About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Rules for Drivers in the New Year

New year; new rules. At least so far as what you do when you're a driver and how long you're supposed to wait before turning when someone's walking across the street. As a walker, this is a big pet peeve of mine: drivers either whiz past you with barely inches to spare, or passive aggressively turn as slow as possible as you walk on through. The only regret? This new rule won't apply to all crosswalks.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Would You Help Pay for Politico?

Normally on Boxing Day, I get on my high horse and look down on the people that line-up for Boxing Day bargains. But in the spirit of buying stuff on December 26, I want to suggest a possible investment in an endeavour that's not new, but is definitely different. After almost eight years, the time has come to expand Guelph Politico into a media entity in its own right, more than a blog, and it will require the help of you readers to do it. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Guelph Protesters Amongst Line 9 Arrests

The days of rowdy protests in Guelph seem to have come and gone. Sure, there are still demonstrations, but it seems like no one is riled up enough to get arrested for the cause anymore, or maybe there are just no causes in Guelph worth getting arrested for. Among three activists arrested yesterday for protesting the Line 9 pipeline in Sarnia were two Guelph women.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Police Advice on Hazardous Chemical Leak on Wellington 124

It was a rough day on Wellington Road 124 today with the usual traffic concerns on the main route between Guelph and Cambridge, but even more concerning was a chemical spill from Flow Chem at 6986 Highway 124. According to the CBC, first responders were able to contain the spill, but the road is still closed and will be closed until all relevant agencies clear the scene.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mike Duffy Dropped a Non-Guelph Robocall Bomb

When Mike Duffy was arrested and charged for writing off one too many receipts at the government's expense, he promised that in the midst of his trial, he was going to be dropping some bombs concerning insider knowledge of the Prime Minister's Office. The fireworks have been somewhat muted, but for those that have still been smelling something fishy in the Robocall scandal had their paranoia pay off last week when Duffy seemed to indicate that the Conservatives were behind the Robocall prototype in 2008 in the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Friday, December 18, 2015

What's Coming Up for Open Sources' Holiday Specials?

It's the holiday season, so gather your family around the radio and listen to some great specials from your favourite locally-sourced political and current affairs discussion show, Open Sources Guelph. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Guelph Makes Top 10 for Culture Days in 2015

It's a terribly kept secret that Guelph is a culturally rich little 'burb, and now we have the statistics to prove it. The Royal City was one of numerous groups across the country to have participated in Culture Day activities back in September, and it turns out that were one of the best it terms of celebrations. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

City Reveals the Secret of the Ooze on the Speed

If you walked along the Speed River recently and noticed something weird about the water, you're not alone. For the record, it was an oil spill, but fortunately it's not the type of oil spill that typically makes headlines.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Here's what Lloyd Longfield Said in his First Speech in the House

Although he didn't get one of your fancy cabinet seats, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield is still taking care of business in the House of Commons. In his first address in said House, Longfield rose to salute a Guelphite who's doing his part on the preeminent human rights issue of our time, assisting Syrian refugees.

Friday, December 11, 2015

BUDGET 2016: MacKinnon Expands on No Vote

Shortly after the razor thin vote of 7-6 in favour of the 2016 Budget, Ward 6 Councillor Mark MacKinnon sent out the above tweet. I decided to ask him to expand on his comment, and although he, like many councillors, was committed to bringing in a lower increase for the next year, that actually wasn't the crux of where he disagreed with the approved budget.

BUDGET 2016: City Puts a Happy Face on Contentious Budget Night

It took two days, a total of 11 hours, and nearly a million dollars added and taken back, but Guelph finally got a budget for 2016. As per tradition, the city's press office sent out a press release following the meeting announcing success. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

LIVE BLOG: City Hall Tries Again with 2016 Operating Budget.

