Finally it’s their last council meeting……….. Hip Hip Hooray!!!

Steve Berman sent me a list of things to expect from the lame duck last council meeting on Monday 24th November. Not to be outdone by Berman I decided to do my own list as follows:

1.Rick Lloyd will start the proceedings off with a rendition Fredric Chopin’s Funeral March:

2. Sandy Cunningham will make a statement replete with pauses at just to right moments, to add to the gravitas of his solemn, heartfelt words. To the effect of “It’s been great working with SOME members of this council, but a couple of others can kiss my ass. And by the way how’d you like that trick I pulled in the election campaign? Suckers!!!”

3. Kevin Lloyd will propose a motion for his bloc buddy’s to pass, which will look something like this: Whereby the councillor that gets the least amount of votes in any past or future Collingwood Municipal election will forthwith sit next to and on the left hand side of the Mayor. The third lowest will sit in the viewer’s gallery. The rest of the council can sit where they want on a first come first served basis. This motion is retroactive prior to 27th October 2014.

4. Ian Chadwick will make a long winded statement that will include quotes in Latin, Mycenaean Greek, Coptic Egyptian. No one in the council chamber will know what any of it means, but basically it will say this: Everyone in Collingwood that didn’t vote for me is an idiot. Anyone that did vote for me, but cannot understand a word I am saying, is even more stupid that those that didn’t vote for me. Plus a pox on Steve Berman’s house, his family, his friends, his relatives and anyone that has ever liked anything on his Facebook page, retweeted one of his tweets, or read one of his blogs.

5. Mike Edwards will put in his custom made prosthetic open eye inserts and will catch his normal 40 winks until Chadwick nudges him to vote yes on the Lloyd motion.

6. In the Community Announcements part of the proceedings: Dale West will announce he has taken up juggling, while riding a unicycle and donning a bright yellow suit with purple polka dots and a bright red nose. He will be doing this outside town hall every Monday evening (weather permitting) while all future councils are in session. Donations will go to the “Send Dale to the Circus Foundation”.

7. Keith Hull will make a statement thanking everyone, it’s been a pleasure blah, blah, blah, and Sandra Cooper will immediately jump in and say: “You are ruled out of order this was dealt with in a previous meeting…………… then Rick Lloyd will whisper in her ear “Um he is saying goodbye”.

8. Joe Gardhouse will stand on his chair moon the rest of council and laugh just a little too loudly.

Here is Steve’s List:

1. Motion by Sandy Cunningham to create the Collingwood Council Hall of Fame. Recommendation that he, Chadwick and Rick Lloyd are in the inaugural class.

2. Point of Tenure declared by Chadwick. He refuses to give up his seat on council, citing a little known amendment to the Municipal act, that only he is aware of.

3. Motion by DM Lloyd, that he stay on as the defacto Pubic Works rep, seconded by Ian Chadwick w/ a friendly amendment that includes him in the same role with the Library.

4. Motion to re-name the EcDev building, the Kevin Lloyd Economic Development Building. (in camera, Kevin will request to attend all future council meetings by Skype, from his new office in the KLEDB, as he simply refuses to sit next to Deb D for the next 4 years)

5. A motion declaring this council the “Best. Council. Ever”
.

Someone pissed on Pauls cornflakes.

One of my regular commenters Paul must have got out of bed the wrong side yesterday. Either that or he is suffering from a rather severe case of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). The following is his commentary/lists:
(My comments are in bold)

