Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Haldimand "OPP Contract will Increase Taxes"

Donna Pitcher
Chronicle Staff Writer
December 9, 2009

Policing issues will not be a major issue in the upcoming 2010 Municipal Election. Once the OPP contract renewal is accepted by Haldimand County Council, it will not renew until 2014.

During the 2006 Haldimand County Municipal Election Campaign, policing services for Haldimand County was one of the major election issues.

Several councillors and candidates promised if elected they would replace the OPP, some opted to at least look into the issue. This option turned out to be a no option due to either lack of interest from surrounding agencies or the costs to the County to go back to their own force.

Negotiations have been ongoing since September 30, 2008 when the contract with the OPP expired. The new OPP contract will be for a five-year term starting on October 1, 2009.

The increase to taxpayers will be substantial states staffs report.

At last Monday’s Council in Committee meeting, Carl Butler from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) presented Haldimand County Council with an overview of the details related to the renewal of the current OPP Contact. Butler invited questions and concerns from council members in regards to the contract renewal.

One question was asked in relation to by-law enforcement. Butler clarified that the by-law enforcement that the OPP engages in is that of “police related by-laws”.

Under General Provisions of the new OPP contract it states;

“For the purposes of s. 10(6) of the Police Services Act, the O.P.P. shall provide police services to the Municipality, including the enforcement of mutually agreed upon by-laws. The parties shall annually review this part of the Agreement with a view to revising or updating the list of by-laws requiring O.P.P. enforcement”.

“Municipal Building Code violations overseen by the Municipality's Building Code inspector and those by-laws related to animal control will not form part of this Agreement”.

The above OPP General Provision for By-law enforcement is exactly the same as the agreement that was signed by Haldimand County on September 22, 2003.

In 2008 the base amount for policing was $7,198,676.00, for 2010 there are two options, the first option is $8,307,976.00 (an increase of $1,109,300.00) and option two is $8,005,080 (an increase of $806,404.00).

The difference between Option #1 and Option #2, is, Option #2 is a reduction of 3,257 hours in the guaranteed minimum service level, which equates to less than 9 hours per day.

Haldimand County General Manager of Corporate Services Karen General is recommending Council accepts and enters into a five-year contract with the OPP at the Option #2 level.

Service levels Options #1 and #2 were presented to the Haldimand County Police Services Board on December 2, 2009 due to their responsibilities under the contract and per the Police Services Act.

Following the discussion the Haldimand County Police Services Board passed the following motion:

“That Haldimand County Police Services Board supports Option #1 and is not supportive of officer reductions as per Option #2 and this position be relayed to Haldimand County Council immediately”.

Both Haldimand County Staff and the solicitor disagree with the position of the Haldimand County Police Services Board.

The main issue of disagreement according to the staff report is that although Option #1 would provide an enhanced level of policing service beyond the “minimum” required level at a cost of over $300,000.00 per year. Given the economic challenges facing the municipality and its taxpayers, this is difficult to justify given the issue of bodies and hours as outlined in the contract, states the report.

The above increases under option one or two are substantial; a tax levy increase of 2.4% and 1.75% respectively would be required.

The report goes on to further state regardless of the service option approved by council there will be a significant levy impact to be absorbed in 2010.

This will significantly affect the ability to meet the target “2%” overall tax increase that Council has established as a budget guideline for all County Services. Staff will need to determine a means of dealing with this increase; a significant tax levy impact should be expected states the report.

Haldimand County paid an estimated $5,559,872.00 for policing in 2002 and when the contract was negotiated in 2003 the cost for policing was estimated at $5,847,954.00.

Haldimand County Council will vote on the OPP contract on Thursday December 10th at the Budget Meeting that starts at 9:30am.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Haldimand "Raise Your Voice, Stop the HST"

It seems that we are not being told all of the fine details when it comes to the "HST".

Two good reads, one from Toby Barrett and one from the National Post.

Raise your voice to stop the HST

"Public hearings; those two words go together nicely if you believe in true democracy.”
- Dalton McGuinty, December 6, 1999

As Haldimand and Norfolk residents continue to send in petitions to stop the 13 per cent McGuinty sales tax, government's cavalier approach to force through his costly tax grab has turned up the volume at Queens Park.

Two weeks ago, government members initiated a scheme to silence opposition to their $3 billion dollar HST tax using parliamentary tricks to limit debate and deny any form of real public consultation.

As I’ve reported previously the HST would mean a 13 per cent tax on many everyday essentials not currently subject to PST – items ranging from gasoline, to electricity; haircuts to internet service. Even funerals would be hit. For a middle-income family of four, the HST would mean up to $2,500 a year in additional taxes.

It’s clear your phone-calls, letters, and signatures on petitions, as well as other forms of protest, all are having an impact.

Recently, Mr. McGuinty bowed to pressure scrapping the proposed HST on coffee, newspapers and meals under four dollars. But, we must continue to push for further climb downs.

To that end, we in Opposition continue to use every tool at our disposal to register the concerns of millions across the province.

Government attempts to short-circuit parliamentary debate forced PC members to stage a much publicized walk-out from the Legislature. The empty seats of caucus members served as a reminder to a government of the disdain for the tax.

