About the Blog:

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Guthrie Plans New Year Surprise

It appears that there's enough time in 2013 for one last surprise, and Cam Guthrie is it's author. An invite was sent out to media this afternoon for an announcement at the noon hour on Thursday January 2nd. The subject? "2014 Municipal election intentions," the e-vite said. Interesting, right? While it is possible, I doubt that Guthrie would hold a press event first thing in the new year to announcement his re-election campaign for Ward 4 councillor, so it begins the question: does Guthrie have his eye on the top seat? Is he announcing his run for mayor on Thursday? Stay tuned.

Press Release - Ice Storm Clean-Up Continues...

Re-establishing power to all homes was just the beginning, there's still a city full of downed trees and branches to clean-up. As the emphasis is less on the power side of things, the city's looking to start the nitty gritty of cleaning up all the debris. Nearly two weeks later, there's still a lot of loose shrubbery lying around, and that appears to be the next phase of the aftermath efforts as a press release from City Hall today seems to indicate.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Guelph Politicast #2.4 - Andy Best, Guelph Civic League

To close out the year, and to kick off the election year that's coming, the final Guelph Politicast of 2013 is an interview with Guelph Civic League President Andy Best.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top 10 Documentaries of 2013

If you’re looking to take a break from all your troubles this holiday, might I suggest ploughing into someone else’s? The documentary remains a great vehicle for incredible, true life stories, and the year 2013 had some remarkable ones. Thanks to the boom of online distribution and video on demand, it’s never been easier to get great docs in your home, and there’s always a selection of pretty great ones on the old-fashioned big screen too. Many of the titles below are available online in someway, shape or form, so if you’re looking for something to watch during your downtime this holiday season, these titles should fill your head and feed your soul.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 National/International Stories of 2013

Last week, I looked at the Top 10 Local and Provincial stories of 2013, and, as promised, we now open our scope wider to the national and international stages. I believe I said that last week's list was easier to compile than this one, but the struggle with the National/International Top 10 was a "Sophie's Choice" of which stories make the cut and which to leave off. A couple of the stories below could be easily separated into their own categories, but since the year was jam-packed with activity, I can be understandably forgiven to fold a couple of things together in order to create a more inclusive picture of the year that was. So, without further ado, let's look at the national and international news that made the head of the headlines in 2013.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Press Release - Seriously, Just Stay Home

You know what folks, the mall will still be there tomorrow. The storm system that passed through our area last night and this morning has left a terrible mess in its wake from downed power lines to fallen trees and icy roads. If you haven't been out yet, the City of Guelph is advising people that there's no need to go out now.  The best course of action is to stay at home, and enjoy a snow day (as it were) till emergency services and Guelph Hydro can get the place sorted out. 
So far it seems like the biggest concern is the trees and power lines. Unlike Toronto, which reportedly once had half a million people without power, Guelph's power problems seem localized to a  few places right now, particularly around the Hanlon between Stone Rd and College St and in the Ward. If you do need to go out, take care and take extra time as needed. Guelph Transit is running, but there are delays, and from what I've heard some buses have some difficulties taking more hilly portions of town, so be aware of delays on that end too.

Friday, December 20, 2013

SCOC Gives the Green Light for Red Light

Christmas came early for Canada's sex workers in a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada that paves the way for a very Dutch-like system of legalized prostitution. It's also a victory for all the social libertarians out there, and it re-inspires the belief that Canada is a haven of progressive ideals. Still, is this situation as entirely cut and dry as it seems? Are we just one short year away from red light districts in every major city, or is our current crime conscious Federal government going to put the kibosh on that idea?
The matter of law, for now, seems rather cut and dry. In a paradoxical fact of legal procedure, actual prostitution, that is to say accepting money in exchange for sex, wasn't illegal. What is, or rather was, illegal are activities associated with prostitution, meaning the operation of bordellos, support services for prostitutes like security and management, as well as communicating the fact that one is a prostitute and available to offer sex for money.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Top 10 Local/Provincial News Stories of 2013

It's that time of year for lists and rankings, and Guelph Politico is no exception to all this organizing and numerology. This week, we revisit the biggest news and political stories that affected us locally and provincially in the year 2013. What were my conditions? Mostly, stuff that stuck out in my mind. This may not be your list, or you may find yourself agreeing with some of the contents that make up my list even if you don't agree with the ranking of things. Some of these will be fairly self-evident, and some of them might leave you scratching your head, but I will say that this was an easier list to compile versus the National/International Top 10 (which I will publish next week).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Upcoming "Beyond the Ballot Box" Specials for the Holidays