Tonight, city council will try again with the 2016 Operating Budget. The capital budget was approved unanimously last night, but things started to get sticky when after hours of negotiation and debate, the final tally came in at $217,336,736 or 3.42% above 2015. Most of council balked at that number and the budget failed to pass by a motion of 5 to 8. So now what? Council will begin tonight, revising yesterday's close votes in order to sort out again what they need, and what the city can afford. What will the final impact be?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

LIVE BLOG - City Council Decides on 2016 Budget

A number of tough choices lie ahead for Guelph's city council tonight. Many on council want to keep any potential tax increase inline with the rate of inflation, others are concerned about making too many significant cuts in city services. Meanwhile, there are a lot of people in the city worried about losing transit services, or paying more for them (not to mention paying more for just about anything else). So many tough decisions, what will the 13 members of city council do? 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Coucil Goes Late to Approve a 2-Lane Bridge on Niska Road

It was in some respect an issue more contentious than the budget itself, a packed house came out Thursday to see a staff report on the fate of the one-lane Bailey Bridge on Niska Rd., hear public delegations, and listen to council's debate and decision on the matter. Sometime after midnight, despite an overwhelming number of people in attendance representing the status quo, the fate of the bridge was sealed: Niska Rd.'s route over the Speed River will now be two-way.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

BUDGET 2016: Other Points of Concern from Public Input

Many of the concerns on public feedback night in council's 2016 budget deliberations involved big ticket items: garbage pick-up, transit, taxes, but many people came out to speak to a variety of different issues. Whether it's fees, mobility, or funding for new and continuing projects there was a lot of insight into what city council should make a priority in the next year. 

BUDGET 2016: Garbage, Taxes, Services Among Other Points of Public Concern

Of the 37 delegations that came out to speak on the 2016 Budget last night, over a third of them were in some way concerned about the proposed service cuts and fare hikes to Guelph Transit, but that wasn't the only issue that got interest from multiple parties. From condo owners wanting to be able to access city waste collection services, to those concerned about a bigger tax bill next year; from fans of the library to opponents of changes to Niska Road, there was a lot of passion on display in front of the horseshoe.

Monday, November 30, 2015

BUDGET 2016: Many Concerned About Proposed Transit Cuts

Tonight, Guelph City Council received feedback from the general public regarding the proposed Operation budget for 2016, and of the 37 delegations that spoke, nearly more than a third, had transit on their minds. City staff recommended that one-way fares be raised from $3 to $4, and that service should be rolled back to one hour on Sundays and holidays, and it was the opinion of all 13 that spoke on the matter tonight that such moves were a bad idea.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fair Vote Guelph Petitioning Longfield and Chong on Reform

The government of Justin Trudeau is barely a month old, and it won't even sit in Parliament for the first time till next week, but that's not letting some people from wanting those campaign promises to be passed with immediate effect. On the subject of election reform, Fair Vote Guelph is striking while the proverbial iron is hot, and they want you to remind our local MPs of a certain election promise...

Green Party Enters the Niska Road Debate

Development and construction is always a contentious issue in Guelph, but the fate of the bridge on Niska Road and what it might be replaced with has proven to fairly controversial. Shall the bridge be updated to accommodate modern traffic patterns, or is the bridge, as it is now, what's best for the area? Into this debate, a new political voice has emerged.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Guelph Police Launching Holiday R.I.D.E. Program

Now as much a staple of the holiday season as egg nog and office Christmas parties, local law enforcement officers and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have begun the annual Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) Campaign. It should go without saying at this point that if you drink, don't drive, but just in case....

Monday, November 16, 2015

Local Activists/Politicos Pushing for Better Price for Water

Earlier this month, Ontario's interim Environmental Commissioner issued a startling report in the wake of a year full of stories of worldwide drought conditions, and concluded that the province's water resources are being taken for nothing or close to nothing by industry and businesses across Ontario. In Guelph, always at the forefront of environmental issues, key activists and politicians are taking this a cue to push further for the protection of local fresh water.

