Sandra provides banana skin, Cam obliges by slipping on it.

There was a big brouhaha at the council table on Monday evening that involved Cam Ecclestone and a proposed trip to celebrate the 35 year connection with one of Collingwood’s sister cities, Katano, Japan. From Cams prospective , it started all very innocently and ended with an emotional email being sent out to all council members from Cam withdrawing his participation in the trip.

The following is the back story, which underlines the pettiness of our towns mayor.

As many of you should know, (because its plastered all over the sign posts as you come into town), Collingwood has 3 sister cities, Boone, North Carolina. Zihuatanejo, Mexico (strangely enough one of Chadwick’s  favorite tequila guzzling locales) and Katano, Japan. I have never really seen the point in these connective relationships with other completely unrelated towns; I look at it like just another way for politicians to go on all expense paid vacations on the dime of the poor over burdened local tax payer. But then, that’s probably just cynical  old me.

Anyway a trip to Katano was being planned to celebrate a 35 year connection between the two towns and someone from our town council was supposed to attend. This duty fell at the feet of our mayor Sandra Cooper, but seeing as she couldn’t find Japan on a map, let alone Katano. Plus, she had heard that they eat really weird stuff like raw fish, that if not prepared correctly could kill you faster than  you can say Bonzi!!! Next down the pecking order was  Brian Saunderson. Our Deputy Mayor is a busy man; he had no idea that cleaning up Collingwood’s political mess would be a 24/7 proposition and at the pittance that gig pays, family commitments, a law practice to try and uphold – not going to happen. Tim Fryer had the next highest vote count in the last municipal election. He was asked, but apparently he is way too busy  propping up his past position at the disaster that is now Collus and he has votes at council that he needs to declare conflicts in. Mike Edwards – see Sandra’s excuse above. So it fell on Cam to represent our fare town in the land of the rising sun.

Apparently no one told Cam about this whole pecking order thing and Sandra asked him personally to go; like he was the only man that could do the job. Cam bristled with pride at this new found importance. This all happened about a month ago and Cam had been up night and day trying to get the best deals on flights, hotels, travel. He was paying for most of his travel expenses himself, but needed a bit of a top up from the town.

This was brought in front of council Monday evening. Cam thought it would be a simple matter of the town council rubber stamping the $2,000 extra expense, after all it was barely enough to cover one of Chadwick’s past Mexican tequila drinking binges. But alas he should have known better. It was like a North Vietnamese star chamber. Cam mumbled something about his kids and grand kids  going with him and that didn’t help his case, even though he was contributing $3,500 of his own money towards  a $5,500 budget. Cam was ill prepared for the grilling that he got. He also received no help or lifeline from Sandra,  who sat back with a Cheshire cat grin on her face loving every minute of Cam’s obvious discomfort. 

The following is Cams email of withdrawal to Collingwood town council:

Mayor Cooper

Based on the sentiment around the Council table last night, I wish to rescind my request/offer to attend the 35th anniversary of our sister city Katano. I don’t feel that we can make a business/economic development case for my attendance.The trip would only be for the continuation of our sister city status and would only be a public relations visit!

With respect

Cam Ecclestone

Cam, remember this for future reference – Never go to a gun fight armed only with a cap pistol and a plastic play knife.

 

 

I’m back baby!!! (well sort of…….)

My period of self imposed exile is nearly over. 

Over the next few months I will gradually reacquaint myself with the happenings and goings on in the local political scene. I won’t be completely back on track until I can attend council meetings again, it will be a slow process. I have not followed Collingwood politics for close to a year now, so there will be a bit of catching up to do, but catch up I will.

Some of you must have missed me, because this blog has still managed to garner anywhere between 800 – 1,500 views per month in my absence, with no posts.

A very good friend of mine asked me the other month “Why did you do this VFAN? You gave up everything, friends, this blog, all that you held dear in life”. The short answer is  I just needed a change, a chance to miss this town and the people in it, and I have missed it, I have missed it terribly. I love Collingwood, it’s the only place other than where I grew up, that I have ever called home, I will spend the rest of my life here. This past year, at the end of my work week, after the long traffic snarled drive home. I would get to Singhampton with an ever increasing feeling of anticipation. Around the bend at Devils Glen…….then I see it,  Georgian Bay, then the Collingwood terminals, in all their glory, absolutely magnificent!!! We are very lucky.

Because of my love for Collingwood I must continue to try and do my small part to try and make it a better place to live. So fair warning to all those “nair-do-wells”. Those who want to run rough shod over the local political system. Who want to line there own pockets without due process. Who think its their god given right to do what they want, when they want with our wonderful town………

VFAN’s BACK BABY!!!