As per usual with the end of the year, the Gang of Four and Beyond the Ballot Box will be doing some special episodes for the last few weeks of 2013. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

More Cars Behaving Badly

On the eve of the season's first winter storm, the City of Guelph sent out a press release on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Road Builders’ Association asking drivers to not play chicken with snow plows; specifically no speeding and no passing if you should find yourself in the vicinity of a plow, sanding truck, or other kind of road work vehicle.  I've been looking for another opportunity lately to let off some steam about the way some people our driving on our roads, and as the old saying goes, ask and ye shall receive.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Leave Your Condolences for Mandela at City Hall

PM Harper signs the condolence book in Ottawa. Courtesy of Canoe
As world leaders gather in South Africa to eulogize Nelson Mandela, local mourners can leave their thoughts and prayers in a condolence book that now currently sits in the foyer at City Hall. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Farewell Mandela

Though he had spent much of the year ill and in hospital, it still comes as something of a gut check that Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday at the age of 95. The man who became both the face and a symbol of the South African struggle against apartheid, would later become the driving force for peace and reconciliation, walking a very fine line between fulfilling the ambitions of the black population and not scaring off the white elites to create the new "Rainbow Nation" of South Africa.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Guelph Has a Taste for Innovative Waste (Solutions)

There's probably no more contentious issue in the city right now other than waste (although I freely admit that I could be wrong). The roll-out of the new carts, the implementation of an adjusted three-stream collection method and the opening of the new organic process plant have all had their stumbling blocks, but to paraphrase an old saying, if you want something done right, register your own bright ideas with city hall through a survey!
The results of that survey, which was conducted earlier this fall, have been collected and collated, and are ready to be sent back out to the city at large to provoke further discussion. In brief, the results of the survey found that people like the idea of waste diversion, but don't like the idea of paying more in property taxes and user fees in order to explore those methods. Shocking, I know.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Council Votes To Approve Lafarge Development

The back and forth over the development of the so-called Lafarge lands in the west end of the city is back to forth with a unanimous vote at council this week approving a revised plan from Silvercreek Park Developments.

Monday, December 2, 2013

GrassRoots Guelph meets with Ministry Members

As previously reported, a new voter engagement group called GrassRoots Guelph has opened up shop here in the Royal City and they are pursuing a course that assumes there's some fishy accounting at City Hall. In a press release sent out last week, GRG says that they've followed up a petition they sent in to Ontario's Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) by having a meeting with ministry representatives, but was it a simple acknowledgement of the petition, or is, as GRG puts it, the beginning of an investigation.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Movie Review - The Manor

If you live in Guelph, Ontario, the establishment known as The Manor has what you’d call a reputation. On the outside it still looks like the century old mansion that once housed the local brew master and politician George Sleeman, but the inside, for more than three decades, has housed a Gentlemen’s club with an attached hotel where many of the dancers stay. The implication is that the place is seedy, but in the documentary about The Manor, which I finally got the chance to see recently, the eponymous establishment isn’t seedy at all, but home to a colourful cast of characters who happen to be mostly a loving Jewish family engaged in the adult entertainment business.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

An Open Letter from the Drivers of Guelph Transit

Lost in the rush to indict the drivers of Guelph Transit on the whole overtime fracas, is their side of the story. This open letter from the drivers of Guelph Transit has been making the rounds online, including Cam Guthrie's blog and Ian Findlay's blog. I mentioned it on the last edition of "The Guelph Hour" on Beyond the Ballot Box, and I wanted to post it here too. The picutre it paints suggests that the maybe there's bigger operational problems with the city's mass transit service.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Press Release - Tax Increase to be One Per Cent Less

As the budget process heads into the home stretch, it seems that the city has found some extra change in the couch cushions, at least enough to knock down the expected tax burden by about one per cent. As it stands now, the tax increase for 2014 is expected to be 2.37 per cent as opposed to the previously reported 3.36 per cent. 
The cut comes courtesy of new figures from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) and the County of Wellington, and despite the fact that the total operating budget is now $400,000 more than the initial estimate released on November 5th. That's good news for city hall deficit hawks, and good news for the average tax payer, but will all parties be satisfied with an increase that's still more than a full point more than the cost of inflation?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Overtime Overboard?

