Editorials

Quebec & Ontario Elections And That Odd Lawsuit

Written by  |  Wednesday, 09 April 2014 20:00  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green Among other things, the Quebec election demonstrated that a poor campaign by one party can shorten the attention span of the electorate. The massive corruption scandal that forced the retirement of Jean Charest and sent the Quebec Liberals into the penalty box of the opposition benches has been lifted after only 19 months. This happened even though a commission of inquiry has been dishing out revelation after revelation about kick- backs and other payments of all kinds to operatives connected to the Quebec Liberal Party over many years. How did this happen? The Parti Quebecois allowed the focus of the election to stray from the corruption scandals that would have secured their election, to talk about a referendum on sovereignty, and…

A Strategic Plan For An Organization In Flux

Written by  |  Thursday, 27 March 2014 15:56  |  Published in Editorials
The draft Frontenac County Strategic Plan, which is being promoted to local councils this month, focuses on three unfortunately named Wildly Important Goals (WIG). As someone who has attended too many municipal meetings in Frontenac County, “wild” is not a word that should be associated with anything to do with the County. But if you remove the wild, and call them Important Goals (IG) they are reasonable enough. The first IG is to focus on services delivery for the ageing population in the county, which is large and growing and will need more and more public services in the coming years. The second IG is to prepare for a post-landfill reality by looking towards a regional solution for dealing with waste once all the landfills…

The Quebec Secular Charter Does A Disservice To Secularists

Written by  |  Wednesday, 26 February 2014 19:00  |  Published in Editorials
One of the great things about politics in Canada over the last 30 years, in my view, is the gradual move away from a religious based laws and the ascendancy of the charter of rights and freedoms. A good example of this is the way the same-sex marriage issue has played out in this country. The only real argument against permitting same-sex couples from entering into the legal state of marriage was that a marriage is defined strictly as a union between a man and a women, and that argument comes from a religious definition of marriage. In a secular society allowing only opposite sex couples to enter into a legal marriage contract could not be sustained as a policy, and in the end it…

Lessons from a good day in Verona

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 January 2014 08:47  |  Published in Editorials
A lot of things went right last Monday in Verona. When an electrical fire started at McMullen Manor, 28 people had to evacuate the building on a bitterly cold and blustery day. They did not know where to go at first and were sitting in their cars, but since one of them was a member of the Verona Free Methodist Church, soon they all trundled over to the church. From then on, from all accounts, the community sprung into action. The fire department was on the scene in minutes and managed to keep the damage to a bare minimum, but concerns over carbon monoxide and the need to be thorough meant that residents needed to stay away all day. Once the Free Methodist Church's minister,…

Will The Conservatives Now Throw The Senate Under The Bus?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 30 October 2013 20:00  |  Published in Editorials
Although I do not share the view that the Senate expense affair will have a long-term impact on anyone but those who actually touched the money, it is still all bad for the Conservative government and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Whether you agree with the planned suspension of the three big-spending senators or consider that they are being sentenced before having the benefit of a trial, the whole mess, from start to finish, can only be attributed to the Conservative Party, and ultimately to Mr. Harper himself. He is the one who appointed the three senators. And at least in the case of Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy, they were then extensively employed by the Conservative Party for fund-raising purposes. Someone in the Conservative Party…

Bedard Appeal May Have Ripple Effect On Land Claim

Written by  |  Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:58  |  Published in Editorials
The fallout from the ruling by former Justice Chadwick for the Algonquins of Ontario to the effect that the names of 500 members of the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation are to be removed from the Algonquin electors' list is just starting to become apparent. A number of those 500 people will be seriously affected by the decision because not only does it pull them out of the land claim, it also puts their very identity in limbo. The appeal only determined that the Algonquin descent of those who traced their ancestry to Simon Jude and Simon Gene Bedard cannot be verified. It did not determine that any other ancestry can be verified. The Bedard descendants, who have lived their entire lives with the knowledge that…

Hard Times For Journalists

Written by  |  Wednesday, 29 May 2013 20:58  |  Published in Editorials
The main benefits of being a journalist are two-fold. First, journalists can dress poorly. Second, journalists get to sit in judgement of public figures. This judgement lies at the root of all reportage - editorials and news reports alike (that’s a trade secret, news reports are only editorials masked as factual accounts - just as you always suspected) Journalists, and by extension, their readers, are free to revel in the inherent weaknesses of politicians, top level bureaucrats, and others whom they report on. It makes everyone feel better knowing that the people in positions of power can be as petty and foolish as themselves. Historically the only problem with journalism was the pay, but things have gotten worse. Now that social media rules the world,…

Forty-Two Homeless People In Frontenac County?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 May 2013 20:25  |  Published in Editorials
“It would be nice, at some point, to do an in-time survey of homeless people in Frontenac County,” said John Whitesell of OrgCode consulting, which has just completed a homelessness reduction plan for Kingston and Frontenac County, “but for now we have to be satisfied with a reverse-vector analysis.” The reverse vector analysis that Orgcode has done pegged the number of homeless people in Frontenac County at 42. But where did that number come from, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Not exactly. OrgCode used a study that was completed in England in 2010 that looked at rural and urban homelessness. The study concluded that in “rural districts” there were 14 homeless people per 10,000 population, and in “urban-rural mix” districts there were 12 homeless…

