Caledon’s Best and Least of All Evils

in response to my recent blog on Caledon’s Election Commandments, one reader commented: “Wow, does that leave us anyone to vote for, cause I think not from this statement. How do we find the least of all evils?” Actually, dear readers, there are some ethical choices that electors can make for a respectful, consensus building Council, and some that will lead us into four years of grandstanding chaos.

This week I received the responses to my “Candidates’ Candor” questionnaire and the answers were illuminating – beacons of hope for our elected representatives. Of course, those who responded did so with clean records behind them and aspirations to serve ahead of them. It was almost more telling who chose NOT to respond.

I know that, as a journalist, I am supposed to be non-partisan in synthesizing these answers, but having spent a year on the Town Council media desk watching the proceedings, my perspectives have been hardened into Moses-like stone tablets. I have been to the mountain and I have seen the light. So, consider this purely an opinion piece.

First, the only Mayoralty Candidate not guilty of violating the commandments is Allan Thompson. Note that Mayor Thompson was found NOT Guilty on the false charges brought to bear against him by another Mayoralty candidate. Note that this candidate was reported to have “dropped” the charges she initiated against Mayor Thompson. Not quite. She only dropped the second set of charges she made against Mayor Thompson and Councillor McClure. She not only LOST on her initial charges, but was required to pay over $80,000 in court costs.  Oops, thou shalt not bear false witness.

Note that the third Mayoralty candidate was found guilty by Caledon’s Integrity Commissioner during her brief first term of violating the Town’s Code Of Conduct, and by Peel Region Heritage Board of issuing racial slurs. Also recently supported another Peel Region Councillor’s e-mail use of racial slurs. Oops, thou shalt love thy neighbour.

Secondly, while most incumbents conducted themselves with intelligence and as much respect as they could muster, other incumbents seemed not to have read, or at the least not to have comprehended staff reports, Those who asked only questions of clarification, or defended the integrity of the Town Council and staff made it to the “Dream Team” list.

Thirdly. the last decade has seen a litigious relationship fester between a local developer and the Caledon Chamber of Commerce toward the Town of Caledon – that means at least three candidates are automatically eliminated from the intelligent choices list. You can have a Town nurtured by a democratic electorate, or you can have a Town controlled by private money (see the Globe & Mail investigation, May 2018).

Next, any candidate who has taken to using social media ghouls to flog their message and attempt to smear legitimate candidates is eliminated.

Also, any candidate who has no agricultural background and/or knowledge of the Peel and Caledon Food Charter is eliminated.

And finally, any political advertising attempting to pull the “purple wool” over your eyes is eliminated.

So, based on those criteria, I will publish my “Dream Team” and my “Scream Team” results in the next few days.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, an author, an internationally respected speaker, an admired outdoor and environmental educator, and a lifelong learner.

 

 

 

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Caledon’s Election Commandments

After the War of 2018, Calerin (or Duffedon as those north of 9 like to imagine it) had separated from the Region of Peel, and the cities of Brampton and Mississauga had merged to become the Kingdom of Bramauga

***

At the dawn of the 2020’s, the peoples of Calerin were enslaved by the rulers of Bramauga, and by wealthy overlords who owned the rulers. Even their own delegates had been bought by the overlords and were about to turn the Town of Calerin over to the highest bidder.

Then, just as hope for democracy was fading, She appeared on the horizon, shafts of the morning sun illuminating her flowing hair like a Beyoncé video! She had gone to Caledon Mountain to hear the words of the Great Spirit That Loves Life to receive the prophecy that would guide a just society.

She stood tall before the Oracle and asked, “Stone tablets?” “No.” replied the Oracle in a Sarah McLachlan-like voice. “They didn’t work well the last time the men did this. Let’s go with Skid’s blog.” And so it came to be that the “Ten Commandments for an Intelligent Electorate” were handed down from Caledon Mountain (well, actually a hill, especially if you come from Kananaskis country in Alberta) and she spoke in her best Yul Brunner impression,

“Let it be texted, let it be done!”

