About the Blog:

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Is Guelph's Shopping Nightmare Finally Over?

Costco's Guelph store opened last Friday after much fanfare and extended wait. So what? I grant Costco the compliment that as a business, they're definitely more forward thinking in terms of wage and working conditions for employees, and being one of the rare private businesses that proactively compensates their employees well while being successful and proving that those things are not mutually exclusive. I welcome Costco as a good employer that offers Guelphites well-paying jobs, but what I don't welcome is the borderline religious fervor that accompanied another store opening in the City of Guelph.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lockout Update from City: We're Ready to Believe You

After a week of silence on the transit lockout, Guelph City Hall issued two press releases on Friday (take out the trash day). I guess they didn't want the week to close without letting those transit users they've abandoned know that they were being thought of. I guess. The "we'll talk when they talk" brinkmanship of the situation is testing the patience of transit users that depend on the service to get back and forth to their jobs, businesses that depend on workers and/or customers who use transit, and even members of the community who have no skin in the game but are further convinced now that city hall has no idea what it's doing. So what do the powers that be have to say about the situation one week later?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Council Candidate Wants to Rally Riders

Instantaneously showing more leadership than many of the people already on city council, Ward 6 candidate Keith Poore is organizing a rally meant to encourage both sides of the transit lockout - the City of Guelph and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 - to get back to the negotiating table so that 14,000 daily transit users can get back on their bus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New Names Join the Election Race

Oh yeah, there's still an election coming this fall! With the current transit lockout eating up much of the local news cycle, we stop for a minute to recognize new names, both original and familiar, who have registered their intention to take over from the current members of city council. Former city councillor Gary Walton and local raconteur Glen Tolhurst.

Monday, July 21, 2014

VIDEO - The Lockout From the Union POV

The mood outside city hall at 1 Carden Street was oddly cordial. No one was shouting words of scorn at the drivers, not one was playing the blame game, and the general public - whether they be walking or driving by - offered words, or honks, of support. That's life in the cat bird seat. Even though it was their vote to reject the city's offer that sparked the lockout, the members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 seem to be holding the high ground. But as the anger settles, and people start to seriously ask the question, why the heck did the union reject the deal in the first place?

Transit Lockout: Official Responses

This morning, I sent an e-mail to all 13 members of city council, as well as Chief Administrative Officer Ann Pappert and Director of Corporate and Human Resources Mark Amorosi asking them to respond to two simple questions: Why is the lockout necessary, and what are you going to do to make sure that everyone who needs the transit system to go about their daily affairs will experience the minimum of inconvenience? As each individual responds, I will update this post.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lockout Back On as Union Rejects New Deal

Here we go again. Another Sunday night and another lockout as the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 has rejected the tentative agreement reached between the City of Guelph and the union executive last Sunday that staved off the pending job action. It turns out though that it just delayed the inevitable. The union voted to ratify the agreement today, but the terms of the new deal were rejected, "forcing" the City to move ahead with its lockout plans. The news comes at the last minute for any commuters that need to make alternative arrangements, meanwhile, city officials are predicting that this lockout could last all summer long.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

City Looking for Workers for Election Day

As local candidates get themselves lined up and ready to do some serious campaigning come the fall, the City of Guelph is looking for help to make the election itself happen. If it looks like you're going to have some time to spare in October and you're interesting in making a little bit of money, then you too can be an election worker for the City of Guelph. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

City Votes Quick to Ratify Deal After Transit Lockout Averted

How many of you woke up this morning, left home, started making your way to wherever you were going on foot or bike, and then you saw it: a Guelph Transit bus. Even though many of the service interruption signs were still up this morning, the buses were back on the road as if nothing had ever happened on the weekend; the city and the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 made an after-the-last-minute deal to keep the service running. After a marathon negotiation session Sunday, a tentative agreement was reached, and tonight, city council did it's part by ratifying said agreement on their end.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Transit Lockout: A More Considered Opinion

UPDATE - 12:30 am, MONDAY - The Guelph Transit lockout has been averted with a tentative deal reached between the City and the Union. Read more here, but basically, it's business as usual tomorrow morning. BUSES WILL BE RUNNING AS SCHEDULED. More details to follow...


Hearing that the 205 Guelph Transit Employees had voted 94 per cent against the city's "final offer" Friday night, and the response by the city to lock them out prompted a perfectly visceral response from me.

