Editorials

Can you compare taxes between Frontenac municipalities? Maybe.

Written by  |  Wednesday, 17 January 2018 11:13  |  Published in Editorials
I have often wondered why the tax rates in the Frontenac townships vary so much, and why it is that residents living in my own township, Central Frontenac, pay a much higher tax rate than anyone else. It should be easy to compare tax rates in neighbouring townships in the same county, because they all have the same mix of responsibilities. Frontenac County has no roads department, the local townships pay for all road maintenance costs (except for Hwy 7) themselves. In Lanark and Lennox and Addington Counties for example, there have county roads, making county taxes higher and municipal taxes lower than in Frontenac. But when we look at the tax rates in Frontenac, it is rather alarming, certainly for a resident of Central…

Election Year

Written by  |  Wednesday, 10 January 2018 12:36  |  Published in Editorials
The last time we all went to the polls was for the Federal election way back in the fall of 2015, when the 10 year old Steven Harper led Conservative government was tossed out in favour of the Liberals under Justin Trudeau. This year the 14.5 year run of the Ontario Liberals, during which time Dalton McGuinty was elected 3 times and current Premier Kathleen Wynne one time, will be on the line on June 7th. Riding redistribution, which came into effect federally in that 2015 election, will be mirrored at Queen’s Park after this coming election. Lanark Frontenac Lennox and Addington Conservative MPP Randy Hillier will be contesting the new Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding against Amanda Pulker-Mok of the Liberals, Anita Payne of the Green Party,…

2017, a year to be remembered — for me at least

Written by  |  Wednesday, 20 December 2017 14:40  |  Published in Editorials
It’s generally a good sign when you manage to last an entire year with any organization. This is particularly true in the news business. Last year at this time, I was just preparing to give notice at The Frontenac Gazette. It wasn’t any specific incident, just that things weren’t the same. Somehow, Jeff Green got wind of it and the next thing you know, we’re talking about who’s going to cover what. So far, so good. I wasn’t really into the ‘retirement’ idea anyway. After all, I can’t afford a winter residence down south. I have thought about writing more books. But none of my novels went anywhere and I can’t really see anybody paying good money to read about my thoughts on why Stratocasters…

Mixed emotions over the demise of an old foe

Written by  |  Wednesday, 29 November 2017 12:10  |  Published in Editorials
On Monday afternoon, I heard that the Frontenac Gazette/Kingston Heritage had shut down. Soon after, I found out that the entire newspaper landscape in Ontario has been dealt a blow. The two major players in the market had agreed to cease competing with each other in a bid to make both companies profitable, or at least to cut some losses. I have mixed feelings about losing the Gazette. On one positive side we have been battling it out with the Gazette for ads and stories for as long as I have been working at the News, both as an employee and an owner, so it’s kind of nice not to have to worry about what they are getting up to. And in business terms we…

Fun with numbers again

Written by  |  Wednesday, 15 November 2017 10:07  |  Published in Editorials
Readers who get their news from sources other than this one and who have a keen eye for numbers, may notice that we are reporting an increase of 4.5% in the Frontenac County budget, while official releases from the County itself and reports in other papers will peg the increase at 3.9%. Are we looking at the same documents? Yes, we are. The numbers we use in the Frontenac News are provided to us by the Frontenac County treasury department and they are the same numbers members of Council see and anyone from the public can see as well by going to the frontenaccounty.ca website and navigating to the council agenda directory. The difference is one of interpretation. It is our policy to base our…

Remembrance Day

Written by  |  Wednesday, 08 November 2017 17:19  |  Published in Editorials
For years I attended, and covered, Remembrance Day events. I always feel the emotions, the weight of loss, but never thought much about the political implications of the ceremonies. To me, we paid homage to the old soldiers who fought on our behalf in the wars of the distant past, the two World Wars in particular.But as time has gone on and the veterans from those wars are harder and harder to find, the ceremonies have taken on a different meaning for me. I know some people who argue that Remembrance Day is too much of a celebration of war and does not offer enough of a critique against the decision to go to war, but while I understand that line of reasoning, I think…

Council makes generous donation, with our money

Written by  |  Wednesday, 01 November 2017 16:17  |  Published in Editorials
Frontenac County Council has approved, in principle, a plan to donate $55,061 each year for the next ten years to the University Hospitals Foundation of Kingston, the fundraising arm of the Kingston General, Hotel Dieu, and Providence Care hospitals.This decision came about after two presentations by board members of the University Hospitals Foundation earlier this year. This was the final year of a previous 10 year $54,000 annual commitment by Frontenac County to the hospitals.To continue what was, in 2007 as it is now, a mistaken way to spend municipal tax dollars, is a bad decision that will essentially tie the hands of the councils that are elected in 2018 and 2022. Unlike every other decision made by Council as part of the budget deliberations,…

