About the Blog:

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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Who Wants to be Guelph's Conservative Nominee for 2015?

Now to me, this is the most interesting federal race of 2015. Considering that the last Conservative candidate was involved in a nationally televised investigation into an alleged attempt to defraud voters of their ballot, it should be unsurprising that the local riding office might have difficulty finding a new candidate, but that doesn't mean they're not going to try. Starting now. Over a year in advanced of the next election.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

City Makes "Final Offer" to Transit Union

Things look bleak for those hoping to avoiding some kind of work stoppage involving Guelph Transit, be it a strike or a lockout. A new press release from City Hall today says that Guelph has extended its last offer to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189, and a vote on the part of over 200 Guelph Transit employees will determine whether or not the union strikes, or the City will lock them out. For the embattled unionized workers of Guelph Transit, there's a handful of bad options in front of them, but for the City of Guelph, and more importantly the members of city council looking to get re-elected, no one wants a city service to fall to job action in the middle of an election year.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sandals Stays Put as Education Minister

Kathleen Wynne's new majority government revealed it's starters yesterday, the front bench as it were, or in other words, she revealed the members of her new cabinet. Obviosuly, with a lot of new talent following the June 12 election, Wynne has some exciting prospects, not to mention some fresh blood, but it seems that instead she's relying mostly on experience. For example, Guelph MPP Liz Sandals will remain the Minister of Education when the Legislature sits again next week. What other highlights can Ontarians look forward to with their new governement?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Familiar Faces, New to the 2014 Race

The post-provincial election launch of municipal campaigns marches on with two new nominations filed yesterday, one an incumbent councillor and the other an incumbent candidate. June Hofland joins an already busy race in Ward 3 in a bid to keep her job. Meanwhile, Karolyne Pickett will try again to gain one of the Ward 1 seats after her fourth place finish in 2010.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

209 Problems But Approval Ain't One

All week, as environmentally concerned Canadians have been stewing about the greenlight given to Enbridge for the Northern Gateway pipeline. Still, as noted in many media sources, the governmental go-ahead came with conditions, a set of 209 caveats that Enbridge needs to meet in the interest of safety and environmental stewardship. But what are these 209 conditions. All the media reports have noted the conditions and that there are 209 of them, but for the full list, you have to go the Report of the Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project itself to get them. It's an appendix that you have to scan to the bottom of the over 400 page document to get, so in the interest of time and information, I thought I would post them here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Election

The recently concluded Provincial Election put the real 2014 race, the province-wide municipal elections, on hold. But now that the fog has cleared, all systems are go for those looking to step up and try their hand at public office on a local level. Two new people added their names to the ballot, one is an incumbent city councillor, and the other is the first man to put his name forward for school board trustee.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Schreiner Says Thanks and Offers Final Thoughts

One of the disappointments for historically minded politicos was that Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner didn't get the breakthrough he wanted here in Guelph last night. Schreiner secured a healthy third place and nearly 20 per cent of the vote, but still getting less than half the popular vote that rewarded Liberal Liz Sandals with her four-peat. Schreiner and his team were probably, understandably disappointed this morning, and that sort of comes out in their below press release, which offers some thanks to his volunteers, and some consideration as to why he didn't do better in a campaign he banked so much on.

#ONelxn14 - Everything in its Right Place?

Huh. Well, that was weird. Any reasonable estimate of last night's election results foretold another minority government, it was just a question of under who and how much of a majority. Nope. The Liberals, who we were all supposed to be sick and tired of, now return to Queen's Park with a majority government, beating all reasonable expectations about the election's outcome with Kathleen Wynne now the Premier of a political secure government. Tim Hudak, leader of the Progressive Conservatives, is stepping down after the complete and utter failure in his own mandate to unseat a besieged and unpopular government. And Andrea Horwath, despite her bold and risky campaign strategy, managed to come out quits with the same number of seats coming out as she had going in. But was it all worth it? And what happens now?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2014 Provincial Election - Last Call

As the last day before the 2014 provincial election heads off into the sunset, it seems timely to leave you with a reminder to get out tomorrow and exercise your democratic franchise. But no, there's just too much bat $#!% craziness happening on the campaign trail right now. This last full day of the campaign was filled with shenanigans from all sides; misleading letters, bad taste in Photoshop, and enough sign vandalism to shake a stick at, and then use that stick to vandalize some election signs. Ladies and gentleman, this was your last day of Decision 2014. The day decorum died.

Valeriote Fights to Kill the Bureaucracy of Death

As Guelphites, and other Ontarions, go to the polls, their local MP Frank Valeriote will be sitting through the second debate of his private members bill, Bill C-247. While not a pressing matter of urgency, Bill C-247 does aim to make life easier for people going through a very difficult time: the loss of a loved one. The aim of Valeriote's bill is to expand the scope of Service Canada to be a one stop shop for all Canadians coping with the death of a citizen or resident, and all the paper work that comes with it. Is dying in Canada a red tape nightmare, and can Valeriote's bill save people that extra grief in the midst of their actual grief?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Citizen Troubled About Internet Voting After Robocalls Trial

One the regular faces in the gallery at Michael Sona's trial was Susan Watson, and like me, she's a bit concerned about internet voting. Specifically, given the testimony about the extent of the shenanigans on the Marty Burke campaign in 2011, she's worried about just how hackable an online voting system can be, and whether or not its an invitation for unscrupulous people to usurp democracy by flubbing a couple of ones and zeros. Aside from my own philosophical belief that democracy is worth leaving the house for, there is a real, genuine concern that the technology is vulnerable to people with ill-will, and considering that the city has not talked too much about the system they're setting up for the advanced internet polls in October, I can only imagine they're not too far along in its creation.

