Saturday, March 29, 2008

Haldimand "Many Thanks to You".

My 100th "Blog" and my "1st Anniversary"!

Well what a year it has been! It was both challenging and prosperous.

Just about a year ago I started my blog "Haldimand’s Unheard Voice", there were really two reasons why I started my blogging. Firstly I felt that I was an "Unheard Voice" in Haldimand County. As most of you that know me I am very passionate about "grass roots" politics. In the last year I have also become more involved with politics on the Provincial level as well as the Federal level, but my heart is with the "local level", this is where I feel you can really "make a difference".

My second reason for starting a blog was a health issue. I was booked for major surgery in April 2007, and I new I would have a recovery period followed by a six-week treatment regime. I needed something to fill in my time and keep me busy.

I started this blog for what I thought were two very good reasons, what I didn’t think about was where it was going to take me! Isn’t it funny sometimes what live can throw at us?

Each of us individually have our own "support" system, for some it is family and friends for others it is meeting and talking to people in a coffee shop or the grocery store or at an event.

Regardless a support system of some kind is a crucial part of our lives.

I want to take this time to thank the many people who have supported me in the last year. I have so many to thank, here are a few that come to mind:

To my "Family"…..Thank-You!
To my "Friends"……Thank-You!
For all the flowers and cards…..Thank-You!
For all the phone calls……..Thank-You!
For all the people who supported and joined me on the Dunnville Bridge…Thank-You!
For all the goodies that came to us on the Bridge……Thank-You!
For all of you that came out to events that I posted on my blog…..Thank-You!
For the phone calls in support of my letters to the editor……Thank-You!
For all the "Caring, Passionate" people I have met……….Thank-You!
For all of the posters on my "Blog", without you I would not have kept it going. Thank-You!

Don’t ever think that "You" don’t make a difference. Each of us in our own way makes a difference in someone’s life every single day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Haldimand "My Chat with Jim Dover from Haldimand County"

Last Wednesday I received a phone call from Jim Dover, Manager of Human Resources for Haldimand County. This phone call was in regards to my letter to the editor on March 14th, 2008 in the Sachem. The original post was regarding Haldimand County employees that make over $100,000.00 a year.

We spoke on the phone in depth about “Pay Equity” and “retroactive pay”. There was also some conversation about “comparative” Salaries. I questioned Jim on the comparisons of these positions in particular with the Manager of Corporate Services. As I stated in my blog Norfolk and Brant have a higher tax base, yet Haldimand County pays much higher salaries. Jim explained to me that they did not compare these with Norfolk or Brant, the comparison was with Niagara and Hamilton. I didn’t quite get that, but that is what they did.

If you compare Haldimand with Hamilton in population and tax base, there is nothing to compare too. Haldimand population…..42,000......... Hamilton......... population 503,000, but who am I, and what would I know about these issues?

Jim said that he would send me the reports that had the background information on the “Pay Equity”. Well what I received today is a document called the “Pay Equity Plan”, this is posted for all employees of Haldimand County. The reports that Jim was talking about are “confidential” and he could not send these to me. That makes perfect sense to me that these reports he was talking about would be "confidential", as stated that Grades above "14" are "contracted" positions.

As I was reading this “Pay Equity Plan” on page two it states:

Grades 14 through 17 “are not” included in the Non-Union Pay Equity Plan as positions in these grades are considered “anomalies” in that they are contract positions.

Well there you have it! Most of the Managers and Employees that are listed in the $100,000.00 dollar club are in Grade 14 and above, in particular Manager of Corporate Services.

Jim clarified that Haldimand County also did a “salary comparison” of Managers with Hamilton and Niagara, this was nothing more than a Salary increase in my opinion.

Now I am sure that Haldimand County would have liked me to do a “correction” or a “clarification” on my blog, but as you can see, for me this was not possible.

There is a huge difference between “Pay Equity” and “Pay Comparison”. The reasons behind comparing Haldimand with Hamilton are not justified. This council should have seen this and been "proactive" and "fiscally responsible".

I stick to my original story and that is the end of this story.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Haldimand "Should Council Members be Paid to sit on the Police Services Board?

I have received a few phone calls in the last week from some residents that read my blog regularly. Their concern was in regards to Council Members asking to be paid for sitting on the Police Services Board. The individuals that sit on the Police Services Board are paid from "our" taxes dollars. There are a few people that do not agree with Council including themselves in the pay schedule.

I will leave this one up to you to comment on. The following is an article written last week by Karen Best, and the information that follows is from the Haldimand County Website. I was a bit short on time so I will be updating this in the next couple of days.

First pay cheques coming for council members on police services board

Posted By KAREN BEST

Haldimand County council members who sit on the municipality's police services board are might receive pay cheques starting this year.

In a unanimous decision at a November meeting, board members decided Coun. Lorne Boyko and Mayor Marie Trainer should be treated the same as any other sitting member.

They will receive $4,000 each and, if acting as chair, an additional $1,200. As of March 17, Boyko was board chair and Trainer was vice-chair.

This year will be the first for payment to council members if the police services board budget is approved by county council.

"I think it's appropriate now. We are the only community with a board where citizens are treated differently than elected officials," Boyko pointed out.

In his view, payment on the police services board is the same as payment he receives for sitting on the Grand River Conservation Authority board.

Trainer echoed his logic. "The rest of the committee is receiving it and don't put in any more time than we do," she pointed out.

"(Payment for council members) was not part of the budget until it came to the table," said board administrator Grant Bivol, who is also the county's deputy clerk.

Board member Stewart Patterson moved the salary motion that was seconded by Bill Keenan. Both Trainer and Boyko voted in favour of it. Provincial appointee Tom Patterson was absent due to illness.

Boyko said the board cannot act on the new initiative until Haldimand County council approves the board's 2008 operating budget of $34,600. It includes $8,270 for council member remuneration and benefits.

According to county corporate services general manager Karen General, the Ontario municipal act gives council authority to set remuneration for members on any local board of council. The police services board is autonomous in spending operating money in a budget approved by council, she explained.

However, under the provincial Police Services Act, council is required to pay at least the regulated remuneration to provincially appointed members on the board. As such the board has no authority to set remuneration for any members sitting on the board, explained General.

The proposed remuneration for council members will come forward as a new initiative that council can approve or deny in the county's operating budget, she continued.

Norfolk County council members serving on the police services board have been paid for several years.
http://www.dunnvillechronicle.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=949638&auth=KAREN+BEST
http://www.haldimandcounty.on.ca/Documents/main/policies/05-02%20Expectations%20of%20Council%20Appointees%20to%20Corporate%20Bodies.pdf

The following are the boards that Council Members sit on;

Deputy Mayor One (01) year term from 2006 12 01 to 2008 11 30.
Councillor Buck Sloat

Committees and Boards

Council representation on the following Business Divisions of Council in Committee are for one (01) year from 2006 12 01 to 2008 11 30.

