Misandry Musings

I must take issue with a post by local blogger and radio host Mariane McLeod. She published it a couple of days ago on her McLeod’s Musings blog below:

http://mcleodsmusingswithmarianemcleod.blogspot.ca/2014/11/guess-whos-not-coming-to-dinner.html

I am a bit disturbed by its content. I’m disturbed because I thought in 2014 we were beyond this type of gender baiting. Please indulge me for a second. Go back to Mariane’s blog and where she references men or males substitute one of the following words: Gays, Woman, Muslims, Blacks or Jews. Puts a bit of a different spin on it doesn’t it? Would a post like that still be acceptable? But the subject matter is about men and every time we read the news these days there is yet another story about men behaving badly. So I guess we are fair game, keep our heads down, our mouths shut and take our lumps. Well not on my watch ladies and gentleman!!!

You need to read Mariane’s blog to make sense of this post. I will assume you now have, so let’s take a closer look at Mariane’s encounter with “Bike riding dog walker man”. For convenience I will call him BRDWM.

Firstly, in the #yesallwomen hashtag climate that we live in these days. If I were out walking my dog and found myself on a quiet trail and a lone lady approached from the opposite direction with a dog. I would pull my dogs leash a little tighter and avoid contact, with the exception of a polite nod. Sad but otherwise you could end up on the receiving end of a social network rant. BRDWM changed his direction and started walking along the trail, lock step with Mariane. Don’t get me wrong I think this was completely inappropriate and wrong, but misogynous entitlement? The poor schmuck maybe (wrongly) thought he saw a connection between the two of them. She excused herself and went home, unfortunate that her walk was ruined, end of story. If it is exactly how Mariane described this, it merely seems like an unfortunate encounter with a person with bad social graces. It doesn’t sound like BRDWM propositioned Mariane, nor did he comment on her appearance, he did not ask for her phone number, he didn’t follow her to her house. He simply walked along side her on a trail uninvited. Bad manners certainly and it did not sound like Mariane was scared, just annoyed at the intrusion and BRDWM’s sense that he was “entitled” to walk with her along the trail. What disturbs me is how quickly the dinner conversation about this incident, got to a place they were using words like “assaulted, attacker and change your usual walking route”. Am I missing something here? Is this where we are at as a society? A women finds herself alone in the company of a man and he is to be immediately treated with distrust or as a potential abuser. Surely not?
A few men behave badly. In fact some men still think it appropriate to pass a comment on a woman’s appearance. Even if he does not know the woman or the woman is a work colleague. I do not do these things, so please stop lumping me in with Jian Ghomeshi, Ray Rice and Bill Cosby. Because I find it quite offensive. I also believe that because of the well-publicised accounts of these men and other infamous woman abusers, everyone seems to be getting a little hysterical about the subject. In my network of male friends and acquaintances, I can actually only think of one person that would be capable of the boorish type of behaviour (inappropriate comments, not rape) that Mariane seems to think is rampant amongst the male gender of our society. In fact who the hell are these guys she talks about that constantly say it’s a woman’s fault if she gets raped or attacked? Because I have never heard it from any of my male friends. It also sounds like the two fellas that were at Mariane’s dinner party, were so surprised by her aggressive attitude on the subject, they got themselves painted into a corner from which there was no return. Nothing they could say would be right or correct. We should all collectively take a deep breath and try to figure out what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour in men and women’s interactions with each other. Both genders.

As usual I would like to hear your (especially women) views on this post and Mariane’s blog. Am I off base? Am I living in a bubble? And yes the world is in fact a sexist hell hole for you ladies out there? Or is Mariane being overly sensitive on the subject? Also if we are fortunate enough that BRDWM reads this or Marian’s blog. Maybe he could take a little time away from trolling the local trails and footpaths for unsuspecting radio hosts, and tell us what the hell he was thinking that recent Thursday afternoon.