I then got into something of a Twitter tiff with someone about the validity of my outburst, and you know what, he was right. Somewhat. In my deference to @bkmunn, I realized that hyperbole wasn't the answer, and after the Guelph Citizen's Andy Best paid me a great compliment about my reporting on this issue yesterday, I further realized that in this discussion, someone has to keep a cool head. So I will.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Word came down about an hour ago that members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189 have rejected the City of Guelph's "final offer" and city staff is moving to lockout Guelph Transit as of Monday. Hope no one that depends on the bus to go to work, school, doctor's appoints or shopping minds.

Transit Vs City: What are They Fighting For?

Today, the 200 some odd employees of Guelph Transit vote on a deal offered by the City of Guelph - their final offer. If the deal is voted down, it doesn't necessarily mean that there will be no bus service Saturday, but it might, which makes the vote today critical for the hundreds and hundreds of people that depend on the city's bus system to get around. Somewhat secondary is the undercurrent of animosity from the two sides, which has been in no way helped by this very adversarial negotiation process, and will unlikely be helped by a press release sent out by the city yesterday.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Abortion Bus Ad Debate Misses the Real Issue

You know an issue's contentious if a link on the Guelph sub-Reddit gets nearly 40 replies. Now don't get me wrong, I love the Guelph Reddit, but it ain't exactly the most happening place on the interwebs. In this case, the topic in question is part of a bigger conversation that has even made it to the local TV news, a question as to whether or not Guelph Right for Life should be allowed to advertise on city buses.
Given the fact that I've been in Guelph for almost 18 years, and cannot remember a time when the picture of a fetus and the phrase "This is a child. Not a choice." didn't occasionally pop up on the back of a bus, I have to wonder what the urgent urgency of getting rid of them now is. Also, I have to wonder why Guelphites advocating for a woman's right to choose keep missing the point? They're so wrapped up in the messaging that they seem to have forgotten that unless its an emergency or classified as live-saving surgery, your average woman can't get a legal abortion inside the boundaries of the Royal City.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Final Vote in Transit Negotiations Set for Friday

As reported last week, city negotiators have made their final offer to the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 1189, the union that represents Guelph Transit workers, all that was left was for the union to vote on the agreement. The city sent out a release today saying that the union members will be voting on that agreement later this week, with results to be announced after voting concludes later that same day. The outcome of the vote will determine whether or not there will be service interruption if the city locks out the workers, or if the transit union decides to go on strike.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Week in RoFo: The Return to Year Zero

It's amazing how quickly we got used to normal. On Monday, Mayor Rob Ford made his bombastic return to Toronto City Hall and it was almost like he never left. The circus was back in business, and Ford was happy to oblige their desire for three-ringed chaos: turning heart-felt apologies into campaign speeches, avoiding the press, hijacking a fellow-council member's issue about spending at Waterfront Toronto and conflating it to the nth degree, and today, on live radio, once again promising the impractical phase-out of street cars. All this, and his brother/campaign manager Doug Ford telling the father of an autistic child to "go to hell" over a complaint filed to the integrity commissioner about Doug's comments about a halfway house for autistic youth in Etobicoke. In other words, it was business as usual.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Time-Lapse View of Our Town

Downtown Guelph - Spring 2014 - A Timelapse Short from Andrew Goodwin on Vimeo.

It's been a bit of a slow week in politics (you know, if you're ignoring that circus in Toronto), but I found a link to the above video on the Guelph sub-Reddit and thought I'd share it here. Produced by the very talented Andew Goodwin, it's a time lapsed look at many points of interest, across many weeks, earlier this year in Guelph. Goodwin gets some great shots here, including what looks like an angle from the new condo building at the corner of MacDonell St. and Woolwich St. It's quite a dazzling two and a half minutes of the beauty of our town. Kudos to Mr. Goodwin.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

By-Elections: Low Turnout Yields Predictable Results

Prime Minster Stephen Harper's gambit to hold four by-elections on the day before Canada seems to have yield the results he wanted: low turnout and predictable returns on all four ridings. However, a closer look at the numbers may given pause to the leader, at least for the moment, that Justin Trudeau's Liberals still have the momentum with the electorate as we barrel into the 2015 general election.