Turnout Down at Advanced Polls

Although it may not be causal in relation to how voter turnout will shake out on Election Day, it's still not an entirely positive sign for Thursday that last week's advanced polls saw fewer people come out and vote when compared to 2011. According to an article on the CBC website, turnout at the advanced polls was down six per cent from 2011, and that's potentially not a good sign if Ontario's voters want to do better than that year's dismal 48 per cent total turnout. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Sona Trial ...In Conclusion

The trial of Michael Sona finally came to a close Monday as the lawyers made their summations before Judge Gary Hearn. Both Crown prosecutor Croft Michaelson and attorney for Michael Sona Norm Boxall made their final pitch for Sona's guilty and innocence respectively, and while for many people the question of guilt or innocence is one they already know the answer to, Judge Hearn will undoubtedly have a tougher time of it given the strength of both men's arguments. For his part, Boxall stayed the course and threw the robocall ball to Andrew Prescott and Ken Morgan. Michaelson, meanwhile, said that the evidence establishes Sona's guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Guelph Politicast #3.5 - Anthony MacDonald, Progressive Conservatives

"It's the economy, stupid." That was once of the three messages that Democratic strategist James Carville created for Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential Campaign, and it worked. "It's the economy, stupid," might as well be on Anthony MacDonald's campaign signs because if there's a four word message from our interview, I think that is it. According to the Progressive Conservative candidate, and I quote, "there's nothing more important than the economy." The question is though, will Guelph think that MacDonald is the right man for the job and send him to Queen's Park as its Member of Provincial Parliament?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Editorial - 12 Angry Mentions from the Sona Trial

It was a long time coming, and to say that it was something of a disappointment is an understatement. Although many people wanted the trial of the century, what's clear is just how tenuous the case against Sona is, and maybe how badly this investigation's been bungled if this is the only case that can make it trial. In the details though, the case being tried in a Guelph court and scheduled to wrap up Monday with closing arguments has been fascinating. There's been personal betrayals, tall tales, stunning silences, and a startling lack of curiosity. In some ways, it's not a matter of how can anyone have gotten away with this, it's how could they not get away with it. In the case of the robocall trial there's no real certainty, even of the guilt of the accused. Here are a dozen of my observations from the trial.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Not Sure Who to Vote For? How About Declining the Vote?

The ennui of this election season is palpable, and the proof is that despite being up against a scandal-plagued, decade-old government, neither of the opposition parties can make a case for themselves as a replacement. The perpetual three-way race this election is surely infuriating for politicians, but its a reflection of the how the electorate feels: no one party has made a convincing pitch to take the Premier's office for undecided voters. So what is an undecided voter supposed to do? One Windsor activist has the answer: just don't vote.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Communist Leader Rowley Returning to Guelph Tomorrow

As per usual with an election campaign, the party leaders are coming through town for a visit: Kathleen Wynne's been here, so has Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath, and Micke Shreiner's been here the whole time. Next up is Liz Rowley, leader of the Communist Party of Ontario. She always stops by in the course of the campaign, and the 2014 race is no exception with a visit to the University of Guelph campus, and Guelph candidate Juanita Burnett, tomorrow night.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sona Trial Day #2 - Into the RackNine Matrix

Day two of the robocall trial dispatched two witnesses quickly before getting to the first star witness of the trial, RackNine CEO Mark Meier. If day one set up the dynamics of the Burke campaign and the personalities involved, then day two was about the technobabble of the autodial technology: who had access, who had the means, and who had the opportunity. The defense thinks that person is Andrew Prescott, and I'm not entirely convinced that the Crown doesn't think it either.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sona Trial Begins With Testimony from Burke Campaign Team

For local politicos, this was the biggest thing to hit the Guelph scene since we had back-to-back federal elections in 2008. I know, we lead a dull life, but for everyone who have wanted to see some kind of justice come out of the 2011 attempt to defraud voters of their right to vote, all hope now rests on Courtroom #2 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Guelph. Michael Sona, the communications director for the Marty Burke campaign, arrived for the start of his trial in fine spirits. He said he felt "great" and was looking forward to seeing how it all played out. What played out Monday was a recital of uncertainty as the first three witnesses called to testify teetered between throwing Sona under the bus (again) and exonerating him by omission.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Guelph Politicast #3.4 - Juanita Burnett, Communist Party

Both the national and provincial Communist Party have made their presence known in Guelph the last several years, and why not? It's only fitting because the party, the second oldest registered political party in the country, was started right here in Guelph in 1921. For the last several years, Drew Garvie has carried the Communist flag - as it were - in the Royal City, but with Garvie moving on to Toronto, the local Communist Party has turned to Junita Burnett to speak for the working class in the 2014 Provincial Election.