On the Scott Reid exercise in direct democracy

Written by  |  Thursday, 26 October 2017 13:02  |  Published in Editorials
Most readers of this paper received MP Scott Reid’s Constituency Referendum in the mail last week.* Mr. Reid, long an advocate for legalising cannabis, is placing his vote on Bill-C45 - the Cannabis Act, in the hands of the registered voters living in the riding of Lanark – Frontenac – Kingston. This marks Reid’s 9th such exercise in the almost 18 years that he has been an MP, and he has voted according to the dictates of the majority of the responses each time. A cynical view of these referenda is to see them as political cover. Rather than voting on a divisive issue on which he would alienate potential voters on each side of a particular debate, Reid gets political cover by following the…

It is time to leave the monarchy behind

Written by  |  Wednesday, 04 October 2017 19:47  |  Published in Editorials
I happened to be driving while the ceremonial investiture of Julie Payette as Governor General of Canada was taking place late on Monday morning. The CBC Radio 1 commentators were talking in breathless tones about the spectacle, making it all sound like the Grey Cup or Rose Bowl Parade. The ceremony featured music chosen by Payette herself, an address by the Prime Minister, wherein he, or a clever speechwriter, managed to work in that Ms. Payette is, and I paraphrase, one of the few people who have demonstrated that for them at least, ‘the sky is not the limit.’Payette herself spoke not only in French and English, but in Algonquin as well, and made a point of saying that one of the goals she has…

Minimum wage and income tax

Written by  |  Wednesday, 27 September 2017 18:09  |  Published in Editorials
Like many very small business owners I was wary when I read about increases opf the minimum wage to $14 in January and $15 a year later. It is a big jump from where it is now, big enough that it will affect the entire labour market over the next year or two. It will impact the entire wage structure for a lot of us, and is something I have talked about to other business owners about a fair bit in quiet conversations over the summer. When $15 an hour becomes the minimum wage, what do you pay the employee who you are already paying $15 an hour. The quick rise of the minimum wage, from $11.40 on December 31, 2017, to $15 on January…

Controversy free planning for development on lakes? – never

Written by  |  Wednesday, 20 September 2017 17:53  |  Published in Editorials
A lot of people who live in rural areas value their privacy. For those living on lakes, privacy is hard to come by. That view of the water brings a view of other people with it. There are next door neighbours, across the bay neighbours, and boaters and fishers buzzing along the lake whenever they want to.The attitude of lakefront property owners, and this is played out in planning applications throughout Frontenac County all the time, is basically “last one in bar the door”. This is not irrational, it is not wrongheaded of people. It is in fact clear-headed. The moment someone buys a piece of waterfront property, whatever they see and hear when they walk out their door on the first sunny morning, is…

Sir John A MacDonald: Hero or Villian?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 06 September 2017 14:09  |  Published in Editorials
When the Central Frontenac planning committee were putting their agenda for the year together they came up with the idea of a John A. Macdonald Ball in October, to celebrate the local heritage of the countries’ first prime minister. Macdonald invested in both Perth Road and the K&P railway, and a mural in Sharbot Lake marks the day his funeral train transferred to the K&P on its way from Ottawa to his home town of Kingston. It seemed anything but controversial when plans began taking shape a year ago. Suddenly late this summer Sir John A. has indeed become a controversial figure, at least as far as the Elementary School Teachers Association of Ontario is concerned. At their annual meeting they called for his name…

It's time to start loving the K&P Trail

Written by  |  Wednesday, 30 August 2017 16:05  |  Published in Editorials
It’s been a long haul for the development of the K&P Trail in Frontenac County, and as was pointed out at the Grand Opening of the Trail in Sharbot Lake last Saturday, the trail is not quite complete even yet. In fact, even though a Trans-Canada Trail official told CBC radio last Thursday that the remaining 1,500 kilometres in the nationwide trail will be complete by the end of 2017, a couple of short trouble spots may prevent the final 8 kilometre stretch of the K&P link between Sharbot Lake and the Cataraqui Trail junction in Harrowsmith from being up and running by then. It’s almost fitting that this difficult project, which has consumed much more time and capacity from the small Frontenac County Economic…

NF Mayor is taking a risk by acting as promoter

Written by  |  Wednesday, 09 August 2017 14:19  |  Published in Editorials
North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins is a retired consultant who ran for the position of Mayor when a vacuum was created in North Frontenac politics after the sudden death of former Mayor Bud Clayton. None of the people who were on council at the time, and no former members of council, stepped forward to run for mayor. Higgins had already put in his nomination for council, and he decided to run for Mayor instead. He defeated the only other candidate, Claudio Valentini, who had also never served on council. Higgins is also relatively new to the township, having retired to Malcolm Lake, but he had been active in lake association politics for a few years before running for council, and was the founder and President…

Sharbot Lake slated as a stop on the Shining Waters line

Written by  |  Wednesday, 26 July 2017 16:16  |  Published in Editorials
Last year then Frontenac County Warden Frances Smith met with representatives from Via Rail who were working on developing a business case for the Shining Waters Railway line, a fast rail that if built, will bring passenger rail from Toronto to Peterborough, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. They met with Smith because Sharbot Lake was one of the proposed locations for a station along the line. Smith did not publicize the meeting at the time, thinking the whole thing was a bit speculative and there would be plenty of time to talk about it if it turned out the be a serious possibility. But when the story came out in the community that contractors working for VIA were walking along the abandoned rail line turned…
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