events worry the anti-online council majority? Regardless of the outcome of the vote, the GMHI debacle will be a major issue in the 2018 election. The memory lingers on the effect of online voting in the 2014 civic election in which mayor Farbridge and seven councillors were defeated or retired. The exception was Mayor Guthrie who moved from council representing W4 to the Mayor’s chair. Mike Salisbury took his seat.

The five-vote victory of June Holand in W3 gave the progressives the majority on council. So that’s why the left do not want online voting because of the fear it may lead to their defeat.

And that folks, would be a good thing

Let your councillors know before tonight’s meeting that you favour online voting.

 

 

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The curious switcharoo by city council to prevent Internet voting in 2018

By Gerry Barker

April 6, 2017

In 2013, city council agreed to allow Internet voting for the 2014 civic election. Former Mayor Karen Farbridge extolled the virtues of electronic voting claiming it would allow more people to vote.

Well, as it turned out, more people did vote in one of the highest voter participation in recent years. City Clerk Stephen O’Brien, the city’s chief electoral officer, reported that 33 per cent of all ballots cast were completed electronically. He reported that 45 per cent of the total eligible electors cast their ballots.

So why are the six leftists, members of council, now voting against Internet voting? Only progressive Councillors Cathy Downer and left -leaning Mark MacKinnon voted for the voting system along with Mayor Guthrie, Councillors Christine Billings, Dan Gibson and Andy Van Hellemond.

Coun. Bob Bell voted against allowing Internet voting and that provided the winning outcome for the progressive’s rejection of the system most voted for in 2013. Three of those councillors, James Gordon, Phil Allt and Mike Salisbury were not on the council that approved Internet voting in the 2014 election. But all three obviously benefited as they were elected.

A councillor replies

Citizen Rena Akerman asked Coun. Phil Allt why he voted against it.

His unctuous reply included reference to a U.S. anti-Internet website known as the Daily Dot. It is larded with anti-Internet blather that has absolutely no application to the 2014 civic election outcome that boosted public participation by more than 12,000 votes filed on the Internet and no evidence of voter fraud, hacking or misrepresentation.

The big question is why are the six progressive plus Bob Bell, voting to dump the system? Did Mr. Bell vote aginst Iternet voting in 2013?

I get sweaty palms when that doyen of the left, Susan Watson, addresses council. You remember her. She was the author of a vexious and frivolous accusation against a defeated candidate in Ward Six for accepting a donation of $400 from the civic action group, GrassRoots Guelph (GRG). She was successful in causing an audit of the candidate’s election financial report.

The independent auditor, William Molson of Toronto, found that GRG was legally entitled to donate the money. The upshot was that the City Clerk said she did not have to pay for the two-month investigation in 2015: Taxpayers $11,500, Watson 0. To rub salt in the wound was the Candidate, Glen Tolhurst, had to pay his own legal expenses.

But the lady has been busy chairing the Guelph Chapter of Fair Tax Canada. It advocates voting reform to include proportional ballots in which each voter has to grade each candidate on a 1 to 10 basis. Just figuring out the winner is a daunting task as the preferences are added up. So if your name is Wettstein (for example) and you instruct your supporters to only vote for you, there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s called “plumping” or vote concentration.

Say hello to a Pizza Parliament

It’s a system used in Israel where there are some 21 political parties vying for votes to be elected to the Knesset, The Israeli Parliament. The result? With no party able to attain a majority to form a government, the leader with most elelcted members is forced to make deals with other parties. In certain circles the system produces a “Pizza Parliament.”

The New Democrats have been pushing adoption of this system. They came close when The Liberals won the election with one of their promises being reforming Canada’s election system. Prime Minister Trudeau canned the promise recently and that must have caused Susan Watson apoplexy. Not surprisingly, the NDP has yet to elect a leader to replace Thomas Mulcair.

Even her friends on council voted to not adopt the system for 2018.

So why are the leftist councillors now opposing Internet voting after agreeing to adopt it in 2014?

Here are a couple of theories:

The first is having yet to figure out the defeat of their Leader and four councillors who either did not run or were defeated. The result was a slim win with Coun. June Hofland winning by just five votes. Since then the progressives, through their activist surrogate, 10 Carden Street, have planted operatives in every ward to assist community groups to deal with city hall. This is a smart political move that will pay dividends in the 2018 election.

