Seriously, that is the handle on a non-existent email address from an ANONYMOUS reply to my last entry on Truth and the Press. We actually had a productive conversation going until I my “peeps” alerted me to who it was, and the ANONYMOUS replier bailed into cyber space.

As one literate friend cautioned me, “If they’re anonymous with a fake e-mail don’t even respond.” And yet, the initial back and forth was a good discussion. We do believe in a diversity of opinions as long as they are well informed opinions. “Well informed” means that the facts do not come from Fox News or Breitbart or Chicken Little, but from an authentic source,. I still go with the 3P’s – practicing, published, and peer reviewed .

It was when I asked the anonymous replier for whom she or he was speaking, that it all broke down. “The people,” was the reply.

Now that set off all of my “El -Toro Pooh Pooh” detectors. There is no phrase so odious as “I speak for the people” other than “I do this for the good hard working taxpayers of Canada”, or “Trust me, I’m an Olympic gymnastics doctor,”

Someone who hides behind a fake email address and anonymous identity is a TROLL – and a bad one at that. Ugly and hiding under a bridge. The way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon

Truth and the Press, a series

On Friday, January 5, 2018, a staff member at Metroland Media’s Caledon Enterprise began to badger me by email with a series of intrusive questions involving a private matter before the Integrity Commissioner (IC) for the Town of Caledon. Not wishing to break the public trust and confidentiality regarding investigations by the IC, I did not answer the questions.

Several more emails followed pressuring me to respond by his editor’s deadline prior to the public release of the IC Report. I informed the “reporter” that I would be happy to consider his requests when the Report of the Integrity Commissioner was released publicly in Council. However, by now I was beginning to feel like I was being pursued by the paparazzi and less cordial about sitting down to a Q & A.

What came to mind immediately was a quote from the inimitable character Howard Prince in the closing lines of the 1976 movie, The Front. Howard had been placed in front of a McCarthy era team of aggressive lawyers to answer questions about his liberal left leanings and writings. Finally having had enough of their badgering, Howard ended the interrogation with the memorable words:

Fellas. . .I don’t recognize the right of this committee to ask me these kinds of questions. And furthermore, you can all go f-ck yourselves.

However, to answer more completely, The Report of the Integrity Commissioner regarding the complaint in question has now been addressed fully in Council. It was the decision of the Town of Caledon’s IC not to pursue this complaint against Regional Councillor Annette Groves. He also decided not to pursue this most recent complaint against the conduct of Regional Councillor Barb Shaughnessy, who has previously had to apologize in Peel Region for racial slurs delivered at an Ontario Heritage Board meeting, and been charged with violating the Code of Conduct at her own Caledon Town Council.

The complainants in this current case were the Mayor of Caledon, and an unnamed member of the public. The report of the Integrity Commissioner found that there was not enough evidence to prove that private in-camera negotiations had been inappropriately discussed at a public meeting. He also determined that misinformation about taxpayer funded transportation discussed at that same meeting had been later clarified. The IC concluded his investigation. And that should have been the end of the story.

But humble pie is not a dish found on many politicians’ plates. Following the Trump mantra of lie, scream and attack until you win, the games began. Either one or both of the Regional Councillors released the name of the “member of the public” from their private Integrity Commissioner Report to the same reporter who had been hounding me.

Now, in the preservation of public confidence, the Integrity Commissioner chose to release the names of the elected officials involved in the complaint. He also chose to keep the name of the member of the public confidential and had it redacted from all of the official documents. The reason for this is simple. By keeping the name confidential, a member of the public can bring forward a complaint against a politician without fear of reprisal.

Members of the general public do not have the stage of the Council chamber from which to address complaints. As witnessed in the histrionic claims of innocence that followed the release of the Report, some politicians take full advantage of that platform by which to perform for their base and the next election.

Therefore, by publishing the suspected name of the “member of the public” in a local newspaper, the reporter in question violated a public trust. If I were the redacted member of the public, it would make no difference to me. I am quite confident in the truth as I see it in my investigative journalism. And my blog entries have made it quite clear about how I feel about grandstanding elected officials who deliberately mislead their constituents. But some quieter, less confident member of the public might now think twice before bringing forward a complaint against an aggressive, abusive, and bullying politician. Not to mention an aggressive, bullying, and abusive member of the paparazzi.

Lastly, to clarify for the relentlessly annoying “reporter”, I will now answer his questions as if I were the member of the public whose name had been redacted for privacy reasons as determined by the wisdom of the Town of Caledon’s Integrity Commissioner.

For my full answer to the Metroland Media Caledon Enterprise staff, see the opening quote by Howard Prince.