Friday, November 13, 2015

GUELPH POLITICAST #27 - Jessica Gibson, Guelph Museums

The nation marked Remembrance Day last week, but in a very real sense, Guelph has been marking Remembrance Day all year long. This December will mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of "In Flanders Field," a simple 15 line poem that captured the horror, honour, camaraderie and hopefulness of World War One. It was written by an army doctor name John McCrae, and Guelph is his hometown, thus making this centenary very important to the Royal City. So I sought out someone to talk about it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

VIDEO - Local Veterans Talk about Their Service at McCrae House

It's Remembrance Day across Canada today, but the annual ceremony of remembering those that served - the ones that came home and the ones that did not - began on Sunday at McCrae House with an event called "Thank a Veteran." Several local vets across many decades of service gathered their to tell stories, share memories, and remind us why Remembrance Day is a sacred occasion. A few of them talked to Guelph Politico in this special video.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tolhurst Trying to Crowd Source for Legal Costs

The political world locally didn't stop spinning while the election was in session, and in that time a committee heard the results of an audit into the 2014 election expenses of Ward 6 council candidate Glen Tolhurst, and the good news is that no one will be prosecuted. On the other hand, this has left Tolhurst with substantial legal bills, and he's using an increasingly popular venue to raise funds for his legal defense: crowd-funding.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Charges Laid in City Bus/Truck Crash

It was a truck accident near the railroad bridge on Wyndham St., but it was quite unlike the typical truck accident you see in that part of downtown. Now, over two weeks after the almost iconic scene of a city bus landing atop a pick-up truck at the corner of Wyndham and Farquar Streets, a charge for the accident has finally been filed. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

GUELPH POLITICAST #26 - Lloyd Longfield, MP-Elect

After nine years in the cold of the Opposition bench, Guelph has a seat in government again, and it will be filled by former Chamber of Commerce president Lloyd Longfield. The newly elected Libeal Member of Parliament for Guelph sat down with the Guelph Politicast this past week for his first, full-length post-election interview.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Warnings for Big Kids and Small Ones

Going into the Halloween weekend, the Guelph Police Service is warning kids of all ages to play it safe out there. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

GUELPH POLITICAST #25 - Greg Taylor, Ghost Walk of Guelph

The Albion Hotel, rumoured to be home to the ghost of Al Capone's Guelph girlfriend.

Just in time for Halloween, this episode of the Guelph Politicast is all about about ghosts. So who are you gonna call? Greg Taylor, the man behind the Ghost Walk of Guelph, of course.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Film from Budds Fire in 1965 Found and Posted

It was with saddness that Guelphites heard the news earlier this month that Budds would be closing its three locations in Kitchener, Guelph and Simcoe in the new year. On January 10, 1965 though, Budds came close to closing forever in Guelph 50 years in advanced when a fire broke out that Sunday afternoon and completely desimated the store at 111 Wyndham St. N. An 8mm film taken that day was recently donated to my friends at Ed Video, and it was digitzed and posted to YouTube for your historical pleasure.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Greens Say So Long, and Thanks for All the Votes

Obviously for local Greens there was some sense of disappointment with Monday's result in the Federal Election. Gord Miller was a good looking candidate in terms of resume, accomplishment and name recognition, and while he lead the Greens to a better showing than 2011 and pretty much finished even with the NDP, their hope was to send Miller to the House of Commons and sit next to Elizabeth May. But while, that wasn't meant to be, the campaign is expressing their gratitude to the Royal City.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Victory is Lloyd's as Guelph Becomes Part of Red Wave

Courtesy of @Kate_in_Guelph

Liberal candidate Lloyd Longfield not only held on to the riding of Guelph as the Grits were swept to power last night, he seemingly creamed all competition as the former Chamber of Commerce president took nearly 50 per cent of the vote in the Royal City.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Bookshelf is Celebrating the Election

If you don't want to listen to CFRU's coverage of the election returns (and I can't imagine why you wouldn't), The Bookshelf has a way you can enjoy Election Night 2015 in a very social manner.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Wanna Watch the 'Election Day' Documentary?