As a safeguard, those among the lefty hierarchy have decided to oppose Internet voting because of what happened in 2014. They just don’t get it. They lost their leader and the others because of a $23 million excessive cost of the new city hall project.

Their quest may not be as easy as killing Internet voting. The financial hangover of Guelph Municipal Holding Inc. (GMHI) The Community Energy Initiatives and the proposed sale of Guelph Hydro, will not go away as soon as they would loke..

The Strategic Options Committee, (SOC) appointed by council to seek bids for selling or merging Guelph Hydro has suffered two defections of members of the five-person committee. Gone is member Richard Puccini who has yet to be replaced. Guelph Hydro Board chairperson, Jane Armstrong, is replacing Hydro’s Chief Executive Officer Pankaj Sardana, co-chair of the SOC. Ms. Armstrong has had long-term service on the Guelph Hydro Board.

She has already stated that she will support the recommendations of the SOC. Robert Bell, a member of the Guelph Hydro Electric Services board. A former member of the GMHI board of directors, Mark Goldberg, remains on the SOC board.

Perhaps Mr. Goldberg will reveal why CMHI became a financial disaster losing some $26.6 million. The two council members of the GMHI board for four years have never admitted any responsibility. But then, they were paod to serve.

Why do I get the feeling that this SOC membership is stacked to dump Guelph Hydro?

And I hope that council will read the overwhelming citizen’s rejection of the Internet vote. It is to be ratified by council April 24.

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Oh! What a tangled web they weave

By Gerry Barker

Posted March 18, 2016

Among progressives, James Gordon is their Pope and Cardinal Richelieu rolled into one.His soft-spoken piety devoted to the NDP and progressive policies, has worked over the years to maintain control of the city.But when accused of a possible conflict of interest as a member of city council, he trots out Susan Watson to lecture the guelphspeaks. ca editor to fact check his assertions.

You all remember Susan Watson. A close friend and financial supporter of former mayor Karen Farbridge, she launched a complaint to have an audit of former candidate Glen Tolhurst’s election financial report.

To bolster her claim before the Compliance Audit Committee, all members appointed by the Farbridge administration, she hired a Toronto lawyer to present her case.

The audit committee agreed with the premise that Mr. Tolhurst took an illegal contribution from the citizen’s activist group GrassRoots Guelph (GRG). The city clerk, Stephen O’Brien, a Farbridge hire just before the 2014 election, assigned Toronto-based auditor, William Molson, to conduct the audit.

His conclusion was that GRG had the right to donate the money and that Mr. Tolhurst was guilty of a minor oversight, he forgot to list the purchase of a $6 city map in his official financial return.

In the end, council took no action and the taxpayers were stuck with an $11,400 bill, the cost of this frivolous charge.

So who should pay that bill, Sue?

In 2014, Watson and her husband donated thousands not only to the Farbridge campaign but also to other progressive candidates. This included a donation to June Hofland who received $500 from Watson and her husband and won by just five votes. James Gordon was also a recipient of the Watson et al generosity.

The city clerk refused to allow examination of the ballots on the required recount but just ran them through the vote counting machine. That’s not a recount, that’s an exercise. Also two weeks before Mr. Molson’s report, Clerk O’Brien said that Watson would not have to pay the costs of the audit.

Council, including James Gordon, never discussed the matter in open council. Are you beginning to see the thread connecting the key people in this scenario?

Another city deal that went south

Moving on, when the former Civic Museum on Dublin Street was put up for sale by the city, there were two bids. One of them was from a husband and wife partnership that proposed converting the building into a set of offices and studios for budding artists and computer developers.

During the public meeting to hear the application, up pops citizen James Gordon who whole-heartedly supported the bid. There was no mention of the second bid, who made it and for how much?

So, this entrepreneurial couple bought the former museum for an estimated $550,000. Then a couple of things happened. The city’s manager of real estate who handled the deal resigned amid rumours that the undisclosed bid was considerably higher. One estimate of the market value was $900,000.

And the end of this story is that there are no budding artists or computer developers in the building. Instead, it is occupied by an up-scale art  gallery, a situation far from the original promised use of the building.

The Akers project, a win-win for James Gordon, a loss for taxpayers

Again, now a city councillor, James Gordon is hot to trot on supporting another progressive scheme to convert the former Akers Furniture store on Carden Street, into a cultural downtown hub for organizations, most of whom are part of the progressive’s network.