Four year prediction

1) Nothing will happen at the corner of Hurontario and Hume. (Admiral).
2) Nothing will happen at old school at Sixth and Maple.
3) Nothing will happen at Second and High St. ( Home Depot )
4) Nothing will happen at the Shipyards.
5) Town will spend $100,000 on a waterfront study to find out we own a grain terminal spit, Arboretum Park and Sunset Park.
6) Deputy Mayor will declare conflict of interest on 1 of 5 council votes due to current employment. The previous DM declared a conflict every week with Smarts Flowers.
7) Our council will spend next 6 month draft up a conflict of interest by-law however our on council lawyer is fully aware this provincial jurisdiction not local. (Municipal act) If it makes the mayor think twice before she has municipal dealings with her brother is that not worth it?
8) Councillor’s will have to declare conflict of interest due to their current employment.
9) Going to the local council meeting will be curse for anyone with insomnia. Don’t get this. If it’s a curse do you mean they will continue to be awake because council meetings will be so exciting??? Did you gain an “S” Paul?
10) Will find we have no leader among our current council members (if we do, who?) Read my previous post.
11) “Nobody” will be blogging about nothing, he’ll start new blog called “Nothing” with “nothing” to say. You obviously have not been paying attention Paul I always have lots to say.
12) Municipal government will be put on auto pilot for next 4 years with annual tax increases
13) Our debt will increase from some number we don’t believe to another number we don’t believe.
14) Gambling what’s that?
15) The grain terminal will be 4 years older, still be in need of repair.
16) Elvis Festival will still be here and will again be losing money but that okay. I forget why that is okay, oh it’s good for bars, hotels, out town concession, general contractors and increase police costs for our out of town drunks.
17) BIA will continue to be dysfunctional.
18) On those nice warm summer day as you walk along First Street you’ll remember where our sanitation department is located. (This may explain why ship yard is stalled)
19) No councillor will stand up say… Let’s change that! If one does the rest will say “Where is the money coming from?”
20) Council will increase the annual police budget even thou crime has decrease continually for last 8 years.
21) Will except a $400,000 increase in an OPP budget without debate but debate hours for new $50,000 baseball diamond.
22) Berman will be the name of a guy who works at our local school. I very much doubt that, but you’re the one telling the story.
23) Parking on Hurontario will be review again but remain the same.
24) OPP investigation will end or be forgotten either way, its water under the bridge. Maybe new council can pass a bylaw to put stocks outside the town hall so the citizenry can pelt rotten fruit and vegetables at the miscreants Paul?
25) Our new council will take credit for the Hume street improvement.
26) Will hire more OPP officer to handle more speed modification programs (speed traps)
27) Economic development will be another pizzeria not to be forgotten by another Coffee shop in town.
28) Collingwood’s goal will be minimum wage capital of Ontario. I bashed the last council constantly, but in all honesty they nor the next council can be blamed for that. #GlobalEconomy

This new council probably won’t find a cure for cancer or third world poverty either, but I will try not to hold that against them.

We will be thankful however for:

1) No one will be cancel our subways unless it a sandwiches for a council meeting. Huh?
2) Hwy 26 will not be torn down. Huh??
3) Traffic congestion will remain number 101 on our list of serious problem we have to review. Huh???
4) Our mayor will not be on a late night talk show. Ah now I get it referencing Toronto!!! A bit slow today Paul sorry!
5) That “Nobody” gives you this platform to vent.

On a more positive note here’s a list for our new council

1) Change Elvis program to appeal to younger audience. Elvis and young people are mutually exclusive.
2) Change BIA from small downtown corridor membership to include First street business corridor.
3) Make BIA functional to all not just a few members.
4) Park on Hurontario will be free for first hour after that charge by the hour.
5) Co power generation plant will be review for our local sanitation department. Huh? You lost me on this one.
6) If gambling were to come to town, it will be by a town referendum.
7) Police department size will decreased to reflex our current crime rates. Provincial jurisdiction I believe.
8) Our town portion of OPP cost will review with other municipalities. Provincial again.
9) A standard debt calculation will be published annually.
10) Request for funds will present to provincial and federal government for development of terminal spit. It will include removal fencing around Collingwood yacht club, new docks, a harbour/tourist office, rentable retail outlets, new grass, and play area for kids. (old and young)
11) Sixth street soccer field, we’ll build a park change room, concession stand, maintain/storage shed along with washrooms. It wills employee a few senior high school students for summer employment to look after the park, new concession and ground maintains. Nice idea but as I said in my previous post, no money any time soon.
12) Town will contact FRAM development to see if we can agree to 15 year lease for use of their waterfront property to build two baseball diamonds with a cancelation clause after 5 years with 1 year notice. Yeah right!!! That should be down with 17 and 18 below.
13) All the stores in town will become wheel chair accessible within 4 year
14) Property standards for all developer/ landowners with time lines and posted bonds for non-compliance
15) Change current municipal system of 7 past the post to a more democratic system of 3 wards system explain more next post) It’s a comment Paul not a post. I do the posts. You comment.
16) Increase the income for all council position effective for 2018 (explain more next post) Again I do the posts.
A couple more add-ons the new council should achieve:
17) Part the waters of Georgian Bay so we can drive to Christian Island.
18) Convince Premier Windbag to extend the 410 all the way up to Collingwood.

