Caledon Perspectives

“To permit ignorance is to empower it.”  ― Dan Brown, Origin

It is so interesting how two people, or two groups of people, can see the same person or situation from two totally different perspectives. The old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” has an equal and opposite force that reads “Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.”

Recently in Caledon Town Council, the quality of my writings was questioned because I had called out some local politicians and citizens for blogging misleading, smearing, and defamatory statements. I was accused of writing hate speech, bullying, misogyny, and not being a real journalist.

Now, I will admit that my political satires cut to the bone in exposing stupidity and corruption, but they are as far from the definition of hate speech as you can get. Not remotely close to being a bully. All of the good women in my life find me a respectful and supportive person. And my journalistic credentials are intact.

Only two days before, I had been given the “Golden Carabiner” by a local Bolton Scout Troop for demonstrating the qualities of “Integrity, Loyalty, Courage, Honesty, Fortitude, and Self-Control.” So confusing. Of course, children with no political agenda have much clearer perceptions of character. Regional Councillors trying to upgrade to the position of Mayor can get blinded by ambition.

At this same council meeting, one of the online communications for which I write was also called out for even associating with me. Keep in mind none of my truly satiric eviscerations are ever published in this Caledon online community newspaper – I reserve those for my private blog. My writings for the online newspaper are monitored by a very ethical editor who is extremely conscious of journalistic integrity and the readership’s sensibilities.

However, the usual suspects wanted the Town of Caledon to pull its advertising from this newspaper simply for associating with me as an occasional author. That sounds a lot like political correctness censorship in the extreme. Of course, this had nothing to do with the fact that the communication in question tends to publish good news articles and not ones that create a crisis.

Previously, this same very positive online community newspaper had its status questioned by these usual suspects because it has a catchy title that was deemed not worthy of a quality news publication. OK, let’s give it a classy title like “Caledon Perspectives.” That sure sounds like a real newspaper, right.

Oops. No. It turned out that particular title (previously Vaughan Perspectives, then GTA Perspectives) was created by Benedetto Marotta’s Solmar Development Corporation and the “editor” was on the marketing staff of that same corporation. The intent of that “community newspaper” was to create a crisis in the Town of Caledon over a local development issue to sway public opinion in favour of the development corporation. I guess you really can’t judge the quality of a publication by its name.

By the way, Caledon Perspectives Corp, ON -2153785, inactive for years, has recently amalgamated and changed its name to … wait for it … Solmar (Niagara) Inc. and Benny’s Two Sister Vineyard is located in … wait for it … Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Vineyard, incidentally, gets a 4 Star rating and their Restaurant 76, although rated noisy and on the pricey side, is known for great Italian dishes.

Now a real newspaper, the Globe and Mail, published an investigative report at the end of this week that actually documented this corporation’s development influence from Caledon to Queen’s Park. The alleged corruption and influence peddling in the Globe’s investigation was so clear that on Friday the leader of the NDP formally asked for the Ontario Integrity Commissioner to probe the allegations.

Those allegations implicate Spiros Papathanasakis (an unregistered lobbyist for the corporation), Maurizio Rogato of Solmar Corporation (and formerly on the board of the Caledon Chamber of Commerce), ex-Liberal Minister and MPP Glen Murray, and Liberal Premiers McGuinty and Wynne.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath was quoted as saying, “When you have a minister of the Crown being alleged to have engaged in this sort of activity and alleged to be intimidating a mayor of a municipality for the purpose of greasing the wheels for a property development, and then you have a premier who is accused of not acting on those allegations, those are some pretty serious problems.

Gee, you think? But when this issue of intimidating local politicians was raised recently at Town of Caledon Council, the same perspectives accusing me of hate speech tried to sweep it under the carpet and dismiss it as a non-issue. Well, it’s a big issue now, extending all the way to the credibility of Glen Murray’s new “dream job” as head of the Pembina Institute.

These allegations have the potential to extend into the influence applied to national and local media outlets and reporters, and to support for local politicians, organizations and citizens in favour of this same property development. Once the tangled web we weave begins to unravel, the house of cards falls down.

In my Caledon perspectives, those embarrassed by having their bad behaviour called out, might want to reflect on some old sayings that apply when this kind of “poor me” hypocrisy takes place. It’s a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black, or “If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.”