Paramedic Protest Exposes Fault Lines In Amalgamation

Written by  |  Wednesday, 15 May 2013 20:00  |  Published in Editorials
After being rebuffed at Frontenac County Council, the Kingston-based OPSEU local that represents the paramedics in Kingston and Frontenac County are now trying a kind of end-run. They are trying to influence Kingston politicians concerning the delivery of land ambulance service in the city. There is something odd about this. You would think that when land ambulance was downloaded from provincial to municipal jurisdiction a little over 10 years ago a city such as Kingston would end up with the responsibility for its own service. But that did not happen. Instead, the contract was granted to the Frontenac Management Board, then a remnant of the former Frontenac County, The Frontenac Management Board, created at the time of municipal amalgamation in 1998, was responsible primarily for…

No Budget For County

Written by  |  Thursday, 25 April 2013 14:24  |  Published in Editorials
Even though a climate of acrimony and mistrust has become entrenched at Frontenac County Council in recent months, the decision that council made last week to defer their budget deliberations until May 2 is hard to understand. The budget was on the agenda last week, but before the agenda was approved, Councilor Jones from Frontenac Islands put forward a motion of censure against Warden Janet Gutowski and CAO Liz Savill for not calling a special meeting regarding the budget and for filling up the council agenda with “fluff and bubble” delegations. The County Deputy Clerk Jeanette Amini, did not see how the motion of censure fit with the rules of the Ontario Municipal Act. A motion was put to Council to remove the budget from…

Retail Therapy

Written by  |  Wednesday, 17 April 2013 20:53  |  Published in Editorials
As those who live in communities that have lost their store know only too well, it is very difficult to keep a community together once it has lost its basic retail infrastructure – its grocery store, gas stations, restaurants and the like. It's not impossible, but it is very difficult. That is why there has been a sense of foreboding in the northern parts of Frontenac County over the last few years as the survival of some of the key retail businesses has been in doubt. The circumstances are always different, but the decline of small retailers throughout North America in favour of box stores and large chains is certainly a major factor, as is the drop in rural population, and the willingness of those…

Frontenac County Council On The Brink

Written by  |  Thursday, 28 March 2013 17:11  |  Published in Editorials
Frontenac County Council had poked and prodded at their 2013 budget for a couple of months, and they had managed to get it to the point where county ratepayers would be paying no more than they did last year. The requisition to the townships was down by 0.34%. To get to this point, both Chief Administrative Officer Liz Savill and Treasurer Marian VanBruinessen had been told they could not hire extra staff to run their offices, as they had been requesting. So, in a sense it is not surprising that Warden Gutowski asked Council to pass the budget last week. The County needs to tell all of its funders, which include the City of Kingston and the Government of Ontario, as well as the four…

Editorial - It is time for a cooler head to prevail

Written by  |  Thursday, 13 December 2012 10:20  |  Published in Editorials
What can I say about the decision by Janet Gutowski to remain as warden of Frontenac County Council? On one hand she is fully within her legal rights to keep the position. While there has been a ‘gentleman’s’ agreement that the chain of office is to be passed on every year, that agreement was already dented, if not broken, a year ago. At that time North Frontenac Mayor Bud Clayton attempted to jump the queue, and he forced an election for the position of warden even though Gutowski was the deputy warden at the time and part of the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ until then had been that the deputy always gets the warden’s job. The councilors from Frontenac Islands and North Frontenac formed a voting block…

Editorial - How to Get Rid of A Mayor

Written by  |  Thursday, 06 December 2012 10:20  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green From a distance it has been a lot of fun watching the trials and tribulations of the City of Toronto and its outlandish Mayor Rob Ford. In the first instance, there was the outrage of the Toronto Star, whose editors still can't believe that the citizenry of Toronto refused to heed their unrelenting warnings by electing Ford in the first place. After that, courtesy of some of my old friends, who, judging from their Facebook posts, have become obsessed with every nuance of Mr. Ford's personality and political program, I have come to see the whole Rob Ford thing as a kind of small-town mayor issue set in a large city. The reaction to Ford is personal; it's as if everyone…

Editorial - How to Get Rid of A Mayor

Written by  |  Thursday, 06 December 2012 10:20  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green From a distance it has been a lot of fun watching the trials and tribulations of the City of Toronto and its outlandish Mayor Rob Ford. In the first instance, there was the outrage of the Toronto Star, whose editors still can't believe that the citizenry of Toronto refused to heed their unrelenting warnings by electing Ford in the first place. After that, courtesy of some of my old friends, who, judging from their Facebook posts, have become obsessed with every nuance of Mr. Ford's personality and political program, I have come to see the whole Rob Ford thing as a kind of small-town mayor issue set in a large city. The reaction to Ford is personal; it's as if everyone…
 

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