With government bent on pushing their agenda through come hell or high water, we in Opposition are left to do everything possible to slow this train down before it pulls out of the station

Especially worrisome has been the admission from Finance Minister Dwight Duncan that the McGuinty Government’s HST deal contains a $4.3 billion poison pill designed to handcuff future governments from ever repealing tax grab.

Clearly, instead of putting cotton in their ears, this government should be listening to what people have to say through full public hearings. This is a tax on just about everything, paid by just about everyone!

If Mr. McGuinty actually believes that this tax grab is in the best interest of Ontario families – he would have the courage to hold open public consultations across the province. Instead we learned on Friday that the government plans to hold only one day of consultation on Thursday, in Toronto – and nowhere else!

With all this in mind, and time to voice dissent running out, anyone waiting on the sidelines should make their voices heard now. Contact my office to get your name on a petition or learn of other ways you can make your voice heard.

Time is of the essence as many HST related concerns and issues are leaking out daily. Adding to already well-founded consumer apprehension are hidden details about this tax the current government seems content to obscure.

For instance, many don’t realize that under the HST, Ontario surrenders its constitutionally-granted taxation powers to the whims of future federal governments. Once the HST is enacted, fundamental decisions about what is, and is not, subject to sales taxes will be made in Ottawa, not in the Ontario Legislature.

Meantime, at time of writing, news broke of the Federal government calling for a vote in Ottawa for or against the allowance of provinces to proceed with a harmonized sales tax. We’ll see.

One public HST hearing…in Toronto…a joke - Barrett

Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett calls what the McGuinty government is proposing as public hearings for the Harmonized Sales Tax – one day, in Toronto – a complete joke.

“Here we have a government that is implementing a 13 per cent tax on just about everything, to hit just about everyone, turning around and offering one single day of consultation…in only Toronto…to serve as their acknowledgement of public input,” Barrett commented. “Legislation this costly, this taxing and creating so much opposition deserves to receive input from right across the province.”

The one day of hearings follows two weeks of government maneuvering to limit debate in the Legislature as well as Opposition calls for full public hearings on the issue.

The HST would mean a 13 per cent tax on many everyday essentials not currently subject to PST – items ranging from gasoline, to electricity; haircuts to internet service. Even funerals would be hit. For a middle-income family of four, the HST would mean up to $2,500 a year in additional taxes.

“While one day of hearings in Toronto can hardly qualify as public consultation, I do encourage anyone interested to contact the Committee Clerk to get their names on the docket and make their voice heard ” continued Barrett. “Perhaps if government sees the overflow of presentation requests they will think twice about turning their backs on the people of Ontario.”

Meanwhile Barrett noted that with time to voice dissent running out, anyone waiting on the sidelines to contact his office to get names on a petition or learn of other ways to stand against the 13 per cent tax grab.


For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (416) 325-8404,

(519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629

An interesting article that a friend sent me! A Must Read!

Following is an interesting article from National Post about six details of the Impending Harmonized Sales Tax that you may not know about.

Lisa MacLeod and Cyndee Todgham Cherniak: Six things you should know about the HST
Posted: November 19, 2009, 9:30 AM by NP Editor

On July 1, 2010, the Ontario Government plans to introduce a new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which would combine Canada’s Goods and Services Tax and Ontario’s Provincial Sales Tax into a unified sales tax. The HST will directly increase the tax burden on middle-class Ontario families. Indirect impacts will drive up the cost of living further still.

What is most concerning are the hidden details about this tax that the current government seems content to obscure. Below, we have summarized the six things that Ontario taxpayers need to know about the HST before it is imposed by Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government.

1. Under the HST, Ontario surrenders its constitutionally-granted taxation powers to the whims of future federal governments.

Right now, Ontario enjoys direct taxation powers granted under the Canadian constitution. However, under the HST plan, Ontario will give up its sales-tax powers to Ottawa through the federal Excise Tax Act. Once the HST is enacted, fundamental decisions about what is, and is not, subject to sales taxes will not be made in the Ontario legislature but will instead be made in Ottawa. It is not hard to foresee the day when a federal Minister of Finance could decide the fate of Ontario businesses when there is a tax dispute. It is also possible that the federal Excise Tax Act will be amended, regulations will be passed or administrative practice will change without Ontario’s input or approval, in which case Ontarians will become victims of taxation without representation.

2. Under the HST, it is likely that tax-included pricing, or hidden taxation, will come to Ontario.

Many of us prefer to know just how much of our money is actually being directed to government. Yet the moment Ontario joins the HST, an obscure piece of federal legislation kicks in that will allow sellers to conceal just how much tax you are paying on the products you buy. The taxpayers of tomorrow will be denied straightforward information that is taken for granted by taxpayers today.

3. There is no evidence that harmonized taxes work in other federal jurisdictions.

The McGuinty government promotes the notion that 130 other countries have adopted a “value-added tax” such as the HST. This is misleading. The HST represents more than just a single value-added tax — it represents a blending of sales taxes between two levels of government. No other developed country has successfully imposed a joint value-added tax at both the federal and state/provincial levels of government. (In any case, Canada’s federation is dissimilar from that of many OECD countries.) Ontario needs a made-in-Ontario tax regime that reflects the realities of the Ontario economy.

4. There will be hidden costs for Ontario businesses to comply with the HST.

Any business that has been audited will understand that the administrative burden associated with tax-law compliance is substantial. Any change to tax laws forces businesses to spend money to both understand the new regime and live up to their obligations under it.