Community and Leisure Services:
Craig Grice, Chair
Don Ricker, Vice-Chair
Corporate Services:
Lorne Boyko, Chair
Tony Dalimonte, Vice- Chair
Joint Services:
Leroy Bartlett, Chair
Craig Grice, Vice-Chair
Physical Services:
Don Ricker, Chair
Leroy Bartlett, Vice-Chair
Planning and Economic Development:
Tony Dalimonte, Chair
Lorne Boyko, Vice-Chair

Council representation on the following local Boards and Committees are four (04) years from 2006 12 01 to 2010 11 30.

Caledonia Business Improvement Area Board of Management
Craig Grice
Court of Revision
Craig Grice
Lorne Boyko
Leroy Bartlett
Buck Sloat (Alternate)
Dunnville Business Improvement Area Board of Management
Lorne Boyko
Grand River Conservation Authority (compensated by Grand River Conservation Authority)
Craig Grice
Lorne Boyko
Niagara, Hamilton, Haldimand, Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)
Buck Sloat
Hagersville Business Improvement Area Board of Management
Tony Dalimonte
Haldimand County Library Board
Don Ricker

Haldimand County Police Services Board
Marie Trainer

Lorne Boyko

Haldimand County Utilities (compensated by Haldimand County Hydro)
Marie Trainer
Buck Sloat
Mosaic Esterhazy Ltd. Committee
Lorne Boyko
Hamilton Airport Noise Management Advisory Committee
Marie Trainer
Long Point Conservation Authority (compensated by Long Point Conservation Authority)
Buck Sloat
Leroy Bartlett
Property Standards Committee
Buck Sloat
Don Ricker
Leroy Bartlett
Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (compensated by Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority)
Tony Dalimonte
Southern Grand River Advisory Board
Buck Sloat
Tom Howe Citizen Liaison Committee
Leroy Bartlett

Council representation on the following Joint Committee is for four (04) years from 2006 12 01 to 2010 11 30.

Health and Social Services Advisory Committee
Tony Dalimonte
Craig Grice
Don Ricker

The Health and Social Services Advisory Committee meets on the third Thursday of each month. Meetings begin at 7:00pm. and the meeting locations alternate between the Health and Social Services Department in Simcoe and the Haldimand County Administration Building in Cayuga.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Haldimand "Minister Bryant will not Answer Toby Barrett"

Hi Toby here,

Please find attached a news release with regard to my third day of questioning to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant regarding extortion demands of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute.

For immediate release: March 20, 2008

Barrett calls for investigation, charges into HDI

Minister won’t look into payment demands holding up builders/governments

Queen’s Park— For the third day in a row, Ontario’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister refused to address questions regarding Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) strong-arm techniques to extort fees from homebuilders, and now governments.

Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett picked up his line of questioning from two previous days of queries to ask where government stands regarding HDI demands for fees.

“Minister, on November 30th – last year – your government met with HDI- the Six Nations Haudenosaunee Development Institute,” stated Barrett. “After your meeting, you, your government, received a letter from HDI – this according to the National Post – demanding a $7,000 fee….or else further talks would be prevented from occuring.”

“Minister, you now have evidence – in writing – of this extortion by HDI we’ve been hearing about. Will your government lay charges?”

Before denying any knowledge of the HDI payment letter, the Minister said it was up to the police to lay charges.

Barrett went on to cite further HDI payment demands.

“Official plans for the city of Brantford, Brant County, Norfolk County, Haldimand County, East Luther – Grand Valley, and the City of Hamilton rural plan are all on hold.” Barrett reported in his supplementary question. “‘All construction from roads to homes will be stopped if an Ontario ministry does not pay for a Haudenosaunee Development Institute review of the Haldimand County Official Plan’ says the Dunnville Chronicle.

“And this from Aaron Detlor, ‘financial institutions ….will completely back away from any development.’ ‘if the ministry refuses to pay, there will be repercussions,’ Detlor said. There you have it Minister – a public threat of “repercussions”. Minister when will you investigate and charge HDI with extortion?”

Bryant responded that the action Barrett is requesting would “further divide” the local communities.

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629

Haldimand "Toby Barrett still wants an Answer from Minister Bryant"

Hi Toby here,

Today in the Legislature I once again had the chance to question the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs regarding government help for homebuilders facing Haudenosaunee Development Institute development fee extortion.

Bryant ignores homebuilders handcuffed by HDI demands Minister blows his top when asked to increase police funding

Queen’s Park— Ontario’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister once again turned his back on homebuilders facing extortion fee demands before blowing his top when pressed to increase funding to keep the peace at ongoing construction disruptions.

Minister Bryant’s unparliamentary explosion came after a pair of questions from Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett, in which Barrett asked the Minister to expand on answers he gave yesterday regarding the government stance on homebuilders being charged “development fees” by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI).

Work on the Hampton Hotel in Brantford has been shut down on eight separate days by Haudenosaunee Development Institute protesters demanding payment - Minister, this is just one of several construction sites in Brantford shut down by protesters demanding extortion fees,” explained Barrett. “Yesterday, Minister, you said you are “going to work” with Six Nations and municipalities and developers. We’ve had two years of construction shut-downs; when will you start working with area homebuilders?”

While Bryant responded by saying he “continues” to work with homebuilders, he was unclear when he will meet to discuss their difficulties with a government that tells builders not to pay HDI fees and then leaves them to fend for themselves when HDI protestors come to collect.
Barrett came back with a supplementary question to expand on Bryant’s direct quote a day previous indicating, “government has a role to play not in terms of informing police but, as we disclosed, providing the funding necessary.”


“Mr. Mike Quattrociocchi asks if he were to bring his back-hoe to Queens Park would police stand by in the same fashion as in Caledonia and Brantford?” Barrett relayed. “On policing Minister, the Brantford police services need help. When are you going to stop blaming Ottawa and step up to fund and resource the extra policing required at these confrontations in Brantford?

With that the Minister lost decorum, refusing again to directly answer the question and fell back on giving his version of differences between the government and opposition approach, and then shouting “Shame on you” to Mr. Barrett.

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629

Development fees

Mr. Toby Barrett: A question for the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs: Work on the Hampton Hotel in Brantford has now been shut down on eight separate days by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute demanding payment. This is just one of several construction sites in Brantford shut down by protesters demanding extortion fees. Aside from the Hampton Hotel, there are the Mission Estates on Garden Avenue, First Urban at Gretzky and Henry and the Grand River Avenue site of the home builder Mike Quattrociocchi.

Yesterday, Minister, you said you are “going to work” with First Nations municipalities and developers . We’ve had two years of construction shutdowns. Minister, when will you start working with area home builders?

Hon. Michael Bryant: Yes, we’ll continue to work with area home builders, and we’ll continue to work with municipal leaders and yes, we will continue to work with Six Nations leadership. I’ve never heard the official opposition talk about any of those members working with Six Nations leadership.

We’re not going to pick and choose who in that community we’re going to work with to try and make progress. I’ve expressed to band council at Six Nations, I have expressed to the confederacy in the Haudenosaunee Six Nations that obviously we all need to treat each other with the mutual respect on all sides as we work through these issues, and I will continue to do so.

Mr. Toby Barrett: Well, Minister, the home builders do have questions. They obviously have questions on the land dispute negotiations and progress or lack thereof, the demands of HDI and the status of property rights in the province of Ontario. They want to meet with you face to face; your YouTube publicity stunts just don’t cut it with the business community. What options do they have?

