S**t or get off the pot!!

I find it a bit disturbing at the lack of people stepping up to run for Collingwood Town Council, Deputy Mayor or Mayor of Collingwood.

We are now three and half months into the election campaign and we only have one person stepping up for Mayor. No one stepping up for Deputy Mayor. And only five out of seven declaring for council. The message that this sends is that everyone is happy with the status quo and that this present administration has done a great job. We all know that that is not the case.
All of you out there that are non-incumbents, who are contemplating making a run for a position, should realize that the longer you leave this, the less time you are giving the electorate a chance to get to know you and why they should vote for you. Although that being said, there is still one non-incumbent, that has declared, that I still know as little about now as I did the first week he declared. Not sure how that person thinks he can get elected on that basis, 90% of getting elected into a local government is name recognition.

I don’t for the life of me understand why candidates, both incumbents and non, leave declaring until half way through the election cycle. Actually I must correct myself on that, it is mostly politics and a little bit of getting your house in order to run, but then again its not like the date of the election is a surprise. We all know that the municipal election after this one will be somewhere around the third week in October 2018. I would be thinking about that election now if I intended to run and getting my personal and financial house in order with lots of time in front of me. Take our Mayor for instance. If I were a competent self assured incumbent Mayor, who believed that I had done a pretty decent job over the past three and a half years. I would be lining up on the first day that I could to put my name forward. I would not wait and see what anyone else is doing. I would not wait and see what happens with an OPP investigation that apparently has no merit. I would send a clear message that I have enjoyed being this towns Mayor, that I am ready and willing to continue the good work that I started in my first mandate. But we all know that that is not the case. The same goes for all the councillors that were sitting around that table last night that have not made there intentions clear. So recap if you haven’t declared yet, pick your poison. You are already playing political games or you are ill prepared to be running for elected office.
I like the fact that Joe Gardhouse declared for Mayor early and first. I also like that he has stood up to be counted with a platform and is open to any questions and scrutiny that people like myself can throw at him. I want to be clear on this, I did not like the fact that Joe quit his council position in 2005. But I must confess he is going up in my estimation every week he is the lone Mayoralty candidate. Especially when you go to the towns website and keep seeing his name as the lone name under the Mayors heading. It makes you start to get used to the idea. I don’t think that this was a political move by Joe, because he is the least political person, (behind Berman). That is involved in the local political scene. But I do think this has ended being a damn good political move by him.
I also like the fact that Deb Doherty stood up after declaring and thrust herself into the quagmire of the Admiral Collingwood Place debacle. She was accused by Mr. Assaff of playing political games in the “silly season”. Sorry Mr. Assaff you have had your way with this current council for three and a half years. What this should tell you is with people like Steve Berman and Deb Doherty on council that is about to radically change. But it needs more of you. I’ve heard the rumours as I am sure many of you have. Every week I hear that so an so is going to run for Deputy Mayor, or such and such is running for council.
The time has come ladies and gentleman. As my cockney grandfather William H Barrett from the East End of London used to say “Oi you!! Shit or get off the pot my son”.

VFAN is now 100,000 views old!!!

100k

I never would have believed this blog would reach this milestone when I started it 14 months ago (Thanks again Scoop). VFAN just rolled through 100k views.
Thanks to everyone that has read my nonsense, commented on my nonsense and followed my nonsense.

Remember though, this blog isn’t just about my nonsense. Its about your nonsense as well. Please keep on reading, commenting, sending it and maybe we can make a difference.

Again a very big THANK YOU from the staff at VFAN. (Me)

Stu asked, Chris Carrier answered:

The following was asked and answered this weekend, regarding provincial funding:

Stu on April 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm said:

Nice job Nobody! Great points
From a funding standpoint, was there anything special happening in that period of time? ie Infrastructure funding by the Feds vis a vis through the provincial government?
Thinking global recession..

Chris Carrier Submitted on 2014/04/13 at 11:40 am | In reply to Stu.