5. Businesses might not reduce their base prices after implementation of the HST.

Unless the McGuinty Government also plans to restrict prices that businesses may charge, there is no legal obligation for any business to lower its prices on July 1, 2010. In fact, the HST regime includes unrecoverable HST costs that will be passed on consumers. For example, many businesses engaged in exempt activities (e.g., financial institutions, rental housing, nursing homes, etc.) will pay HST on what they themselves buy. Also, businesses with sales over $10-million will not be able to get 100% input tax credit on some of the HST it pays for at least six years. Over that time, the only other cost-recovery method available to them will be higher prices.

6. Once the HST is implemented, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to undo. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the McGuinty Government, Ontario cannot opt out of the HST regime for five years without risk of massive penalties. No matter how disastrous the HST might be, Ontarians will be locked in to this dubious plan for a long haul.

National Post

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Haldimand "Say No to the HST"

Here are a couple of news releases from Toby Barrett in regards to the HST that McGuinty is going to push through come July 2010.

You can have your voice heard by signing an on-line petition, there are a few of them out there, just google "HST" and you will find them.

If you don't agree with the HST, don't sit back and do nothing, once this is implemented it can not be reversed for "5" years!

Opposition protests HST at Queens Park
Government refuses to listen so opposition stages debate boycott!

Queen’s Park – If Government refuse to hear the voices of those opposed to its harmonized sales tax (HST) then what’s the point of debate?

That was the underlying theme of a Progressive Conservative Caucus all out protest of question period at Queens Park. The empty seats of the caucus of members served as a reminder to a government bent on ramming through the HST of the disdain across the province for undemocratic tactics. Last week, three Opposition members were removed from the House.

“This government refuses to consult on the HST – they have effectively muted the province,” Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Barrett noted this morning. “Today’s protest was a visual display of the code of silence McGuinty is imposing on any opposing voices.”

Currently, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak is doing the job that Dalton McGuinty should be doing by traveling throughout Ontario to hear the concerns of the middle class families, seniors and small businesses who have the most to lose from Dalton McGuinty’s $3 billion HST tax grab

The HST would add eight percent to the cost of many everyday essentials not currently subject to PST, including gasoline, home heating, hydro, haircuts and internet service. Even funeral services would become more expensive. For the average middle-income family of four, it is estimated that the HST would mean up to $2,500 per year in additional sales taxes.

“Clearly, government knows they don’t have the support of the people on this and are doing everything they can to ram it through,” stated Barrett. “In Opposition we’re left to do everything we can to slow this train down before it pulls out of the station!

Barrett stressed that anyone waiting on the sidelines had better make their voices heard now as once the HST is implemented, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to undo. According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the McGuinty Government, Ontario cannot opt out of the HST regime for five years without risk of massive penalties.


For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (416) 325-8404,
(519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629

Hey Mr. McGuinty: not so fast!
Panicked government resorts to procedural tricks to ram through hated HST

Queens Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is asking government “what’s the rush?” as McGuinty and his gang race to force their unpopular harmonized sales tax into law.

Barrett spoke out following a media conference in which PC Leader Tim Hudak decried the use of underhanded tactics to quickly implement the HST and silence debate.

“Instead of putting cotton in their ears, this government should be listening to what the people have to say,” Barrett noted. “To that end, we are calling for full public hearings to discuss this tax on just about everything with those it will impact – just about everyone!”

Today, the McGuinty Liberals introduced a supply bill that includes legislation to formally implement the HST – debate will accordingly be curtailed to ensure passage of third and final reading debate Thursday. Barrett speculated that the blind rush is to prevent any further caving, in addition to McGuinty’s panicked exemptions last week.

“We know this government will not take action until it’s backed into a corner, as we saw an example of last week,” stated Barrett. “It’s time to finish the deal, allow the public their say - stop this tax in its tracks!”

Given the abbreviated timelines if government gets its way, Barrett reminded concerned taxpayers that it is more important than ever to get their names on petitions to fight the sales tax. Those interested in more petition sheets can contact Barrett's Simcoe office for more information.

The McGuinty HST will mean a 13 per cent sales tax on everything from gas to electricity, haircuts and home heating fuel.

Haldimand "Mayor Goes to Ottawa"

Donna Pitcher
Dunnville Chronicle
Staff Writer
November 25, 2009

Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer and Haldimand County CAO Don Boyle spent a few hours in Ottawa Monday and met with several Ministers and their Staff prior to their 5:00pm meeting with Minster Chuck Strahl, Minster of Indian and Northern Affairs.

The day was very “Exhausting but Productive”, said Trainer in an interview with the Chronicle on Tuesday morning. The first thing that Trainer spoke of during the interview was that she wanted to thank Haldimand/Norfolk MP Diane Finley for her assistance.

Finley had arranged a few meetings prior to Trainer and Boyle’s arrival in Ottawa, one with Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minster of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food) and a meeting with Minister Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety.

The first meeting was with Minister Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue. Some of the key issues that were discussed in the meeting were in regards to smoke shacks and the sale of untaxed cigarettes, the involvement of the RCMP and the possibility of signage that will publicly advertise the fines for purchasing untaxed cigarettes. Trainer was very impressed with this initiative and asked if Haldimand County could be used as their “Pilot Program”. Trainer is hopeful that this program will come in to effect some time next year.