Mr. Quattrociocchi has a question. If he was to bring his backhoe to Queen’s Park, would the police stand by in the same fashion as in Caledonia and as in Brantford? On policing, Minister, Brantford police services need help. When are you going to stop blaming Ottawa, step up, fund and resource the extra policing required as a result of these confrontations in the city of Brantford?

Hon. Michael Bryant: Well, there you go, Mr. Speaker. You heard it pretty clearly right there. There’s a difference between Premier McGuinty’s approach on this side of the House and the John Tory approach on that side of the House.

On this side of the House, we understand that the police are independent of the government. It’s not the Premier’s police or the executive’s police. It’s an independent police force. It’s a civil society.

Over there, the former Premier and leader of their party—we know what his approach to this was: “Get those Indians out of the park,” he said. That is not our approach, and that will never be our approach. We will continue to follow recommendations of the Ipperwash commission and not take any so-called leadership from the official opposition. Shame on you.

Haldimand "Toby Barrett wants an Answer from Minister Bryant"

Hi Toby here,

Today in the Legislature I had the opportunity to press the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs for direct answers as to government’s stance on Haudenosaunee Development Institute demands for development fees.

Please find attached a news release and the hansard of my question and the Minister’s answers.

For immediate release: March 18, 2008

Barrett demands action on HDI extortion

Builders “on their own” to deal with development fee demands Queen’s Park— The Ontario Government continues to speak out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to development fee demands from the Haudenosaunee Development Institute.

That according to Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett, who pressed Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant for straight answers in the Legislature today on where government stands regarding extortion tactics of the HDI.

Your government has stated, ‘the Haudenosaunee Development Institute’ has no authority to stop development or charge development fees," asserted Barrett. “and yet we see headlines, ‘Six Nations can make developers pay, Ontario says’ and reports, ‘10 developers have each paid a $7,000 application fee to the Haudenosaunee Development Institute’.

“Builders want to know minister, where do you stand on HDI development fees. Will your government stand behind the builders??”

Instead of answering the question, Minister Bryant chose instead to first praise his caucus colleague, MPP Dave Levac, for hosting a community forum and then accuse MPP Barrett of being divisive for questioning government’s approach.

Barrett went back at the Minister to highlight the fact that government has met with HDI and administrator Aaron Detlor, and quoting the Tekka newspaper report saying Bryant considers – “working together with an institute to help consult on issues….a positive step...”. The Haldimand Norfolk MPP then painted a clear picture of the situation builders find themselves in when dealing with HDI demands.

“Minister – 6 o’clock this morning HDI protestors stopped a $10.5 million hotel project in Brantford - demanding builders pay up-front development fees – the eighth day that construction has been halted,” Barrett reported. “Minister, your government tells developers not to pay the fees and then tells them they’re on their own - Minister, when will you actually take action to stop this extortion?”

Again, the Minister refused to give a direct answer to the question.

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629

Development fees

Mr. Toby Barrett: To the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs: Builders in Brantford would like to know where you stand with respect to extortion, the development fees that are being charged by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute of Six Nations. Your government has stated that the Haudenosaunee Development Institute has no authority to stop development or charge development fees and, yet, we see headlines, “‘Six Nations can make developers pay,’ Ontario says” and reports, “ ... 10 developers have each paid a $7,000 application fee to the Haudenosaunee Development Institute.”

Builders wish to know, Minister, where you stand with respect to these HDI development fees and will your government stand behind the builders?

Hon. Michael Bryant: I want to give great credit to MPP David Levac who brought together members of the community for the county, as well as the builders, as well as the band council and Haudenosaunee Six Nations in the same room to talk to each other, to try and create the sense of community that, for so many years in fact, had been the pride of that community; that is, First Nations, Haudenosaunee Six Nations living and working side by side.

This was an approach that tried to come up with solutions, not the divisive approach the member seems to be advocating where you have to choose one side or another. I congratulate Dave Levac for doing that for his local community. I certainly will stand beside him and all the—

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you.
Supplementary. Mr. Toby Barrett: Your government has also met with HDI and administrator, Aaron Detler. The Tekka newspaper says you consider “working together with an institute to help consult on issues ... a positive step.”

At 6 o’clock this morning, HDI protestors stopped a $10.5-million hotel project in Brantford, demanding builders pay upfront development fees. This is the eighth day that construction’s been halted. This hotel could employ 50 people, let alone today’s construction jobs.

Your government tells developers not to pay the fees and then tells them they’re on their own. Minister, when will you actually take some action to end this extortion?

Hon. Michael Bryant: I’d like to know what exactly the member is advocating. What is action? Is that telling the police what to do? This government is not going to do that. Is this action about directing police operations? No, that is not what we do.

The Ipperwash commission recommended that in fact operational decisions are made by police, and the government has a role to play not in terms of informing police but, as we disclosed, providing the funding necessary.

If what the member is asking is, are we going to work with Haudenosaunee Six Nations, the developers and the municipalities to come to a solution, that answer’s yes.

Haldimand "News Release from Caledonia Citizens Alliance"

Ken Hewitt from the Caledonia Citizens Alliance e-mailed me this news release today. I found this a very interesting read, in fact I called Ken Hewitt to clarify a few questions I had.

What I found very interesting is that Mayor Trainer, Councillors Grice, Boyko and a member of the Alliance all sit on the Liaison side table together. The document that the Alliance put together and submitted was not a "secret" document, Council would have been fully aware, if they were not aware, ask the above council members that question.


NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 20, 2008

CALEDONIA IGNORED IN HALDIMAND ‘RECOVERY PLAN’

The last two years have proven a constant challenge for the Caledonia Citizens Alliance, a group of volunteers committed to ensuring Caledonia has a voice in the ongoing land dispute and fall-out over DCE. Case in point is the unfair criticism these community volunteers took from local council members over voicing their concerns regarding the lack of Caledonia representation and public input in the Haldimand County ‘Recovery Plan’.

On January 21, 2008 Haldimand County adopted a recommendation to publicly release a report entitled ‘Haldimand County Recovery Projects Plan’ that had previously been adopted in closed session. In the report, dated December 4, 2007 Don Boyle, CAO of Haldimand County requests council approval for the recovery plan "related to the impacts of Land Claims issues, which will be forwarded to the Federal and Provincial Governments soliciting financial assistance in undertaking these initiatives."

"The document clearly outlines that there has been significant economic and social impact in Haldimand County. Given that the situation is taking place in Caledonia you would have to assume that this has had the greatest impact in Caledonia, so it is interesting to note," said Ken Hewitt, Alliance member, "that a document entitled Recovery Plan includes nothing to assist Caledonia."

Members of the Alliance were shocked to see requests for $250,000 for decorative lighting in Dunnville and an additional $635,000 to improve the functionality and aesthetics of Dunnville downtown in support of business development and tourism attraction. The only request within the Recovery Plan for Caledonia is improvements to waste water treatment and water supply facilities and a vague request including five other communities to assist with creating and supporting small business retention and development in downtown areas.