Requesting support from the city for this project is 10 Carden Street Space Inc. It is the stepchild of the Guelph Civic League that was founded by James Gordon. This is the same James Gordon whose friend, Susan Watson, claiming he had no connection with the Guelph Civic League or the Hillside Festival for the past 20 years. It is now evident that Coun. Gordon is an influential contributor to the Karen Farbridge cause to change our city regardless of how much it costs.

For the record, after getting elected to council, Mr. Gordon supported two property tax increases last year totaling 6.96 per cent. He also supported increases in the water bills and the transfer a portion of 2016 operating costs to debt.

He voted to spend $14 million to widen Speedvale Avenue to accommodate bicycle lanes, despite widespread protest against the plan by residents in the ward he represents. His support failed because the staff did not recommend it.

He participated in the January 25 walkout, by five members of the Bloc of Seven councillors.

The point is that Gordon doesn’t care about you or me. He is a doctrinaire member of the NDP whose mantra is to force their policies, particularly in municipalities, to gain control of the administration. In Guelph, the progressives have held power for nine years. This group is directly responsible for depleting the reserves, jacking up taxes and user fees to pay the bills, increased the debt and subsidize Guelph Transit by some $15 million a year.

The operating and capital costs numbers don’t lie but the James Gordon Bloc of Seven refuses to accept them or the obvious conclusion. The numbers are taken from the official Financial Information Reports submitted by all municipalities in the province annually.

The core numbers are the comparison of operating and capital costs for 2014 between Guelph and Kitchener and Cambridge. The number for the latter two, show their figures are 50 per cent less that Guelph’s. The figures for 2015 are about to be released. And, that’s a straight-up, apples to apples comparison.

Coun. James Gordon and his six fellow travelers are consumed by a socialist manifesto that most people in the city rejected in 2014. His resourcefulness in getting elected speaks to his determination to continue the Farbridge agenda no matter what the silent majority thinks or feels.

For years he has operated outside the public view working to maintain the progressive’s grip on Guelph.

He is never going to change his outlook or political views. He is an altruistic financial amateur when it comes to managing corporate finances and sticks to his simplistic approach that the taxpayers will provide.

 

 

 

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Exclusive on guelphspeaks – A three part series proving you are paying too much in takes

Posted October 20, 2015

Don’t miss Wednesday’s first part expose of that giant sucking sound of your money being used to pay for failed policies.

The first part of a three-part series details how the policies of the former Farbridge administration has driven up per-person operating costs that are 50 per cent higher than Kitchener or Cambridge.

Parts Two and Three will follow daily with more information and action that needs to be taken by the citizens to stop the rising costs that are crippling the city’s ability to pay.

It has been a long time coming but the crisis is here today.

Check out the figures and details how our city has been hi-jacked by a dedicated group of individuals determined to impose policies and spending on the citizens of Guelph.

It’s time to call a halt and get our city’s financial house in order.

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Help Glen Tolhurst pay his legal costs for being falsely accused

Glen Tolhurst, a former candidate for council in ward six, was singled out last April as contravening the Municipal Elections Act (MEA) for receiving a donation from a third party.

Susan Watson, friend and supporter of defeated mayor Karen Farbridge, made the complaint. She applied to the Compliance Audit Committee who ordered an audit of Mr. Tolhurst’s official election financial statement. She claimed that Tolhurst received an illegal donation of $400 from GrassRoots Guelph (GRG).

An independent audit of Tolhurst’s report found he did not contravene the MEA and that GRG acted legally in making the donation. The citizen’s of Guelph must pay $11,400 toward the costs of this costly and irresponsible complaint by Susan Watson.

This shouldn’y happen to anyone who runs for office.

Now Mr. Tolhurst is asking for help to pay his legal bills incurred during his defence of the Watson allegations

You can donate through the following link:

https://www.gofundme.com/n95uhsns .

Please click on the web site and consider making an online donation. Feel free to broadcast this request far & wide particularly by Twitter, Face Book, or other social media,

Thanks for your support.

 

 

 

 

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Your GuelphSpeaks Thanksgiving Weekender

By Gerry Barker

Posted October 11, 2015

Lloyd has a lot of ‘splainin to do – How to help Glen Tolhurst pay his Susan Watson legal bills – The dilemma Guelph voters face

Hey Lloyd! Where’s your campaign money coming from?

In a recent full-page ad in the Guelph Tribune, Liberal candidate Lloyd Longfield charged that his Conservative opponent was getting “tar sands” money from Alberta for her campaign.