ELECTION DAY IN CANADA: When Voter Suppression Comes Calling (promo short) from The Script & Film Co. on Vimeo.

I've written a couple of times now about the documentary Election Day: The Rise of Voter Suppression. It's hard to talk about a movie and get people excited about it when its in development without telling people when they might actually be able to see it. Good news then! Director Peter Smoczynski has posted a 50-minute "first cut" of the film that Canadians can watch for free for the next couple of days.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Park Knight Returns - May Back Again for Guelph Townhall

She's baaaack. Single-handedly appearing in Guelph more than every other federal leader combined, Green Party leader Elizabeth May is coming to the Royal City again tonight to host a sequel to the townhall she held here last week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Guelphites Rally Against Vote Suppression Pre-Election

With a little less than a week to go before the election, Fair Vote Guelph and the Guelph chapter of Council of Canadians invited people to come down to a rally against voter suppression downtown in front of Old Quebec Street Mall. There, in front of what Michael Keefer called the "crime scene," between 40 and 50 Guelphites recalled what happened in the last election, and promised to be onguard for any shenanigans that may occur on Monday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Michael Keefer Warns to Stay Vigilante for Voter Suppression

Michael Keefer (second from left) at the Robocall townhall last January
One week from now, we will know with absolute certainty who the next government will be, whether or not it will last is another question all together. Still, the real question is whether or not the events of 2011 will repeat themselves, specifically, whether or not someone will try to disrupt the democratic process like one Pierre Poutine, who remains at large. University of Guelph Emeritus Professor Michael Keefer also has concerns, but fears it maybe too late to do anything about them.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Election Night Plans

A week from today, Canadians - or at least the ones that haven't been to the polls already - will vote for the 42nd Parliament of this Confederation. That night, Open Sources Guelph will hit the airwaves to broadcast the results from coast to coast to coast.

Friday, October 9, 2015

GUELPH POLITICAST #24 - Scott McGovern, Ed Video Media Arts Centre

Scott McGovern (R) with former Politicast guest David Knight

As you may or may not be aware, in my other life I'm involved with Ed Video Media Arts Centre and sit on the board of directors. Why should you care? Well, that's a disclaimer for this week's Guelph Politicast, in which I sit down with Scott McGovern, Programming Director of Ed Video, to talk about arts and culture in Canada, why the the topic doesn't get much discussion in an election campaign, and how the life and work of artists living in Canada is often misunderstood.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sneak Peak at 'Election Day' Film Shows Great Promise

When Peter Smoczynski came to Guelph a few months ago with his documentary film project Election Day: The Rise of Voter Suppression, it was still in bite-sized pieces meant to galvanize the next phase of production. The version shown Saturday to a crowd of special guests and Fair Vote Guelph members was a movie now with form, though still incomplete. But in there was the beginning of something that promises to be both compelling and informational if you're someone that's concerned about the direction of our democracy.

Friday, October 2, 2015

GUELPH POLITICAST #23 - Miguel Figueroa, Leader, Communist Party of Canada

Party leaders don't come to Guelph a lot, and its rarer still that you get a chance to do a sit down interview with said leader. Welcome to the Communist Party of Canada. On Thursday, Miguel Figueroa, leader of the CPC, was in Guelph to support his local candidate Tristan Dineen, and to talk candidly with young people at the University of Guelph about society's ills about how the ideals of communism might be the cure.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Heckling Pushes Candidates to Be on Point at U of G Debate

Just two days after a showdown at Cutten Fields that was telecast on Rogers, the candidates gathered again to debate, this time at Peter Clark Hall in the basement of the University of Guelph's University Centre, and for the first time with all seven Guelph candidates on the same stage. What followed was a sometimes funny, sometimes informative, and sometimes hostile debate as all the candidates struggled to sell their platforms to a cynical and engaged lunchtime university crowd.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Longfield Dares Other Guelph Candidates to Take Only Guelph Money

In a peculiar moment in last night's debate, Liberal candidate Lloyd Longfield challenged his fellow candidates to only take money from local donors in terms of fundraising. There's been a lot of money talk this campaign, but is there a serious influx of outside Guelph cash in the campaign in the Royal City?

