Editorials

They can slice it however they want to, but we still have to pay for the whole pie

Written by  |  Wednesday, 13 February 2019 16:14  |  Published in Editorials
When Frontenac County Council completed their budget meetings last week, the Councillors seemed to be happy about the result. They wanted to keep the tax increase to the cost of living index, which was 3.1%, and county staff presented them with that number. The only problem is that 3.1% is not the tax increase for 2019, it is something else entirely. It is the figure for what county staff call the “total levy impact” of a budget which will result in a 5.2% increase in the amount of money that, collectively, Frontenac County ratepayers will pay this year to finance Frontenac County. Last year we paid $9.75 million, and this year we will pay $10.25 million (all rounded figures), a 5.2% increase. That’s a pretty…

Pender recommends a King Solomon solution to competing transportation requests

Written by  |  Wednesday, 06 February 2019 11:55  |  Published in Editorials
Frontenac Transportation Services (FTS), which is operated by Rural Frontenac Community Services (RFCS), has been funded by Frontenac County under the heading of “grants to others” since FTS was established in May of 2011. County support for rural transportation goes further back however, to 2003 or even earlier. The agencies that are now known as Southern Frontenac Community Services (SFCS) and Rural Frontenac Community Services (RFCS) received support from Frontenac County to help transport their far-flung clientele to their service centres in Sharbot Lake and Sydenham. A few years later, RFCS set up a transportation service, called Rural Routes, to consolidate its existing transportation operations for children, families, and seniors under one service. Rural Routes also offered transportation to the general public and to clientele…

Open for business bylaws pulled from Bill 66

Written by  |  Wednesday, 30 January 2019 14:36  |  Published in Editorials
Among the broad implications of Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, which was released in December and will be debated in the legislature, were changes to the Municipal Act which would have allowed municipalities to pass “Open for Business” bylaws. These bylaws, according to Schedule 10 of Bill 66, would have allowed municipalities to suspend the normal planning rules in cases where a planning proposal is tied to job creation. Claire Dodds, the Director of Development Services in South Frontenac Township, said that it was unclear, based on the preliminary wording of Schedule 10, how it would impact rural municipalities. In the end, it turned out to be an academic question. Rural municipalities facing pressure from urban sprawl within the ‘Green Belt’ around Toronto,…
Four and a half years ago, the Robertsville ambulance base opened its doors. That was a few months before the 2014 municipal election when the current Mayor and County Warden, Ron Higgins, was elected. Three other members of North Frontenac Council, Deputy Mayor Fred Perry, and Councillors Wayne Good and John Inglis, were there when the decision to build the new station was taken by Frontenac County Council. Although it opened in 2014, the debate about the location and hours of operation at the base, lasted for several years. For over 10 years, the ambulance was parked outside, at the township garage hallway between Snow Road and Ompah. In the winter it was left running during the entire 12-hour shift in order to ensure that…

Seeds have feelings too

Written by  |  Wednesday, 23 January 2019 11:17  |  Published in Editorials
What is it that gets people so excited about seeds. Is it gardening. Some people like to garden. It's peaceful, meditative, back to the earth. If it were gardening alone, then it wouldn't really matter which seeds we had, as long as they grow good food. There is something more. Seeds are alive. That's neat. A little baby inside a shell, with enough food for it to eat until it is planted. I love that. But most people don't know that. I think it is emotion. That the seeds we grow and love elicit emotion, they become very personal to us. There are seeds that come with stories. The trail of tears bean. It was 1838. The government decided to take the land where the…

A Deeply-Rooted Canada-China Tension in the Eyes of a Chinese Immigrant

Written by  |  Wednesday, 16 January 2019 12:30  |  Published in Editorials
What comes up when you hear China these days? Dictatorship, authoritarianism, human rights violations, censorship? On a CBC radio episode of the Current in December, host Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed 3 people during a half-hour segment on the recent escalating tension following the Huawei CFO's arrest. The first guest was Chinese exile Poet Sun Xuwei. She asserted, “China is bullying Canada because China is a dictatorship, a state terrorist, and not a normal country.” Conservative Party MP Erin O'Toole was next. He said China is running a “state retaliatory detention” against Canada in arresting a young Canadian teacher. He suggested that a travel advisory to China should be called. The third person interviewed was former ambassador to China David Mulroney, a conservative. He said China…

Have we all been had by Canada Post?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 19 December 2018 12:47  |  Published in Editorials
In October and November, in response to the rotating strikes by members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Canada Post continually updated the public about the impact of the strikes on the service. They suspended delivery time guarantees, announced that there were 500 tractor trailers full of mail sitting waiting, and eventually told foreign postal service not to send mail through to Canada. Large Internet retailers, and in particular eBay, warned that Christmas wasn’t going to come this year if the government did not act soon. In late November, in order to protect thousands of small and medium sized companies, across Canada, who depend on Christmas sales to survive, the Federal government reluctantly rushed through back to work legislation just as Black Friday…