Please do something over the next four years (council) hopefully your claim to fame will not be complaining about the previous councils.

Good luck council, its honeymoon season. Let’s give everyone a big hug but sooner than you know it will all be over. Will all be complaining about this and that, so pull up a chair give us your 4 year operational plan… okay let’s make it easy, how about one year plan.

Paul made some great points above and also some silly ones. It looks like these past few years have made him a little jaded. Let’s see how the next few months play out before we make many of the above judgements.

A review of your new council Part 2:

Your new councillors: (In no particular order)

Tim Fryer:
As Brian is to Sandra, Tim is to Brian. Meaning in the absence of a competent head of council in Mayor Cooper. Look for Tim Fryer to be the de-facto Deputy Mayor. Also in 2018 look for these two to jump up one rung each of the political ladder and run for Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively. I spoke with Tim at the all candidates meeting about the towns finances. Within seconds he had my head spinning and my eyes glazing over. He started talking financial speak to me which I am not entirely unaccustomed to, but in this instance he may as well have been speaking Swahili. Tim Fryer is one smart character. He is also “Old Collingwood” with a family lineage that goes back many generations. Again, as with Brian, he is going to be a hard task master. I get the impression he does not suffer fools gladly. Penny pincher, process orientated, policy wonk are all words I would use to describe Tim. Don’t look to Tim for any big spending initiatives until the finances are well under control.

Cam Ecclestone:
Apparently, my sources have told me, no one was more surprised by the fact that he received the third highest vote count for councillors this past election than Cam. His tireless campaigning is quickly becoming the stuff of political legend in Collingwood. Every time I talk to a different person the number of doors he knocked on goes up a thousand, 3,000 doors, 4,000 doors, 5,000 doors. However many it was, it worked and it should prove to all of us he has a boundless work ethic and is serious about the council position that he got himself elected into. Another penny pincher and financial wonk. No votes from Cam on any new big spending initiatives until he see’s what the true financial picture of the town is. (I can assure you, it is not what the rose-tinted bespectacled voting bloc have been telling us.)

Bob Madigan:
Bob and his fans will again accuse me of picking on him. But as always I call it as I see it. I hope he proves me as wrong as Cam did. I am starting to get a taste for roasted crow with a balsamic glaze.
I believe our populist new member of council could struggle in his newly elected position (not in the photo-op department though). He could struggle on a couple of fronts. The first – However much he tried to distance himself from the Mayor and her voting bloc during the election campaign, verbally and in various forms of social media. The rumour mill and the photo ops told a different story. A lot of people will be watching Bob’s voting record closely when council resumes. If Bob aligns himself with the Mayor too many times he will very quickly find himself on the outside looking in. But Bob has to dance with the girl who brought him to the ball. By my reckoning there is a longer term plan afoot here. Bob may or may not know what that is.
Also from the conversation I had with him, I got that Bob is a very intelligent individual, he is quick on his feet and street smart, but is Bob book smart? (I’m actually asking that question because I don’t know.) Will he have the intestinal fortitude to read through and comprehend the pages and pages of boring deputations and reports that he will receive on a Friday evening ready for Monday evenings council session? Week in, week out, month in, month out.
I have a standing order these days at Blueridge Meats for dressed crow. Lets see if Bob makes me fill that order.

Kathy Jeffery:
We all know what we are getting with Kathy. The voters of Collingwood, after severely slapping her across the wrist in the 2010 election, have resumed their political love affair with her. Nothing new to report, she was a safe choice for many of us, stoic, reliable, maybe a little bland, but sometimes in politics bland is good. In my mind she will be on the right side of most of my issues. My only concern with Kathy is in her previous stint on council she had a tendency for arrogance and tin ear syndrome. I never thought I would vote for Kathy again after the whole patio mess. But we are a forgiving lot us voters of Collingwood. I hope that the shellacking we gave her in 2010 has permanently removed those unpleasant traits from Kathy once and for all.