Based on the lack of Caledonia representation the Alliance decided to compile its own research and prepare an alternative document to enhance the County’s proposal. Once completed this document not only supported the County proposal but also added some additions to assist the flagging community of Caledonia. This document was then shared with the Haldimand County Mayor and the Honorable Diane Finely, MP Haldimand-Norfolk.

"We wanted to ensure that Haldimand County was aware of this document because the Province has made it very clear in the liaison meetings that both the community and Haldimand County Council have to be onside with any proposal," said Jason Clark, also a volunteer with the Alliance, "We made sure to email it to the appropriate people at Haldimand County and spoke with others who were involved." Mr. Clark noted that all the information included in the document has come from public input over the last two years.


The document along with the Haldimand County proposal is also available on the Alliance website at www.caledoniacitizensalliance.com.

"We believe the Haldimand County Recovery Plan has merit, but we don’t feel it provides sufficient assistance to those affected the greatest by the ongoing dispute, the community of Caledonia," said Mr. Hewitt. "Don Boyle, CAO of Haldimand County previously indicated that the county cannot develop until the issue of occupations is addressed, does that mean we give up on Caledonia?" asked Mr. Hewitt, "I think it means we fight even harder to make sure Caledonia has a voice."

Contact information: Ken Hewitt 905.765.5222

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Haldimand "We Demand More Than "8" Days"

Toby regularly sends me his updates and news releases. Well this one was quite interesting. In the last "10" months the Ontario Legislature has only sat for "8" days!

I find myself speechless, what I mean is that I find this unbelievable, maybe I find this unacceptable, oh hell this is just not the way our Government should run! This is the discussion period, the place where votes are taken, the place where issues are dealt with, the place where your member of Parliament speaks on behalf of their constituents. How is anything getting done in this Province if they are not in the Legislature?

As I recall last summer's session was cut short because of the election being held in the fall, so what has Premier McGuinty's excuse been since then, "8" days, give me a break. So what has the McGuinty government accomplished for you in the last "10" months....oh a Family Holiday in February.........well I have gone blank I can't think of anything else. Well I guess that's just about all that can be accomplished in "8" days!

McGuinty promised the people of Ontario a government that is "Transparent and Accountable". How can any government be accountable to the people when they are not doing their jobs. Soon it will be Spring and the Legislature will be going for their summer break, to not return until fall. It will be interesting to see if this current government can pull off maybe a "month" in the "Legislature"! Any bets?

Here is Toby Barrett's news release;

Good afternoon, Toby here:

Following is a news release I sent out to my colleagues and to members of the media late yesterday afternoon. I am anxious to return to Queen’s Park on Monday to keep the land dispute at the forefront in the Ontario Legislature. Have a good weekend.

Toby

For Immediate Release

March 13, 2008

Time to get back to Question Period

Simcoe – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is eager to get back to Queen’s Park and Question Period this coming Monday.

The Ontario Legislature has only sat eight days over the course of the past 10 months,” Barrett said. “There are many issues from across this province that have been left unaddressed because Dalton McGuinty has strayed from the parliamentary calendar.

“The people of Caledonia are still living in limbo due to the on-going land dispute and tobacco farmers are still struggling to pay the bills while waiting for a hand up from government,” Barrett said. “The Ontario Legislature is the only place to hold the government accountable in a public venue on these types of matters.”

The issues across the province are the same today as they are 10 months ago, according to Barrett. He added that instead of addressing those issues, McGuinty and gang are concerning themselves with things that should not be tinkered with, such as the Lord’s Prayer.

“The Lord’s Prayer needs to stay put and this government needs to pull up its socks and talk about things like the economy,” Barrett said.

Barrett is asking constituents to call his office with suggestions or advice for him as he heads back to Queen’s Park. His office can be reached at 519-428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Haldimand "Rebuilding Structure for Stability"

As the county had already forwarded their Recovery Plan to the Government without "public input", the Province insisted that the County do just that, make the document "public". The Province basically stated that they wanted feed back from the people before they considered giving the County any funds, whether it be the whole $56 million dollars or part of that amount. Anyone could have written a letter, put in a proposal, or simply commented on the county's Recovery Plan. The County will be notified at the end of March if any funds are coming our way.

The Caledonia Citizens Alliance did just that. They submitted their own plan called "Rebuilding Structure for Stability".

The county was not pleased with the Alliance for submitting this plan, and had to do as they stated in the local papers some "damage" control on "our behalf". There are also residents in Caledonia who are not so happy that the Alliance took this course of action, as they did the same thing the County did, they never asked the "public" for their "input".

The way I see it is the County once again didn't follow "due process". The County never asked the residents what are your thoughts, wishes, concerns etc. I am not saying that the County needs to have a "public" meeting every time they make a decision, but this was a huge project. And as I stated the Province was not too impressed that the County did this behind closed doors.

The one thing that I do fear is that there is a mixed message here. If I was on the outside looking in at these two proposals, what would I think? One from the County, another from a Citizens Group. I would ask this; Who is speaking on behalf of the taxpayers of Haldimand County?

I had e-mailed the Caledonia Alliance and asked them if they could send me the proposal that was sent to the Government. They had not problems with this and gave me full permission to post this on my blog. Here it is...........

Date: February 23, 2008
To: Office of Hon. Diane Finley, P.C., M.P.
From: Caledonia Citizens Alliance

Re: Rebuilding Structure for Stability

On February 13, Haldimand County CAO Don Boyle shared the rationale and priorities of the County’s list of recovery projects. Before an open meeting of approximately one hundred and fifty people, the CEO advised that the list was the result of cross-referencing County needs against existing government capital programs. While few took issue with the list or the rationale, the public took strong issue with the fact that the list was completely silent on three key issues which the community (Caledonia in particular), has endured for two years.

Launched on February 28, 2006, the Douglas Creek Estates protest by Six Nations is unique from most other claims in Canada because of it’s proximity to an urban area (Edmonton is the second such incident). The result has been significant third party impact well beyond the fundamental impact of an unresolved First Nations claim.

The resulting issues are:

Security – Ontario handed defacto control to Six Nations by requiring the OPP to secure 6N blessing on 6th Line policing……6N becomes escape route / haven for criminals.

Communications – The tri-partite claim resolution model (Fed/Prov/FN) leaves County and Caledonia residents out of the loop and dependent on 3rd party interpretation because layers of government vetting result in watered down content and are not timely.

Recovery – Developers, trades, retailers, the municipality, transport sector and community health agencies are all left with a radically different external context. Already strained, the private sector can ill afford to engage in the area economy when it offers little behavioural evidence of stability to act on strategic plans.

Acknowledge Reality. The public applauds the efforts of Haldimand County to document what it considers to be a logical list of recovery projects given government capital assistance programs.

However, it is unfortunate that process was essentially behind closed doors and did not engage their constituency – a critical error in strategic planning with the aim to galvanizing hope for the future.

For the Community to be supportive, the document must first of all acknowledge obvious challenges faced by the citizens – silence is unacceptable as it perpetuates grievances where hope is essential.

The document should reflect the following: State and acknowledge the key issues stated above.
If capital assistance programs free up County resources, state those secondary priorities.
Face the Caledonia community and its key issues head on.