The latest money-related controversy shaking City Hall involves overtime. Actually, make that excessive overtime. The city's new internal auditor, Loretta Alonzo, told city council last night that overtime costs could clock in at $5 million by the end of 2013. That's a lot of overtime, you may joke. That's a scandal, deficit hawks may say lividly. That $5 million figure is across all city services, but the focus of much of the discussion is around the one service that takes up one-fifth - or $1 million - of that cost, Guelph Transit. According to the city, there's a 25 per cent rate of daily absenteeism among transit employees, with some employees taking as many as 50 sick days per year. If the average number of days worked a year, accounting for weekends and two weeks vacation, is 250, that means that some employees are off sick one-fifth of the year.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Confusing Process for Democracy

As Toronto City Hall went into meltdown earlier this week, many looked to a higher power to do something about the pending situation with Rob Ford and his stubborn refusal to step down, and that higher power was the Ontario Legislature led by Premier Kathleen Wynne. This is where politics get even more political though because when you have a left-leaning politician threatening to sanction a right-leaning politician, no matter how justified, fur is going to fly.
Of course, I think Wynne is far too shrewd to put herself in a position to set a precedent like having a Premier turf a duly-elected and sitting Mayor of Toronto, but that didn't stop Ford's allies from playing defense. Still, twice this week, I've heard both Cllr. Doug Ford and the Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington use the phrase "unelected premier," when talking about Wynne. It's a phrase I hadn't heard in a while, but it does two things, suggest that Wynne has no power, and if she does, then she has no authority to use it. I had thought we were past this because it's both silly and incorrect, but here we go again, confusing process for democracy. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remembering that Day in Dallas

Today marks 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy while on a campaign swing through Dallas, TX. Like with a lot of tragedies, the weather that day presaged anything but doom. On a bright and sunny Texas afternoon, Kennedy and his lovely wife were driven down Elm Street, through Dealey Plaza, with the top down on the Presidential limo when three shots rang out, the third one fatally wounding the young President. To merely say it was a day that changed everything sounds like something of an understatement. Franklin Roosevelt called the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor - December 7, 1941 - a day that would live in infamy, but November 22, 1963 would truly be a day that would live in infamy. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

By-Election Polls Show a Red Wave Coming

This coming Monday, four ridings go to the polls to find a replacement for their recently departed Members of Parliament. From Montral's Bourassa and Toronto-Centre to Brandon-Souris and Provencher in Manitoba, voters will determine if it's time for change, or if they will stay the course and stick with the party that's represented them thus far. The NDP is looking to make gains in Quebec and Ontario, while the Conservatives hope that the senate scandal will not affect their chances in Manitoba. But what are the polls saying? Forum Research might have the answer.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Robocalls - The "We Just Kidding" Excuse

The legal action around the 2011 robocall scandal is another reminder that real-life legal proceedings are nothing like Law & Order; one hour and you're done! The bad guys are in jail, and it's on to the next case. The comparatively glacial pace of real-life legal matters as compared to their fictional TV counterparts in understandable - We want justice, and we want it now! - but the wheels of jurisprudence grind slowly and deliberately. Every once and a while though, news breaks and we get somewhat closer to a resolution.
In the news this week were the details of a partially lifted publication ban on the case thus far against Michael Sona, director of communications for the Guelph campaign of Marty Burke during the 2011 election. Sona is charged with wilfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent a voter from casting a ballot, and the court placed a publication ban on the case this past August. After petitioning by various media sources, including PostMedia and the CBC, the ban was partially lifted in September, but the full ban coming off this past Wednesday. As for Sona himself, court proceedings have been held over till June at which point it will be decided whether or not Sona will be taken to trial, but the new papers suggest that he maybe somewhat less than the innocent pawn he's been selling himself as since he was thrown under the bus by the party he so loyally served last year.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Laidlaw Not Retiring After All

...And then she changed her mind. Despite reports to the contrary, including mine, it seems that Maggie Laidlaw will not be riding off into the political sunset at the end of the current term of council. The often controversial Ward 3 councillor had said that she would not be seeking re-election in 2014 after taking into account both her pending retirement from her day job in 2016, as well as her husband's pending retirement from teaching. But it looks like Laidlaw spoke too soon. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let this Be Your Last Rob Ford Article