Deb Doherty:
I have been a huge fan of Deb, since she came onto my radar around a year ago, through my research on some posts that I did on VOTE and the Vision 2020 project. She is definitely a big vision kind of person very much like myself. Unlike many of the people she was running against she actually had a platform of items she wanted to get accomplished. Unfortunately though, I think the towns finances will get in the way of many of them. She is a wile political operator, her letter to town council regarding the ACP site remediation agreement was absolutely brilliant in an election year, pure theatre and grist for the mill for a political junky and blogger like myself. Because of that letter she was immediately put onto Collingwood’s most wanted list. Kevin Lloyd verbally abused her after a council meeting and her detractors also tried to professionally intimidate her. She played the wounded heroine to a tee, but we all knew she is as tough as nails. Careful this cat has claws. Ouch!!!

You all know about the other two incumbents. So at the risk of repeating myself……….. I will repeat myself.

Kevin Lloyd:
I was whining like a little baby after I found out Mr. Lloyd had been re-elected. But what would this blog be without him on council? I already lost Chadwick. You my loyal readers, prove to me time and time again through the uptick in your views of this blog, that you are not interested in bland, feel good, everything is great commentary. You like and share with others, my acidic opinion pieces, that say what many of you are thinking. In fact I hope that the general consensus view, that Kevin Lloyd will get so sick and tired of sitting next to his nemesis Deb in the dunces chair. Throw his toys out of the stroller and quit in disgust before next year is out. Because I will be left with only Bob, Mike and the Mayor to write about.

Mike Edwards:
What is it with you lot and Mike Edwards? What do you all see that I don’t? How did he vote for the sole sourced recreation tents and that vote just rolled off him like many other votes in his past and it not stick to him like the proverbial s**t to a blanket? His colleagues take the hits and Mike keeps rolling on like the Energizer Bunny. These are questions I keep asking and no one seems to know the answer. He is the epitome of the finger in the wind politician, he rarely takes a solid stand on anything and brings no new ideas or thoughts to the table. Expect no more and no less this coming term. This time though I will have more time on my hands now Chadwick has gone. So I will be making a point, anytime I can, to remind those of you that held your nose and voted for Mike Edwards, the error of your ways.

Note: As I wrote this review, I realized that as much as I like to think of myself as a big picture kind of guy. My initial commentary, after the election, was from the small refined bubble of this blog. After all my earlier winging, I guess this was a pretty good election result after all.

A review of your new council:

It’s been a couple of weeks now since the election. As I have said before, I was a little disappointed in some of the results, happy with others. We still have a couple of weeks until the new council gets sworn in, but I thought I would do a quick review and opinion piece on the new incoming council as follows:

Mayor Sandra Cooper:
Although she managed to capture 51% of the vote, her cohorts (bloc) were completely decimated. One retired, two were soundly defeated in the election and one scraped in with only 38 votes to spare. We all have to hope that she learned from that lesson and be a productive influence on the council, rather than an obstructive one.
A couple of posts ago, I was whining about the election results and someone named “Triguy” made the following comment:

My favourite story this post-election season was of a senior citizen (long-time Collingwood resident) who dutifully voted for Cooper because “She was such a nice lady at the grocery store all those years”. WHAT? Really? That is a qualification to run a multi-million dollar company? More unreal is no one takes that conversation to the next place.
Baffled Listener: “Oh really? What was her position at the grocery store all those years?”
Uninformed Voter: “Cashier”
Baffled Listener: “Just Cashier? She wasn’t promoted to head cashier or supervisor or manager after 20+ years at the store and because of her superior leadership skills, her vision, her involvement in the store community with other employees, etc.?”
Uniformed Voted: “No just a cashier, but she was always so nice!”

I thought this was a great comment. By all accounts Sandra is a nice person, but because of the way she has ended up as Mayor of Collingwood (she was in the right place at the right time in both elections). She will lack the skill sets it requires to competently govern from a position of weakness. So I believe she will be an obstructionist Mayor. Expect her to be on the wrong side of a lot of votes as she tries to make petty points with those on council she dislikes and fundamentally disagrees with (Deputy Mayor and 4 of the 7 councillors). She will have a difficult time this session and will be reduced to ribbon cutting ceremonies and public appearances, while the important business of running this $50M corporation is left to those more competent members of council.

Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson:
Because of much of the above, as with the last council, the Deputy Mayor will effectively be running the town and setting the agenda. He already has a couple of heavy hitting motions coming when council resumes. Those motions were made public during the election campaign, they indirectly reference Sandra Cooper’s many perceived if not actual conflicts of interest, in some of her dealings with her brother Paul Bonwick. If she is smart she will vote to approve the motions and move on. We all know better than that though don’t we? This will set the tone for the next few months, if not years to come.