Stu there were a number of programs going on during that period especially funds becoming available through infrastructure investment as part of an economic stimulus from both the Feds and Prov. The downtown project was a stimulus investment. The Town already had about 2 million dollars worth of work to do along the downtown corridor to just fix up/repair/replace some of the existing infrastructure. Council pursued a complete re-do after initial investment about 30 years ago to do the downtown as the costs for the 2 million were the same to our community, do a limited project or to do an expanded project (which we chose) and the added costs were borne by an investment from the Feds, Prov and BIA and should last another 30 years.
First Street was the now gone Connecting Link program which funds 90% of eligible components but works out to just under 60% usually. We also chose to do some of the needed sewer work so as not to tear up the road 2-3 years later.
The 10 million for Poplar Side Road and 27/28 Side Road were the result of concerted efforts of a number of staff and politicians. Collingwood (I was contacted by Minister Canfield) to ask that we (the Town) would act as quarterback for the funds the Ministry was willing to put in. The timing I believe was funds in the Ministry budget (their fiscal year end is March 31st) that would have been rolled over to a project somewhere else or one that the then Minister believed had a good local economic development “bang for the buck”.
The highway 26 realignment which is not on the list was removed from the provincial budget before I came into office but concerted efforts by many, Jim Wilson, Ken Ferguson, Cal Patterson, Ellen Anderson, myself and our staff helped to bring that project back on track as funding was announced during the 2007-2010 time frame.
The fire truck fund that is referenced was an unconditional grant from 2008 from the province and the 1.2 million in affordable housing was Gail Michalenko, Dawn Meyers and Mark Redmond and others who had been working on affordable housing for small urban for some time.
Both Norm Sandberg and Kathy Jeffery were key to helping with funding and understanding some of the funding appplication nuances through their work with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Federation of Canadian Municipliaties.
Both Catherine Durrant and Kim Wingrove were key to bringing in dollars (not shown on the list) from OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Ministry of Economic Development. The networks both had in the provincial government were instrumental with small funding projects and specific industry focused projects.
Long answer to your question but I hope it is helpful. If you would like to have a coffee in the future to discuss any particular issues please do not hesitate to contact me at

Nobody your an idiot because……….

Obviously many of you disagree with me on some or maybe lots of my commentary. Some of my most enjoyable reading is the writing of people that I fundamentally disagree with on many levels. Free debate and peoples right to voice their opinions is one of the pillars on a free and democratic society. I try to give dissenting commentary and opinion pride of place in this blog. I just don’t get enough of it.
As many of you know I am originally from the UK. I have spent more of my life now as a Canadian citizen than I ever did; as the Australians call those who grace the great island, a POME (Prisoner of Mother England).
One of the fundamental differences I find between political discussion in England (or UK) and Canada is Canadians seem to have a distinct aversion to offending anyone. If I were to write this blog in England I am quite sure I would be inundated with dissenters telling me I am talking out of my posterior.
A big part of why I pick on Chadwick. Is not because I think he is failing us as a municipal councillor(small part). Not because he in an arrogant pompous ass (small part). But because I used to be an avid reader of everything he used to write about local political scene. He would engage in political debate with many of his detractors in the comment section of his blog. He would justify decisions and comments he made in council. That’s why I voted for him on three occasions. He is now reduced to writing about things that have a very narrow reader base. ie Bread Making or Time to buy a new ukalalee. Safe topics that offer very little to his constituancy which I believe is the plan. He now seems to hate dissent or engaging with the great unwashed populace, even now when he is trying to get reelected. Now that takes some arrogance.
I liked the writing of “The Admiral” he would engage. I fundamentally disagreed with his politics on a provincial and federal level. He disliked Chris Carrier at that time, which I did also (leadership not the person). So I guess I shared that with both The Admiral and Chadwick.
It’s easier to write a blog when everyone showers you with fawning platitudes. Not quite as easy when you’re forced to stand up and be counted on what you have written. I personally love dissent. I love nothing more than a comment that starts with – Nobody your an idiot because…….. It must be my British background. You think the “Red Star” has a vendetta against Rob Ford. Try reading some of the Guardian commentary on Margaret Thatcher. Or some Daily Telegraph offed bits on Tony Blair a few years ago. That’s maybe where my sarcastic and sometimes abrasive writing style comes from. If you want a good example of a Canadian view on what should and should not be said in public look no further than the meanderings of Dick Hill who sticks his head out from the trenches occasionally, only to have it blown off with a deluge from yours truly and Enough is Enough. I appreciate what Dick Hill has to say, in fact I would give my very life blood for his right to say it, even though his premise seems to be we should all shut our pie holes and let our betters get on with the important business of running our town. At least he stands up to be counted.

As this space rolls through 100,000 views I want you all to know that this a place that welcomes dissenting views to my own. Please keep reading, posting, sharing and commenting on and about this blog. This is a place where all “Nobody’s” have a voice. Especially if that voice disagrees with me.

Let’s take a look at provincial funding –

Stu brought up some interesting points in my last post, so I thought I would investigate this a little further.
Below is a partial list of the capital projects from 2007 to 2010. As you can see there is over $16 million in provincial funding. I asked around and it does not include $800k used for the aerial truck for the fire dept. Nor the $1.2 million from Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for affordable housing projects.