It's getting so that keeping up with the goings on of embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is a full-time job, In fact, I think the Toronto Star has 3 or 4 people on it. But just as today's debate in city hall, which at times seemed like a trial with 43 prosecutors, looked like it was coming in for a landing, a judge decided to throw napalm on the out-of-control fire that's burning in Ford Nation by un-redacting more of those police documents from the investigation into Ford's alliances, and the picture it paints ain't pretty. As Ford emphatically stated again and again that he was not an addict on the council floor, police documents recounted one night where the Mayor finished a 40 oz bottle of vodka, took Oxy, snorted coke, and consorted with a woman believed to be a sex worker while sexually harassing one staffer, and calling a taxi driver a "Paki." And you thought you partied hard.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Where to Remember Remembrance Day

Monday marks Remembrance Day in Guelph and across Canada, and there will be a number of ceremonies in the Royal City for the occasion.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The State of the City: Something is Happening Here

Mayor Karen Farbridge delivered her annual State of the City address today, and the message was that Guelph is different than other cities, someplace unique and special. It's a message designed to appeal to Farbridge's base, I think, and one that's unlikely to appeal to any of her critics. However, much like the U.S. President's State of the Union, it's more or less designed as a cheerleading session to remind the people of Guelph what's good and what's going to soon be great about the Royal City.
"Guelph is different. And people are noticing," the address begins. "I am having more conversations where someone comments on Guelph’s uniqueness to me ‐ whether I’m talking to local business owners seeking to attract talent, people who’ve chosen to live in Guelph or those watching from outside what we are achieving as a community."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Press Release - Water Rates on Rise, Not By Much

Prepare to pay 13 cents more for your water services. That's the total change in increases approved by city for the Water and Wastewater Services, Building Code Administration and Court Services budgets. Of course, that doesn't come out to a 13 cent increase on your bill. The average bill will see an increase from $781 to $808, which is $27 or 3.5 per cent more, but the city notes that this is the smallest increase in these costs in five years (which is sure to be small comfort to those getting the bill).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guelph Politicast Extra - Today's Ford News

So it turns out that when he said he didn't, he did. Today's revelation by Mayor Rob Ford that he did indeed smoke crack though he can't remember the circumstances or the fact that somebody filmed it, came as something as a shock. But it was secondary to the revelation that Ford, having admitted his mistake (finally!), refused to step down, either permanently or temporarily, as a result of his drug use. Between the doings in Toronto and the pending vote to suspend three senators in Ottawa, it's hard to imagine a busier news day, and it seems like a great chance to engage in some of this newfangled rich media like podcasting.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Remembering Happier Times...

It wasn't a great day yesterday for Pamela Wallin as the RCMP came out and alleged that she has defrauded the Senate, committed a breach of trust in filing inappropriate expense claims, and that "irregularities" in expense reports since 2009 have been flagged several times. Clearly, things are not going well for the senator, a once respected journalist turned university chancellor turned Conservative politician, which is why when I found this yesterday, I thought it might turn some frowns upside down...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Details of 2014 Budget Released

It's that time of year again, the time to discuss the whats, wheres, whens and hows of the city's fiscal allocation. That is to say it's budget time. Always a difficult, and sometimes contentious, process the yearly budget battle struggles to keep up with the increased cost of services and the desire to make the tax burden as small as possible. Council consistently tries new things to make the process as smooth and as transparent as possible, and sometimes there's success and sometimes there isn't. But here we are again, and here we go again, with the deliberations for the 2014 budget.
The details of the 2014 budget thus far were outlined in a press release from city hall today. By the numbers, the proposed 2014 budget comes out to $192,865,918, which is a 3.36 per cent increase over last year. Interestingly, the city's decided to de-emphasize the need for new spending in this budget, so the total 3.36 per cent increase accounts for 2.73 per cent to maintain current programs and services, with an additional 0.63 per cent for investments in "initiatives designed to streamline and optimize City operations."

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Guelph Politicast #2.3 - David J. Knight

It's fairly rare that I can merge my two passions, politics and film, but a new exhibit at the Ed Video Gallery gave me an occasion to combine the two in this, the third episode of the Guelph Politicast's second season. Today, I talk to David J. Knight, an artist and archaeologist who's put together a new show to coincide with the Festival of Moving Media called Hidden Histories: Guelph Cinema.