Justin is a victim of his own narcissism

Many of you know I am not a big fan of our current prime minister. I will not repeat my reasons for this viewpoint again, as my previous scribbling’s on this subject were starting to make me sound like a broken record.

I do think that everyone will start to figure Justin out before the next election. The incident on Wednesday in the House of Commons in which he tried to manhandle the Tory house whip Gord Brown in order to get a vote started on assisted suicide and in the process accidentally hit NDP MP Ruth Elaine  Brosseau in the chest is the start of that process.

Many media outlets including a couple of newspapers from my place of birth England have made commentary that Justin “just lost it”. I have studied the clip over and over again and I don’t believe he “lost” anything. His stride over to the gaggle of Tory and NDP MP’s was both measured and purposeful.

Here’s what I think happened:

Our prime minister has had an easy time since becoming PM; with an adoring public, a national and international media tongue bathing him at every opportunity. The photo ops have been endless, posing in full boxing regalia in a Brooklyn boxing gym, one handed push-ups to promote the Invictus games. Even the most ardent Justin admirer must know that he is a narcissist. I believe, he thought that this was going to get him more great press, with headlines like “It’s about time someone showed some backbone in this dysfunctional  house to get it functioning properly”. But the thing that Justin and the clapping cheering trained seals of his liberal party didn’t bank on was that 150 years of parliamentary tradition and decorum surpass even Justin’s charisma and popularity.

This is merely the start my friends and this is going to be fun but sadly expensive to watch.

The following story shows how quickly things can go terribly wrong……

I would like to share a fairly scary situation in which I found myself in yesterday evening, as a cautionary tale and in the hope that none of you do a similarly stupid thing. This adventure has given me a whole new respect for our local winter environment.
Last evening I decided to leave my vehicle at home and walk the kilometer and a half to an indoor soccer game at Pretty River Academy. When I left my house, the weather was a bit windy with a light snow falling, nothing I hadn’t walked or ran in a hundred times before. By the time I got to the end of my road the wind had really picked up and the snow had turned into blizzard like conditions. My route to Pretty River Academy took me along the Vacation Inn trail that winds through some bush next to the recently completed MacPherson condo project. As I trudged along, the visibility got less and less, until I could barely see a couple of feet ahead of myself. There are a couple of side trails off the main trail which eventually leads to Highway 26. I ended up losing my bearings and inadvertently walking along a trail that runs behind the school. I could see the faint glow of the gymnasium lights in the distance. So instead of backtracking I decided to get to the school through the bush behind the school.
I’m not sure if many of you realize this but Pretty River Academy is built on part of Silver Creek Wetlands. I struggled my way through some fairly heavy bush then my route to the school looked like a clear walk across a field directly to the rear of the school. I took maybe six steps then broke through ice into about eighteen inches of freezing cold swamp water and mud, so with the snow and ice covering I was in this mess half way up my thigh and actually quite stuck, in the middle of a blizzard with the temperature around minus 20. I eventually managed to maneuver my right foot out of the muck and water to lift it high enough to take a small step forward with a lot of difficulty, that foot again broke through the ice, then the left and I inched my way forward, after around 10 similar steps and quite a lot of effort I was free and in shallower water, then on solid ground, I was sweating quite profusely which was now contributing to my deep chill and I was probably in the first stages of hypothermia. When I finally walked into the school I was covered from head to toe in snow, my feet and hands were completely numb, my jeans were frozen solid up to my thighs. 10 more minutes outside and I would have been in serious trouble.

I am fairly fit and I had a fully functioning phone so the above scenario was never life threatening for me, but in hindsight if I had no phone or signal and the water was maybe just 6 inches deeper, this could very easily have been quite a different story. When I first broke through the ice I had a split second panic that maybe I was falling into a pond and some really deep water. No one knew that I had walked to the soccer game that evening, I live alone but my son was staying with me that night, he was at work and getting a ride from a buddy to my place. I usually go for a few beers after soccer so he would not have missed me until the following morning. No one at soccer would have given my absence a second thought (if you saw me play soccer you would understand why).

What did I do wrong? Firstly I ventured out into the coldest evening of the year telling no one, under dressed, in jeans, regular Bluntstone boots and not enough layers of clothing on. I had taken a short cut across unfamiliar terrain with no proper trail and I had no idea what was under the snow that I was walking on. Lastly I had not given this place and the environment we live in the respect that it deserves.