The funds in the table were received without Carrier paying for or having someone else pay for him to attend a Liberal Party of Ontario fundraiser. I know this as a fact because he would not have been seen dead raising funds for the Liberals (he is a fully paid up member of the conservative party). I do understand that Stu was playing devils advocate. But you can be sure that someone was thinking along those same lines. So those of you thinking that attending these functions is the way things are done in order to receive funding. It is patently not the case.

Prov funding

My last comment on this situation is this: We all know what went on here. We have now shined a light on the sleazy back room schmoozing that has been happening for years. Next year Sandra hopefully you and your buddy Wynne will be voted out of office. Then you can receive as many tickets to Liberal fundraisers that you want. Or better still pay for them yourself.

Stu uses the old “Means Justifies the End” argument.

The following is a comment left last night from Stu one of my regular readers/commenters regarding the Compenso free dinner situation.

Stu Commented at 8.55pm 9/4/14

I am going to play devils advocate on this:
Living in a lifelong conservative riding which Collingwood is, would we not want the Mayor or someone from council at this event? Especially since the “other” party runs the province. It opens doors to funding ie grants etc, etc from a provincial standpoint in which every other municipality in Ontario is lining up for. Do we not think having the opportunity to bend the ear of the Premier that has no associated cost to taxpayer, is immeasurable. Politics, especially from a provincial and federal level is about bending ears of people who make funding decisions. Whoever bends the most ears and is heard, ……. wins..
So, either you allow the town to buy tickets at taxpayer expense, (which would cause an uproar, and boy would it cause an uproar) or allow a company to buy tickets and invite them, which has no effect on the taxpayer.( which apparently causes an uproar, with holier than thou people that don’t understand provincial or federal politics)
At the end of the day, from a taxpayer standpoint, if the funding is going somewhere, why not have someone at the table competing for it, rather than laying down and letting someone else have it.
From a business or political standpoint, I would want someone at that table, to get us in the game. No table, no game…
Devils advocate… That understands how funding works……

Ugh!!! Look what’s under that rock………….

Do you remember when you were a kid, playing out in the back yard and you turned over a rock and all the insects and creepy crawlies, that were having a party underneath, slither and crawl around looking for cover? That’s what the following reminded me of the other day when I read it:

http://www.theenterprisebulletin.com/2014/04/01/no-code-contravention

I laughed out loud actually, because the ducking and diving by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor was hilarious. It brought to mind the Mayors purple housecoat interview in the now famous CBC expose from last year featured here:

http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/Toronto/ID/2341898001/

As I said in my previous posts we are dealing with issues of morality here not technicalities. Our elected officials are supposed to be squeaky clean and should shy away from anything that has the slightest whiff of a conflict. What I find most galling is the arrogance our Mayor shows when these issues are brought to bare upon her. But I suppose when all she has to do is declare and the 3 or 4,000 lemmings I now label “Cooper Nation”, who are either: Ill informed, long time family friends, relatives, various hangers on. Or just prefer their politics done the way it has always been done in Collingwood. Will turn out and vote for her in droves.
I will bring to your attention the following statements made by our Mayor and Deputy Mayor that are being (how can I say this politely) a little “economical” with the truth and defy credulity:
“I didn’t ask what the cost of the ticket…. when I received the invitation,” As Mayor that would be the first thing I would ask.
“I didn’t know the value.” Took me around 5 seconds to find out. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the rules. This reminds me of the normal and usually unsuccessful defence when caught speeding “I didn’t see the sign”
“She was unsure why Compenso would have her as a guest”. She is obviously the only one in town that doesn’t know then. I would probably ask my brother before accepting.
And a couple of gems from the Deputy Mayor:

“I wouldn’t know, if I was invited to something, what the value would be,” Willful ignorance???
“We would get the meal, which would be a value less than $500; we’re not the ones who receive the tax receipt (for a political donation)… we probably got something worth $100 or less,” This was the statement that really brought to mind the creepy crawlies scampering for cover and gave me a good belly laugh in the process.

The following are a few statements that the two forgot to add in the EB interview:

I don’t even know who owns Compenso.

Paul who???

Don’t let the door hit you in the arse on your way out Scoop .

Budget Schmudget!!! I had schmoozing to do.

Political lobbying company? I thought they did Italian catering.

My final word on this is: Do you want your local elected officials receiving favours or gifts like this from a local political lobbying company? Especially a lobbying company that is owned by the Mayors brother and was featured rather generously in last years CBC expose?

(Thanks to Scoop for bringing this to the forefront).