Mayoral Meltdown - UPDATED with Video

I don't know about you guys, but I find this video startling. If you haven't been following, or are following,the story, nearly 500 pages of documents from a police investigation of Alexander 'Sandro' Lisi are being released today, and the information reported so far indicates that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford kept pretty close company with Lisi as he was going about his business dealign drugs. This probably came as no surprise to the mayor judging by his reaction to the media encamped in his driveway this morning.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Press Release - Collective Bargaining Begins Between City and Transit

This should be interesting. The city sent a press release out this morning saying that they're officially entering into collective bargaining with the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189, the union that represents the city's transit employees. The last agreement was reached in the summer of 2010 and expired this past June, so transit workers have effectively been working without a contract for the last four months. Considering the tough times, could the issuing of the below press release be advanced notice that these negotiations might be tricky business? 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Election Questions for 2014

In more or less one year from today, Guelph residents (and indeed most residents in towns and cities across Ontario), will go to the polls to choose their local government for the next four years. Now a lot can happen in a year, so making predictions this far out seems rather counter-intuitive. Instead, let's consider some of the questions Royal City voters might have concerning the state of politics in town as we roll into an election year: Who will run? Who will run again? Who might be looking for a promotion? And what issues will be the deciding factor on who gets a seat around the horseshoe in 2015? Below are nine things to consider as we gear up for the 2014 campaign trail.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wyndham Street Open Again (But Not to Big Trucks)

Nearly a week after a close shave with a big rig, Wyndham Street between Carden Street and Wellington Street is open again after city engineers did... Something. Well, there are new signs up now. No big trucks are allowed through, but buses, ambulances and other vehicles are all good to go. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Now That's Some Good Bloviating

Stephen Harper's first Question Period of the fall didn't go the way he wanted, I think. Despite a strong attempt to pivot away from the ongoing senate expense scandal (including new revelations that Senator Mike Duffy and members of the PMO beyond Nigel Wright colluded on Duffy's sweetheart deal) by harping - pun intended - on the new free trade deal with Europe, the opposition smelled blood in the water and wanted to track it back to the source: Stephen Harper.
Still, Harper left some of the heavy lifting in Question Period yesterday to the new new parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, Tory MP Paul Calandra. When NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus hit the floor to ask again about Duffy, it was Calandra that unleashed a rhetorical flourish that made his fellow Conservatives proud and left everyone else confused.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Drive Down Wyndham...

The news on the weekend that another truck scraped the roof of the train bridge that runs parallel to Carden Street seems to have forced a city shut down of Wyndham Street between Carden and Wellington. This is sure to be unpleasant news for people who do business in and around that intersection, but given that this isn't the first time that the roof's been a little too low despite the stated clearance, it's going to be another needle in the city's back concerning just how well the entire reconstruction project around Carden was handled.

Friday, October 18, 2013

This Week In Rob Ford

Courtesy of the Torontoist
It's been a while since I wrote about Ol' Fordsie, but so much goes down with the Mayor of Toronto this can almost be a weekly, if not daily column. In fact, the "Morning Brew" feature on BlogTO is almost a clip-a-day slice of whatever controversy - major or minor - is presently marching through the Mayor's Office. For Rob Ford, the week began explaining some phone calls he was making, segued into losing his appeal to the Ontario Press Council, then he did a hatchet job on a city employee supposedly caught napping on the job, and is now wrapping up the week with the revelation that Ford wrote a character reference for his good friend Alessandro Lisi, part-time Ford driver, (alleged) full-time drug dealer. Just another week in Ford Nation.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bar Stool Profits

On his new blog, Guelph Today, former Mercury city hall reporter Scott Tracy wrote earlier this week about a report that said a proposed "bar stool tax" for downtown watering holes would hurt the business of booze and make weekend revellers even more difficult to manage. My question: how can anything hurt the business of booze and make weekend revellers any more difficult to manage?
The idea of a "bar stool tax" has been kicking around for some time. The principle is that the expenditures incurred by the City with policing and cleaning-up of Downtown Guelph every weekend should be taken out of the pockets of the bars making money off the 10,000-plus people who shuffle through the "downtown entertainment district" Thursday through Saturday nights. Fair enough, and past due, many would say. The City has always hedged though. Why? A couple of reasons.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Game of Thrones Speech

This afternoon, Governor General David Johnston delivered the Speech from the Throne, a Hail Mary of oratory, with which Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to put a summer of scandal behind him. Proroguing Parliament in mid-August, the government said they need an extra month and half to prepare a new list of objects they wanted to tackle in the fall session, and the result was a veritable recital of Conservative talking points on the issues of budget, economy and law and order. But the question remains: are the opposition and Canadians willing to hear the government out on their new wish list, or continue to fight the battles already in progress?

