The Intimidation of Caledon

by Skid Crease

(originally written for the Caledon Citizen and Just Sayin’ Caledon)

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In May of 2018, the Globe & Mail published a two-part investigative report into corruption and intimidation between private money influence and public policy. The Globes’ investigative team looked at school and hospital contracts that led from an unregistered lobbyist straight to Queen’s Park. And then they looked at the Town of Caledon, intimidation of an elected official, vandalism of her home, and an assault on her family that linked to development interests and organized crime.

That caught my attention. How could a documented assault on the husband of an elected Mayor by an enforcer for organized crime go silent? How could a trumped up tax fraud case against a democratically elected Mayor go silent? One would think that this blatant intimidation of our democratically elected officials would be pursued to the fullest extent by local and national media. But no.

Yes, it is a fact that Vladimir Vranic, an organized crime enforcer, was charged by the OPP and found guilty of threatening Mayor Marolyn Morrison’s husband Yes, Jeffrey Granger, ex-CRA employee and ex-consultant for a local developer, was charged by the OPP and found guilty and sentenced to three years for his involvement in a scheme to help wealthy developers evade taxes and frame Caledon’s Mayor for taking kickbacks. The developer denied any connection with the two cases. The two men who assaulted and beat up John Morrison during this period of intimidation were never caught. There were two brief articles about these incidents in the local press, and then the story disappeared.

Almost the greater crime here is the total failure of local and national media to follow up on these stories. How is it possible that a democratically elected official has her home vandalized, her husband beaten up and threatened, and her reputation smeared with false tax fraud charges and there is no follow-up? Why was there no deep investigative journalistic digging into this obvious intimidation of an elected official over a land development dispute?

The development interests that existed then exist today, but now they have moved into the murky realm of an OMB hearing. The current Mayor of Caledon, Allan Thompson, who is now defending the Town against litigious development interests, has also had his home vandalized, and has also had false charges brought to bear against him. As with Mayor Morrison, he was found not guilty of any wrongdoing and his accuser was charged with the court costs.

They say that the keystone of environmental literacy is the ability to read patterns. The pattern here is very clear, and if the citizens of Caledon aren’t given sufficient and deep factual reporting on these issues, the pattern will evolve into a future where our political processes and policies are not controlled by a well-informed community, but by the elected pawns of private power.

The way I see it.

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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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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.

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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

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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.”

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The way I see it.

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Doug Ford’s Revenge

Many political pundits have asked the question, “Why is Premier Doug Ford in such a hurry to pass Bill 5 / Bill 31 to reduce the size of Toronto City Council?” Few seem honest enough to provide the simple answer: Revenge and Ambition.

Consider that Ford calculated that he was not going to beat John Tory in the next municipal election. Consider the possibility that the smear campaign against Patrick Brown was an inside job orchestrated by a far right team who calculated Ford had a better chance going into the Provincial leadership cauldron. Consider that Ford did not win the majority of votes in either the Progressive Conservative leadership debacle, nor in the provincial election. Yet, he is now PCPO Leader and Ontario’s Premier.

Further consider that one of his first acts, after denying climate change and axing Ontario’s international carbon pricing agreement along with the green initiatives rebate plan, was to suspend the elections of Municipal Chairs in two Regions. Which two? Why that would be Peel Region, thus thwarting enemy Patrick Brown’s dreams of a comeback, and York Region, where former Liberal MPP rival Steven Del Duca was poised for victory. Not only are these two Regions among the GTA’s most populous and powerful, they are now under Ford’s baleful eye.

The current scramble to cut Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 seats is a blatant move to allow Doug Ford to become Mayor of Toronto. If his cohort of lackeys led by Giorgio Mammolitti (who once compared Ford’s campaign to “religion”), Jim Karygiannis, and Stephen Holyday take the majority of the proposed 25 seats, the City of Toronto will be firmly under the management of Ford’s far right. With Boss Ford in control of Toronto, York Region and Peel Region, there is no telling what his regime could deconstruct.

The solution to this problem, if Bill 5 or 31 become law and Toronto City Council is reduced to 25 seats, is not to vote for a single Ford acolyte. That may be the only way to stop this pompous populist from waging four years of war on social justice and environmental literacy. There are other ways, but we would need a Canadian hero like Louis Riel to lead the return to sanity.

We could look south of our border for a cautionary tale if we need incentive. Both leaders are cut from the same playbook and both play to the lowest common denominator of the human condition. Ontario and Toronto deserve better.

The way I see it.

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Skid Crease, from North York to Caledon

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

 

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Caledon Candidates’ Candor

On September 17, 2018 this questionnaire is being emailed personally to every candidate running for Town Council in the 2018 Municipal Election in Caledon, Ontario. All responses, or lack thereof, will be reported in the first week of October.

 

Dear Mayoralty, Regional and Area Municipal Candidates,

This Questionnaire is being sent out to all municipal candidates running for Town Council for the Region of Peel, Town of Caledon. The responses to this Q & A will be published online in early October, after summer holidays wind down, the “return to school” rush is over, and citizens again begin to tune in to local politics. Unanswered email questionnaires will be indicated with a “Did Not Respond” beside the candidate’s name.

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1. Your Council will see new politicians taking office to fill the gaps left by retirement on the one hand and ambition on the other. In order to build a forward thinking, respectful and consensus building Council for the next four years, what would be the qualities you would look for in your 2018 – 2022 colleagues and your Mayor?

2. Since literally anyone who is breathing, of age, and a Canadian citizen living or working in the area can run for Council, what are the credible professional and life skills you would bring to this position?

3. In an era where politicians are accused of and found guilty of violating their Code of Conduct, Integrity Standards, and respectful social mores, yet do not change their behaviours, what are the positive character traits that you would bring to Council?

4. The catch phrases “I speak for the people” and “I seek honesty and transparency” and “I do this for the hard working taxpaying citizens” have become meaningless porridge spin clips from politicians. If elected, what do you truly desire for Caledon?

5. As a newly elected Council member, how do you intend to deal with litigious private interests who lobby, bully, and intimidate local politicians?

Please email your responses to <skid.crease@gmail.com> by September 31/18

Yours in media literacy,

Skid

  • Originally written for Just Sayin’ Caledon

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Note: On Monday September 24, 2018 at 8:30 p.m. there will be an all candidates’ debate  at the Inglewood Community Centre, and another all candidates’ debate at the Alton Public School on Thursday September 27 at 7:00 p.m.

For a more casual encounter with your candidates there is a Lunch and Learn on Tuesday, September 25th beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the Rotary Place Senior’s Centre – lunch is $4.00 – call 905-951-6114 to register for the event.

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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.

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