The Official Ballot for Guelph for #elxn42

The last day to submit your nomination papers to become a candidate in the 42nd Canadian General Election was Monday. Today, Elections Canada released the final list of candidates for your consideration this election. When you go to vote on October 19 (or before), this is what your ballot will look like:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rapid Fire Chamber Debate Tests Four Major Party Candidates


It was standing room only at Cutten Fields tonight as the four major party candidates for Guelph took part in the third debate of the election campaign. Hosted by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce and broadcast live to air on Rogers Channel 20, this debate was by far the most lively, and it was the first to include the Conservative candidate Gloria Kovach.

And Then There Were Two: Police Revoke Guelph Taxi's License

With all the talk about Uber lately, the city seems to have overlooked the fact that there may be some issues with our licensed cab companies. In a surprise announcement, Guelph Police has declared that they've revoked the license for Guelph Taxi, an upstart outfit that started running cabs in Guelph in 2013. A Guelph Mercury article in August started highlighting concerns about the operation of Guelph Taxi, which has now culminated in them being effectively out of business in the Royal City.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Suzuki Endorses Gord Miller

To the degree that endorsements ever matter, I'm sure for a Green Party candidate getting David Suzuki's thumbs up is huge. The question though is: does Guelph care who Suzuki thinks should be Guelph's next MP? I can't answer that, but I can post Suzuki's endorsement video in the blog post below.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Some Sparks, Not Many, at Social Justice Debate

Without Conservative candidate Gloria Kovach, the social justice debate hosted by Guelph / Wellington Coalition for Social Justice and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario didn't have a lot of life, but in front of a packed house at the Italian Canadian Club, there were some contentious moments.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Police Release Safe Semester Stats from Homecoming Weekend

Homecoming weekend is always the pinnacle of the annual downtown Safe Semester program, the busiest of the busy first few weeks of the fall semester. The City, the Police, and the University walk into a bar have gone to great pains over the last couple of years to make this as smooth an adjustment as possible for the People. So how did they do this past weekend?

Upcoming Election Events in Guelph

As of today, there's just one month left till Election Day. With the campaign heating up, there's a lot of election related events happening in the next couple of weeks. Here is a sampling:

Friday, September 18, 2015

Guelph Police Board Hears About Uber

When Uber arrived in town this past July, whether intentional or unintentional, they debuted in a regulatory sweet spot; the Guelph Police Service, who is in charge of overseeing taxis and taxi licensing in Guelph, has no Police Board meeting in August. But it's back to work now for the board, and the main topic of conversation at the meeting Thursday was Uber, and one Royal City taxi company went on the record to say it is not a fan. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wynne Announces New Funding in Guelph for Ontario's Sexual Assault Centres

One in three women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime. A statistic like that is one of the many reasons that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne came to Guelph today to announce $1.75 million in new funding for the province's 42 sexual assault centres. The funding will be in addition to the $14.6 million that those centres already receive, and constitutes an ongoing financial commitment to the base funding that allows services like Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis (WIC) to help the survivors of sexual violence who need their assistance.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Elizabeth May Warns of Robocalls and Other Shenanigans

Elizabeth May brought the Green Party national campaign to the University of Guelph earlier today to talk about their platform for education in Canada. The conversation after the announcement though turned to the young people the Green Party and May are courting, and whether or not they might be depended upon to make it out to the polls on October 19. May's answer reference a fairly infamous chapter in Guelph political history.