Dion and Tanguay Talk Electoral Reform at Hope House

This event was mentioned during the recent Guelph Politicast with Frank Valeriote, but if you're a reader and not a listener, check out the news release from Valeriote's constituency office below.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

GrassRoots Guelph Wants to Find the Beef

The new political action group GrassRoots Guelph is hitting the ground running in terms of its advocacy for Guelph voters. A press release sent out earlier this week outlined the group's intent to request a forensic audit of the City of Guelph's finances after 160 people signed a petition from GRG to demand the audit from Ontario's Ministery of Municipal Affairs and Housing. What do they hope to find? Proof that the city's managers are spending like drunken sailors of course.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

This Time, David Won

That thud you heard last week was Nestlé Waters giving up its appeal to a decision made last fall by the Ministry of the Environment to grant them permission to take water from a Hillsburgh well with the caveat that their intake be reduced in times of drought. Nestlé's surrender is being seen as a victory by many of the local environmental groups, a capitulation by the industry that the unlimited taking of water from our local fresh water sources is going to be tougher row to hoe from this point on. But will that be the case?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Council to Talk Water Rates and Other Money Matters

As previously reported, the budgeting season has begun and everything that costs anything in the City of Guelph is going to be up for bids. At a meeting at City Hall on October 24, community members are being invited to give input about non-tax supported budget items.

NDP Announces Nomination Meet for October 22

Despite the ongoing controversies, the Ontario Liberals are holding on to power with a vice-like grip. Still, the opposition parties continue to jockey as if an election is in the immediate future, and the local NDP is looking to lock up their candidate in the Royal City.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Guelph Politicast #2.2 - Frank Valeriote

So it's taken a while to get to episode two, but we're here now for what I hope is the first of a string of regular Guelph Politicasts. In this edition, I talk to our local Member of Parliament Frank Valeriote.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dazed and Confused

As the U.S. government enters week two of its shutdown, America's primary source of information, its beloved lat night comedians, have pointed out some of the buffoonery that's driving the debate, specifically in regards of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA, or "Obamacare" if you like, was the lightening rod for the shutdown, with many in Congress demanding that if Barack Obama wanted to keep the government open, then he had to defund/repeal/stall the implementation of his signature piece of legislation.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Political Laughs Coming to Guelph

Politics can be a source of tremendous humour. In fact, people might say that humour is about the only thing our modern political culture is good for now. A Guelph event next week is going to prove that all over again as Riotwire.com will be putting on their comedy show tour in Royal City at Ed Video Media Arts Centre.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Editorial - Thinking Outside the Big Box

The recent news that the development of Costco is delayed, and may possibly not open in time for this coming Christmas shopping season,was sad news for a lot of people. Not me. Never me. I've never been to a Costco, I've never had any desire to go to one, so I'm not really the person to celebrate the idea of one opening in Guelph. Although by necessity I do patronize big box stores, but there is something about them that strikes me as unsettling: I've been to a Wal-Mart in Ontario, and I've been to a Wal-Mart in Indiana, and do you know what the aesthetic difference is between the two is? Neither do I.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Maple Leaf Politics

Professional hockey is back, and so is the idea that being Canadian and being a hockey fan are the exact same thing, synonymous and inseparable. This time last year though, there was no pro-hockey, and no one had any idea when there might be hockey. People were ticked, but that anger went away pretty quick when the millionaire athletes they both loved and hated finally took to the ice.
No place was that more true than a few miles down the road in Toronto, where Maple Leaf worship is devote and absolute, yet with far fewer miracles required to placate the faithful. In fact, Toronto is coming up on nearly half a century without a championship, and as teams in the United States, some of whom are recent champions, struggle to fill arenas, the Leafs remain the NHL's most profitable team. Actually, they're a quarter of a billion dollars more profitable than the number two team, the New York Rangers.
So what does any of this have to do with politics? Well, I would argue that fans of the Maple Leafs don't get a lot of return on their annual investment of $1 billion; no Stanley Cup in 46 years, one playoff bearth in 10, and even then they were put it out in the first round. It seems that if you're a Maple Leafs fan, you've not only come to expect a lot of disappoint, but you've become comfortable with the fact that you're going to get it. It sort of reminds me a lot of politics.