Caledon Perspectives: an editorial

Sometimes I cannot believe that I sit in the same Council Chamber as another Caledon journalist. Following the Tuesday, April 17 Council meeting, I wrote my regular news report for Just Sayin’ Caledon. It was a boring, but true W5 style news report. On Thursday, April 19 I read a completely different take on the same Council meeting in a local newspaper.

It reminded me of how different eye witnesses see the same accident depending on their perspective, which is why eyewitness accounts are so unreliable in court. Prior to the Council meeting I had attended the Citizen Recognition night at the Caledon Community Complex. It celebrated the best of the best in volunteerism and left all in the audience with a positive feeling. I took that perspective into Council.

When we regard the Town staff as people working on our behalf, and celebrating our accomplishments as a community, it puts them in that same positive light. Now, the majority of our elected representatives see their colleagues at the Town in that same perspective. A few take a more combative attitude. Ignorance is bliss. The same applies to the journalists who cover the Council meetings with a negative lens.

We recently lost an honest journalist who worked his craft with integrity. Bill Rea’s absence from the Council media desk will be sorely missed. From a news perspective, his unbiased and honest reporting was an oasis in a desert of fake news. I admit to a definite bias in my editorials – I am allergic to liars, bullies, misogynists, racists, religious extremists and pedophiles. I am particularly allergic to journalists who claim to be news reporters when they are proselytizing for local politicians and developers. It’s a character flaw of mine. But when I write a news report, I must be neutral, as was my Tuesday report on Town Council. My editorial today has a different lens.

Over ten years ago, a private speculator took the Town to task for the direction that the Province and the Town had planned for develpment. They installed one of their marketing staff as the Editor of a local privately produced newspaper called the Caledon Perspectives. They initiated a series of incendiary articles that pitted their development interests against the Town and the Mayor of the time. When a long series of litigations against the Town failed, overnight they pulled all of their newspaper boxes and the Caledon Perspectives died with a whimper.

You can read the whole history online in Hap Parnaby’s investigative report on this low point in Caledon journalism.

We do not need another local newspaper highlighting a politician who does not deserve the print space. I was at the Tuesday night Council meeting. The only thing redundant about that Council meeting were the questions asked by a Regional Councillor who seemed unable to understand the difference between an interim and an ultimate solution to all-day downtown parking in Bolton. Thank you to an Area Councillor for explaining it patiently. I know this sounds judgmental and partisan, and it is. I have lost all patience with populist politicians who don’t know their by-pass from a parking space.

I will let you know exactly my criteria for local politicians I think are doing a good job – they read the staff reports, they ask intelligent questions, they do not waste time at Council grandstanding about their accomplishments which may or may not have anything to do with the motion at hand, they are respectful to colleagues and town staff, they do not lie or spread misinformation to their constituents, and they try their best to work for the good of the Town, not their next career move. That is my criteria for judging the quality of an elected official.

And if you have medial literacy, reporters are even easier to judge.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

For the full Hap Parnaby report go to :

Connections Between Local Media and Land Developers in Caledon   www.topix.com › Georgetown

 

Caledon’s Good News

Praise and Parking

W5 style News Report originally published for Just Sayin’ Caledon

The regular Tuesday night Town of Caledon Council meeting was prefaced by an inspiring Community Recognition Night to hand out the Caledon Volunteer and Citizen Achievement Awards for 2018. It was a packed house at the Caledon East Community Complex, eloquently hosted by Carine Strong, herself a model of community volunteerism.

 Mayor Allan Thompson summed up the essence of the evening with his opening remarks, “Tonight we honour our neighbours, friends, family, work colleagues and fellow community volunteers who have gone above and beyond. These are people who give and give and then give a little more and who have made Caledon the wonderful community it is.”

For a complete list of recipients and awards go to the Town of Caledon website: caledon.ca/crn

Following the positive theme of that event, the 7:00 Town Council meeting proceeded quietly and respectfully. Of particular importance to the citizens of Caledon was the passage at Council of All Day Street Parking (ADSP) in the Bolton downtown business district.

Resident Jerry Gorman made a delegation to Council in support of the move to all day parking and included a handout visual showing the ultimate vision for the core. Council also received a citizen’s petition from business owner and resident Jimmy Pountney in support of the All-day Parking. That petition will become part of the tOwn’s presentation at the Region of Peel.

 

While this request has still to go to the Region for final approval, Bolton Area Councillor Rob Mezzapelli carefully clarified that positive public consultations and the parking inclusion in the Town of CaledonTransportation Master Plan should lead to a smooth passage at the Region. He also clarified that the all-day parking was an “interim” part of the plan intended to encourage drive through commuters to take the faster by-pass using Coleraine and the Emil Kolb Parkway. This will leave the downtown core a pedestrian and shopper friendly area with local traffic only.

Not only does this interim solution improve air quality by removing morning and evening rush hour idling cars, but it makes the downtown core of Bolton a safer place to work and shop. For those of us who walk and bike around Town, redirecting that commuter traffic has been a long time coming and is much appreciated. An added bonus is that commuters from the North Hill of Bolton won’t have to jockey with all that commuter traffic coming south from Highway #9.

