As they say, if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen, or in my case, if you can't take a little criticism, get out of politics and/or the writing of politics. There's fair criticism, there's constructive criticism, and then there's being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk. That's Gerry Barker. Barker is a former journalist who maintains his own blog called Guelph Speaks, but he's also the founder of GrassRoots Guelph, a purportedly non-partisan organization dedicated to getting out the vote no matter who you vote for. Supposedly. Apparently Gerry, unlike every other group no matter their interest in the Royal City, doesn't like the coverage he's got.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Today's events in Ottawa, which are still unfolding, is a startling reminder that shocking acts of violence can happen anywhere, even Centre Block on Parliament Hill. Even where we are, several miles away from the nation's capital, Guelphites are affected by events, glued to social media, glued to TVs, digesting any update great or small, rumor or fact. Here's some local reaction to the events.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
By popular demand, I decided to do a candidate survey for those running to represent Guelph's two school boards, the Upper Grand District School Board and the Wellington Catholic District School Board. The trustee races are kind of the redheaded stepchildren of the municipal election race, and they don't get even a fraction as much attention as the council and mayoral races. That's kind of unfair, and having talked to numerous trustee candidates in person and through social media about closing the coverage gap, I decided to take a second look. I wasn't sure if I'd have the time, but sometimes it's worth making the time, so now I present the Guelph Politico Trustee Candidate Questionnaire.
Monday, October 20, 2014
For the first time, to my knowledge, all seven of the mayoral candidates were together on one stage for the Guelph Mercury Candidate Forum Monday night. In the shadow of a now infamous partisan attack ad, it was a packed room at the Italian Canadian Club that came together to see the mayoral candidates clash for one last time before election day as Jason Blokhuis, Andrew Donovan, Karen Farbridge, Cam Guthrie, John Legere, Nicholas Ross and Joseph St. Denis all aimed to make a closing argument for their election. But with partisan politics in the back of everyone's mind, would the undecided get their chance for a clean, compelling argument?
Like many candidates, Greg Schirk's pride and dedication to the Royal City comes from spending most of his life as a Guelphite. He grew up in Guelph and then studied carpentry and broadcasting at Conestoga College. Career-wise, Schirk is a licensed glazier metal mechanic and has a successful career selling energy efficient window and door products to home owners and property managers. It's green business, and that Schirk takes pride in the fact they do it on their own without government subsidies. Obviously, Schirk is a fiscal conservative, and his run for Ward 4 is his second turn on the ballot after running for the local Ontario PCs in 2011. He says his focus will be on on improving core services and maintaining our city’s infrastructure while carefully ensuring you get the best return on your tax dollars.On his website, Schirk says he's "committed to eliminating wasteful spending at City Hall and easing the tax burden on hardworking Guelph families." And now he takes a few moments to answer the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire.*
Sunday, October 19, 2014
After all the talk of negativity, maybe what we need is levity. And since there are, apparently, a lot of people in the city interested in collecting signs, I was forced wonder if there was some artistic significance to them. So I decided to consult an expert. Scott McGovern, the programming director of Ed Video Media Arts Centre knows art, and he knows what he likes. He's also politically astute, so when I reached out to Scott (who's currently in Paris where is wife in an artist-in-residence), he was more than happy to lend his keen eye for colour and composition to the concept, and I present his insights below.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
It wasn't exactly a "whodunnit?" on par with Agatha Christie, but when the Guelph Tribune appeared on doorsteps across the Royal City Thursday, one ad in particular caught their eye, and it was unknown who might have placed such a provocative bit of negative advertising. The ad, pictured above, features a photo accredited to a Guelph Mercury photographer of Cam Guthrie in conversation with Michael Sona at a Federal Election debate at Lourdes in 2011. The photo is accompanied by the tagline, "A person is known by the company they keep." Although placement of the ad was next to one for the Farbridge campaign, there was nothing to say the two came from one and the same source. Until now. Last night, in a press release, the Farbridge campaign did confirm that they placed the controversial ad.
Friday, October 17, 2014
I mentioned this in the last episode of the Guelph Politicast, but in the wake of the incredible partisanship I've been seeing online, I thought it beared repeating. There will be a delay in the posting of the podcast interview with mayoral candidate Cam Guthrie. It will be posted in the afternoon of Friday October 24. It's no one's fault in particular, just one of those things. I was trying to secure a day and time since August, but the campaign schedule is can be very, very busy as we've learned again and again. Gladly, the podcast will be happening, and you will be able to listen to it this time next week. In the meantime, you can listen to all the previous Gulph Politicast episodes here.
It's municipal election craziness time across Ontario so you might have missed the news, but at their recent annual general meeting, the Green Party of Ontario agreed by a margin of 96 per cent to keep Mike Schreiner as their leader. Coming out of that news though is that when the next provincial election comes around again in 2018, Schreiner will run again in Guelph.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Active in politics for many years now, Bob Senechal hopes to now join city council and represent the people of Ward 5. If you know the name then you might remember the 2007 Provincial Election when Senechal ran locally for the Progress Conservatives under John Tory (who, as you may have heard, is also making a run at local politics). If you went to Parkview Church, you may also recognize Senechal as he was the lead pastor there. Now the chaplin at the Elliott Community Centre, and a small business owner, Senechal remains committed to Guelph politics, his wife of nearly four decades Gale, and his three children, and three grandchildren. "My entire working career has been focused on making a positive difference in people’s lives," says Senechal. "Listening carefully, and working together cooperatively to find solutions for a preferred future will enable city council to develop policy that will enhance and improve the quality of life for all the people of Guelph and its businesses that choose to live and work here." For now, Senechal enhances civic engagement by responding to the Guelph Politico candidate questionnaire.