1. Thou shall not elect a person who has violated the Municipal Code of Conduct and been found guilty.

2. Thou shall not elect a person who has been found guilty of racist slurs.

3. Thou shall not elect a person who has used social media to smear another candidate.

4. Thou shall not elect a person who has either ignorantly or maliciously misinformed and mislead their constituents.

5. Thou shall not elect a person who is in the pocket of private interests.

6. Thou shall not elect a person who pads his or her resumés.

7. Thou shall not elect a person who creates a crisis where there is none.

8. Thou shall not elect a person who has brought false witness to bear against a sitting candidate.

9. Thou shall not elect a coven, or a single member thereof.

10. Thou SHALL elect good, honest, respectful, intelligent, empathetic persons.

And the Oracle was quiet. She came down the mountain with the words of wisdom, but it was too late. The people who had been so eager to receive her words only hours ago were now drinking corporate coffee from a drive-through and watching American Real Housewives and the Trump Reality Presidency Show.

“Oh well,” she sighed. “We’ll save these for the survivors of the Apocalypse.”

***

The way I see it.

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Caledon’s Healthy Backyard Hens

originally published for Patti Foley’s Just Sayin’ Caledon

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With the first summer of the Backyard Hens demonstration project successfully completed, it’s time for a cluckingly brilliant update.

To begin, the hysterical concerns from certain politicians and their resident coven of followers about backyard hens wiping out the businesses of the fowl farmers in Caledon, spreading avian flu across the Region of Peel, and infecting Caledon chicken lovers with salmonella turned out to be FALSE. The salmonella bacteria that avian species carry in their guts for digestion was defeated by a new medical miracle called … hand washing!

So far this year in North America, Zero – O – deaths from salmonella infections, although a few dozen people came down sick after eating President’s Choice chicken meat products. Our hens and their organic, free-run eggs are in the clear.

Much like the fears about “hydrogen bombs” at the Canadian Tire Distribution Centre, and the concept of a “freight village” destroying the rustic atmosphere of the quaint rurban town of Bolton, the hysteria turned out to be classic fear mongering spread by ignorance.

It should be noted however, that in 2018 the bacteria that we mammals carry in our intestinal flora, E.coli, killed 5 people in the U.S. and sickened over 200. Canada only reported eight sick people in all and no deaths. Maybe we should wash our hands more after a visit to the throne room, and not drink water downstream from manure piles.

On a healthier and happier note, we now have two demonstration flocks – our four prolific Golden Girls, and our four Canadian Heritage Chanteclers. Those eight hens laid organic Omega 3 enriched free-run eggs every day and weathered both heat waves and torrential downpours. From May through to the end of August those girls produced over 720 eggs – that’s 60 dozen healthy, home grown eggs!

The only accident all summer long at the Farm was when I cut my finger moving a piece of equipment. When a non-supportive local politician saw my bandaged finger and asked what had happened, I replied “Chicken duty.” Her eyes glowed with anticipation, thinking that I had been attacked and pecked close to death by an angry flock, thus proving her theory of the dangers of backyard hens. Apologies to the “over eager for a crisis” politician, but as Wesley says in The Princess Bride, “Get used to disappointment.”

In an attempt to educate this same politician, I invited her to the Farm to meet the Golden Girls. “Are they dirty?” she asked. I sighed, “They’re chickens. They bathe in dust. WTC?!” So much education to complete, so little time. Losing patience. Do NOT re-elect!

For the education of the rest of our citizens, both demonstration coops will be open for visiting at the Albion Hills Community Farm Honey Garlic Festival on Saturday, September 29, 2018 from 12:00 to 5:00. The demonstration coops and runs, which conform precisely to Caledon’s Backyard Hen By-law, will be dedicated that day to the Krick Family, whose daughters and their Christmas chickens were the inspiration for the by-law.

