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

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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Caledon Deserves Better

On March 22, 2018. In their Letter and Commentary section, the Caledon Enterprise published a letter by Derek Clark titled “Caledon deserves better”. Mr. Clark forgot to mention that he declared himself to be a candidate for the position of Regional Councillor Wards 3 and 4. A significant oversight since his letter was a direct assault on the sitting Council member in the Wards.

In his letter, Mr. Clark proceeded to take strips off current Regional Councillor Jennifer Innis for being a good councillor. Ms. Innis had spoken out on a radio talk show where she is a regular guest. She had commented on a case where the previous Caledon Mayor and her family had been threatened and bullied by development interests who were not happy with the Town’s planning.

Well, yes, Mr. Clark, the bullying and threats and assaults actually happened and were reported to the OPP. And yes, Mr. Clark, one of the accomplices served a three-year jail sentence for his role in the abuse. And yes Mr. Clark, the current Mayor had a rock thrown through his front window during another disagreement over the Town’s planning. This was also reported to the OPP. Time to be afraid.

This bullying and threatening is physical and psychological and intimidating, whether it is having someone beat up your husband or slur you on social media. Imagine Mr. Clark, if someone in Palgrave attacked you on social media with the #heknew just because you had hosted a reception at your home for Patrick Brown, allegations against whom have not yet been proven. And this kind of intimidation is already happening in Caledon months before the municipal election.

So, I couldn’t agree more with Ward 3/4 Candidate Derek Clark when he concludes that “Caledon deserves better.” Certainly much better than the pre-election self-interested slant contained in his letter. Before attacking Ms. Innis, Mr. Clark was an enthusiastic volunteer on Ms. Innis’ campaign team in the last municipal election. It was only when Ms. Innis decided not to run federally and vacate her Ward for a very eager Mr. Clark, that the collegial atmosphere dissipated. The mantra that Mr. Clark espouses in his letter seems to come straight out of the playbook of the two politicians in Caledon who continually oppose the Town.

Before going to print, I asked Mr. Clark and Ms. Innis the same questions by email. Only Ms. Innis had responded by Press time. These are her answers:

  1. Was Mr. Clark a member of your volunteer election committee?
  2. Did Mr. Clark encourage you to run for a federal nomination?
  3. Are you, like Mr. Clark, a member of the Conservative Party of Canada?

“Yes, Mr. Clark was an avid and dedicated volunteer and friend. He was a supporter until his decision to run for Council in the fall of 2017.

Yes, Mr. Clark encouraged me to seek the federal nomination for the Conservative party for the 2019 general election so that he may either run for Regional Councillor or Area Councillor in Wards 3&4.  After much consideration, I clearly conveyed both to Mr. Clark and the current Area Councilor, Mr. DeBoer my intention and wish to continue to serve as a Regional Councillor. While I was humbled by the encouragement and support received by many, I have committed fully to the good people of Caledon and will be seeking re-election as the Regional Councillor for Wards 3&4.

Yes, While partisan politics has no place at the municipal level, I am a proud Conservative Member.  And further, I am also proud of my employment history and the opportunity to have learned from some our finest Conservatives, like Hon. Ernie Eves, late Hon. Jim Flaherty, late Hon. Chris Stockwell and MP David Tilson.  In my role as a Regional Councillor, I work collaboratively with members from all political parties as it serves in the best interest of Caledon and Peel.”

Clearly and honestly answered, Regional Councillor Jennifer Innis. There is nothing more satisfying in political reporting than getting a straight “Yes” or “No” answer to your question, along with factual truth in the details. No spin or fake news here.

As to Mr. Clark’s letter, there is nothing more despicable than seeing the desire for power corrupt the vocation to serve.  Sorry, Mr. Clark, Ms. Innis is absolutely correct. If your letter is any indication, the good politicians of Caledon have every reason to be afraid. And the citizens of Caledon have every reason to vote very carefully in the upcoming election. I am very afraid, Mr. Clark, that you have already lost all credibility.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon Journalist

image from Twitter

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Canada’s Greenwash

 On March 15, 2018 the government of Canada declared that it was going to dedicate $500 million to projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gases. Brilliant. The year is 2018. It is thirty years since the alarm was sounded in Toronto by the World Meteorological Society. In this case, better late than never doesn’t quite cut it.

 

But, if there is any good day to celebrate Canada’s Greenwashing, it surely is on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure most of our politicians are kissing the blarney stone right now.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the government’s Low Carbon Economy Challenge will hand out the $500 million over the next four years to fund projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while also saving energy and creating green jobs.

I have a couple of suggestions. First, put the $500 million into a Precautionary Principles Fund for mitigating the coming flood, drought, fire, ice storm, Arctic thaw, and coastal erosion insurance claims. Secondly, if you really want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, suspend all developments in the tar sands, thirdly close all coal fired electricity plants,  fourthly stop extracting oil and fracking gas, and finally convert fossil fuel company dinosaurs into twenty-first century renewable energy corporations.

It is making me gag to hear our government offer $500 million to explore solutions that were proposed thirty years ago. It’s like gun violence – the solution is easy. Control the guns! You want to significantly reduce greenhouse gases? Then shut down the industries that produce excessive greenhouse gases and don’t approve projects like Trans Mountain Pipeline that encourage more fossil fuel use! You want to stop violence against women? Expose and #MeToo the heck out of stupid, abusive men!

This is the KISS principle, consensual of course, for environmental literacy.

Your community wants clean water? Don’t dump toxic chemicals or sewage into the watershed. I’m sure Grassy Narrows would have appreciated that private corporation requirement with stringent government oversight and enforcement instead of a lazy blind eye.. Don’t reward people with a $500 million taxpayer bailout when they are so environmentally illiterate that they don’t  realize it’s not a good idea to defecate in the community well. “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” “Well then, stop doing that!”

Canada stands tall on the world stage, represented by wonderful and well-meaning people, lauded in the myth of our green environmental standing by dint of our tiny global population. But per capita, we are major players in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

This is not my opinion alone. Try this from a November 2017 news report by Bob Weber of the Canadian Press for CBC:

“To an international diplomat, the irony is painful — the country that promised action on climate change is falling behind while the country that has spurned a major treaty on the issue is making progress.

That’s Canada and the United States, Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, said Wednesday.

“It’s a bit of a paradox, here,” Gurria told The Canadian Press. “In Canada, you have a situation where you have a very strong political will to reduce, but effectively it has not gone on the planned road.

“In the United States, you have a government that has pulled out of the (Paris) agreement, but in the United States you are having a reduction in emissions.”

Gurria has high praise for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government’s strong vocal support for climate change. Gurria said Trudeau made a real contribution to reaching the Paris deal in 2015 in which 169 countries promised to reduce their emissions enough to keep global warming under two degrees Celsius.

But when the signatories get together next year to take a look at each other’s progress, Canada may not be so much in evidence.

“You have here a very proactive and decisive leadership moving in the direction of reduction of emissions, and a very active participant in the Paris agreement and a very active participant in the whole of the world’s move,” said Gurria, who was in Toronto to speak at the Munk School at the University of Toronto.

“While at the same time, the local situation is showing that speed of reduction is not as fast as one would have wanted.”

Yes, Bob. Yes, Canada. Yes, Catherine. Not what we wanted by March 2018. And not worth $500 million to start now. The train has already left the station. Either shut down the big emitters or stop proselytizing. Our children are the first recognize a greenwash and. like the students in Parkland, they want action, not a greenwash stuck in the spin cycle.

The way I see it.

***

 Skid Crease, Caledon

 *image from climatenadcapitalism.com

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