Skid Crease, Caledon

Let’s Talk Day

Yesterday was the notable “Let’s Talk Day”, unfortunately sponsored by Ma Bell. However, the intent is wonderful – a chance to bring mental health issues into the open and allow individuals, families and communities to deal respectfully with the realities of differences in sanity. The deep necessity of a day like this was emphasized when Doug Ford announced his decision to tun for the leadership of the already disabled Ontario Regressive Conservative Party. We really need to talk.

However, on a more serious note, I would like to talk about an acquaintance who is afflicted with aggressive narcissistic personality disorder. This person probably has some wonderful character traits, but they are deeply buried beneath a defensive and aggressive exterior. I have attempted both personal and official channels to get his person help, but to no avail.

Even when faced with the absolute reality of gravity, this person will deny its existence if it doesn’t fit the populist worldview of the moment. My acquaintance has also shown a great disregard for reality beyond basic science. For example, although holding no college or university certifications in any profession, this person continuously claims almost superhuman skills in everything from Architecture to Environmental Science. So sad.

Perhaps it is this basic lack of any real competence that makes this person such an aggressive bully. Perhaps it is living with an equally ignorant partner who reinforces the bad behaviour. Perhaps an abusive childhood raised by inflexible,ultra-religious domineering parents (I know, I know – there’s a movie script just waiting…) I have no idea what the root causes of this negative social behaviour might be, but his person desperately needs help.

Let’s talk.


Skid Crease, Caledon

Caledon’s Integrity and Conduct

originally written for: Just Sayin’ Caledon, 7:00 p.m.


There is a very good reason why we have an Integrity Commissioner in Caledon. It is mandated by the Province of Ontario. No choice, no discussion, no debate – we now have our own Integrity Commissioner. And it is no easy job being tasked with the wisdom of Solomon, especially when political aspirations get in the way of reasonable judgements. “Here, you take the sword and cut the baby in half,” are not words sweet to the ears of politicians in the #metoo age.

The Province mandated Integrity Commissioner roles and Codes of Conduct for Municipal Council because of so much bad behaviour, usually from developer interests interfering with fair play, but often just from inappropriate human bickering. Thus a Code of Conduct was mandated for all Municipal Councils – this is NOT a discussion item.

What is a valid discussion item is the detail behind each Municipal Code of Conduct. As is included in tonight’s Town of Caledon agenda, are there ambiguities that need to be addressed? What would make it easier for an Integrity Commissioner to do her or his job?

For example, if a local politician told the CAO of a Town to “F__k Off” would that be a violation of a “workplace free from harassment and degrading language” policy? And what would be the consequences – mouth washed out with Sunlight soap?

Some may argue that the cost of an Integrity Commissioner and the cases she or he has to hear are a burden to the taxpayer. Well, welcome to the world of Donald Trump. A megalomaniac dictator is cheap. An ignorant aggressive narcissistic personality is a lot costlier in the long run. Besides, the Integrity Commissioner’s salary is already worked out in the local budget. If there are no complaints to address, that salary still gets paid, So if local politicians mind their Ps and Qs, there is no additional charge to the taxpayer.

It would be interesting for the residents of Caledon to find out how many complaints have been filed with the Integrity Commissioner and by which complainants against which respondents, and how many have resulted in cases being carried forward by the Integrity Commissioner. And how those found guilty of violations of the Code, as ambiguous as it may be at this point in time, have improved their behaviour or not.

Refer, for example, to the York Region Board of Education’s policy on Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment (apologies for the spacing – it is an educational document):

. “All staff, students, trustees and community members of the York Region District School Board are responsible for:

●  creating and maintaining an inclusive learning and working environment that is free from harassment and discrimination and respectful of human rights;

●  being aware of their rights and responsibilities under the Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment policy and related procedure;

●  discussing and/or reporting alleged or suspected harassment, discrimination and human rights situations and concerns with a superintendent, principal, manager or supervisor, where appropriate;

●  understanding and adhering to the human rights complaint process as outlined in the Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment procedure;

●  where appropriate, discussing concerns with the other party/parties prior to filing a formal complaint in an effort to address and resolve concerns at the earliest possible stage;

●  participating in a Ministry of Labour Visit and/or Investigation related to workplace harassment, as required;

●  being aware of and sensitive to issues of discrimination and harassment and taking proactive steps to ensure the human rights of all individuals are respected and maintained;

●  demonstrating professional and respectful behaviour;

●  cultivating and maintaining inclusive learning and working Environment and services; and

●  conducting themselves in an appropriate and respectful manner that meets all applicable codes of
ethics, codes of conduct and standards of practice of the Board.”

Yes, if we expect this for our children and teachers, It might not be a bad ethic to pass on to our politicians. Imagine – professional and respectful behaviour.