Until then, I’m going to continue to dish it right back, only with more literary flair. No hard feelings, John.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, journalist, Caledon

Enough Already! Plastics Pollution in Caledon

We have heard about plastic bag bans, and plastic straw bans, and micro-bead plastic bans. Now, in this year of provincial and municipal elections, I am proposing a ban a plastic sleeve advertising signs.

We expect them from our political candidates to encourage us to get off our duffs and vote. But in an election spring you would think that small businesses would back off just a little with their insidious median plastic sleeve sign advertising.

In my neighbourhood in Bolton, overpowering the provincial election, were signs for Dog Grooming, Spiritual Healing, Chimney Cleaning, Roofing, Basement Renovations, Home Retrofits, Landscaping, Lawn Care, and Phat Boy Fireworks.  They were everywhere!

They were on medians, beside stop signs, on traffic light poles, at mailboxes, at gas stations, in front of restaurants, and in front of the beautiful Caledon Parks very classy new signs. Which totally defeats the purpose of having a Caledon Parks very classy new sign. Enough already! Stop with all the cheap plastic sleeve signs.

My proposal is that during the four year election cycle, no other signs get median posted. Better still, I propose a total boycott of any small business that dares to sign pollute a neighbourhood. Likewise, I propose a boycott on any garage sale that sticks their signs on STOP signs and traffic light standards. In Mississauga, residents can get permission from the City to remove “nuisance signs” from medians and traffic light poles. Election signs and private property signs are, of course, exempt.

Enough of this sign pollution in Caledon. Councillors, pick up the sword of justice in your hands and smite down this intrusive plastic pollution. Small businesses, take out an irritating front page fold-over ad in one of our local weekly newspapers and support print press. Until we get a nuisance signs by-law, the Forgiveness Principle is in effect.

And in the meantime, and as Clint Eastwood so eloquently growled in Gran Torino, “Get off of my lawn!”

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

  • image from carricario-coche.blogspot.com

Caledon and Kathleen’s Concession

It was a stunning admission. Reading the writing on the wall, Kathleen Wynne announced today that she would not be Premier following the results of Thursday’s election. In my eyes, an honourable, honest, intelligent and articulate woman became the sacrificial Liberal lamb to decades of old boy backroom deals. The Globe and Mail investigative reports published at the end of last week sealed her fate, especially for Caledon.

In Caledon, a popular and competent PC candidate is up for re-election. The only problem is that any vote for any PC candidate anywhere in Ontario is a vote for Doug Ford. And that is a tragedy in the making. The idea that we could put into office an incompetent pompous populist with no fully funded policy platform is inconceivable. Yet, in this world of black mirrors, fully possible.

In Caledon, the Liberal vote has nowhere to go but to Laura Campbell of the Green Party. It would give us a fresh, intelligent and passionate voice for Dufferin Caledon, it would take a seat away from Doug Ford, and it would show that Caledon has evolved.

No more of the “Well my great-great grandfather voted conservative, and my grandfather voted conservative, and my father and mother voted conservative, and my children voted … what? They voted Green?”

Yes, they voted Green because they wanted affordable housing, lower energy prices, positive climate change proposals, a healthy environment for their future, affordable health care, and a consensus building intelligent voice at Queen’s Park.

The dinosaurs went extinct because they couldn’t adapt to sudden change. Time to evolve Caledon.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

Caledon Goes GREEN for Laura Campbell

If you haven’t met her already, you should. I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Provincial MP candidate Laura Campbell earlier this week, and it was a breath of fresh air in a world of political swamp gas.

Intelligent, informed, passionate and articulate would only begin to describe Laura Campbell. She is a long time resident of Dufferin Caledon, and business owner of Pia’s Restaurant on Broadway, incidentally known online as the best in Orangeville.

She is also a mother of two, working on a PhD in International Economics and taking the time to get to know Bolton and Caledon. Her knowledge of the Green Party policy platform was impressive. Lower energy bills through partnering with Hydro Quebec. True hydro (water) power has always been one of the cheapest and cleanest sources of energy – and it’s renewable. With her economics background Laura was easily able to explain the fiscally responsible Green agenda for providing daycare, health services, and affordable housing while still whittling away at the provincial debt.