Come out and meet Clovis and Bee, our Honey Garlic Festival Mascots, and the “Chicken Whisperer” who will be introducing you to the Golden Girls and the Chanteclers. It’s eggsactly the kind of thing to do on a fall weekend in Caledon – celebrating our right to grow local food and celebrate our deep and abiding connection to agriculture.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, an author, an internationally renowned speaker, and a lifelong educator currently living in Caledon, Ontario.

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You’ve Gotta Have Heart

It was time for my big heart check-up at the Peter Munk Centre with the UHN at Toronto General Hospital. Having been brought back to life from heart failure in 2016, I had no intention of blowing the incredible work done by Dr. Heather J. Ross and her team in the cardiac ward.

However, living in Caledon, with no easy public transportation route down to the Big Smoke, as I loving call Toronto haze in the summer, that proved to be the most stressful part of the day. There was catching the ride to King City, GO train to Union, subway to Queen’s Park and a short walk to TGH. Then I had an Echocardiogram, blood work and my report card from my cardio team ahead of me.

That’s when the day got so much better. The staff at TGH from the information desk to cardiac reception were friendly and informative – and this was at 8:00 am! I had arrived early and registered early. The ECHO lab took me right in and my blood pressure was high from the trip down. But that is where I met the first bright light of my day, Laura from Brampton.

She was professional, personable and human. People often complain that our health care system is broken and cold. Not here. This young professional was personally engaging, professionally competent. and fully human. An Echocardiogram is like an ultrasound on the heart – it takes time and patience. I went in stressed – I left feeling calm and like I had been looked after with the best of care. My blood pressure was a perfect 110/80.

After that I got an early entry to my cardio check-up, efficient and painless blood work done (six vials later…), and then went to wait for the report card from Dr. Ross. That’s when the second bright light of the day happened. Into the room walked Tayler, a researcher working with Dr. Ross, doing a long term study on predicting the outcomes of a patient’s prognosis. For example, if For example, if your doctor recommends that: “If you eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, keep a low sodium diet, be mindful of stress, watch out for the high heat and humidity days, and listen to Jann Arden’s Greatest Hits once a week, you’ll be fine.”

Tayler’s role is to see whether the patient’s condition a year later matches the prognosis. Of course this depends on the ability of the patient to follow the doctor’s good advice. Advice taken. Tayler will give me my report card in one year. I intend to get an A+.

We talked for several minutes about her research and how important it was. We talked about life and jobs and how lucky she was to be working with Dr, Ross.  And then this young professional, who was so insightful, looked at me and said, “My Dad would like you.” No sooner had I arrived home than I received an email from Dad acknowledging his exceptional daughter.

Now, tell me that the personal care and attention provided by our medical professionals isn’t exceptional. Perhaps the Cardiac Team at the Peter Munk Centre at Toronto General Hospital is out of the ordinary. I know that Dr. Heather Ross is exceptional. Perhaps the entire UHN is exceptional. Then that means we are in good hands. No complaints here. Our cardiac medical teams spend long days and nights, late shifts, and ongoing research to ensure that we live. Like Captain Tom Miller says in his dying breath to Private Ryan, “Earn this, earn it.” I intend to earn it.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, journalist, Caledon

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Scientific Laws of Politics

 

The first in a series of humorous insights …

 

The Law of Integrity:

The greater the volume of a politician’s complaints against an Integrity Commissioner, the less the likelihood that he or she has any integrity.

 

The Law of Self Aggrandizement:

The louder and longer a politician boasts about his or her accomplishments, the less he or she has truly accomplished anything of significance.

Corollary – the more time a politician boasts about the time he or she spent reading a report or attending a meeting, the less the likelihood that comprehension was achieved.

 

The Law of Posing:

The more a politician only turns up for the smiling photo-op without participating in the event, the greater the chance that he or she is unqualified to hold office.

 

The Law of Private Influence:

The more a politician’s voting  record shows that he or she is consistently supporting specific interests, or avoiding votes that would oppose those specific interests, the greater the reality that the politician is owned.

 

The Law of Facebook “Community” groups:

The more you eat excrement – the more you are full of it.

 

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, humourist

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