Caledon Poetry

Political Limericks .. all in fun-filled jest:

There once was a “leader” named Doug

Who tried to give babies a hug.

But when he went to kiss ’em

With loud wails they did diss him

Their onesies said, “Beware of Doug!”

 

***

There once was a journalist Skid

Public figures he just loved to kid

They could sure dish the crap out

But Facebooked a holy pout

Whenever they got it back from Skid.

 

***

There once was a coven of witches

Who made everyone shake in their britches

But when held up to the light

They were hardly a fright

Just a bunch of frustrated biatches.

 

***

 

With sincere apologies to Edward Lear.  

 

But to everyone else, as Nellli McLung famously said:

“Never retract, never explain, never apologize.

Get the thing done and let them howl.”

 

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Contaminating the Environment

In early March of this year, there were reports of hazardous waste being dumped along the roadsides of Caledon. Police reports from March 5th and 12th indicate that the materials came from a synthetic drug lab. Not only is the air, water, and soil being contaminated, but also the personal and social environment associated with drug production, trafficking, and addiction.

This kind of hazardous waste is easy to spot – usually dark garbage bags or large buckets dumped on the shoulders of side roads away from prying eyes. It makes detection of the perpetrators difficult in a rurban area with homes well back from the road and infrequent traffic to witness the crime.

In my twenty years of community clean-ups in Caledon, I have found more than my share of garbage bags dumped unceremoniously in the ditches. Usually these bags would be filled with construction waste or sod or the excavations from frustrated homeowners digging out the clay from their backyards. Yes, hard to believe, but not all developers lay down the appropriate clean fill and the required 10 cm of topsoil before they lay down the sod.

This kind of waste disposal  is illegal dumping, and the fine for that in Ontario is $500 to $5000; the cost for illegally dumping hazardous waste is much higher. A recent case in Leamington, ON saw North Shore Express Ltd. Fined $150,000 and its owner Daniel Andrew Tiessen sentence to 30 days in jail and two years’ probation from holding a position of responsibility in any corporation. And that was for non-hazardous sludge.

In 2013, Walmart was fined $82 million for illegally dumping pesticides, bleach and fertilizers into American municipal waste streams. Walmart was not alone in this wrongdoing – Target, COSTCO Wholesale and Walgreens also shared fines in the millions to tens of million dollars. The bigger you are, the harder you fall.

That applies as well to the other type of type of environmental contamination going on in Ontario right now. With Provincial and Municipal elections coming up in the next few months, you can expect the toxic sludge to be flowing fast and furious as candidates trade barbs with incumbents while they campaign for a place at the public trough. Here in Caledon, it has already started.

While we are fortunate to have a majority of our Town Council possessing integrity, civility and respect for both each other and the majority of residents in Caledon, there are always the usual suspects. And as new candidates and coalitions jockey for their voices to be heard, the nasty underbelly of political campaigning gets exposed. During my brief stint as a federal political candidate I was cautioned that “Politics is a blood sport.” After watching the leader of my Party at the time get betrayed by competing power brokers, I withdrew rather than play that game.

However, some are playing the blood sport very well in Caledon. In my mailbox this week I received a plain brown 8×10 envelope with a stamp (but no postmark) with a printed sticker to my name and  address No return address, and inside was an equally anonymous single sheet of dark red paper, an interesting choice since it is very difficult to photocopy clearly.

This single sheet attempted to cast aspersions on a sitting Area Councillor by including an accusation that his donations to a certain federal political party, and a candidate’s leadership campaign last year for that same party indicated that he was “Trump-esque” in his philosophy. It referred to concerned residents in Bolton which is not even a major player in this Councillor’s Ward. Further it included a copy of Elections Canada funding records showing the details of those donations. Something that is easy to obtain if you sit on or have access to the executive branch of a political party.

As of the time of publication, both the Conservative Party of Canada and Elections Canada had responded positively to my emails, and both groups were actively working on identifying where the information originated. Since the stamps for the mailings had to be purchased, and it turns out it is connected to a municipal candidate, it would be considered an expense for a municipal campaign. Financed municipal campaigning is prohibited before May 1, 2018.

There is also the case of a sitting Regional Councillor for that same Ward who was recently the target of a vicious social media smear campaign impugning her integrity for her association with a controversial political leader. These attempted smears are egregious for two simple reasons. First there are no Party alignments in municipal politics – councillors are elected as independent citizens. Secondly, a person’s personal choice of political philosophy and associates is their democratic right. It is a person’s actions in public that speak louder than words. Both of these sitting incumbents are intelligent, social justice focused, economic conservatives and as far from anything “Trump-esque” as I can imagine.

It is hard to know where toxic waste like this originates. One could presume it is coming from competing candidates, or maybe a disgruntled citizen, or a litigious developer’s lobby group. So far there is only one declared candidate for that Ward, but there are other factions in the Town of Caledon who would love to see their voices come to power.

Well, if they play the game with toxic waste and hazardous materials, they should be outed, publicly shamed, and fined in the order of other “illegal dumping” penalties, including a lifetime ban on running for public office or campaign lobbying anywhere, ever again. This is one time I agree wholeheartedly with the “Not In My Backyard” philosophy.