Trainer talked about the involvement of the RCMP in Haldimand County and requested that the RCMP be more involved on a regular basis. “It was refreshing,” said Trainer that our issues were taken very seriously.

Trainer brought some samples of untaxed cigarettes with her to the meeting. Trainer explained that the samples she had were sold for between $29.00-$30.00 dollars a carton (packaged and sold as tax in) and the bagged cigarettes sold for between $20.00 and $21.00 dollars. The purchase of cigarettes in a variety store would sell for between $60.00- $70.00 dollars a carton said Trainer. Trainer said that the Ministry is very concerned about the lost revenue of the sale of these cigarettes on a national basis, not just in Haldimand County.

The second meeting was with Minister Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety who is now the head of a task force that was formed by Stockwell Day in 2006 to deal with the issues of loss of revenue of untaxed cigarettes.

The Director of Policy also attended the meeting and spoke of the sale of untaxed cigarettes being directly linked to organized crime and that this is of grave concern to the Ministry. “She (the Director of Policy) is in tune with everything that is going on and is very knowledgeable” said Trainer, her presentation was excellent!

“Our agenda was very tight, we spoke of the key issues and some solutions” said Boyle. Boyle spoke of the Director of Policy when she told Trainer and Boyle that these issues are at the heart of many communities.

Mayor Trainer, CAO Don Boyle and MP Diane Finley met with Minister Chuck Strahl around 5:00pm Monday afternoon for about an hour said Boyle in an interview with the Chronicle on Tuesday morning.

In the one-hour meeting with Strahl some key issues were discussed. One issue was Haldimand County’s concern over the expansion of the reserve. Trainer’s major concerns were the loss of the tax base, and how this loss effects the repairs of roads, sewers etc. in Haldimand County. Strahl committed to consult Trainer if there is any lands to be added to the reserve.

Another issue that was discussed was “Joint Projects” with Haldimand County and the First Nations. Examples of these projects could be of water projects, tourism and trails, said Trainer. Strahl was very receptive to this idea and said that joint proposals would be looked at seriously.

The duty to consult was also discussed, as was the need for better communications in the future to keep the residents of Haldimand County up to date as to what is or is not going on.

“This was an excellent meeting with Minister Strahl”, he is a very intelligent man, he fully understood our situation here and he listened intently to our concerns, said Trainer. “He is Calm, Cool and in Charge”.

“We had a great day”, we met with some “Top Advisors” that are the decision-makers. Our meetings were “very informative” and we received very good information, said Boyle.

Boyle concluded by saying that “The government is looking at creative ways” to solve land claims issues, and are very respectful to all the communities involved, Strahl listened and explained in layman terms.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Haldimand "Warning, Reading this Could be Hazardous"

Make yourself a coffee before you read this, or maybe something a bit stronger. This is the hard core reality, and we will all be paying the price. Both articles are very well written.

This might just clarify why even though the people of Ontario seem to not want McGuinty to implement the new HST come July of 2010, it seems that there is a substantial reason why he is still persistent that this tax will come into force.

What is really interesting is the second article had 154 comments when I read it, if you have the time read some of the comments that are being posted they are quite interesting, just go to the link at the end of the article.

Consultants cost '$1M a day'
Dalton McGuinty blasted over 'bloated fees' to experts and hushed-up pay for top bureaucrats
Rob Ferguson Queen's Park Bureau
Published On Wed Oct 21 2009

The Ontario government's consultant "habit" extends further than the $1 billion eHealth scandal, with new figures showing the provincial ministries alone spent $389 million on help from consultants last year, the NDP charged Tuesday.

The payouts gave the opposition parties another financial weapon to use against the Liberals, also under fire for hiding the salaries of highly paid bureaucrats in hospital budgets. That includes Premier Dalton McGuinty's $320,695-a-year climate-change guru.

The cash for consultants shows a free-spending attitude that taxpayers can no longer afford as the provincial deficit deepens in the recession, said New Democrat MPP Paul Miller (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek), who got the numbers in a request under freedom-of-information legislation.
"When is this premier going to say enough is enough? When is he finally going to end this government's $1-million-a-day addiction to consultants and their bloated fees?" Miller said during the Legislature's daily question period.

McGuinty brushed aside the questions, saying the government has reduced spending on consultants by 34 per cent since coming to power in 2003 and noted "governments of all stripes" have been relying on consultants "for some time" when special expertise is needed.

"I don't think it's particularly news."

The premier also defended the salary of his associate deputy minister Hugh MacLeod, who heads the climate-change secretariat, but was unable to point to any tangible achievements of the man who reports directly to him.

"That's a very important responsibility. It's one that hasn't received a lot of attention lately but as somebody once said, `the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment' and we've been spending a lot of time talking about the economy lately. But as the economy grows stronger, more and more of our attention, that is the attention of humanity, will focus on the single greatest long-term challenge confronting us, and that is global warming and climate change," McGuinty told reporters Tuesday.

"So we think it's very important to have the capacity as a government to understand what is happening in the world, to understand our contribution to this challenge, to develop plans where we assume responsibility to reduce our contribution to climate change," he added.

"We're funding an office which is carrying out a very important responsibility for all of us."

An official in McGuinty's office said MacLeod coordinates the government's policies on climate change and sits on a cabinet committee studying the economy.