Re-establishing Stability for Economic Function

Below are suggested objectives and tactics to help establish community confidence and effective economic function:

Respectfully, the Ontario government is talking from two different platforms when, on one hand, they say that they are not permitted to direct the OPP, yet require the OPP to seek out the blessing of the Haudenosaunee concerning policing on 6th and 7th Lines. Two years have passed!

Incrementally re-establish regular visible patrolling of 6th and 7th Line as obliged.
We have witnessed OPP officers working hard to take down criminals of all communities. However, applying the letter of the law and halting at the intersection of Argyle South and 6th Line while watching a criminal flee down the 6th Line to find haven on the Six Nations Reservation – does not make common sense.

The nature of people from all communities is such that if there is no accountability, there will be no reason to abide by the law. This is not simply a matter of concern for municipalities adjacent to Six Nations, but also an issue for Six Nations themselves. Encourage the municipalities (including Six Nations Council) along with their respective police boards to formulate strategies on this matter. Be supportive of the efforts of Six Nations Band Council Chief Bill Montour to enhance their police team and establish their own magistrate. Empower responsible citizens of all communities.

While HDI holds no authority, it functions like a thief, perpetuating disputes which rob everyone of time, energy and money. Murray Coolican and MAH Minister Watson have unequivocally stated that Ontario is confident in it’s title system and that HDI has no jurisdiction and developers/builders are not required to pay the fees asserted by HDI. But what behavioural action supports that stance?

Not only are Ontario businesses struggling with the impact if a par dollar and down turns in the auto sector, billions of dollars worth of development and construction are leaving a major economic corridor because the Ontario government cannot provide assurance that their framework of law and order is sufficiently stable to do business. ie: In Hagersville Dan Valentini’s approved housing project was disrupted by trespassers stirring things up on behalf of the Haudenosaunee. Can we not defend peace in the event site work is disrupted? Exercising "Tough love" means respect for the person not respect for bad behaviour. We can respect the claimant and give attention to the details of a claim while saying "no" to civil disobedience.

A tri-partite stakeholder model was established early on by governments to be utilized by Ron Doering and Murray Coolican for negotiating the Haldimand Tract claims. This model is sound for geographically remote sites where there is minimal third party impact. However, that is not the case in Caledonia and to complicate matters further, Six Nations representatives attending main table meetings utilize a sophisticated network of Internet blogs to get their slant out immediately upon exit from the negotiation room. Naturally there is hesitation around the introduction of another community stakeholder group which may complicate matters with another set of bias. However, there is room for a carefully selected communications lias that understands tough love, power, culture, negotiations, etc.

Building Hope

The Community applauds the work of negotiators Ron Doering and Murray Coolican in their efforts to resolve the claims. It is understood that this will take some time as Six Nations builds their governance model and as duty to consult processes are established. However, with multiple and sound offers on the table and no effort on the part of the Haudenosaunee to meet on the duty to consult, the need to put food on our plates and maintain the roof over our head continues. It is not a problem if Six Nations people wish to go slow and wait – but the creator says that work still needs to be done.

In organizing the list of suggestions listed below, consideration was given to the following objectives:

Haldimand strengths and opportunities as stated by Ottawa Consultant McSweeny:
Outstanding underutilized heavy industrial site;
Opportunity for strong continuing role in power generation;
Grand River corridor and Lake front appeal for tourism and culture; and
Food processing proximate to large markets.
Recovery through infrastructure
Facilitating community to community engagement
Listing in priority order with most important listed first

In addition to the above findings, it is prudent that we compliment the investment in heavy industry with the provision of fully serviced light industrial sites in each community of Haldimand County. This will enable the establishment of small to medium sized enterprises which not only target their services to heavy industry, but also the world’s niche markets. This is supported by the findings of Haldimand as a significant exporter/importer of skilled labour.

Community to Community

That the Ontario Minister of Health appoint a Family Health Team to Caledonia, Ontario. To date the Ministry has assigned 150 FHT’s in three waves over the last 4 years. The Liberal Government’s 2007 election campaign platform called for the allocation of another 50 teams over the subsequent 4 years. One has already been assigned to Sudbury which was the most underserved (as measured by doctor/patient ratio) community in Ontario. Caledonia is second from the bottom. The Mayor of Haldimand supports the idea and agreed to write letter supporting application. Can MP Diane Finley and MPP Toby Barrett also provide a letter of support to accompany our application?

Support the Community Support Centre with $100k/yr for 5 years to help deal with the sudden growth in community health and social challenges. As we have advised MAH Deputy Minister John Burke, the needs have changed and evolved over the last two years. Can HRDC and MAH or other programs assist us with perhaps a collaborative contribution to the above need?

Caledonia has great opportunity for a modest cost to link it’s walking paths and Haldimand’s undeveloped rail trails to the Hamilton and Niagara Escarpment network. A citizens group led by Tom Bernard is already established and sees this as another opportunity to bring people with an "Active Lives" mind set to Caledonia. In addition, Don Bowman has assembled a team to launch an annual Father’s Day event on and along the Grand River to also provide opportunity for community to community engagement. Haldimand County has plans for the County which include a link to Hamilton as well as Niagara and includes a Rotary Trail along the River that could link to Brantford. This project could be leveraged with a $250k contribution from each of the 3 levels of government with an additional requirement for private/community contributions on either an in-kind or cash basis not less than $250k.

The County Recreation Department would be required to have a $1mln plan approved for implementation over 3 years to be fully completed by September 2010. The City of Brantford and Six Nations could be approached to contribute to link it to their respective communities.
Ask Minister Bryant to appoint a multi-community team to generate a proposal for the long-term use of DCE. The Lias Table that meets every two weeks should be encouraged to look at this question. (while guarding against a pre-empted idea: many ideas have been suggested and include: history centre, indigenous plants of the Grand, arboretum, medical centre, aquatic centre, fire hall, Aboriginal Affairs office)

Infrastructure:

Since 2000, development in Caledonia has universally rallied around the East side development concept of the McClung Bridge and ring road. This has been driven by a need to be sensitive to Six Nations to the SE, the need to integrate disaster recovery logic into transport arteries and it’s proximity to land available for future development. The McClung Bridge and ring road costs $17mln. Ontario has $3mln designated for a detour and temporary Bailey to support reconstruction of the Argyle Bridge, but this money can be re-allocated to the McClung project. The County is in a position to take $1.3mln designated to a third lane of the Argyle Bridge project and reallocate to the McClung project. The private developers could be invited to participate by capitalizing the roads while governments could agree to tackle the bridge. This has potential to be a wonderful joint initiative. As a second phase of this project, the ring road can be connected to the HWY 6 bypass by the installation of a cloverleaf to provide convenient access to Six Nations as well as Caledonia South. This cloverleaf can be a joint project of Six Nations and Haldimand County as and if each party is inclined. It also has the potential to help reduce tensions associated with the policing of 6th Line. We suspect it is not prudent to proceed with the construction of the Stirling Bridge, so the $1mln federal money should be gratefully declined and settlement made with the developer of Stirling Woods.