Any person or their team who hides behind anonymous slurs and misinformation campaigns should be run out of town. This same kind of dirty politics cost my Ward one of the best, most genuine, hard working and honest councillors ever elected. We cannot afford to let it happen again. Caledon citizens be alert! Whether they are dumping hazardous waste into our ditches or our mailboxes or our social media sites, it’s all toxic. And we all need to remember that the price of good governance is eternal vigilance.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

* images from oaklandnet.com and stockfresh.com

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Justin and the “K” Conundrum

have a friend who I admire very much as a teacher and a dramatist. He decided he wanted to try politics. He worked hard and was very successful. So successful that he became the leader of his political party!

He was also very photogenic and charismatic and so were his wife and family. They liked to dress up. Everyone wanted to have their picture taken with him and he loved having his picture taken with everyone. People began to wonder if he liked having his picture taken and playing dress-up more than leading his country.

The trouble really began with the K’s. The 3 K’s to be specific. No, no – not the KKK – that group is the polar opposite of his world view! I am referring to Khan, Kinder, and Khalistan.

The first misstep was a family holiday with his friend the Aga Khan. Now, if he had been a private citizen, no problem. But when a country’s elected leader takes a private holiday courtesy of a major contributor to his political party, that has to be approved by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner prior to departure. Oops.

The second misstep was the approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline using an approval process set up by the previous government. That process was unscientific, approved by an energy board made of partisan appointees, and lacking in full community involvement. Justin promised to change all that. He didn’t. That was complicated by his smack down of young woman challenging his position. He  shouted at her angrily and had her ejected from the public meeting. For all the country to see on the CBC. Really.

The third misstep was a costume trip to India in which Khalistan terrorism overshadowed the photo ops. Especially when one of his Sikh MP’s on the trip invited a convicted terrorist criminal to the party, involving two events. The  Khalistan separation issues got linked to several other Sikh members of his Party, resurrecting 329 ghosts from the 1985 Air India bombing. To complicate matters, Justin and his team tried to spin the story by having a senior civil servant place the blame on an Indian government conspiracy instead of squarely on the back of his own MP. Bad enough to try to squirm out of taking full responsibility for an international screw-up without also insulting the Indian government in the process.

Time to get the good ship Justin back on course.

Just like there is no “I” in “team” here is no “K” in “sunny days.”

***

Skid Crease

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Home Decorating Made Easy

There can be many confusing choices to make when renovating or decorating your home. You can choose the do-it-yourself approach, which in the case of my talented artistic wife, works quite well. Or you can hire a professional to assist you or even direct the project.  But be careful. Since the Renaissance, the line has blurred between amateurs and professionals in this field.

At the top of the scale for major work, is the Interior Architect. Now, to call yourself an Interior Architect, you have to have a degree in Architecture – no ifs ands or buts. It is a highly regulated profession where structural design, electrical  and lighting systems, and plumbing infrastructure are involved.

The next on the list would be the Interior Decorator and Designer, a skilled professional certified and degreed to improve the aesthetics in your home, but NOT an Architect.

At the bottom of the list, but not to deny their innate skill in finger painting, are the HTDs, as the trained, certified professionals call them. No not a sexually transmitted disease, but rather the dreaded Housewives Turned Decorators. No formal studies or training, but a couple of well-placed jobs decorating friends’ homes and you have a business. Now, the real “Lace Curtain” decorators, designers and architects can spot a “Shanty” HTD a mile away, but the average customer may get fooled.

So if you have a major project on the go, check for the certificates and accreditation and do a thorough background check. A flashy website can make even a Pig in a Poke look good.

 

By the way, the three top recommended Interior Decorators and Designers in Caledon are Chabot Interiors, Sontacchi Design, and Dream Home Designs

 

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Shame on Caledon

Once upon a time there was a little village north of Toronto. It was once known as the “Greenest Town in Ontario” but that was before Highway 50 became one of the busiest truck and traffic corridors in Ontario. The once little green town now bears the shame of bing one of the most congested.

The problem is both local and provincial. Waiting for the Province an Metrolinx to get appropriate public transit into this are has been glacial in progress. So, I have a local solution. Now that the Emil Kolb Parkway skirts the Town, we can put up signs on Highway 50 to direct through traffic to go around the Town – so easy! However, when faced with a wide open double lane road, why detour? Here’s why.

Change highway 50 back to a little two lane Town Road, let’s call it Queen Street, between Coleraine to the south and the Emil Kolb roundabout in the north. Strictly enforce a 50 km/h MAXIMUM speed limitPut in traffic calming planters, bike and walking lans from Tim Horton’s to the south and The Caledon Centre for Wellness and Recreation to the north. That’s tight – only local Bolton traffic on that quiet little road through Town.

As for the BIA – permit short term parking in front of the shops – on both sides of Queen Street during business hours. Insist that the facades of every store look as historically classy as the former dentist’s office at 34 Queen Street South. If you make it attractive and easy to access, they will come. What we don’t need piling thorugh our Town are all the commuters heading north at high speed.

Perhaps, just maybe, the shame will go away and we can justly reclaim our title as “the greenest Town in Ontario.”

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease,

Caledon

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