The new consultant figures, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 and the latest available, served as a reminder of the eHealth Ontario scandal, which saw consultants who were paid up to $3,000 a day expensing for snacks like tea and cookies.

In a report two weeks ago, Auditor General Jim McCarter found the province has spent $1 billion to create electronic health records for patients – with little to show for it.

As well, McCarter found a too-heavy reliance on consultants who can cost more than hiring staff.
McGuinty agreed with that point and said the government is bringing more experts to work in-house.

Miller noted the $389 million does not include money spent on consultants at provincial agencies, boards and commissions, which could push the actual total higher.

Ontario faces "cuts to vulnerable kids, to unemployed workers, to community hospitals ... while well-connected consultants feast at the McGuinty government trough."

The biggest bill – $104 million – was for the ministry of government and consumer services. The health ministry, which was in charge of eHealth, spent $89 million.

"There are some things we need to hire consultants to do because it's a project" but other things should be done in-house to keep costs down, said new Health Minister Deb Matthews, appointed to the job earlier this month after the resignation of David Caplan over eHealth

Ontario deficit billions more than expected
Largest-ever deficit in province
$24.7B - means difficult choices ahead, says Finance Minister Duncan

Ontario's already record budget shortfall has ballooned to a staggering $24.7 billion – billions higher than economists expected – and "difficult choices" loom, warns Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.

In the fall economic statement tabled Thursday in the Legislature, Duncan revised the deficit projection upward from the $18.5 billion he had announced in June (and the $14.1 billion in the March budget.)

Until earlier this year, the ignominious record was a $12.4 billion shortfall in the 1992 budget introduced by NDP finance minister Floyd Laughren.

"Due to this global recession, our economy is now the same size as it was in 2005. Tax revenues are also now at 2005 levels," Duncan told the House.

"Corporate tax revenues fell last year by an unprecedented 48.1 per cent – or over $6 billion," he said.

"At the same time the recession has driven up demand for government services."

That accounts for the deficit being far worse than the $22 billion leading bank economists had anticipated.

"The governments of Canada, the United States and some other provinces have all adjusted their deficit projections upward for the coming year," said Duncan, noting Ottawa's is $56 billion and Washington's is $1.5 trillion.

"Due to the impact of the global economy on Ontario and our government's desire to invest in the people of this province, the projected deficit is $24.7 billion in 2009-10," he said.

That's on a $113.7 billion budget, which includes $104.3 billion in spending on programs and $9.4 billion on interest paymentsto service a provincial debt that has skyrocketed to $137.9 billion.

Despite the gloomy picture, Duncan emphasized that the Liberals would continue their focus on the big-ticket priorities of health-care and education.

To that end, the government will announce its long-anticipated plans Tuesday for all-day junior and senior kindergarten for four- and five-year-olds.

"This initiative will further increase the competitive advantage already found in our highly skilled and educated workforce," the treasurer said.

"Full-day learning for our four- and five-year-olds will also help parents take advantage of new job opportunities," he said, conceding that the government will be "phasing in" the program, which could take years.

"Making this investment will require difficult choices on our part," said Duncan.
"And we will make them."

While he was vague Thursday, in a speech on Tuesday, the finance minister said a sweeping review of government programs would be coming in the next few months to determine where cuts can be made.

"We will call on our partners in the public and the broader public sector to help us sustain public services in the long term. We will also review all agencies, boards and commissions to ensure they are meeting Ontarians' needs and expectations," he said.

"We made the right choices for today. As Ontario comes out of the recession, we will eliminate the deficit and pay down debt to ensure the sustainability of the public services we all value."
However, Duncan did not offer a timetable for deficit reduction and elimination.

Opposition parties were flabbergasted at the new $24.7 billion deficit figure, which Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak called "a historically dismal performance" and warned it would boost each Ontario household's share of the total provincial debt to $13,500.

"The government was living high off the hog," Hudak thundered in the Legislature. "The McGuinty government is the problem. The problem will not be fixed until we replace the sad, worn out McGuinty government."

New Democrat finance critic Michael Prue said a deficit this large cannot come without dire consequences for both the public and public sector workers.

"I can read the code words," Prue said. "They can expect to get whacked in the months ahead."
On Wednesday, Premier Dalton McGuinty left open the possibility of unpaid furloughs for public servants, including teachers, bureaucrats, and nurses.

That echoed former NDP premier Bob Rae's "social contract" in 1993, which introduced the phrase "Rae Days" into the vernacular.

While the Liberals privately insist "Dalton Days" are not on the horizon, McGuinty has steadfastly refused to rule them out.

"We're just beginning this discussion," the premier said Wednesday when asked about Rae's response to a recession.

"I don't know. We've all got our own particular approaches obviously. I'll let people judge, but what I would say is that ... the next several months will be very important as we come up to our own particular approach to this."

Wayne Samuelson, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, said Wednesday he's worried the Liberals "are so freaked out about the deficit" they will force workers to take involuntary leave.

"They're heading for a $20 billion deficit and it doesn't look like they're ready to raise taxes and it's pretty clear that the economy is not going to grow so there's not going to generate extra money there," said Samuelson.

"You can (have furloughs for public servants) or you start privatizing services and selling things off."

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) urged the Liberals to resist the temptation to privatize or cut.

"Every dollar spent in the public sector not only provides a service that people need, but also provides income that supports families, communities and local businesses," OPSEU vice-president Patricia Rout said in a statement Wednesday.

