Should our local politicians openly support political candidates and parties?

An interesting debate broke out in the comment section of my ‘VFAN supports Chris Carrier’ blog post a week or so ago. It was in relation to provincial/federal political affiliations having any place in municipal politics. I feel very strongly that they do not. I really don’t want my municipal politicians attending political fundraisers, endorsing candidates or engaging in any type of party political activities while they are in office locally. My simple reasoning behind this is if you are endorsing and supporting one party or candidate you are turning your back on another, which can end up with dire consequences to the town, if the person or party that you spurn gets elected into a different level of government.
Take the Cooper/Carrier situation as an example. Because Carrier openly supported Guergis and the Conservative party against Coopers brother, imcumbant Federal Liberal MP Paul Bonwick. It led to a political rift and municipal infighting that proliferates through our municipal political system to this day. Politics in Collingwood could have been much easier without this dynamic permeating constantly in the background.
Another little tidbit that should be noted in respect to the above is. Cooper, Chadwick and a few other prominent life long local liberals. Joined the Conservative Party of Canada back in 2010 just so that they could vote against Chris Carriers nomination for Simcoe federal seat. That is how deep that particular dynamic runs. Its a complete distraction from the local political scene and has no place in it.

The following is how the comment debate played out:

Bill
on September 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm said:

One of the great things about Canadian municipal politics is that it is not structured around parties (as opposed to Federal and Provincial). So, Chris, if you support the Conservative Federal candidate, the Liberal, the NDP or the Screaming Elephant party, then that’s your opinion and you are entitled to your vote. But I don’t particularly want to hear about it. If you get in again, can we leave party political endorsements out of things? Thank you.

Viewfromanobody
on September 12, 2014 at 2:33 pm said:

I actually agree with you Bill. Chris should not have been endorsing any political candidate provincial or federal . Also as Mayor of this town Cooper should not have been attending a fundraiser for Kathleen Wynne.

Chris Carrier
on September 12, 2014 at 4:10 pm said:

Hi Bill the reference Colin made was the 2004 campaign when a few members of council were campaigning for our then Liberal MP, I introduced the conservative candidate to several groups. I agree with your view that the local level should distance itself and I have friends from all 4 main political parties whose company and advice I like and not because of their party but because they look for solutions. I will do my best to be less overtly favourable to any political party. I do not believe I have ever had a Federal or Provincial party sign on our lawn as Colleen often cancels my vote or I her. I will take your advice to heart and action.
Thank you. Chris

Chris Bone
on September 13, 2014 at 9:57 am said:

I disagree, I like to know what my municipal politician party affiliations are because it dictates their mindset and approach to governing. I want to know if the Mayor is a fiscal Conservative or a tax and spend public union supporting Liberal. I want to know if the politicians practice sole source purchasing strategies or tendered RFP associated with each of their party brands. I want to know if the Mayor is a socialist or a greener. I want to know how they vote in provincial and federal elections because it indicates biases, values and tendencies. I want to know if my Mayor supports Wynne, it matters to me.

Viewfromanobody
on September 13, 2014 at 10:31 am said:

I understand what you’re saying Chris (Bone) but it is not as cut and dried as that. I am a right wing libertarian when it comes to provincial and federal politics. But more centrist and statist when it comes to local municipal politics. An example for you: Our mayor and Chadwick are card carrying liberals both provincially and federally, but when it comes to local politics they are the worst type of crony capitalists going.

Chris Carrier
on September 13, 2014 at 2:01 pm said:

There are policies put forth by different parties that both help local government and others that do not and the party affiliation does not matter when you are the Mayor. I worked very well with Ministry of Transportation Minister Donna Cannsfield (Liberal)(and Donna is just one example), she was a strong advocate for Collingwood and area at the cabinet table. Federally I worked very well with several conservative Cabinet Ministers. Party politics may have some influence with some Ministers but the really good ones do their job well based on the need presented at that moment in time. Jim Wilson both in and out of government has been a great voice for our area. I am not sure how I vote party affiliation wise is really relevant; it is more important how I worked with the other levels of government. Working with our staff and political colleagues both here in Collingwood and our neighbours, Collingwood really benefited from the strength of about 20 million dollars of federal and provincial investment (not counting the Hwy 26 realignment project). I hope to rebuild those relationships again for the betterment of our community.

Who actually runs our town?

If you would like a better idea on who actually runs our town. Look no further than the following letter that Rick Lloyd’s campaign team sent out to perspective contributors below:

lloyd campaign contributions

In the above letter we have a developer Steve Assaff. Whom over the course of this past term has consistently been treated with kid gloves by the current town council on a variety of files. Not only making donations to Rick Lloyd’s re-election campaign, but actively shilling for it, as Rick Lloyd’s campaign fundraising chair.