Small businesses are collectively a critical component to the Canadian economy. While the development of large industry is important for employment, it is equally important that a compliment of fully serviced light industrial parks be available in the region. While the County should be encouraged to pursue this in all it’s major communities, in Caledonia it should focus on the NE Quad and complete servicing in the NW Quad. Small and medium business enterprises serve to meet needs in niche markets throughout the world and form a material part of the Canadian economy. Their strength is their ability to be agile in a constantly changing global marketplace.

Advancing the development of the Nanticoke Industrial Park is a sound move, particularly for Ontario’s economic engine and challenges as previously stated. Again, Haldimand County can more effectively advise concerning cost and strategy.

The Nanticoke Water Scheme is a sound long term water strategy involving multiple municipalities. This will utilize existing intakes in Lake Ontario to disbursement into Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations, Brantford, Cambridge, etc. This is a material project which will undoubtedly galvanize strong support from Ontario. Haldimand County can provide better cost and engineering details than is available to citizens. Obviously, advancing the Nanticoke Water Scheme also begs the need to ensure the network has sufficient capacity to effectively deal with the potential sewage once the water is utilized.

Commerce

Contribute grant money to renovate the Old Arena. Situated on the Caledonia Fairgrounds, the Old Arena is poised to become a vibrant community building for "dry" assembly purposes. Current use is diverse and includes trade shows, dog shows, sporting events, car shows, heritage festivals, fundraisers, youth activities (ie. 4-H, church) and concerts. Renovations to convert it to a year-round, modern, multi-purpose facility would enhance its potential not only for the local community but attract outside organizations and businesses. The feasibility study is near completion and the anticipated $2mln renovation includes: address any structural needs including removal of old concrete bleachers, insulation, heating systems, variety of rooms sizes for service clubs and meetings, new fully accessible washrooms/showers/change rooms, commercial kitchen, office/service space for special need groups, AV, acoustic and d├ęcor for special events. Canada and Ontario each grant $750k to renovate the Old Arena. The Caledonia Fair Board and community have already raised money to pay for the feasibility study, so there should be will for the community to rally and raise the rest including an cost overruns in excess of $2mln. A redevelopment project fits very well with the current situation.

It is a proven fact that retention is a great deal less costly than expansion. We thank governments for helping Caledonia with resources for the BR+E project and look forward to engaging the results being generated by 40 volunteers from a cross-section of 250 businesses. The report is expected to be available in July 2008.

Respectfully Submitted

The Caledonia Citizens Alliance thanks those receiving and considering the above ideas and concedes that this document does not do justice to the details of each project nor the efforts of the people working behind the scenes on resolving those details. Contacts for each project and further comment can be provided by Jason Clark and Ralph Luimes.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Haldimand "Merlyn Kinrade needs your Support"

Update March 9, 2008; Thanks again to Numberswatchdog. For full coverage of today's event please go to http://www.numberswatchdog.com/ In the video/audio section. I was given the opportunity to Ask Councillor Grice about the Proclamation today, and he confirms what Mayor Trainer said, that Council will not support this. My question is under Toby Barrett and the Proclamation. For those that are on dialup, numberswatchdog has an audio file, thanks from all of us that are on dialup.

If you read my blog on a regular basis you will know that I often write and post comments and concerns of the residents of Haldimand County. If you feel you are an "Unheard Voice", and you are respectful, I will post your story.

So in saying this, Merlyn Kinrade of Caledonia is asking for "Your" support on Sunday in Caledonia. I have often stated that it is better to receive information first hand before you make a "Judgement", whether it be attending a "Public" meeting at Council, or doing just this, passing information on to you. The ultimate decision is yours to whether you attend or not.

I will be there on Sunday, that is if I can shovel out from the "50" centimetres of snow that we are apparently suppose to get here in Haldimand County over the next couple of days. I will update you if this demonstration date changes.

I would like to add a personal note here; I have personally met Merlyn Kinrade on many occasion's. Merlyn is a passionate and caring person. You may not agree with some of the things that Merlyn has said or been involved in, but I have got to say that Merlyn truly cares about his community and therefore he has my support!

Merlyn has asked that anyone who has the means to send this along to as many people as possible, so as "Haldimand's Unheard Voice", that is exactly what I am doing. See you Sunday!

Merlyn's Letter to the Editor

It has become more apparent than ever that extortionist Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) are out of control and appear to have the blessing of the Province and OPP Commissioner Fantino.HDI spokesperson Aaron Detlor says they met with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing – "we advised them that they were going to need our consent and we were going to have to take time to review the plan and be given the resources to do so".

The plan being Haldimand Country official plan.Mr. McGinty would you treat the Mafia with the same respect?

Your government has repeatedly rejected the authority of the HDI to charge fees and yet you meet with people who should be arrested. Need I say more, the lawlessness continues unabated?

A rally is planned for Sunday March 9th 2008, 1:00p.m. At the Caledonia Centre (twin pad area).

I am appealing to Mayor Trainer and council, MPP Toby Barrett, MPP Tim Hudak, PC leader John Tory, all the protest groups, the movers and shakers and all the rest of the citizens that realize now that we have been duped for two years and counting.

If you care about the business community and the very survival of Caledonia and indeed Haldimand County we need your support.

The Ipperwash or whitewash inquiry is a millstone around Dalton McGintys neck, strange how vindictiveness has a habit of coming back to bite oneself in the butt. We all suffer because of this scam.

In closing Mr. Detlor stated (channel CTS) that the Haldimand Tract is only the beginning, Ontario, New York and parts of Ohio are all under land claims. He appears (Detlor) bent on conquest.It’s up to us to ensure our voices are heard.

M. Kinrade
RCN Ret’d

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Haldimand "How Big is Your Wallet?"

This will interest a few of you out there that love crunching dollars, but I must warn you, you will need a very strong coffee for this read, as I find that we indeed pay our employees very well here in Haldimand County!

Each year Municipalities must disclose all employees that are paid over $100,000.00 a year. In 2005 Haldimand County had "4" employees over $100,000.00, and in 2006 "5" employees over $100,000.00. Now in 2007 Haldimand County jumped to "10" employees being paid over $100,000.00 a year, this amounts to a total of $1,139,629.00 paid out to "10" out of approximately "800" employees.

I stopped to do some errands and a few things came to me while I was out. Sometimes I start writing a story and when I stop for a bit, I think of what I have written and all of a sudden my direction changes. Well this is what happened to me today. I was simply going to do a story on the fact that we have "10" employees in Haldimand County that are paid over $1000,00.00 a year.

Here are a few things that came to mind. In the last "2" years Haldimand County has had a lot to deal with, it seems to be one thing after another. I remember being at a Council meeting in early 2006, when staff spoke of the challenges they face in hiring quality people, we don’t pay enough. So in some cases staff are being hired with "11" weeks paid holidays their first year of employment. Most of us can only dream of getting a perk like that!