"The track record of privatization is one of higher costs, reduced services, poorer jobs and structural deficits," said Rout.

Haldimand "Healing Bruised Egos and Next Years Election"

Grice Speaks on Motion
Donna Pitcher
Dunnville Chronicle Staff Writer
October, 21, 2009

“This motion has less to do with cohesiveness and the messaging that Council provides to Provincial and Federal officials, than it does with healing bruised egos, and next year’s election”, said Councillor Craig Grice in an interview with the Chronicle last Friday.

Grice was speaking about a motion that was narrowly passed by council last week that puts in place protocol for Council members in regards to meetings with Provincial and Federal Ministers and their staff. The motion requires that all formal meetings with Provincial and Federal Government Ministers or their staff include an agenda of issues and that the meeting be arranged through the Mayor’s office after first being sanctioned through resolution by a majority vote of Council. The resolution also requires a verbal report to Council.

Councillor Leroy Bartlett who was not in attendance when this motion was debated at the previous Council meeting had a concern about what happens if they are in a meeting with a government official and the discussion leads to something that has not been previously sanctioned by Council. Don Boyle, CAO of Haldimand County answered Bartlett’s concerns by saying that a Council member can only discuss what is on the agenda, they cannot report any personal opinions. Councillor Buck Sloat stated that this motion moves Council forward on a united front with a united voice and shows that they are working as a team.

Councillor Lorne Boyko asked for clarification on the meaning of a formal meeting, Mayor Marie Trainer’s response was that a formal meeting was one that is arranged through the Mayor’s office.

Boyko asked for an amendment to the motion in reference to a verbal report to council, to read a written report to council. Boyko said the amendment does not create a paper trail for current and future councils, we have way to many verbal reports now. The motion to amend the amendment was defeated.

“We are a board of directors” let’s start acting like one, said Councillor Tony Dalimonte during council’s lengthy debate. Boyko later said in an interview with the Chronicle that he disagreed with Dalimonte’s statement. A board of directors meets with their stakeholders usually four times a year, and bottom line is a board of directors is dollar driven.

As far as Grice is concerned each Councillor has a job to represent his or her constituents and that's exactly what he will continue to do. “The argument that Council speaks through resolution is non deniable, but to say a Councillor once a vote is taken is no longer allowed to speak in opposition is not only wrong, its arrogant”, said Grice.

Grice is of the opinion that the motion as passed is seriously flawed. What happens when a Councillor has an immediate opportunity to meet with someone in authority? Any meeting now would be against Council resolution, no matter how well intended. A County’s approach or view is not always the same as wards views or needs. Some issues are not of countywide concern, therefore this motion could be seen as removing the autonomy of ward representation which the Municipal Act currently authorizes. In the end the local voice could be lost or altered as the intent of the original meeting request is forced to change to gain approval, said Grice.

Council passed the resolution with a vote of 4-3, Councillors Boyko, Bartlett and Grice voted against it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Haldimand "An Open Letter to McGuinty"

An excellent read from the Barrie Examiner today! Kudos!

An open letter to Dalton McGuinty
Posted By Stu McMillan
Posted 7 hours ago
An open letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

Dear Mr. McGuinty:

I’m going to call you mister as I firmly believe that Premier McGuinty is inaccurate. A premier would have had the guts and fortitude to stop the absolute waste of taxpayers’ money in regards to the e-Health mess.

A billion dollars and very little to show for it! What a complete sham!

Ordinary citizens are working their tails off and this is what we get? I’m sorry, but the odd firing and the resignation of your minister in charge is not enough!

These people should be charged with fraud. Taking our money, promising to do something with it, and knowingly giving us nothing in return is grounds for jail time. Kick those responsible out, charge them accordingly and use their pension money to pay back every taxpayer in Ontario.

This at least might show that you have some compassion for the little guy trying to make ends meet.

It might also show the next bunch put in charge of these projects that you are serious about stopping the bellying up to the taxpayer trough (you are aren't you?).

There has to be a limit (dare I say a budget) and a time- line firmly attached to these projects. It’s done all the time in construction, why not here?

In construction you are told to hold back a percentage of the agreed price until you are satisfied that the job is done correctly. Unfortunately, in this case the money just never stopped flowing.

We cannot afford to continue this way.

A premier would have been aware of and stopped the redirecting of funds to high level bureaucrats through health care facilities, (most of us would call this money laundering) and when it is brought out into the open would have had more gumption than to merely say, ‘I guess I should have known’ and ‘We’ll try to do better next time.’

What an absolute crock of hooey. How can this happen? Who oversees this? Why was nobody fired or even slightly reprimanded? How can we have faith in a government that has allowed this thievery to exist and simply turn a blind eye to it?

Please don't try to blame previous governments for this because even if they were involved in this scheme previously, it should have been up to a premier to do something to put an end to it.

A premier would have not filed a lawsuit against the producers of a legal substance looking for cost recovery for money spent trying to heal those affected by this dangerous product, while at the same time pocketing millions of dollars in tax revenue from this exact same source.

Why have you not sued the casinos and the OLG for cost recovery from gambling addiction?

Why have you not sued the LCBO for distributing a product that leads to alcohol addiction?

