“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