VFAN’s lineage (No you don’t need to bow)

A couple of years ago, my sister in law in the UK got very involved with searching out her and my brothers family trees on ancestry.com. Below is what she found.
So in light of this and considering the results of the recent Canadian election with Justin’s hereditary receiving of the torch from his father Pierre Elliot. I think the following puts me in a very good position for seeking elected office in this country. After all I am directly related to British royalty, I have actually held down many jobs over the years, I have made and paid numerous payrolls in various businesses. I also  know a little about world affairs beyond climate change blabber and Islamist appologism, so I believe I am infinitely more qualified than Justin to be PM. (Although I must confess, I don’t have Justin’s roguish good looks nor curly locks, so maybe not.)

One branch of my family tree below – As per ancestry.com: (The first name is my direct descendant).

1. Doris Florence Wills (Barrett) My Mother (1931-2012)
2. William Henry Joseph Barrett “Billy Barrett” (My Grand Father) (1901-1992)
3. Emma Louisa Perry (1876 – 1930) (My Great Grand Mother) married to Henry Barrett
4. Selina Lethieuillier (1845 – 1917) married to Joseph Perry (GG Grand Parents)
5. John Fredrick Lethieuillier (1816 -1886 ) married to Ann Levett (GGG Grand Parents)
6. John Powell Lethieuillier (1775- 1839) married to Henrietta Crosswell (GGGG Grand Parents)
7. John Greene Lethieuillier (1752 – 1800) issue from 1st marriage to Sussanna Read
8. Manning Lethieuillier (1705 – 1752) married to Ann Greene
9. William Lethieullier (1671- 1739) married to Mary Manning
10. Ann Hooker (1643-1702) married to Sir John Lethieuillier (1633-1719)
11. Lettice Copinger married to Sir William Hooker (Lord Mayor of London) (1612- 1697) http://www.geni.com/people/Sir-William-Hooker-Lord-Mayor-of-London/6000000031708286656
12. Frances Burgh (died 1618) married to Francis Coppinger
13. Thomas Burgh, 3rd Baron Burgh (1558–1597) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Burgh,_3rd_Baron_Burgh
14. Lady Katherine Clinton married to William Burgh, 2nd Baron Burgh
15. Sir Edward Clinton, 1st Earl of Lincoln 1512 – 1585 From first marriage to Elizabeth Blount, one of Henry VIII’s former mistresses. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Clinton,_1st_Earl_of_Lincoln
16. Thomas Clinton, 8th Baron Clinton (1490–1517) http://www.geni.com/people/Thomas-Fiennes-Clinton-8th-Baron-Clinton-of-Marstoke/6000000002665300331
17. John Clinton Fiennes, 7th Baron Clinton
18. Elizabeth de Clinton (de Fiennes) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Fiennes
19. Richard Fiennes, 7th Baron Dacre (1415 – 1483) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Fiennes,_7th_Baron_Dacre
20. Elizabeth de Fiennes or Lady (de Holland) Elizabeth Holland (1389 – 1449) married to Sir Roger Fiennes
21. Elizabeth of Lancaster, Duchess of Exeter https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_of_Lancaster,_Duchess_of_Exeter
22. John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (Plantagenet) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_Gaunt

23. Edward 3rd (Plantagenet) King of England (1312 – 1377) My Great GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Great Grand Father. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_III_of_England

Hammertown – Dispatch # 2

                                    I AM LEGEND ADDITION

1. When I first went to work down in Hamilton, I thought that my dispatches would be a regular thing. But to be honest there is very little to write about and usually the highlight of my week is driving up Highway 10 on a Thursday afternoon racing back up to “God’s Country”.

2. I was on my bike in the fall riding along the waterfront trail. A lady was chatting with someone on the right side of the trail with her back to me. Unbeknownst to me her dog was in the bushes on the left of the trail attached to one of those retractable leashes (you can see where this is going). As I rode over the leash it got caught somewhere around my bikes chain, flipping me over the handle bars into a rhododendron bush. The dog, an over-sized black lab mix, decided it was payback time against the person that rather rudely interrupted its sniffing and territory marking. So it lunged at me. Fortunately the leash was still tangled around my bike, so the lunge was stopped around 6 inches away from my foot with the dog snarling, snapping and barking at me. The whole incident reminded me of one of the scenes from “I am Legend”. Only the dog wasn’t a raging zombie dog. It was the leash stopping the dog not the last fading rays of sunlight, and I am way better looking than Will Smith🙂

3. I know this next bit is going to make you think that I haven’t had much luck working my little stint in Hamilton but……… well actually I suppose I haven’t. I was sitting at a stop light early last week and a 5 ton truck passed me on curbside and did a right turn showering my van with ice from its roof and badly cracking my windshield. My van looked like it was involved in a drive by shooting by the gang-bangers from Lococo’s (described in Dispatch #1).

