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.




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

  1. What a shame to possibly tarnish the relationship that has been carefully built with Katano. Each 5 years we have made an effort to officially acknowledge the twinning with a delegation of visitors either to or from Japan. They come here on even decades and we have a delegation go to their city on the middle of the decade. That means one delegate designate each 10 years. Cost to the council member can be minimal as the host city billets the guest. So basically the council expense is little more than the air fare. (There are additional costs should the delegate decide to stay longer to tour the country but on more than one occasion people have chosen to leave immediately after the official ceremonies in Katano. The late Gloria Emo was one of the participants who chose to leave immediately after the ceremony last time which I’m sure she attended at her own expense. I expect she would be most distressed to see how poorly this is currently being handled).

    I trust your comments re Sandra’s map reading were said in jest as she was there on the 15th anniversary as was Mayor Chris Carrier. Delegates attended significant meetings wth Nippon Glass who own the LOF factory in town. They were involved in further meetings at factories in Tokyo. I believe each council member has some funds for travel supplied. Perhaps Cam has used his allowance or perhaps he has other issues he feels are more significant.

    Our Japanese cohorts do a wonderful job of formalizing the exchange. The cultural exchange is significant. I can not speak to the economic impact but I do know meetings at the factories made it impossible for Mayor Chris and Collingwood’s CAO to take part in the tours. Students from both Collingwood and Katano have made trips to each other’s country. I know I have helped entertain Katano visitors numerous times as have other members of the Katano committee and all at no expense to the town of Collingwood.

    I can not speak to the other Sister City relationships, although my wife and I did help entertain the group from Boone that visited many, many years ago (Donna will have a been gone 10 years this September and she was in good health at the time so many many years is a vague guess). Recent press from Boone has been negative and I do not know how that relationship came about. I do feel that we have more impact by being polite and respectful. Perhaps Boone could learn from more exposure to Collingwood attitudes. I have no knowledge of the Mexican twin relationship but it may have some value with current ‘Three Amigo’ discussions.

    Personally, I am pleased that Katano is twinned with Collingwood. I have been delighted to see the open eyed wonder that our Katano guests have when they view our wonderful corner of the world. They develope a terrific love of our country. In the same way, I was so impressed with my trip to Katano at the 25th anniversary and especially a very moving ceremony of ‘Dedication to Peace’ that I viewed in Hiroshima, I said I would want to give my grand son the opportunity to experience that Japanese hospitality and that ceremony. Our hosts in Katano made every effort to help us understand their culture and it is very important to them that they treat us with respect. It is also very important to them that they be treated with kind respect. Following their visit to Collingwood many of the Collingwood hosts received wonderful letters of thanks indicating how much the Katano guests had gained from their visit here.

    Robert Schmuck and I committed to be part of this year’s delegation when the invitation was first extended. We have asked for no funds from the town. Unfortunately Cam was never in touch with the Katano Sister City Committee. This subject may not have wasted as much space in council and paper had we had the opportunity to discus the options available to Cam and the importance of the cultural exchange in the universal community.

    We feel it is important that we continue to treat this significant relationship with respect and feel it is an honour to participate.

    • Thanks for this informative reply David. Yes my comment about our mayor was in jest. And I was aware that she attended Katano with Chris Carrier delegation. The point of this post was to underline the pettiness of her scoring political points rather than supporting Cam.

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