I also heard that Paul Bonwick was out early one morning a few weeks ago hammering in Rick Lloyd re-election signs. Apparently someone snapped a photo but I haven’t managed to get my hands on it yet.

These people do not even bother trying to avoid the appearance of close political ties to the Major and Deputy Mayor. CBC and OPP be damned. The truth is they all think most of you are too stupid to care or pay attention.

Prove them wrong next month.

Sergeant Peter Leon talks about the OPP investigation.

As much as Ian Chadwick like to tell you to ‘Move along nothing to see here.’

Here is the 97.7 interview from this mornings Georgian Bay 2Day interview with Mariane McLeod and OPP Sgt Peter Leon. The investigation is ongoing and extremely thorough.

Very interesting listen here:

http://www.bayshorebroadcasting.ca/downloads/podcastplayer.php?PodcastID=19842

Some things will never change.

I stopped following Chadwick’s blog months ago, so I missed the following:

http://ianchadwick.com/blog/the-opp-investigation/

The blog isn’t the interesting part, but the comment section was. One of my regular commenters megarryj actually got through to comment below:

megarryj says:
September 20, 2014 at 10:18

All very interesting, BUT:
1. Why wouldn’t you name the only councillor to refuse to answer?
2. I don’t know, but I suspect that the allegation of wrongdoing was to do with the offer to buy the terminals. That entire transaction was , and still is, clouded in secrecy. We still have no idea who thought of buying it, or the purpose they intended, or what happened that caused the prospective buyer to withdraw their offer. Nor is it clear if the property is still on the market, and if the water lots are still in play.
3. Concerning the Sprung Structures, there was absolutely something really rotten about that process. Council went from commission of a study to a signed contract and cheque signed, for a single sourced deal, in just 6 weeks. We can only hope that a new council will at least launch an enquiry into the process behind that decision, to try to find who managed that deal behind the scenes, even if we’re now stuck with the Sprung structures, and the attendant overhead, for the foreseeable future.

And amazingly enough Chadwick answered a detractor as follows:

Ian Chadwick says:
September 20, 2014 at 11:06

1. My intent is not to cast aspersions on anyone, simply to clear the air from misinformation and gossip. I’ll leave the aspersions and innuendo to the bloggers. You can read the information in the EB article linked above.

2. According to the Municipal Act, discussions about the purchase or sale of municipal property can be held in camera. The so-called secrecy is not merely legal, it avoids some issues of liability.
The property was put on sale by our real estate agents in an open, MLS real estate listing and still is listed there. No secrecy about that. It’s just like any home sale listing: open and public. The real estate agents speak to clients, provide information and accept their offers for council to consider.
What gets discussed in camera are the offers and the names/companies of those bidders are kept secret until one is accepted. This is the same process used in tenders, RFPs and RFQs. However, unlike those methods, this one allows bidders to approach staff or even members of council, and discuss the property. Just like approaching a homeowner to ask about a house they have for sale.
The MLS listing is just for the property shown in the public assessment – anything else is open to negotiation and will be discussed in camera if the property is municipally owned. You can get or see a copy of the assessment at town hall and read what the value is. It is up to the bidder to decide how much to offer, just like it is when negotiating to buy a house.
Bidders can withdraw their offer, make counter offers, negotiate for additional property as they wish, just as they can with any home listing. It’s an MLS listing on the public market. Their decisions and reasons are their own and thus private until an agreement is made that leads to a contact – just as it is when you are bidding on a house.

3. The staff report presented about the use of Sprung structures was thorough and comprehensive, as was the presentation made at that open and public council meeting. Nothing rotten about it. Simply because someone doesn’t like a decision or because it didn’t meet their expectations, does not mean it was made improperly, illegally or immorally.
Council made a decision quickly and effectively. Councils in the past have been criticized for delaying, deferring and not deciding and getting nothing done.
Are you upset because council was decisive?
The single source option is allowed in the procurement bylaw (therefore legal), as was explained in the meeting, when there are no equivalent options or the product is considered unique. Staff researched and investigated this for many weeks, and came back with the conclusion they qualified for the single-source option. That was presented clearly during the meeting.
The structures were rated by staff in the report higher on energy conservation, speed on installation, costs, design time and other categories than traditional brick-and-steel structures. They have a 25-year life for the covering, equivalent to or better than most roofs,
Are you upset because council accepted and followed a well-researched and clearly-presented staff recommendation?
After 20-plus years of wrangling over the need for additional recreational facilities, this council acted. We have them now. Had we not done so, we would still be debating and arguing and we would not have anything. I prefer the option we chose.
The choice was not between a $35-million-plus traditional structure and the Sprung buildings. It was between the Sprung structures and nothing. It was between responding to the community’s identified and long-recognized need for more ice and water time, and doing nothing. Council chose to act rather than do what other councils in the past have done.
Are you upset because we refused to follow that tradition and didn’t ignore the community’s needs?