Trouble is the stats claimed for Conservative candidates in the ad were for two previous federal elections and had nothing to do with the 2015 campaign.

Okay Lloyd, now that you’ve opened the door to campaign financing, what are the sources of your campaign spending? The amount of money your campaign has spent on advertising starting, even before the election writ was dropped, is staggering compared to that of your three major opponents.

Guelpspeaks knows how much advertising costs in the Tribune, printing and distribution, signs and robocalls. It is estimated that year to date; your campaign spending is the greatest of any candidate, Liberal, Conservative or NDP in memory. You started campaigning by spending money before the writ was dropped ending the Harper Parliament. Those payments do not count against your Elections Canada cap on candidate’s spending limits.

Tell us Lloyd, now that you’ve brought it up, how much have you spent and name the sources. It will come out after the election when your financial statement is published by Elections Canada. Why not ‘fess up now so the voters won’t think you are buying the election?

When the 2014 City of Guelph budget was being prepared in November 2013, Mr. Longfield, then CEO of the 884-member Guelph Chamber of Commerce, was quoted in the Guelph Tribune that property tax increases should be zero but no greater than the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

“Other cities are surpassing us in controlling costs and implementing technology solutions,” Longfield said accusing the city of not managing wage costs and productivity as well as it should.

In January 2014, mayoralty candidate Cam Guthrie also came out with the same ideas about limiting property tax increases to the CPI and containing operational costs.

Well Lloyd, it didn’t take long for you in 2014 to resign from the Chamber to take a job with Innovation Guelph offered by Mayor Farbridge. Next, Liberal M.P. Frank Valeriotte announced he was supporting Karen Farbridge and would not be a candidate in this year’s election.

Was this a set-up by the Liberals to fill the Valeriotte void?

I don’t know about you but sometimes political expediency gets in the way of electing our representatives in an above board and democratic way.

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Help Glen Tolhurst pay his defence legal cost for being falsely accused

Glen Tolhurst, a former candidate for council in ward six, was singled out last April as contravening the Municipal Elections Act (MEA) for receiving a donation from a third party.

Susan Watson, friend and supporter of defeated mayor Karen Farbridge made the complaint. She applied to the Compliance Audit Committee who ordered an audit of Mr. Tolhurst’s official election financial statement. She claimed that Tolhurst received an illegal donation of $400 from GrassRoots Guelph (GRG).

An independent audit of Tolhurst’s report found he did not contravene the MEA and that GRG acted legally in making the donation. The citizen’s of Guelph must pay $11,400 toward the costs of this Susan Watson complaint.

Now Mr. Tolhurst is asking for help to pay his legal bills incurred during his defence of the Watson allegations

You can donate at his support site. Here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/n95uhsns .

Please click on the web site and consider making an online donation.

Feel free to spread this request far & wide particularly by Twitter, Face Book, or other social media.

*            *            *            *

My voting dilemma

In about a week, the citizens in Guelph will elect a new member of the House of Commons. Reading the cascading number of polls, it appears that Justin Trudeau could become our next Prime Minister with a minority government.

In Guelph there are two major party candidates who are ahead of the pack. A third candidate, Gord Miller, of the Green Party, is likely to run a clear third when voting concludes next Monday night.

My preference for our Member of Parliament is for a candidate, who has experience, has run successfully for city council more than 24 years and narrowly won the riding in 2011 against Liberal Frank Valeriotte. She is a past president of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.

Her Liberal opponent, Lloyd Longfield, has never run for public office. His single credential is being President and CEO of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce from which he resigned before last October’s civic election.

My heart beats for Mr. Trudeau but not Mr. Longfield.

I have major differences with the historical policies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but I am voting for Gloria Kovach.

My reasoning is simple. I believe Guelph needs an experienced and seasoned M.P. who represents Guelph and breaks the municipality’s grip by the leftist Liberal/NDP axis of power. It is one that has ruled our community, leaving it with among the highest property taxes on Ontario, a $23 million loss building a new city hall, and a waste management system that fails an estimated 13 per cent of residences and businesses.

The rest of the field has little chance of winning the Guelph riding. I do like Mr. Miller and he may be a spoiler for the NDP’s Andrew Seagram and Mr. Longfield.

But I’ve been around long enough to realize the party is not over and if the advance poll numbers are any indication, there will be a big turnout. That always spells trouble for the incumbent.

The word is that people vote old and tired governments out.

 

 

 

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