About the Blog:

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

Monday, January 28, 2013

Progress for the Wynne

Before diving into the politics of Kathleen Wynne's unprecedented victory in the Ontario Liberal Leadership Convention Saturday, can we take a moment to acknowledge this game changer? Ontarians now have their first female Premier, and more than that, Canada has it's first ever LGBT Premier. When she's sworn in, Wynne will be the sixth female Premier current serving in Canada, which means that 3 out of 5 provinces are governed by women. And in Ontario's soon to be re-opened Legislature, 2 out of 3 of the parties with seats there will be fronted by a woman.
Honestly, if you can't leave aside partisanship and politics for a moment to take a step back and truly appreciate the historic relevance of these benchmarks, then I'm afraid there's no hope for you. You're clearly too big an ideologue and I pity you because you may hate the brand, you may hate the policy, but you can't not admit, that the Ontario of this Monday morning truly awakened in the 21st century.
But this blog is called Politico, and deal with the politics we shall.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lessons from "Lincoln"

I finally got the chance to see Steven Spielberg's award-winning Lincoln the other night. How could a dyed in the wool politico wait so long to see such a seminally political movie? Sue me, I'm busy.
Anyway, there's much to recommend the film: production design, cinematography, and yes, the tremendous performances. But this is not a film review blog, although I do have one of those, for these purposes let's focus on the politics the film explores.
The focus of Lincoln is predominantly on the passing of the 13th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the measure that effectively, and legally, eliminated slavery in the United States. With the Civil War nearing its end, there was concern amongst abolitionists that President Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all slaves in rebel territories freed, was only valid as a measure under Lincoln's emergency war powers. When the war was over, any slaves declared free may find themselves enslaved again. So enshrining the freedom of African-Americans across the entirety of the United States was a priority.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ford Survives

It was somewhat of a surprise to both legal scholars and haters alike when at 10:30 am this morning came news that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford would be allowed to keep his job, and a November verdict that would have saw him removed from office on charges of violating the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act had been overturned. As consequence, Ford will remain Mayor of Toronto until the 2014 election.
The three justices of the higher court ruled that Charles Hackland's judgment of removal from office following Ford's February vote in a city council motion demanding he return over $3,000 in private donations to his footbal charity was basically too severe. Hackland, said the decision of the judges, acted outside the prevue of the available reprimands under both the MCOI and the City of Toronto Act, which recommends imposing “either of the following penalties:” a reprimand or a suspension of pay. In layman's terms, Hackland was given an inch, and he took a mile.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Press Release - City Hands out Grant Money

Obviously, this is one of those stories. I know there are people out there who think their taxes are too high (and at least some of them may be right), and that our local government should focus exclusively on keeping the roads open, the park grass cut, and the snow ploughed.
On the other hand though is the responsibility to create a higher standard of life beyond the bare essentials, and that includes the offering of a financial helping hand to those in need, and the accommodation of the city's various arts, culture, sports and recreation organizations. Numerous community groups are recipients of this funding, and the year 2013 will be no exception.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Strolling for Debate

Out of no where (it seems), the CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission Andy Byford said this morning that his service is no-way, no-how considering the charging of a premium on riders with strollers. “There is no question whatsoever of considering a charge for strollers,” he told the Toronto Sun. “I’m not going to go there. That is not on my agenda at all. I think that would be wrong.”
Okay. The comments were made after commissioners asked for a report to see the impact of charging more for strollers on TTC buses, streetcars and subways. I'm not sure specifically where the request came from, the TTC, like a lot of transit systems, doesn't have a hard and fast policy about strollers whether it's how many strollers can be allowed on a vehicle at any given time, or at what point the size of a given stroller becomes restrictive.
Our own transit system, Guelph Transit, has rules about strollers having to be folded up when riders get on the bus, but it's a rule that's enforced with some degree of indifference, and drivers all differ in terms of how many strollers they'll let on the bus at any time; some will pile them on, others are a bit more cautious.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Would You Trust Your Money to This Acronym?

It appears that the Guelph chapter of the Ontario Public Interest Group (OPIRG) is once again facing charges of being too radical a political group on the University of Guelph campus, and should have its funding pulled. Say what? Who could possibly have a problem with a group that's volunteer-driven, helps clean our river on a yearly basis, and raises awareness and promotes education on environmental and social justice issues?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Going Mobile...

If you recognize the name Matt Wozenilek you're either presently a downtown business owner, or you remember the name vaguely from the classroom of your youth. The former-teacher has taken up the role of crusader in his retirement, his crusade is against obstacles to mobility and his Saladin is any downtown building that was built before more humane standards in construction were demanded in the name of human rights.
Under ordinary circumstances, Wozenilek would be the head of a movement, a local hero. But if you own a downtown building that pre-dates Pearson, the sight of Wozenilek coming your way might have you ducking for cover.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kent Coming to Guelph

Given the prevalent attitude towards environmental issues, it's sometimes easy to forget that the Stephen Harper government has an Environment Minister. But it does, and he'll be coming to Guelph sometime later this month as reported yesterday by the Guelph Mercury.
Peter Kent will be giving a talk about the future of water conservation in the Great Lakes, as outlined by the Federal government, at Cutten Fields in an event sponsored by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce on Friday January 25. Tickets are $30 for Chamber members, $45 for non-members, and more information on the event is available at the CoC's website.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What's the Opposite of a Snowbird?

I had an interesting discussion tonight about, of all things, Snowbirds. The self-styled group of Canadians who believe they're too good to endure winter in the Great White North, were in the news today when a Toronto couple were found dead under mysterious circumstances in their Hallandale Beach, FL home away from home.
The neighbourhood in Hallendale Beach in which David Pichosky and his wife Rochelle Wise widdled away the winter months is actually one enjoyed by many Snowbirds, it's a gated community that caters to many of them, and when the couple failed to turn up for lunch with friends on Thursday, police were sent to their home, where they were found dead by a neighbour Thursday evening. And while that is tragic, and it goes without saying that sympathies go out to the family, there is a philosophical questioned posed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Underpass Coming Soon?

 It's been rather quiet on the development front at the Lafarge site, after years of wrangling and wheeling and dealing, it seemed that something was about to be built on that land. Of course, that breakthrough came around 2008/2009, when most sides agreed to a plan that would see the area between the Hanlon, Paisley and Waterloo roads be developed as a mixed residential, commercial, and park space. And then... Nothing happened.
But is that about to change?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oh, The (Cost of) Humanity

The more Don Cherry talks about politics, the more I wish he'd stick to being wrong and pig-headed about hockey.

Radar Love?

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announced today that he was endorsing the idea of bringing back photo radar cameras for busy Toronto intersections. Call it a blast from the past, as the older amongst you may remember the year 1994 and the Bob Rae government's 11 month experiment with the technology, which, unbeknownst to them at the time, was one of the last straws the Ontario NDP levied on the back of the people of the province before being replaced by Mike Harris' PCs in 1995.
But in the here and now, Blair's justifications are squarely fiscal: with Toronto City Council unwilling to consider increased funding for policing in the 2013 budget, Blair says that placing the devices at key intersections will free up officers to perform other duties rather than standing on a street corner and issuing citations. It's a smart way to frame it considering that the photo radar experiment in the 90s was characterized by opponents as a blatant tax grab. And although some are ready to paint photo radar 2.0 in a similar light, there's another reason photo radar might be a good idea: drivers are crazy.