The topic was up for discussion again yesterday on "Beyond the Ballot Box" on CFRU. I was doing a "Media at the Mic" segment, talking local issues with the Guelph Mercury Scott Tracey when the latest Laidlaw lob came up. In discussing the city's new, stricter idling by-laws last week, Ward 4 councillor Cam Guthrie said that he was concerned that the restrictions were "just another tool ... for residents to be tattle-tailing on their neighbours." To which his Ward 3 colleague responded "I will look forward to starting to make some phone calls."
Anywhere this information's been reported has blown up like someone having an allergic reaction. I'm not sure it's worth repeating any of what's been said, but it's probably all easy enough to find if you Google "Maggie Laidlaw." The question that came up on the air at CFRU the other day was "Does she say those kinds of things intentionally?"
Now there are a lot of people out there in the political realm who are supposed by the masses that they say things they know will be controversial because they will be controversial; Glenn Beck comes to mind, so does Anne Coulter. Sometimes the mere mention of Laidlaw's name will send people off the deep-end, swearing to God or whoever that they'll make it their personal mission in life to get the veteran councillor removed from office next election, even though the people of Ward 3 have returned her to the seat over the course of about five different elections. So why would she say things like she looks up the addresses of people who complain to her about taxes on Google Earth to see if they have a big house, multiple cars, or a boat?
The answer is, I think, to purposefully be provocative. She knows she's going to get a reaction for saying it, and although I think her opinions are sincere, she likes playing the part of the boogeyman to the city's right wing reactionaries. So the real question here is who looks the more foolish: the person that provokes, or the people that get provoked? And in this case, I think Laidlaw is the one that's laughing all the way to the blog.