About the Blog:

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Real or Meme?

When looking at the MPs that all voted 'yea' to last night's vote on Motion 312, I came across this. 

The 91

Last night in the House of Commons, a miracle happened: sensibility and intelligence won. 
The vote on Motion 312 occurred on the floor of the House yesterday evening and was defeated by a count of 203 to 91. That's a pretty wide margin, but for a vote that could have had permanent and regressive implications for abortion rights in this country, the margin is maybe too close for a lot of progressives in this country. To them, in Canada, where abortion rights have been largely secured for nearly a quarter of a century since the Morgentaler decision, this move is as striking and daring as the decision of politicians in Virginia demanding evasive medical procedures by law for women seeking abortion. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

When is a Joke Not a Joke

I recently posted a city press release announcing that the Mayor would be hosting her own Guelph Community Wellbeing Initiative townhall, albeit a phone-in townhall, with a randomly drawn selection of Guelphites.
It's quite the difference from the ones city councillors were hosting at public locations throughout the city, and I jested that maybe the Mayor's staff had security concerns if they've read some of the same stuff I have on the 59 Carden St. blog. Not the actual content written by Scott Tracey and others, but the comments posted by the general public. One such poster, the prolific and engaging Craig Chamberlain, offered this comment about my remarks on the Mayor's safety:
Hoping your comment about security considerations for the phone in, based on 59 Carden St. posts was tongue-in-cheek. Citizens should be able to critical of how things are being run without being vilified, as has been the case, with concerned citizens made out to be scary people. These are citizens, Adam, and they are saying they deserve better.
Well, for the record it was tongue-in-cheek, or at least I thought so. Everything that Craig said there is right: citizens should be critical, citizens do deserve better, and citizens should be able to engage with their elected officials in person. This was always at the heart of my critique of Marty Burke, an elected politician (or one running for election) should be able to be reached by anyone they are (or will be) representing, including people they politically disagree with.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The West Wing Reunites for an Important (and Funny) Message

I don't know anyone that loves politics - left, right, up, down, whatever - that doesn't love The West Wing. It seems that the website Funny or Die feels the same. And in this time of tremendous partisanship is seems fitting that we get another dose of the administration of Jed Bartlett.
The video, part reunion special and part educational video, features such West Wing regulars as Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Bradley Whitford, Martin Sheen, Mary McCormack, Richard Schiff, Melissa Fitzgerald, Joshua Malina, and Lily Tomlin. It also does a pretty good job of copying Aaron Sorkin's signature dialogue patter and includes a little in-joke involved real life judge Bridget Mary McCormac, sister of actress Mary. 
 But enough with the preamble. For the first time since the series was cancelled in 2006, let's tune in now to an all new episode of The West Wing:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Mitt Hits the Fan

It was roughly this time in 2008 that the event called "The Great Recession" began rolling. Lehman Brothers, a huge financial services firm, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on September 15th, 2008, thus beginning a domino effect of big banks and financial firms shuttering their doors, filing for Chapter 11 or announcing that suddenly their huge profits were really huge deficits.
As the world fell (or seemed to), then Republican Presidential candidate John McCain boldly said that he would suspend his campaign in order to return to Washington to work directly on the crisis. However, while he was in Washington, attending meetings on the crisis on all levels, instead of looking like a leader, he looked like he was barely paying attention. By contrast his opponent, then Democratic candidate Barack Obama, said that a president must be able to balance several priorities at once, and in those same meetings, looked attentive, active, asking follow-up questions and making notes; in other words, he looked like a working president. September 2008 is more or less seen as the point in the last election where McCain had officially lost his bid to become President of the United States.
Welcome to September 2012, a point where many, even Republicans, are saying that Mitt Romney lost his presidential bid.
Compounding on a series of gaffs already jamming the political pipeline is this week's release of a tape from a Romney fundraiser in Boca Raton. In it, Romney basically dismisses nearly half the electorate as moochers, beggars and parasites, people so hopelessly attached to the government teat that they'll vote for Obama out of sheer reflex. They can never be convinced to look to alternatives, because they're too busy being a leech to society, riding high on the government hog and not knowing the important American value of pulling yourself up by your boot straps. He also said, to somewhat less fanfare, that he'd be having an easier time if his father had been born an actual Mexican rather than just being born there.
I'd say that Mitt Romney shouldn't give up his day job, but running for president is his day job.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mayor Gets in on Community Well Being Townhalls - With a Twist

I guess these townhalls in regard to the Community Wellbeing Initiative were just too good to pass up, as Mayor Karen Farbridge is putting aside some time to talk to members of the community. There is a difference though. Don't scan the below press release looking for a location. This townhall will be a phone-in.
It seems like a somewhat less than intimate way for the people to be able to interact with the Mayor, but maybe they couldn't find the right size space on such short notice. Or maybe the Mayor's staff read the comments on the 59 Carden St. blog and feel that their might be some kind of security risk. 
I've participated in a conference call-style press conference before, and I have to say that even though it was very well run, there's just something about it that's so impersonal. Combined with the fact that those participating will be randomly selected as opposed to gathering people genuinely invested in discussing the topic at hand, I have to say I'm somewhat dubious about this process.
Regardless, it's nice that the Mayor is reaching out, and I'm sure some of our fellow Guelphites have some words for her. Get all the details in the press release below:
GUELPH, ON, September 19, 2012 – On Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m., 10,000 randomly selected residents will get a phone call from Mayor Karen Farbridge inviting them to participate in a one-hour discussion about the quality of life in Guelph.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To Fordsie, With Love