We have been told more than once in the last "2" years Haldimand County has lost millions upon millions of dollars in direct relationship with the ongoing Native issues. The County recently applied for $56 million dollars in funding to try and make up for this shortfall. We are seeing businesses struggle to just stay afloat and businesses that just had no choice but to get out, some have gone bankrupt. We have seen development come to almost a complete stop, and I am sure for many in Dunnville, their hopes were high for employment at either Walmart or No Frills. We are now facing yet another increase in Water and Sewer rates, which will certainly hit many residents in Haldimand hard, especially those on a fixed income. This does not even reflect the increase amount of money that we are now putting out of our pockets for higher food prices, higher gas prices, and so on.

We have "6" Council Members that earn approximately $35,000.00 a year give or take a few dollars. Council members get a 2.5% increase each year the same as non-unionized employees. I have always believed that locally elected officials do not earn enough for what they do. Just imagine having to put up with people like myself, or receiving phone calls night and day, going to community events and the list goes on and on. So in comparison to what our General Manager of Corporate Services makes, there is a gap of about $116,000.00 dollars a year give or take a few dollars.

Now to stop beating around the bush as to where I am going with this, Karen General received about $28,723.28 more in 2007 than in 2006, and Hugh Hanly received about $27,109.68 more in 2007 than in 2006. Yes do read that again! When was the last time you received a raise over the cost of living, and that’s if you were even fortunate enough to get that! Now neither one of these individuals gives themselves a raise, it is voted on by "our" "elected council". There are people out there working there asses off making in a year what these people received in raises, this has got to make your head spin!

I am not saying that these individuals are not worth what they are paid, but in saying that the hard working residents of this County pay their wages. I am not saying that the County needs to start laying people off, or decreasing wages, but raises like this are just criminal, and irresponsible!

Here are the figures that Haldimand County released in 2006 and 2007 for Karen General and Hugh Hanly;

Karen General; (2006) Salary $122,454.26 (2007) Salary $151,177.54, this does not include the taxable benefits.

Hugh Hanly; (2006) Salary $103,959.12 (2007) Salary $131,068.80, this does not include taxable benefits.

Well according to the above figures it looks like Haldimand County is quite "wealthy". So I would ask you this. Do you think that our "elected officials" are being Fiscally Responsible?

One thing I can say is thank goodness for the "Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act", or we would never be privy to this information.

Here is the list of Haldimand County Employees that made over $100,000.00 in 2007.

Karen General Manager Corporate Services: Salary $151,177.54
Hugh Hanly Manger Community Services: Salary $131,068.80
Betty Mathews-Malone (not a full year): Salary $104,204.90
Bill Pearce CAO (not a full year): Salary $128,398.42
Jim Dover Manager Human Resources: Salary $102,243.97
Debra Jackson CEO Libraries: Salary $100,724.62
Wilma Koziello Manager IT: Salary $102,280.54
Janis Lankester Clerk: Salary $102,257.95
Daniel Robinson Fire Chief (not a full year): Salary $115,744.68
George Vanderwindt Manager Building: Salary $100,527.72

The above Salaries do not include taxable benefits.

Steve Miazga, General Manager of Planning left last year, his Salary was $112,858.30 in 2006. His replacement is not on the list above as he did not work the whole year in 2007, so there are actually "11" employees that make over $100,000.00 a year.

Now for the fiesta, our highest paid employee in Haldimand County of course is our CAO. Don Boyle came on board with Haldimand County in the fall of 2007. So if his salary is in line with the former CAO Bill Pearce, who earned $138,606.21 in Salary for the year 2006, plus expenses of $6,748.98, and if he had received an approximate 20% raise to keep in line with Karen General and Hugh Hanly, our new CAO makes approximately $166,3247.45 plus expenses. Not bad for a Municipality of about 42,000.

Haldimand "Councillor Sloat Cleared"

Update; I would like to clarify that Councillor Sloat was "NOT" cleared of these charges, the charges were dropped.

Yesterday Councillor Sloat appeared in court to face charges that were laid stemming from an incident last August.

I wrote about this last month and there were many comments relating to this issue. The most talked about was....will he get away with it?

I had faith in the Court System and was sure that this would see it's day in Court. Well this was not the case. I am truly disappointed as I do believe if the tables had been turned, the outcome would have been totally different.

Back in December 2007 there were several people charged in relation to a demonstration in Caledonia, some of these charges were "mischief" charges. These charges are not as serious as an "assault" charge yet they are still pending. As you will read in Jeff's story one of these charges was heard in Cayuga yesterday, and this charge still stands.

We are on a slippery slope in Haldimand when before an alleged charge goes before the court, that a charge can be dropped as in this case it was deemed to be "trivial". As the representative stated to the Justice of the Peace, this was just a matter of "unwanted touching". This goes hand in hand with the Crown when they stated they wouldn't lay a charge because it wasn't "enough of an assault" to lay a charge.

Let's visit the above statement..."unwanted touching"...If Jeff had been "female" would this have been used by the Crown? If Jeff had been black, blue, or polka dot, would this have been used by the crown? If Jeff had been 70 years old would this have been used by the crown? If Jeff had been in a wheelchair, would this have been used by the crown? My point here is it seems that this was the personal opinion by the crown. Shouldn't it be left to the courts to determine whether this "unwanted touching" was actually an assault?

It is interesting as you read Jeff's story he speaks of a "gentleman's" agreement that he and Sloat made. This agreement was that if Councillor Sloat apologized to Jeff, Jeff was willing to drop the charge. Well did Councillor Sloat hold to his word?

Now I know that some of you will say that Jeff is a trouble maker, that Jeff is involved in issues in Caledonia that are controversial, and Jeff deserved what he got. I personally do not agree with some of Jeff's methods, but does that give me the right to judge him?

All I will say is Kudo's to you Jeff for pursuing what you believed was the right thing.

The following is Jeff's story;

A representative of the Attorney General’s office went before a Justice of the Peace this morning in Cayuga court and deemed the assault committed against me in August 2007 to be too "trivial" to pursue. He asked that the charge be dismissed and as the crown has absolute authority over these decisions, the Justice had no choice but to put an end to my unresolved private prosecution of Councilor Buck Sloat.

In requesting a dismissal, the Attorney General presented 3 reasons he feels the case should not proceed.

(1) It is not in the best interest of the public to proceed with this charge as it’s "simply a case of unwanted touching" and there are far more serious charges to be dealt with by the courts.

(2) Mr. Parkinson has civil remedies at his disposal to deal with this matter

(3) The incident in question was "trivial" in his opinion

You can read the rest of the story here; http://caledoniawakeupcall.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/assault-charge-against-buck-sloat-dismissed-by-attorney-general/

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Haldimand "Lord's Prayer Petition"

The following petition is from MPP Toby Barrett. I usually get Toby's updates but they have been having some problems with their e-mail software.

I received this as an e-mail from Mayor Trainer and thought that many would be interested in this petition. Just as I was finished writing this blog and ready to post, I received another e-mail from Mayor Trainer that states this;

MAYOR TRAINER would like to recall the message "Lord's Prayer Petition".

I have no idea why Mayor Trainer has recalled this, all I know is that amongst many others that she had e-mailed this to, she e-mailed it to "all" of her Council. I am not even going to ask why!

Regardless I am still posting this information and if you are interested in a paper copy you can e-mail Toby Barrett at toby.barrett@pc.ola.org and they will send you a copy.