Our decisions and our actions, our responsibilities, authority and liabilities and are restrained by provincial law, and by our own procedural bylaw and code of ethics. We have excellent staff who guide and inform us and ensure we do everything in the most open, democratic and accountable manner. We have experienced legal advisers to ensure we do everything legally and properly. We have had our actions, our decisions and our discussions in these matters examined by our lawyers who assure us nothing was done illegally.

Every election you have the opportunity to select a new council. If you prefer a council less decisive, more likely to ignore staff recommendations, and more willing to ignore the community’s needs, then I expect there are candidates who will be good choices. For myself, I believe this council made the right decisions in the proper manner and in the best interests of the community as a whole.

So I thought in the spirit of dialogue I would push my luck and see if I could log onto his blog myself to comment. He must have eased up on his Guantanamo Bay like security on the thing because I actually managed to sign up and log in to comment, as follows:

Mr. Chadwick I find it interesting that you suddenly emerge from self-imposed social media exile to comment on or try dealing with the subject of the OPP investigation on yourself and your other cohorts 2 weeks prior to a time when voters will finally get a chance to vote you out of office. You are fooling no one with the exception of maybe your most ardent followers.

Alas folks this story does not have a happy ending, Mr. Chadwick, even in the election cycle, did not publish or reply to my comment above. Some things will never change.

Slow boat to Collingwood……………

Moving on from my “Election Platform” post a week or so ago here:

http://viewfromanobody.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/if-i-were-running-for-council/

I wrote this post while I was sitting in Starbucks on my smart phone, then promptly forgot about it. Never being one to deny my adoring readers the benefit of my meanderings, I will post this anyway albeit a week after it was relevant. I want to talk about items 10 and 11 in my imaginary election platform.

10. Actively look for and provide approvals for a business to build a restaurant on Heritage Way in the dock area.
11. Provide marine fueling and waste disposal facilities at the dock. Do whatever it takes to make this happen.

I am not much of a boater. The last time I was on a boat, myself and a couple of the other non-boaters had to have a mutiny against the “Captain Bligh” who was running the boat. After he was screaming at us for not being able to tie the proper knots ‎and other boating indiscretions.
That being said I was quite shocked earlier when I ended up chatting with a boating type while enjoying a cup of Tazo Awake Tea. He explained to me that on boating navigational maps there is a big sign saying basically to avoid Collingwood as it has no boating facilities. (Could one of you boating types confirm that for me please?)
I guess it makes sense, no refueling facilities, nowhere to pump out your septic tank, no place to eat or buy provisions on the dock. Why the hell would boaters come anywhere near the place. So realistically that is another demographic that Collingwood has not only completely ignored, but actively shuns. This current council has been too busy falling all over itself to accommodate Steve Assaff and whatever his business needs are at any given time. So much so, it completely ignores every other potential ‎group that could visit Collingwood and spend much needed dollars. Maybe as a town we should all chip in a few bucks and buy Mr. Assaff a boat. I’ll wager we would end up with the best harbour dock facilities around, if he had a boat docked down at the harbour.

This lack of any facilities is quite amazing really‎ considering how we as a town trump up our maritime heritage. Trumpeting that Collingwood once boasted the largest ship building facility on the Great Lakes. Also the fact that the town is named after Battle of Trafalgar hero Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood. He is probably spinning like a top in his tomb at St Paul’s Cathedral, having his name taken in vain by this sad excuse for a harbour town. Which cannot even provide the most basic of facilities for boaters.
The people that want your vote next month need to start talking about real world issues in terms of economic development in Collingwood. The above could be a very good start.

Nobody gets himself “schooled” in the Centurion Race.

Let’s take a brief break from municipal election talk for a moment. I rode in the Centurion cycling event this past weekend. Not the main 100 mile race (I am not that much of a masochist) but the secondary 50 mile race. Before you get too impressed, my time was very tortoise like. I was so slow at one point an old geezer, getting his mail, on a motorized scooter overtook me as I rode up Epping Hill (or as I was calling it Sunday “That Effing Hill”). It was quite the experience rolling out with a thousand other cyclists at the start of the race. The only thing was no one told me the race didn’t actually start until you get to the bottom of Grey Rd 19. So I was flying along passing everyone and thinking to myself “this is easy I might even win this thing”. Then over the next three and a half hours, one by excruciating one, the four hundred or so people I passed at the start gradually overtook me on every little incline. They closed down Blue Mountain Road, Osler Bluff Road and the first part of Grey Rd 19. So it was great riding and not having to worry about buddy in his dually wheeled behemoth with the bull horns, flying past us with inches to spare. The people that run this thing should be commended, it was such a well-organized event. I do hear though that Blue Mountain gets very little business from it, as apparently athletes including cyclists are notoriously cheap when it comes to restaurants and hotels. I can attest to this by the fact that a bunch of us went to Tholo’s for a celebratory lunch after the ride and it was pretty much empty. Which is amazing considering close to a thousand riders had finished this race over the previous couple of hours or so.