Not even half way through his mandate and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has enjoyed enough scandal for six mayors.
Just off the top of my head there's his ongoing row with the Toronto Star, which includes his nearly literal row with a Toronto Star reporter last May.
Then there's the bag ban that got passed as a snub to his attempt to repeal the five cent bag fee.
His attempts to bully his agendas on transit and cost cutting.
His brother's seemingly endless flubs, which included last summer's plans for the waterfront that no one but Doug seemed to know about.
Incidents behind the wheel including reading documents while driving 70 kph on the Gardiner, arguing with a transit worker after pulling along side a stopped streetcar and flipping the bird to a family when they called him on texting and driving.
Refusing to attend any Pride Week festivities.
His new year's weight loss campaign that resulted in hardly any weight loss.
Going to the hospital for a bad reaction to something he ate. And then making the Taste of the Danforth the first event he attends after being discharged. 
Calling 911 when accosted by a CBC comedienne and camera crew.
Calling 911 on Christmas Eve because of a domestic disturbance at home. 
And most recently, being brought to trial for violating the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act for using his City Hall stationary to raise over $3,100 for his private football foundation and then failing to recuse himself from a council vote demanding he return the money.
Of course most people would have thought that with the judge in recess trying to decide if Ford purposefully violated the intent of the MCOI Act, which if he did would mean that Ford is officially fired from his job as Toronto's Mayor, that Ford might take a break from shenanigans and keep his head down. And you'd be wrong.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Carts Are Rolling Out

Yes, sports fans. The dreaded day has come. Guelph's new recycling bins are now rolling out to the public for their own personal use. Or at least they will be a week from Monday. 
The city sent out a press release on the subject earlier today. Read it (and weep?) for yourself below.*
(*I say weep because I know there's a lot of resistance out there to the new carts, but they're coming and it's real, and maybe it's time to deal. The date is set, the hall is rented, time to see if we can dance.)
First 15,000 households to receive waste carts starting September 24
Carts to be placed at the curb this November for new automated collection
GUELPH, ON, September 13, 2012 – The delivery of Guelph's first green, blue and grey waste carts to one-third of city neighbourhoods, approximately 15,000 households, starts Monday, September 24.
Homes will receive a food scraps container to keep in the kitchen and three carts: an 80-litre green cart for organics, a blue cart for recyclables and a grey cart for garbage. The carts will be used instead of plastic bags to place household waste at the curb for collection. An information package including a user guide and a 2012 to 2014 waste collection schedule will be delivered inside the green cart.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fife Beats Bludgeon

Catherine Fife's not so surprising surprise victory in Kitchener-Waterloo Thursday night opened a can of "Who-knows-what?" in terms of what's going to happen next in Ontario. It really feels like we're at a kind of crossroads, a Choose Your Own Adventure-like fork in the road that could take us to strange new worlds, somewhere passively dull, or a complete disaster that's as cataclysmic as it is unexpected. But it probably won't be that bad.
Yes, Fife, and by proxy Andrea Horwath and the NDP, do surely deserve praise and kudos for the victory, but how much of it was dissatisfaction with the Liberals, how much of it was the uncertainty of Hudak's leadership of the PCs, and how much of it is blowback from McGuinty's seemingly ill-advised attempt to make Ontario's teachers the villains of our dire financial straits. 
But let's break the results down by party:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Great Week for Politics

It occurred to me today that this is a great week for the politically observant, filled with many interesting stories from all sectors of politics: the local, the provincial, the national and the international. Let's look at the big four this week:

Tell Your Councillors What You Think of the Future

Obviously, if you read some of the online blogs, there's a degree of dissatisfaction about the way Guelph's being run these days. Wish you could tell your city councillor to their face what you think the future of Guelph should look like? Opportunity meet door.
From the communications office of City Hall, comes an invitation to all Guelphites to a series of townhall style meetings between city councillors and regular Guelphites courtesy of the Guelph Community Wellbeing Initiative. Of course, it's more than just political as the Wellbeing Initiative encompasses more quality of life issues than political ones, but it should be very interesting to hear what members of the Guelph community across the city want from their city. 
The first town is tomorrow night, and the full schedule can be found below along with the press release:

Sona Gets a Bygones From Elections Canada

Michael Sona, a Conservative Party staffer and communications director for the Guelph campaign of Marty Burke last Federal Election, was the first to be thrown under the bus when the robocall scandal broke last March. But it seems that the indictment in the court of public opinion might may been a bit premature. 
Today's news is that Elections Canada investigator Al Mathews seems to have misquoted Burke campaign volunteer Matthew McBain, who you'll remember was asked about Sona's possible involvement in the robocalls when another staffer said he directed Sona to McBain when he asked about “looking about doing some stuff that might not be okay." 
McBain had responded that he had thought that Sona was interested in doing something more akin to prank calling, than a widespread effort to disenfranchise Guelph voters, but to clarify, Matthews said that a report he released unintentionally implied that Sona was talking to McBain about the latter and not the former.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Heart of Darkness?

This week, the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Charlotte, North Carolina. But despite the eagerness of American Democrats to put on their pageant and get the word out about the awesomeness of four more years of Obama, there's still some lingering insanity from last week's Republican National Convention, and it comes in the form of action superstar and former Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris.
Any recent cool points Norris bought for himself appearing as one of the ensemble in The Expendables 2, paying off his debt as a Mike Huckabee supporter in 2008, have all been lost in an instant with this video, which, to say the least, is the worst Romney infomercial ever to hit the internet.
To break it down succinctly, Norris and his fembot wife are concerned that America is "going down the path of socialism of something much worse." They want to encourage evangelicals to get out the vote invoking that quote from Edmund Burke about how evil triumphs when good people do nothing, and further suggesting Obama's re-election will plunge the United States into 1,000 years of darkness. There was also a salute to Saint Ronald Reagan in there somewhere.
But why take my word for it? Let's go to crazy already in progress...