From what I have seen of Brian, he has a sharp tongue, a dry wit and is extremely intelligent. I believe he will use those traits with abandon on any council member that decides to slack off and come to a council meeting ill prepared. With Brian at the helm we are going to get full value for our money from this upcoming council. To be honest I am counting the days until I can get to see him in action (get a life Nobody). Be prepared for many challenges on process and procedure, sorely lacking in the last council. Basically because Sandra did not want to know, or actually did not know any better. I hazard a guess that Brian has been studying up on municipal law and practices since long before he filed his nomination papers to run for Deputy Mayor. Plus lawyers by definition, are extremely good at reading a digesting written material. Knowing my own intellectual weaknesses, I sure am glad I am not sitting on this council. I can go toe to toe with most people in a verbal fencing match, but I would not fancy my chances against Brian. He will be like nothing any of us have seen so far in the local political arena, a complete breath of fresh air. Sandra must have a dire feeling of trepidation at the thought of trying to work with her new Deputy Mayor.

My apologies for being so longwinded in this post I had hoped to complete a full review including the councillors in one post. I will follow this up with my review of the new councillors shortly.

White Poppies, Poppy Hijabs and the Essex County School Board can all go to hell.

I was very fortunate in life. My father was born in 1931 so he was too young to fight in WW 2 and my 2 grandfathers were born in the early`1900’s so were too young and too old to fight in in both wars. I did however have an uncle my father’s sister’s husband who was part of the disastrous British Expeditionary Force that was driven out of Europe by the Germans via the Dunkirk evacuation. My uncle Herbie had to swim a half mile out to a waiting fishing boat in his underwear. Hoping not to get hit by the constant bombing of Stuka dive-bombers or the strafing of German machine gun fire from the beach head. He arrived in Dover in his underwear and nothing else no shoes no socks just his underwear and a stinky blanket from the fishing boat.

After a period in Britain he was shipped off to fight the Japanese in the South East Asian Theatre. He fought alongside his a comrades from Bombay all the way down to Burma. His exploits during the war are a story for another Remembrance Day. But I have a Nepalese (Gurka) Kukri knife that Herb was given by a Gurka officer at the end of the war. He gave it to my father when he returned home and my father gave it to me a year or two before he died. It is one of my most prized possessions.

The reason I give you this little bit of my family background, today the day after Remembrance Day. Is in the lead up to yesterday, I was perusing through Twitter, Facebook and the internet news sites and I saw a few things that really disturbed me. The first was the sudden appearance of white poppy’s. In case you had not seen them they are the peaceniks answer to the red poppy. It first appeared in the UK in the 1930’s. The first that I personally heard of it was in the late 80’s when Margaret Thatcher was asked about it in question period in the House of Commons and she expressed her “deep distaste” for the symbol. Which pretty much sums up how I feel about it. It goes without saying that most of us want peace. I am pretty sure when my uncle Herb was swimming towards that fishing boat he wanted nothing more than peace in his life, but unfortunately the Germans on the business end of the machine guns had a different idea. To me the red poppy is sacred. It is a symbol of the sacrifice every person makes that puts on a uniform and goes and fights in our name and in the name of keeping us free to live in peace. So go celebrate peace with some other symbol at some other time, but leave the red poppy alone.

The next thing that really annoyed me was a story in of all places over the weekend in the Daily Mail. It was supposedly a feel good story about a British clothes designer that came up with a novel idea on how to help Britain’s Muslim ladies pay respect on Remembrance Sunday (in Britain they pay respect on the Sunday before 11th November). It was called the poppy hijab different types of headwear that had a white background with a multitude of poppies all over it. Apparently these Hijabs are backed by mainstream Muslim groups including the Islamic Society of Britain and profits from its sale are donated to the Poppy Appeal.
Mark Steyn did a column on it in his excellent Steyn on line blog he stated:

“Well, that’s very nice of them, I’m sure, and the ladies look very charming in them. But, if they wished to reject “extremist groups” and support the armed forces, why couldn’t they just wear the same poppies that everybody else wears? Why does a communal ritual observed by the Queen’s subjects in every corner of the earth – Canadian, Bermudian, Tuvaluan, black, white, Protestant, Hindu – have to be Islamified to accommodate them?“

Which pretty much sums up how I feel about it.