The entire Green Party policy platform, unlike the OPC lack of a fully funded platform, is online for all Ontarians to see. She was particularly proud of  their provincial housing plan. Having interviewed many residents here, I know there is a huge demand for affordable and accessible housing for youth, new families, seniors and special needs citizens. Laura was able to clearly articulate the Green’s strategy – refreshing in an age of political spin and pompous promises.

Her passion for environmental literacy is what won me over completely. She is an avid supporter of protecting and conserving our green spaces and farmlands and in keeping our children in close contact with the wild space still abounding in Caledon. The fact that she knew about and endorsed the “Forest Schools” programs for primary children was proof enough for me that her heart was pure green.

Now, for anyone who read the Globe & Mail yesterday, the investigative journalism report by Greg McArthur, Karen Howlett and Adrian Morrow, exposed the cancerous connections in Caledon between a developer and the Wynne government. That report on pages A10 and A11 has the potential to completely collapse the Liberal vote locally.

And we all know that a vote for any OPC candidate is a vote for Doug Ford as Premier which doesn’t fit Caledon’s ethos at all. With the Greens already in second place in Caledon, a swing of environmentally conscious and fiscally responsible voters could push the Greens over the top.

My choice for a voice for Caledon is Laura Campbell. A woman with integrity who believes that if you want to make the change, you have to be the change, And we need a change in provincial representation for Caledon.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

 

Caledon and Queen’s Park Corruption

On Thursday, May 31, 2018 the Globe & Mail pulled out the rug from the Liberal campaign in Caledon. What many had suspected for a long time was revealed in detail by the investigative reporting team of Greg McArthur, Karen Howlett and Adrian Morrow.

It revealed a string of connections between then Liberal Toronto-Centre MPP Glen Murray, Maurizio Rogato of Solmar Corporation, a Liberal insider named Spiros Papathanasakis, and a cast of characters straight out of a Netflix crime thriller. It detailed the attack against then Mayor Morrison’s husband by Vladamir Vranic, who later plead guilty to the assault charges.

According to the report, Dalton McGuinty, then the liberal Premier of the province, turned down Mayor Morrison’s request to investigate, the OPP quietly began one of their own. Their probe was to uncover “alleged organized crime within the Town of Caledon.” Mr. Vranic did not deny his connection to underworld parties, and had “known links to the Commisso crime family.”

McGuinty did nothing, and later when Morrison approached Kathleen Wynne about dealing with Mr. Murray’s conduct the new Premier said, “I’ll be dealing with him.” Instead she also did nothing. Mr. Murrray left provincial politics last July for his “dream job” as head of Pembina Institute. Pembina should take a long hard look at Mr. Murray’s record.

Now fast forward to the Town of Caledon being imbedded in an OMB hearing with the Region of Peel over the same little piece of land that started this dispute ten years ago. Consider that the Town of Caledon had approved one area for development, the planners for the Region Of Peel had approved a compromise area for development and a consensus settlement seemed close. Enter Bonnie Crombie, once a federal Liberal, now Mayor of Mississauga, and Susan Jeffrey, who served as a cabinet minister under both McGuinty and Wynne, now Mayor of Brampton.

At the Region of Peel where the fate of these development projects would be decided, the Region of Peel, which includes the City of Mississauga and City of Brampton and the town of Caledon, voted to develop a land package that had been last on both Caledon’s and the Region of Peel planner’s lists. One lone Regional Councillor from Caledon blindsided her colleagues by voting with Brampton and Mississauga against the Town of Caledon, By sheer coincidence that parcel of land was owned by … wait for it … Solmar Corporation.

Now I am not a developer or a politician or a government lobbyist. I am a teacher, storyteller journalist, and environmental educator. One of the skills we possess is the ability to look for the pattern that connects. And the pattern that connects here is one of private influence and provincial government corruption interfering with a municipality’s right to govern itself on a level playing field.

I can hear the alleged perpetrators in this crime singing the same song that Shaggy sang in “It Wasn’t Me.” And the Teflon coating provided by wealth and privilege lets the “I can’t recall that meeting.” Or “I can’t recall paying that accountant to cook up false tax charges against Mayor Morrison” or “I can’t recall ordering that beating of the Mayor’s husband.” Or “I can’t recall saying that,” slide off without challenge. It wasn’t me.

Well, I can’t recall asking for the decisions in my Town to be influenced by organized crime. I can’t recall asking my Town politicians to be intimidated by development interests. I can’t recall asking my local press to be compromised by the dark side of the Force.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon