About the Blog:

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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wrapping Up the Year of the Robocall

The Guelph Mercury's choice of male Newsmaker of the Year was the disappointingly pedantic choice of Cardinal Thomas Collins, but really, did any Guelphite get more press in 2012 than Pierre Poutine?
Of course, as Scott Tracey pointed out in his column, there's no way to know if Pierre is a male, or even a Guelphite, but let's just make that assumption, especially given the fact that Elections Canada's suspect pool is all male, and were working in the Guelph area. And let's face it, on the one hand we have someone -alias be damned - who was part of systematic attempt to undermine our democracy, and on the other we have a man who got a promotion. Granted that promotion was to the College of Cardinals, but how many people in a given year get a promotion? Even I got a promotion this year.
I won't go so far as say that the Mercury copped out, but the robocall scandal represented, to me anyway, the most important political story in Canada in 2012. And even though the story has fallen off the front page for the most part, before we launch into the new year, there's still some developments to discuss.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

News Year Resolutions

Forget the Mayan doomsday that wasn't, four more years of Obama and the devil of robocalls. For me, 2012 marked the year I finally gave up on CNN. This is both a literal and figurative remark; aside from Reliable Sources and breaking news, I have no engagement in any CNN programming anymore, and since CNN is the godfather of cable news, as it goes, so does the rest of the networks that followed it.
What I mean by that is TV news is ridiculous. It's a pandering mess that offers neither context nor analysis lest they end up offending someone by making it seem like they have a point-of-view, or bias. Unless, of course, an identifiable bias is part of their "brand," in which case they will bang on that drum all day. Balance is fine, but when its false you're not just creating conflict for its own sake, you're actively making yourself a part of the story by helping to develop it. And that, in the common tongue, is a no-no.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

If You Camped Out to Go Boxing Day Shopping, I Hope You Die*

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge refuses to give a pair of fundraisers money, "Are there no prisons, are there not workhouses?" he asks. Of course there are, say the fundraisers, but most would understandably rather die than throw themselves into the cold and merciless system that accounted for welfare in Victorian England. "Then if they are to die, it's best they do it and thus decrease the surface population," Scrooge retorts.
I though of that last turn of dialogue when I watched the news tonight and saw people lined up in the wee small hours of what's supposed to be a holiday to buy things they probably don't need at prices so low it should make any reasonable person wonder why anyone paid the full amount the other 364 days a year. That feeling was compounded when I heard one store manager say that there were people lined up at midnight to get into his store early the next morning. And that's why I feel comfortable saying, and without any humour, that if you were one of those people that camped out overnight in front of the Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Future Shop, et al, I hope you die and thus decrease the surface population.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Graduating from Gun Nuts to Just Nuts

The National Rifle Association and their various surrogates did themselves no favours this morning on the Sunday talk shows. So dedicated they were to the idea that the answer to the question of what to do about America's seemingly monthly plague of gun violence is to arm even more people, that even Republcian stalwarts like Lindsey Graham were doing difficult feats of linguist contortion to keep themselves separate but equal from the NRA. And frankly, any stand that has the seriously right-wing Graham taking a step back from you should automatically give you pause if you're someone like NRA President Wayne Lapierre. But then again, a ban on assault weapons should be a no-brainer after the death of 20 kids no older than 7, but here we are.
Remember way back in 1999 when the NRA had a convention in Denver mere weeks after Columbine. People protested, and I think even local Colorado politicians asked the lobby's leadership to at least postpone such a gathering in the municipality immediately adjacent to what was then the home to the worst school shooting in American history. But what came out of those protests, famously, were the words of then NRA President Charlton Heston, who held up a long gun rifle over his head and promised to the gathered supporters, "From my cold, dead hand."

Gang of Four Features End of Year Specials

So it's the end of the world year 2012, and to mark the occasion (and because we appreciate a break at the holidays) The Gang of Four on "Beyond the Ballot Box" on CFRU 93.3 fm are doing a pair of holiday specials over the next two Mondays.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Benefit for Newtown in Guelph, Help Wanted

The tragedy in Newtown has made a lot people wonder if there's anything they can do to help the many victims of one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history. Locally, Allan Boynton, President of the Artist Booking Management Group (ABMG) is putting on a benefit concert that will take place January 16th at the Stampede Ranch on Woodlawn in Guelph.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reflections on a Super Tuesday

"When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed of." - Confucius, Chapter VIII of The Analects.
"Everywhere I go I see teachers driving Ferraris, research scientists drinking champagne. I tried to drink a Coke on the bus, and they took away my pass!" - Krusty the Klown in "Bart the Fink"
The first quote is the one I mentioned on yesterday's Gang of Four. The second quote, borrowed from the typically prophetic writers of The Simpsons, more or less sums up some of the things I've been hearing, and some of the things I've been reading about the job action by Ontario's teachers. Yes, I do think the two quotes are connected.
Today is being called "Super Tuesday" because of the large number of teachers taking part in one day strike today. As consequence, thousands of kids across the province will get a day off from school, and thousands of parents will be forced to scramble to make some kind of accommodation. Some of them will surely curse to the high heavens the teachers, that exclusive class that's lucky enough to earn a starting salary of $50,000 per year. Why that's practically Warren Buffet money!

Monday, December 17, 2012

New Year's Levees Announced for All Levels

As we wrap us the year 2012, and always assuming that we survive that Mayan apocalypse thing, we look to the beginning of the year 2013. And with the top of the year, comes the various traditions, like politicians and their New Year's Levees.
Mayor Karen Farbridge will be holding her second annual levee on Saturday January 12, 2013 at City Hall, according to a press release. The full text of which you can find below.

The Loop is Safe

It was somewhat a disturbing situation for me when I noticed that a local events listing site that I've used as both an appreciator and promoter of the arts was now another front for the Bell Media omnivore.
Well good news, because The Loop lives on, granted now rebranded now as The Local Loop. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

City's Thinking About Changes to Outside Water Use Restrictions

Apparently, some of us don't like the restictions placed on outside water use, even if we just came off one of the driest summers on record. At least that's the jist I got from this city press release yesterday announcing staff's intent to illicit public opnion on proposed changed to Guelph's outside water use program and by-law enforcement
Now I don't necessarily think that this is a bad idea. It's always good to re-examine programs and regulations to see if they still meet the standards and requirements of the community they serve. I'd hate to think though that this feedback being solicited is going to be from people who think they should be able to water their perfect front lawns more, or that they should be entitled to wash their cars more often, because there are plenty of those who think they're entitled to break those rules right now as they stand.
Now having said that, the press release points out that over the last several years there have been great strides made in conserving and getting people to re-think their water use, efforts that have yielded solid results to keep Guelph's water use sustainable even as we've grown. But in spite of that, not everyone's been a team player on the whole "watching our water use" idea of enhanced civic responsibility on this issue, which is meant to protect a vital natural resource to the advantage of us all. Just because the more stringent policies of the past have created a situation have prevented the worst case scenario, it doesn't mean that we should let our guard down and not stay the course. At least one hopes that this is the point of view that the people of Guelph might confirm.
Find the full press release below.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Press Release - Guelph Transit Tries Another Band-Aid

It would mean a lot to me if Guelph Transit would stop "fixing" what's not broken, but my expectations with the management of our public transportation system are at an all-time low. Now, the illustrious pinheads that run our bus system have decided that they want to turn 15 minute peak service into 20 minute peak service. Huh?
While I'll admit their rationale is sound, traffic congestion, weather, and construction all have an impact on how easily buses are able to return to Guelph Central Station to make transfers, is the 15-minute peak service really the place in the schedule that this needs to be resolved?
Let me put it this way, if I miss my transfer during the 15-minute schedule, I might have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for the next bus, but if I miss my transfer during the half-hour schedule, I might have to wait as long as half-an-hour for the next bus. It's easier to account for the potential of being 15 minutes late than it is for 30-minutes, plus a 10-minute wait in the rather useless shelters at the station goes by faster than a 25-minute one.
I'm long since past expecting logical solutions to our problems with Guelph Transit, but this is really absurd and it's further proof that the people running it are absolutely clueless, at least in my opinion.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Funeral for Some Media Friends

It was sad news this week when the less than one year young Guelph Review revealed on its website that its taking its leave, and will no longer be covering the Royal City as this Friday's issue. The bold experiment in adding a third regular newspaper to the city's rotation was intriguing and full of possibility, but the paper seemed sadly unable to capitalize on its assumption that there was room in this market for three papers, especially when Guelph already has a daily and a twice-weekly newspaper in circulation.
Then again, maybe some people thought that you can dress up the old Smart Shopper with articles, photos and suduku, but at the end of the day, it's a still a thing that shows up on your doorstep Friday afternoon that doesn't get read. Maybe we'll never know where it all went wrong.