Last but not least; the Essex County (Ontario down near Windsor) School Board put out a memo last week that any Muslim children were exempt if they wished from taking part in Remembrance Day ceremonies at all the schools within its jurisdiction if they felt uncomfortable about it. At the risk of being accused of being Islam-a-phobic I will refrain from giving my usual in depth analysis of this. But I will say one thing: All of us from many parts of the world, white, black, Asian, Christian, Jews, Hindus and yes even Muslims enjoy the benefits of a free society. Because many before us put on a uniform bared arms and fought for it and died for it.

As I said quietly to myself yesterday at 11 am and as I say every year at the same time – “Thanks Uncle Herbie”.

‘Change’ won this battle but has not won the war.

I’ve had a number of conversations with people, in the know, since the election, regarding what the future holds politically for Collingwood. I was quite surprised at the general sense of optimism in this regard. My view is that the electorate in Collingwood are not particularly engaged (or care) about the happenings at town council. Because if they were, the following would never have happened:

1. Sandra Cooper got a healthy majority. Over 51% of those who voted put their trust in her for another 4 years. OK I get it that you didn’t like your other choices. You all know who I voted for. That wasn’t based on flipping a coin in the air, it was based on having some fairly long in depth conversations with Chris about his vision for the future of this town. Even now after being soundly defeated in the municipal election, he is working behind the scenes on a project that will fundamentally change this town for the better for many years in the future. With Sandra there is no vision, no big picture. Did everyone who voted for her get collective amnesia about the OPP investigation, the conflict of interest, the voting bloc that she enabled, the lack of leadership and the enabling of Rick Lloyd? I do not go along with the general view that Sandra can go do her photo ops and ribbon cutting while the serious business of running this town gets done in spite of her. “Cooper Nation” is still alive and well and is going nowhere anytime soon.

2. Over 3,100 people still voted for Ian Chadwick. His well publicised Facebook rant against a local popular restaurateur, garnered over 2,800 views on my post about it (a record for this blog) and yet he still only dropped 600 votes from 2010. So let’s take a look at those 2,800 views. This blog has around 400 readers that pretty much read everything I post about local politics. 95% of those readers probably were never Chadwick voters anyway. 500 views were probably double views by the same readers. Another 500 of those views were by people not eligible to vote in Collingwood. 5% of all the views of this blog are by people stumbling upon it by accident from Nigeria or Kuwait et al (that happens a lot). So where does that leave us? I would say conservatively 1,000 people viewed Chadwick’s online rude, overbearing behavior but still voted for him. He then does a blog post that says anyone that doesn’t understand Latin would not be voting for him anyway, how many of the 3,102 voters speak Latin? But they still voted for him anyway. So what would it take get those 3,102 people not to vote for Chadwick? He already hinted that he might run in 2018.

3. Sandy Cunningham still got 66 more votes than a person that I considered a very capable candidate Betty Donaher. That’s 1,506 people that were so disengaged in the local political scene, that they voted for someone who wasn’t even running and was arguably the worst councillor sitting around the last council table, in terms of knowing the material he was discussing and voting on.

4. Mike Edwards got the second highest amount of votes as a councillor and he has been mailing it in for the past four years. Every person I have spoken to about Mike says he will blow with the wind when it comes to his decision making like he always has. He is the epitomic Teflon man nothing seems to stick to him. Who the hell are these people that keep voting for him? Obviously people that are not paying attention.

5. Kevin Lloyd still made it onto council all be it by only 38 votes. He is the classic angry man. But he still managed to get 3,402 people to fill in the box next to his name. What were those people thinking? I was forwarded at least a half dozen story’s about his personal dealings with different people around town. I did not post any of it because I try to keep this blog separated from peoples personal lives. But here’s a hint, the way he dealt with anyone that disagreed with him on council is very much the way he deals with people in his personal life. I found it quite disturbing that he still managed to scrape in.

So the above tells me there are around 3,000 people in Collingwood that like the status quo and do not want to see any ‘newcomers messing with things’. Most of those 3,000 people will still be around next election. As will a slate of candidates to promote the status quo agenda. Change won this battle but has not won the war.

“Explaining” Jiangate and sexual harrassment.