I’m sorry, but you just can't have it both ways. Let's just say you win this lawsuit (although I doubt you will). How many jobs are going to be lost due to the price that will have to paid by these companies? How many manufacturers are going to stay in Ontario if the government is going to sue them whenever the whim hits them? Why would anybody invest in such a province?

I have tried to keep this letter somewhat civil, but in closing I cannot begin to describe my utter disgust with you and your government.

I pay my taxes with the expectation that I will receive value for the money that I send in. Up until now, I have not been entirely happy with the results I see, but have been quiet and reluctant to voice my opinion.

No longer!

I will now do everything that I as a single vote can do to see that you and your government do not continue to rip us off and I will try to convince everyone that I meet that you do not deserve to be our premier and your time in office will come to a permanent end in the next election.

Article ID# 2120719

Haldimand "MPMP Coming Soon"

County forms not filed
October 14, 2009

The Provincial Municipal Performance Measurement Program (MPMP) is now in its tenth year. It requires all Ontario municipalities to file an annual report to the Province and to the public, setting out performance data on solid waste, sewers, water, transportation (roads and public transit), fire, police, land use, planning and general government. All Ontario municipalities are required to report MPMP results to local taxpayers no later than September 30th following the reporting year.

According to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website the benefits of reporting performance measurement results to the public are significant: ranging from improved accountability to improved service delivery. The MPMP program should generate public interest into the decisions their councils make, encouraging further communication.

Municipalities are required to report MPMP results to the province through the Financial Information Return (FIR) by May 31st following each reporting year. Municipalities must also publish results for local taxpayers by September 30th using a format of their own choosing.

Many municipalities provide this information on their web sites. Others take out newspaper ads, mail the information or include performance measurement information in the property tax bill.

In a letter to all heads of Council from Minister Jim Watson in August of this year, he states "By publicly reporting their MPMP results, Ontario municipalities are achieving a level of transparency and accountability that has gained both national and international recognition".

In an interview with the Chronicle, Mayor Marie Trainer was under the impression that Haldimand County was in fact complying with the Province in respect to the MPMP program reporting requirements.

The treasurer of Haldimand County, Mark Merritt confirmed in an interview that Haldimand County does a Financial Information Return (FIR) every year but has never filed an MPMP return. Although the FIR and the MPMP are part and parcel of the same return, Merritt stated that due to timing and the lack of resources the county has never filed an MPMP.

Merritt anticipates that by the end of the year the MPMP results for 2008 will be completed and available for the public to view on the county website.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Haldimand "What is the Duty of a Councillor?"

Motion from council may change procedures
Posted By Donna Pitcher
October 7, 2009

Councillor Tony Dalimonte brought forth a motion at Monday's Council in Committee meeting that had some council members feeling that their voice within their wards would be taken away and that this motion is a direct hit on the democratic process.

The motion by Dalimonte states; "That in order to ensure consistency and clarity with respect to Council's position on County business and issues, the following Protocol be adopted".

"That all formal meetings with the Provincial and Federal Government Ministers or their staff, for the purpose of advancing County Corporate business through discussions or presenting County Corporate business or issues, be first sanctioned through resolution by a "majority" vote of Council and co-ordinated through the Mayor's office".

"Council speaks with one voice, we speak by resolution only, and there is no other way around this, we need to table this motion and cast it in stone", said Dalimonte. Dalimonte feels that the voice of council needs to be conveyed through the Mayor's office, with a majority voice.

"With this motion my community voice is gone," said Councillor Craig Grice, this motion makes no sense". Grice was disappointed with Dalimonte's philosophy behind the motion, as Grice understood that this motion was to ensure continuity with respect to conferences not individual councillors. The spirit of this motion can not go forward according to Grice.

"It took the Mayor three years to ask if anyone on council wanted a meeting with a minister" said Grice. Grice had requested back a few months ago for the Mayor to arrange a meeting with the minister of infrastructure, and a meeting with MP Diane Finley, to date nothing has been arranged through the Mayors office.

Grice has been very successful in arranging many meetings with Ministers and their staff over the last couple of years. With this new motion Grice will no longer have a voice to contact a minister on his own, he will need a "majority" vote through council first before a meeting could be arranged through the Mayors office.

Councillor Lorne Boyko spoke of the major differences between a Mayor and a council member. "A Mayor has too support the position of council, they have to regardless of what their personal opinion is", a Councillor does not have to do that, Boyko feels that this motion is censoring council members. "I think you are seriously undercutting the duty and the role of a Councillor", said Boyko.

The motion was carried with a vote of 4-2, Grice and Boyko voted against the motion. Councillor Leroy Bartlett was not present when this motion was discussed.

In an interview with Grice after the council meeting, Grice said this motion was ego vs. politics".

Haldimand "Council Makes First Nations Motion"

Posted By Donna Pitcher,
October 7, 2009

Councillor Buck Sloat submitted a notice of motion at Monday's Council in Committee meeting in regards to Haldimand County committees dealing with First Nation's issues. Council also voted to wave procedural bylaws to deal with this motion at Monday's meeting.

The motion deals with all First Nations established Committees in Haldimand County, and that all such committees be dissolved. Future meetings with First Nations will be co-ordinated through the Mayor's office with the applicable Ward Councillor, Council Committee Chair and Staff.

According to Sloat's motion these committees have held few meetings addressing issues that are directly related to their "initial" mandate and that agendas have not been established prior to the meetings.