4. Talking of bad luck, since the ticket that I received from the squeegee guy (also described in Dispatch #1). I have picked up 2 more, one for driving 62 kp/h in a 50 kp/h limit and failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. The Hamilton cops take no prisoners. My car insurance has now gone from around $1,300 per year to $2,700. So I have decided to buy myself a trilby hat, move my seat so my chest is 2” away from the steering wheel and I am now the guy that you swear at driving 10 km below the speed limit all the time.

5. Apparently my good friend Annette Patrick will be in these parts in the next few weeks hiking the first section of the 895 km Bruce Trail. Read all about it here: https://annettesbrucetrailadventure.wordpress.com . I look forward to reading about all her adventures, good luck to you AP.

6. One thing I do like about living and working a little further south, is there is much less snow. So along with the late arrival of winter I have managed to continue running outside without a break throughout this winter season. I am seriously considering another crack at a half marathon, so stay tuned.

Pompous elitists still alive and well east of Saskatchewan.

I posted the following rant just before Christmas 2014. I thought that post was even more appropriate this past week after the media storm surrounding Lloydminster’s Ken Cundliffe’s letter to Justin Trudeau posted on Facebook on the 10th January. I have shared this letter on my VFAN Facebook page. Apparently this guy got a lot of abuse mostly from people living east of Saskatchewan.

This Hour has……….. A Bunch of Pompous, Elitist, Assholes!!! (Originally posted 14th December 2014)

I was sitting in front of the TV the other night, not really paying attention to what was on. I was more interested in what I was doing on my computer. The cheese ball “This hour has 22 minutes” show was droning on in the background. I can’t stand it and never find it funny. I was about to switch it, when an attractive blonde lady came on and was saying something about oil prices and Alberta, which immediately piqued my interest. The screen went to a Welcome to Alberta road sign and there was a mashed up version of the “Welcome Back Kotter” theme song playing.

The premise of the skit was to make fun of Alberta and the problems it is about to face as a province, due to the falling price of a barrel of oil. I was actually quite disgusted by the whole thing.
I didn’t catch all of the words as I was still only half paying attention, but I did wonder what they meant by “Welcome Back” in the skit. So I searched for it on YouTube then viewed and listened to it again here:

Yes that is canned laughter not real. Am I missing something here? Does anyone find this type of thing funny? I guess they meant welcome back to the economic reality of the rest of Canada. A little rich don’t you think? Considering that this crappy TV show is produced by a company called DHX Media based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A complete economic basket case of a province that has been a net receiver of transfer payments from the economic engine that has been Alberta for the past 10 years or so, and prior to that Ontario and BC. Nova Scotia has never stood on its own two feet within confederaration economically as a province. This show is paid for and subsidized by the CBC, which would also be a basket case broadcasting company, if not for the $1.2B subsidy per year it receives from, yeah you guessed it, indirectly through transfer payments from Alberta.

I know a few people from Collingwood, that have made it through some very difficult times by getting on a plane and working in the oil patch. I also know that many hard working people from the Atlantic provinces kept their families clothed and fed by working in Alberta. This type of thing is classic pompous, elitist, snobbery of the worst kind. They don’t want that dirty Alberta oil and want nothing to do with those redneck hicks from Alberta. But they certainly want the revenue from them to support their public service jobs and social programs that they could not afford if not for transfers from Alberta.

Can you imagine the uproar if the skit and song were about a Windsor car plant closing or a New Brunswick ship yard shutting down. I have news for these pompous twits at the CBC and this crappy show, where Alberta goes the rest of the country follows very quickly. The province has been the economic engine of the country for a number of years now, so what is bad for Alberta is very bad for the rest of Canada. By the way the economic reality of the rest of Canada is mainly the result of the tax and spend policies by successive Liberal and NDP provincial governments. Take Saskatchewan for instance 10 years ago after many years of successive NDP governments, it was one of the worst economic sink holes in Canada, I constantly heard “the last person to leave Regina turn out the lights”. Brad Wall of the right of centre Saskatchewan Party became Premier in 2007. He introduced a myriad of changes to the way the province does business. It now has the highest GDP in the country, the lowest unemployment rate and people are lining up to move back there again. I personally would like to see THAT model as the economic reality of Canada. Not what these socialist stooges at the CBC think should be the economic reality.