We have had two local blogs weigh in on “Jiangate” in the last week or so. The first I already talked about in my last post. A clumsy effort by Hamilton Drain Gazette to get a few laughs. Which is at one end of the spectrum of this debate. The other by 97.7 The Beach’s Mariane McLeod in McLeod’s Musings. Which is at the other end of the spectrum, in my humble opinion‎.
Mariane’s post really bothered me, it seemed to paint all of us of the male persuasion with the same brush. I had a long comment all written up but then I remembered she gave me a bollocking last year for being disrespectful in that space, so I emailed her instead. This is the part where I would normally post that email conversation, but I am trying to mend my wayward blogging ways and this was a private email conversation, so I will refrain from sharing.
In Mariane’s post she says that men have a habit of being deferential ‎and feeling the need to “explain” things to women. My basic response to this was that that is not a gender issue this is a know-it-all issue. Case in point I am constantly having things “explained” to me like how to load a dishwasher, how to drive, how to write a blog, how to play soccer, how to ply my trade. There are people of both genders in life that just always feel the need to explain. But this was never an argument I could win, because just by emailing Mariane I was “explaining” things to her and thereby proving her point. We left everything all good, so no harm done.

So now let’s talk about “Jiangate”. I have never been a big fan of the CBC. It has always bugged me that we subsidize them to the tune of $1.2B per year and they still have commercials, and a left of centre political viewpoint. The British do the same thing with the BBC (subsidize it through TV licences) but it is commercial free and the programing is second to none. The CBC’s programing on the other hand, with one or two exceptions, is pretty cheesy (does anyone actually watch Republic of Doyle?). CBC radio I find very elitist talking about subjects that interest a small minority of the population. That is why up until a couple of weeks ago I had never heard of Jian Ghomeshi.

I obviously know about him now, because you can’t open a newspaper or online news site without seeing another salacious story about him. There are many aspects of this story I find both interesting and disturbing at the same time. I guess I am a little naïve maybe, because there are very few women that work in my industry and those that do would not put up with any nonsense from anyone, let alone sexual harassment. So I was under the false impression that this kind of behaviour, in the work place, was a thing of the past.
The part about this story I find most disturbing, is that it was common knowledge that this creep was a serial sexual harasser. Female interns would return from a stint with him and his show and members of the York University media studies faculty would be joking about whether this guy had tried it on with them or not. Also it seems it was a standing joke at the CBC that Ghomeshi had some strange sexual preferences, but because he and his show Q were so popular it seems much of this was swept under the carpet. Now the CBC in full damage control starts an investigation and lawfare with him. I think not because of what he had done in the hallowed halls of the CBC, but because he sued them for $55M. If Ghomeshi had gone away quietly I believe we would never have heard a thing about any of it. This will end up in the courts both civilly and maybe criminally. But here is the kicker, no matter how many online hashtag feeds and Facebook sites get set up, Ghomeshi will never get convicted of anything and he will probably get well compensated for being unfairly dismissed. The reason? The nature of the offences he has been accused of committing, are of a “he said she said” nature, they a few years ago and he has a presumption of innocence. His career is more than likely now over and we will all eventually move on.

The lesson that we learn from all this is we must instill in all our children both boys and girls from a very early age that it is not OK to both be harassed or abused and to harass or abuse other people. No matter what the gender or sexual preference. If any one of these woman had immediately gone to the police when this idiot slapped them around this story would have been over long ago. Because of this I will sit down with all three of my kids (two girls and a boy) and have a discussion on what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in the dating scene or their future workplace.

In terms of sexual harassment in the workplace, this actually needs to be dealt with at a provincial ministerial level and the ambiguity needs to be removed from the working environment as follows: No person of either gender or sexual preference should comment on another person’s clothes, hair, “package”, make-up, sexlife, boobs, butt, legs, biceps, abs, weight, lack of hair etc. First time it happens verbal warning, second time written warning, third time dismissal. On the other side of this the penalty for making a false accusation in this regard is instant dismissal. We already have pretty stringent labour laws in this country and if a boss sexually harasses an employee, all it takes is a call to the Ministry of Labour and hell fire will reign down upon that employer. Believe me an employer does not want to go toe to toe with the MOL. Or dance with a labour lawyer with a human rights claim against them.

So that’s my take on things as usual all comments and discussion on this very important issue are welcome below.