It would be interesting for the residents of Caledon to find out how many complaints have been filed with the Integrity Commissioner over he past four year term and by which complainants against which respondents, and how many have resulted in cases being carried forward by the Integrity Commissioner. And how those found guilty of violations of the Code, as ambiguous as it may be at this point in time, have improved their behaviour or not.
.In other words, everything we need to know, we learned in kindergarten. Play respectfully and responsibly Councillors, or take a time out from the Municipal playground. Yes, democracy and justice are expensive, as any dictator will tell you. We are fortunate to have an Integrity Commissioner of the quality of John Fleming – we just need to live up to the Code, and tighten it up.
. The way I see it.
. ***
. Skid Crease, Caledon

Beyond the Belly Button

Well, it appears that the “pepek swiat” story touched quite a few hearts and minds. I have been inundated with emails full of other expressions passed down by grandmothers and grandfathers for generations. Some of these are on the same theme of how to describe self-absorbed arrogant people who think they are the “belly button of the world” and others are just life lessons.

Related to the “pepek” theme, if you’ve ever heard someone say, “Well doesn’t she just think she’s the cat’s ass,” or in Britain, “Now, don’t he just think he’s the dog’s bollocks,” you get the idea. I heard both of these from my French-English-Scottish-Irish grandparents and knew immediately what they meant. What I didn’t know was their origins.

Both the cat’s ass and the dog’s bollocks get cleaned frequently by their respective owners, thereby being body parts that require a lot of attention. So, someone who demands a lot of attention gets the appropriate label. Apparently the phrase “in the moonlight” is added at the end, perhaps to make the well-licked body part seem more ethereally beautiful.

Similarly, if you say someone thinks she “is the cat’s pajamas”, that is also about someone who thinks highly of herself. However, the reference seems to be about the “cool cat” jazz players of the 20’s and the flappers fashion craze of high style silk PJ’s. This one fits right in there with “the cat’s whiskers” and “the bee’s knees” for people who think they are pretty special.

Continuing on the cat’s theme, we have my Grandad’s favourite, “All cats are grey in the dark.” This one, although attributed to Benjamin Franklin’s advice for young men to date older, wiser women, apparently originated in France. There it appeared as “by night all cats are grey” in a line from Cervantes novel Don Quixote, indicating that, when the candles are out, the thin veneer of class and perceived quality disappear.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have “colder than a witch’s tit” – an expression used equally to describe both this winter’s Arctic Weather Bombs and someone who is emotionally cold and devoid of human warmth. In the same vein are phrases like “uglier than a dead monkey in the moonlight.” Now, while the moonlight may have made the cat’s ass more attractive, it definitely makes the dead monkey downright creepy. This is a phrase that could be used today to describe Harvey Weinstein’s root chakra.

And then there are expressions that will be needed to describe the speed of the spin coming from the Ontario PC Party to move away from news about the shocking loss of their leader, Patrick Brown. The former leader was abandoned by his Party faster than rats leave a sinking ship, with the further ignominy of having his name quickly removed from his office door. To add insult to injury there is a rumour that the “at” in Patrick was erased first, leaving “P- – rick Brown” on the door for a cruel photo op.

There is also the whirling dervish spin surrounding the PC’s new Interim Leader Vic Fedeli, who became unusually humble after the Party declared they wanted a real leadership race – one month before the Ontario Provincial Election. Really?! And then there is the spin wrapping around Lisa MacLeod, Dimitri Soudas, and Eric Lindros regarding who knew what when about the sexual assault allegations that tossed out Patrick Brown with the bathwater.

Not to mention the sexual assault allegations that just caused PC Party President Rick Dykstra to step down, or the recent computer hacking of the PCOP voter data base. What the Party does not need right now is for some loudmouthed big white male, alleged former drug dealer, addict enabler, and “sports fan” of the Lingerie Football League to run for the leadership of the Ontario Regressive Conservatives. That would be hard to spin as any kind of good news story.

The expressions that cover all of this came from one of my Dad’s old fishing buddies. How fast will the PCPO try to shut down these stories? “Faster than a whippoorwill’s butt with shutters,” or the even more colourful “faster than a goose shitting in the moonlight.” Now, I have no idea about the origin of these phrases, having seen neither a whippoorwill’s butt nor a goose defecating in the moonlight, but I just know it means something really fast and nasty is happening, and not even the moonlight can make it pretty to watch.

Whatever happens next, you know there will be an expression in someone’s family heritage that will cover the situation. After all, if we can’t trust politicians who speak with a forked tongue, at least we can trust Grandma and Grandpa to be as honest as the day is long.

After this crazy week, those long days of the Summer Solstice can’t come any time too soon!