Remember when ... pot became legal

Written by  |  Thursday, 01 November 2018 11:30  |  Published in Editorials
It has now been two weeks since marijuana became legal in Canada, and it is also about 10 days, for most Canadians, since the novelty will have worn off. The tv cameras are all gone from the new legal dispensaries, as are the line ups, but apparently not the product shortages. It will take quite a while for the market to settle down and for the positive and negative implications of a relatively free market in cannabis to be established in Canada. Most of us grew up with cannabis. For those of us who are under 70, marijuana has been a part of our lives since we were teenagers. That could mean anything from smelling it at a party once or twice to smoking on…

The misguided fear surrounding Proportional Representation

Written by  |  Thursday, 01 November 2018 11:29  |  Published in Editorials
A recent opinion piece, titled “What history can teach us about proportional representation,” published on September 9 in The Toronto Star, concludes that Proportional Representation (PR) was to blame for the 15 European democracies that fell into dictatorship in history. The basis of this argument was “governments often lacked effectiveness, allowing authoritarians to argue that democracy did not deliver what the country needed. A rapid succession of elections and collapsed coalitions set the stage for a “strong-man” promising stability.” The article ends, “Before tinkering with our electoral system, Canadians should weigh carefully the risks involved, and remember what happened in Europe.” The article was intended to sway the general public away from supporting PR, especially those in B.C. and Quebec, where a referendum on PR…

What is this municipal election all about – part 1 (South Frontenac)

Written by  |  Wednesday, 10 October 2018 13:54  |  Published in Editorials
I spent the better part of the last week talking to candidates for mayor and council in South Frontenac. The profiles that resulted from those conversations start on page 6 of this edition. I woud first like to thank all of the people I talked to. They were honest and forthright about where they think the township is going and the role that the township should be playing. A couple of divisions emerged and depending on how the election pans out the township could be headed in a different direction. One of the divisions is over spending. All of the candidates are committed to controlling spending on existing operations, while maintaining services, paving roads, and so onw. But a number thought that the township needs…

'Cannabis free' is not a viable option for townships

Written by  |  Wednesday, 03 October 2018 11:18  |  Published in Editorials
The Ontario government has given a bit more time for the incoming municipal councils to think about whether they will permit cannabis retailers to set up shop within their jurisdiction. At first, they were faced with a decision in December, at their first or second meeting, but that has been pushed back to January. Still, it has given candidates for council a different kind of question to answer than they are normally used to during the municipal election campaign. It is simple on the surface; do you think your township should allow cannabis to be sold within its borders? But since it is a yes or no question, it tends to pack an extra punch. When asked at all candidates meetings, it tends to elicit…

Tay Valley debacle colours election

Written by  |  Monday, 24 September 2018 15:34  |  Published in Editorials
Disagreements and personality conflicts among members of municipal councils tend to remain in the background, coming out more often through innuendo and off the cuff remarks, delivered under people’s breaths or away from public view at all. The same is true for disagreements or personality conflicts between members of municipal council and township staff, and in that case there are a set of rules, laid out in the Municipal Act of Ontario, that limit what municipal councillors can say to and about township staff members. The so-called “chain of command” says that all comments or questions council members have about how township operations are carried out should be addressed only to the Chief Administrative Officer. In practice, things tend to be a little different, especially…

Is Sydenham on the wane as the centre of the South Frontenac universe?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 19 September 2018 09:53  |  Published in Editorials
There was a 100% increase in the number of stoplights in Frontenac County when the new light was switched on at Road 38 and the Wilton Road in Harrowsmith a couple of weeks ago. Both of the stoplights are located in South Frontenac. There is one on Perth Road in Inverary, along with the Harrowsmith one. The inauguration of the new light was front page news last week in our paper, so it must be a big deal. The last new stop light to be put up in our readership area was in Northbrook on Hwy. 41, in Lennox and Addington County, about ten years ago and it was front page news for us as well. It’s becoming a bit of an epidemic. But consider…

The Limestone School Board trustee election just got a lot more interesting

Written by  |  Thursday, 13 September 2018 09:27  |  Published in Editorials
(The following has been edited since being published in the print version of the Frontenac News on September 13, to include statements from PaulaMurray, the chair of the Board of Trustess with the Limestone Board) Eleven candidates for Limestone School Board Trustee, including one in South Frontenac, have signed on the #TRUSTee hashtag campaign, joining a call for more open communication and an end to what advocates call a muzzling of trustees when they assume their roles with the Limestone District School Board. Tom Mahoney, a sitting trustee from one of the Kingston districts, has become the lightening rod around which the movement for more open-ness has attained a focus. Mahoney is a one term trustee who is not seeking re-election. Indeed, he might actually…

One frivolous concern about the Ford government, and a more ominous one.

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 August 2018 12:31  |  Published in Editorials
The last time beer cost a dollar in Ontario, the price of beer was higher than it is today. Doug Ford’s “buck-a-beer” promise from the election campaign last spring had nothing to do with the beer market, fairness, or anything like that, but it had everything to do with promoting nostalgia for a simpler time. A time that, it turns out, never existed. The last time beer sold for a dollar a bottle in Ontario for what used to be called domestic brands, was in 1992. With slow but steady inflation over the last 26 years, a 1992 dollar had the buying power of $1.60 in 2018 currency. A similar brand of beer today costs about $1.38, a 32-cent saving for the 2018 consumer. The…
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