As I said in a previous post, this is my first year of cycling, I am really enjoying it. On Sunday while I was labouring away on the ride I was planning in my head this blog post. I was thinking Collingwood should hold a cycling event, not a road race like the Centurion, but what cyclists call a Criterium race. Which is a short course cycling race usually around one or one and a half miles and it consists of lap racing.

I hear you all saying “Your crazy Nobody why would we want to turn our town over to a bunch of el cheapo, skinflint, cyclists, that don’t spend any money?” Well here’s the thing – Criterium racing is a much more spectator friendly sport rather than long distance road racing, like the Centurion. The one thing with the race this past weekend, if someone wants to come and watch, most of the action is happening up in the Niagara Escarpment and some of the roads close to the race, are shut down or have limited access. My kids came up to watch me and the sum total of the experience was around 30 seconds of watching me huff and puff across the finish line, then 10 minutes of listening to me moan and groan about how hard it was. When it comes to spending money spectators are a different story. If someone has shelled out the money to drive all the way to Collingwood to watch a cycling event, then they usually don’t mind parting with their hard-earned shekels at a local eating establishment or hotel. The other thing is if we want to continue to keep kidding ourselves that Collingwood is an active, four season destination, we have to start doing things and promoting things to make that actually the case. At present we just hang off the coat tails of Blue Mountain Resort, which actually has earned its chops as a year round activity filled destination.

One thing I will say though, before you get too busy about the above idea (I now have to delve back into election territory again). My impression of most of the members of this current council is that they seem to think local sports, for anyone over 40 or 50 only happens on a golf course or on a ski hill. So if you ever want to see any sporting based events, along with the sacrosanct Elvis Festival held in this town, you might have to look to others to make that happen.

I Could Not Let This Stand:

I received the following comment on my last blog post, announcing that VFAN is supporting Chris Carrier for Mayor of Collingwood:

Jake on September 14, 2014 at 10:10 am said:

Chris seems like a nice guy and I am sure his intentions are honourable, however he has had his shot and proved he could was not a leader and could not get consensus or harmony on Council. Council meetings were at times hard to watch as they could be dysfunctional.
The mere fact that we are still referring to those patios proves the pettiness of the last Council.
Say what you want about Mayor Copper, but she runs meetings well and keeps things business-like and professional. I wish she had more big picture vision and passion but comparing her one term against Chris’ experience, Copper wins hands down.

I tried not to respond. I really did, the last thing I need to do is put people off from commenting on this site. But Jake, with all due respect, you are talking complete crap!!!

I will take you at your word on the previous council and I will agree that it was at times dysfunctional. But in our municipal governance system the mayor is but a small cog in the wheel and Carrier was continually undermined by his Deputy Mayor – Sandra Cooper, plus others who were on that council. This election if the voters elected Carrier as Mayor and Brian Saunderson as Deputy Mayor, plus a handful of the very capable councillors who are running, you will get the big picture vision that you are looking for above.
I have attended a few council meetings this past year and a half, it has been quite apparent to myself and many others in attendance that Copper is constantly being guided by her puppeteer Rick Lloyd. She and Lloyd have voted exactly the same way 100% of the time in recorded votes. In fact sometimes when it came time to vote she would look over at Lloyd to check the way she is supposed to be voting. Rick Lloyd has been told three times in 1991, 1997 and 2006 that this town is not interested in him becoming Mayor. So he decided to do an end run around the electorate by getting the kindly faced “Grammy Cooper” installed and then got to run the town anyway from the Deputy Mayors office instead. You say you wish she had more “big vision”. That is very difficult when you are a small town mouse who likes the status quo and sees nothing wrong with the way she and her backroom cronies have foisted various unpopular decisions on this town. Jake the only thing that has kept things business like and professional, is the fact that her voting bloc and others have rubber stamped everything including recreation tents, unneeded dog parks, cleaning up her buddy’s mess at the corner of Hume and Hurontario, selling Collus to make the books look palatable to a gullible public, firing the very popular Kim Wingrove and installing another one of their cronies as CAO of the town. Same faces another OPP investigation. On and on it went. With a couple of unbiased councillors with integrity and some intestinal fortitude, you might have seen a very different council session this past term. It would have looked every bit as dysfunctional as the previous council. But that is democracy for you. Read Barman’s blog he has systematically documented everyone of this current administration’s, headed up by Cooper, continual misdeeds.
You are drinking the Kool-Aid Jake and by the look of all the houses with Cooper and Lloyd signs on their front lawns so are many others in town. Or maybe they just don’t care.