The longer term “ultimate” solutions involve construction of traffic calming islands, landscaping, and a complete repainting of parking areas, through and turning lanes as illustrated in Jerry Gorman’s handout. It will take a while to educate commuters from north of Bolton to use the by-pass, but the majority of Council sees this as a beneficial first step.

Coupled with the good news feeling from the Recognition Awards, it was a positive night for the Town of Caledon. Now that’s environmental literacy!

*****

Just Sayin’ Caledon Editor’s Note: The Regional Councillor for Bolton was not in attendance at the Council meeting April 17, 2018.

  • image from restreets.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Rea, a True Caledon Citizen

Bill Rea In Memorium 

This Sunday morning, April 8, 2018, Bill Rea quietly passed away. The longtime reporter and editor for the Caledon Citizen suffered an apparent heart attack in his sleep.

A role model for ethical journalism and a tireless reporter of all things Caledon, Bill was a voice of truth in a world of fake news. A mentor, advisor, and an honest critic, he will be missed deeply.

We who remain celebrate your life.

Skid Crease, Caledon

 

Peter Munk, you saved my life

Today marks the passing of a true Canadian icon. Peter Munk 1927 – 2018, nine meaningful decades of a life well lived. Little did I know at the time that the beautiful wooden cabinet Clairtone Hi Fidelity record player that sat in our living room as I was growing up was the product of Peter Munk’s first serious endeavour with his partner David Gilmour.

After the devastating loss of Clairtone in 1967 came the unprecedented success of Barrick Gold in 1983. And with that fortune, Munk began to give back. From the Peter and Melanie Munk Cardiac Centre to his School of Global Affairs at University of Toronto to his million dollar donation to the families who lost everything in the Fort McMurray fires, Peter Munk gave back to his chosen country.

Most selfishly for me, Peter Munk saved my life. Through his generous funding of cardiac research and training, the skilled team at Toronto General Hospital University Health Network brought me back to life, and continue to keep my big, fast paced heart in good health. I promise to earn it.

Peter Newman , in his book Titans, is quoted as saying that Munk, a refugee who lost everything to Nazi persecution in Europe, was driven by “restitution, redemption, revenge.” Restitution: restoring hope for those suffering from war, disaster and illness; Redemption: bringing balance to the dark and light forces in our lives;  Revenge:  holding the monsters to account.

Much like the mythical Count of Monte Cristo, Peter Munk escaped from the dungeons of war ravaged Europe to rise to a position of fame and fortune and use that fortune for good – with the greatest gifts, he said, to come after his death.

Well, Mr. Munk, I never met you, but my heart beats now because of your philanthropy. And by some fateful coincidence those three R’s of yours are  the three forces that have driven my journalism since my recovery. Thank you.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

*image from mcleans.ca

An Open Letter to Sylvia Jones, MPP

First, Sylvia, I think you are doing a wonderful job representing our riding in Caledon. And it was a pleasure meeting your enthusiastic constituents at your past Open House, many of whom are good friends and trusted confidents.

As a result, I was all set to join the provincial partying until the leadership fiasco – I fully expected Christine Elliot to win. Unfortunately, I have studied the Ford family for a long time now, and have been investigating politics for decades. Bill Davis was my idol and the Education Minister who gave me my teaching certificate, and he still is the epitome of a true Progressive Conservative.

Doug Ford is to the Ontario Conservative Party what Donald Trump is to the Republicans and he will be a lightning rod for the alt-right in Ontario, the old Mike Harris Reformatories. I have met them, groups of grumpy old white men in the coffee shops in Bolton, spouting misogyny and racism and blind condemnation for anything left of centre.

As an environmental science writer, I can assure you that we need a carbon tax of some kind and an immediate shift to a renewable energy economy, I have already chastised the federal Liberals for missing the boat on this one. Also, as an internationally respected educator, I can assure you the new Ontario Health and Physical Education Curriculum didn’t go far enough in delivering modern sex education to our school children. Besides the basic plumbing and issues of gender identity, we also need to make our children street smart when it comes to predators and pornography.

The only people truly opposed to this well-vetted and publically discussed curriculum are religious zealots and those who stoke their fires and fears. The idea that their values are being challenged is ridiculous considering that the curriculum is not mandatory. And it is certainly not being opposed by the young people who are about to inherit an abusive twenty-first century world. Especially if it ends up being run by Lingerie League loving “leaders” like Doug Ford.

Sorry, Sylvia, but we get known by the company we keep, and Doug Ford is not on any of my guest lists. Your online and print support for Mr. Ford as “leader” is admirable from a loyal Party member.  But, as our voice for Ontario in the twenty-first century, he doesn’t deserve a second glance, or a first chance.

If, as befell the United States, we elect a populist wealthy white male to office, I hope you will hold him to account the way John McCain has tried to keep the ideals of honourable centered conservatism alive in America.

Courage, Integrity, Truth … the way I see it.

Sincerely,

Skid Crease,  Caledon, Ontario.

***

Image and T-shirts from threadsquad.com