Brian Saundersons motions before first council meeting:

I have been going on about a couple of motions that Brian Saunderson is planning to bring before council as a first order of business next month. It occurred to me that some of you might not know what the hell I am yapping about. So here are the two motions:

October 14, 2014

Town of Collingwood
Notice of Motion #1

To be tabled at the First Council Meeting of the 2014 – 2018 Term of Office

Whereas it is critical to the success of the 2014 to 2018 Town of Collingwood Council Term of Office that all governance and administrative processes be completed with unquestionable honesty and integrity;

Whereas many gaps in policies and procedures came to light during the term of previous Council that raised questions about the transparency and accountability of the decision making process; and,

Whereas existing policies require immediate review to ensure that this Council’s decision making process is open and transparent and follows best practices in municipal governance.

Therefore be it resolved that staff report back at their earliest ability on the process, resources and intended completion of the revision/introduction of following policies and procedures:

a) The review of the Procurement Policy to include, at a minimum, an upset limit on sole sourcing, a limit of sole sourcing to emergency situations only and a vendor of record procedure;

b) The development of a Lobbyist Registry to ensure that all lobbyists are registered with the Town of Collingwood and that the content of all discussions with staff and elected officials are recorded and open for public scrutiny on the Town’s website;

c) That the Code of Conduct – Conflict of Interest Policy for staff and Council include the most rigid of considerations including removing oneself from discussion and subsequent decision making on matters that, at minimum, may benefit any immediate family members including siblings;

d) That the benefits and challenges of a Fraud Hotline be investigated that allows for issues to be raised by the public, staff and council directly and in confidence to an impartial third party;

e) That a Public Engagement and Communications Policy be established that guarantees the public the right to have meaningful and timely input into significant matters that may affect their quality of life in Collingwood;

f) That all detailed council and staff expense claims and departmental expenditures and revenues be posted against targets for public review on a quarterly basis;

g) That staff advice Council on a simplistic way of measuring efficiencies and effectiveness in the delivery of municipal services; and,

h) Further that staff advise Council on any other policies and procedures that will heighten honesty and openness in our municipal governance and administration; thus depicting the transparency that all Collingwood residents and businesses deserve.

Town of Collingwood

Notice of Motion # 2

To be tabled at the First Council Meeting of the 2014 – 2018 Term of Office

Whereas it is critical to the success of the 2014 to 2018 Town of Collingwood Council Term of Office that a Community Driven Plan is developed as soon as possible,

Whereas the development of Community Driven Plans must engage residents and businesses to garner opinions, suggestions, background information and thoughts about priorities as well as current research and as to how other jurisdictions have addressed predominant issues,

Whereas there is a significant amount of background information already in place such as demographics, growth projections, debt and tax rates, unemployment, poverty levels, community and departmental statistics and studies that would serve to inform the current state within Collingwood,

Whereas there are excellent plans in place in other communities and jurisdictions that could serve to inform the development and implementation of a 5 year Community Driven Plan in Collingwood,

Whereas there are residents and business persons with strong backgrounds and the skills and competencies to inform and assist in implementing a Community Driven Plan,

Whereas it is important to understand how all departments, committees and community groups can align with the community priorities in realizing our collective vision,

Therefore be it resolved that staff report back at their earliest ability on the process, resources to complete the first draft of recommendations of a 5 year Community Driven Plan within 100 days to include but not be limited to the following:

a.The framework of a meaningful but not overly lengthy Community Driven Planning process that includes a 5 year plan and the intended development of a 20 year plan;

b.Guiding principles regarding what the plan should strongly consider as it is developed and implemented (such as effectiveness in the delivery of services, fiscal, social and environmental sustainability, access to services by marginalized residents, the rights of residents, etc.);

c.A simple model that holds staff and Council accountable to the citizenry for the intended goals and objectives through long term and annual plans as well as annual performance measures;

d.A listing and brief summary of current information, plans and strategies in place that would provide background documentation and assist in expediting the development of the plan;

e.Communications that support community input through technology, face to face dialogue, the submission of discussion papers, continued engagement in the plan’s implementation and regular reporting mechanisms to the community;

f.The advisement of software programs that would serve to collect the skills and competencies of community volunteers to enable the fullest and most effective implementation of the plan; and

A project timeline and the internal and external resources required to achieve the development of the first draft of Collingwood’s 5 Year Community Driven Plan within the intended timeframe.

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”.