The following is the wording of the petition, you will need to download the entire document as the lines etc. are missing. For those that already have my e-mail address, I can send it to you, just let me know.


PETITION

DON’T REMOVE THE LORD’S PRAYER

TO the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

Whereas, the current McGuinty government is proposing to eliminate the Lord’s Prayer from its place at the beginning of daily proceedings in the Legislature, and;

Whereas, The Lord’s Prayer has been an integral part of parliamentary tradition since it was first established in 1793 under Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe.

Whereas, the Lord’s Prayer’s message is one of forgiveness; of providing for those in need of their ‘daily bread’ and of preserving us from the evils we may fall into; it is a valuable guide and lesson for a chamber that is too often an arena of conflict, and;

Whereas, recognizing the diversity of the people of Ontario should be an inclusive process, not one which excludes traditions such as the Lord’s Prayer;

Therefore we the undersigned ask the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to preserve the daily recitation Lord’s Prayer by the Speaker in the Legislature.

Haldimand "Do you Value Your Privacy?"

Back in August of 2007, Council passed a resolution regarding "all" correspondence that comes through the Mayor's office. There were "3" days of Council Meetings regarding this issue. There were residents that took the time to attend "all" three meetings. There were residents that were "denied" the right to speak to Council. One resident wrote an excellent letter to the Mayor and Council, which at the first Council meeting was "received" as information, but by the time the last meeting rolled around, this letter was "stricken" from the records!

On Monday of this week I attended the Council in Committee meeting. One of the items I was looking for on the agenda was this resolution. In the resolution it stated that this would be reviewed by the CAO in "6" months. Council has gone well beyond the time frame once again.

The following is a letter that I sent to the CAO and "all" members of Council on February 21, 2008;

Mr. Boyle, I would request at this time that Resolution #863-07 be re-visited. As the Resolution states, the CAO will report back to Council within six months for an update, as this Resolution was passed on August 13th, 2007, we are presently over that time frame.

I would like to take this time to remind you of the "public" outcry of the the passing of this Resolution.

Many in the community have felt that their "personal" right to privacy has been invaded.

It is interesting that in the Recovery Package it mentions how residents of Haldimand and especially Caledonia have been directly affected by the ongoing Native Issues in Haldimand County. I would suggest to you that on a everyday basis, that taking away the "Privacy" of the residents to communicate with "Elected Officials" of Haldimand County are just as important.

There has been a lot of talk in Haldimand County regarding the "accountability and transparency" of our local government. Quashing this Resolution could help bring back some confidence in our "Elected Officials".

So I would urge you to help bring back some "Confidence" and Quash this bylaw.

Respectfully,
Donna Pitcher



I have received "no" return correspondence to this request.

During the lunch break on Monday I asked Mayor Trainer why this was not on the agenda, she had no answer for me, but she did write it down on a piece of paper.

Yesterday I called Marie on a few other issues and asked if at the afternoon session did she bring this item up for consideration. The answer was "NO". The excuse Mayor Trainer gave me was that she felt the CAO should have more time. I would like to know why the CAO needs more time.

Now I don't know about you but I value my "privacy" in corresponding with any of our "elected officials". Obviously Mayor Trainer does not feel the same way as I do.

Kudos to the residents that stood their ground on this issue.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Haldimand "Proclamation is Dead"

I went to the Council in Committee meeting yesterday to follow up on some "unfinished" Council business. Back on February 11th, 2008 Toby Barrett appeared as a delegate at Haldimand County's Council of the Whole meeting. At that meeting Toby presented Council with a document and a petition called the Haldimand Proclamation for Peace, Order and Good Government. Here is the Proclamation;

HALDIMAND PROCLAMATION FOR PEACE, ORDER AND GOOD GOVERNMENT

February 2008

WHEREAS, since February 28, 2006, people across Haldimand County and beyond have been subjected to arson, extortion, barricades, land seizures, occupations, militant protests, and related harassment, intimidation, mob violence and threats to public safety.

AND WHEREAS, the community safety, social and economic life, of Haldimand and neighbouring residents, has declined because of the climate of fear, chaos and uncertainty generated by various acts of lawlessness and related intimidation.

AND WHEREAS, there is a perception, and evidence, of two categories of law, of justice, of police protection, and government action based on one’s race and geographical location within Haldimand County and beyond.

AND WHEREAS, the lawlessness, and the less than adequate prevention and response on the part of police and other government authorities regarding these illegal acts appears to be tolerated, and perhaps condoned, by provincial and federal government policy.

AND WHEREAS, both the provincial and federal governments have legislative, regulatory, enforcement, decision-making and policy-making capability beyond the mandate and scope of Haldimand County.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED, that Haldimand County, in support of all of its residents, proclaim and request, with utmost urgency, that the following actions be taken where mandated at the provincial and federal level:

(1) Restore police patrol, response and enforcement as well as justice, order and the rule of law, including court injunctions, throughout Haldimand County regardless of one’s race or geographical location.

(2) Cease all land dispute negotiations and related actions until extortion, and illegal occupations and protests are terminated.

(3) Budget and publicly set timelines and deadlines to continue to resolve legitimate land disputes expeditiously within a climate of openness, mutual respect, and justice for all affected.

(4) Compensate individuals, businesses and the municipality for loss, insecurity, economic decline, and any other collateral damage stemming from provincial and federal decisions and policy, or lack thereof, that have eroded peace, order and good government in Haldimand County and beyond.

At the meeting in February Toby asked for Council's support and stated that if they wanted to make changes to the wording of the Proclamation that was fine, as this was a draft for Council to consider. Councillor Bartlett stated that he wanted to see some changes, but was not willing to talk about it at that time.

Councillor Boyko asked Toby to give them a week to look it over, well it has been "3" weeks and Council has indeed looked it over.

This item "did not" appear on the agenda so at the lunch break I asked Mayor Trainer why it wasn't on the agenda. She proceeded to write this on a piece of paper, didn't have an answer for me and went to lunch.

Well I called Mayor Trainer this morning to ask if she had mentioned this item to her Council in the afternoon session. Yes she did, and the answer that she gave me in my opinion was "unacceptable". You can judge for yourself.

Apparently as the Mayor and her council state "why bother he has already presented it to the world". "This is not going to happen" states Mayor Trainer. Council in fact wanted to change some of the wording, and I said to Mayor Trainer it is not too late.....she said....."not going to happen". So I guess that is a done deal! Maybe Council needs to learn to stick to what they say, Councillor Boyko said give us a week, and "3" weeks goes by and nothing! Well that in itself is the answer. I do believe if I had not gone to council and asked Mayor Trainer this question, this would have been filed under Haldimand's "unfinished business".

I was quite upset with Mayor Trainer and Council. I said Marie this was an excellent opportunity for our "Elected Officials" to work in "Partnership" with the "Residents". We had not proceeded with getting any signatures on the petition as we were waiting for Council's "Support". This could have been such a "powerful" tool, together we could have been successful in getting thousands of signatures, and in return, maybe some answers!

I don't believe that this was a lot to ask of our Council, to stand up for the Residents, but I was wrong.

This Council sits "silent", while so many have unanswered questions.