Councillor Lorne Boyko was under the impression that this would be a reconsideration of a motion, that these committees have already been dissolved. Sloat clarified that this motion would encompass three committees that have not been dissolved. The three committees cover Planning issues, the Recovery Plan and the Native Relations Committee.

Boyko disagreed with Sloat's statement that there have been no agendas for these meetings. "This makes it look like to the public that we attended meetings with no agendas," said Boyko. Boyko was also concerned with the continuity of this motion if an issue crosses ward boundaries.

Councillor Tony Dalimonte supported the motion, and sees this as giving the Mayor's office as much flexibility as possible. Dalimonte also believes that there should be two or three issues on the table before a meeting is planned. "We need to sit face to face", to call one Councillor at a time is wasting our time, "lets get going here and do something" said Dalimonte.

"We have accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing with these committees," said Sloat. "Every time we go around and around and around the issues go beyond what the scope of the meeting was and we need to focus" said Sloat.

Boyko once again disagreed with Sloat's statements, and talked about some issues relating to the differences between our cultures.

In the reading of the final motion the statement was removed regarding agendas. Council voted in favour of the motion with a vote of 4-2, Grice and Boyko voted against the motion, Councillor Leroy Bartlett was not in attendance when this issue was discussed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Haldimand "Governments need to be Accountable"

I can't believe that it has been this long since I have posted on my blog! Since I was appointed to the Haldimand County Disaster Relief Committee back in April and started working part time reporting for the Dunnville Chronicle in May, I haven't had much time to post. This is not to say that I am not interested in the politics of the day, quite the opposite.

Good news is that the Haldimand County Disaster Relief Committee is winding down as we have exceeded our goal! The flood victims will be paid out probably in late October.

Toby Barrett, MPP for Haldimand County sent a news release yesterday all about the Provincial governments lack "accountability", in regards to the OLG. I agree with Toby and Tim Hudak, demand all that money back! If that had been you or I in our jobs, we would not be treated the same as they have been!

Where is the accountability for OLG scandals?

by Toby Barrett, MPP

It’s disturbing on our return to Queens Park to see government bungling two spending scandals in which millions have been squandered by Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG), and at e-health. The difficulties at OLG represent the latest in a trail of missteps dating back some four years now.

It was 2005, when we began hearing rumours of “insider” wins and lottery sellers collecting a disproportionate share of winnings; in some cases, ripping off customers. The ugly truth was revealed through an independent probe launched by Ontario’s Ombudsman, Andre Marin. His report revealed that millions had been paid out to unscrupulous retailers, stating, “confidence in our lotteries is shattered.”

The fallout? A recommended 23 reforms and the exit of OLG chief executive Duncan Brown – he hightailed it with two year’s salary as severance before the report became public. The government then hired new CEO, Kelly McDougald, - the same Kelly McDougald who was fired by OLG this month.

The lottery payouts to insiders continue to the tune of $198 million since Marin’s expose.

Last March, OLG was reprimanded for giving away foreign-made, as opposed to domestic, luxury cars in its ‘License to Win’ promotion at a time when our domestic auto sector was struggling. Criticism prompted the lottery corporation to launch a review of the annual promotion.

As well, questions surrounding OLG tendering practices including the incidence of untendered contracts have emerged, leading government to stop payment on two casino projects in Brantford and Ajax, worth about $30 million.

And the most recent OLG bombshell reveals expense accounts for items and services that have no business being expensed. It seems we, as taxpayers, have been footing the bill for expenses like car washes, $500 for a nanny, and $3,713.77 for a night out for 38 people.

While Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has indicated he is, “disappointed with what has been brought to my attention”, and the entire OLG board has resigned, the fact remains it’s time for government to take some responsibility.

A good first step would be to get some, or better yet all, of that misspent money back.

Ombudsman Marin has called on the OLG to launch civil suits to regain some of the millions in insider wins, and Opposition Leader Tim Hudak has demanded Mr. McGuinty order the reimbursement of fraudulent, excessive and unreasonable expenses billed by OLG execs.

For its part, government has introduced the Public Sector Expenses Review Act to give the Integrity Commissioner new powers to oversee expenses of senior officials – this is asking a staff of nine, in addition to their regular jobs, to now analyze the expense accounts of 80,000 bureaucrats. While the goal sounds admirable, it doesn’t do anything to address this government’s culture of waste entrenched in the current regime.

As Mr. Hudak stated this past week, "I actually believe in ministerial accountability. The buck stops at the minister's desk. If the minister can't set the tone how the lunch money is spent, how do we expect them to oversee hospitals, highways or schools in our province?"

It’s clear the shuffling and firing of CEO's in the wake of each scandal will not fix the lack of leadership in the Ontario Government. It’s time for a Cabinet Minister to show some accountability.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Haldimand "Bruce Power pulls the Plug"


The Dunnville Chronicle
Wed Jul 29 2009
Page: A3
Section: News

Bruce Power has withdrawn its application to build Nuclear reactors in Nanticoke and Bruce County; blaming Ontario's declining electricity demand according to a news release on July 23.

Bruce Power has notified the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency that it will withdraw its site license applications and suspend its Environmental Assessments in Bruce County and Nanticoke.

Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer says this news is "unfortunate" for Haldimand County. Bruce Power had recently informed Trainer, that everything that has been done to date was more favourable than expected.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is still slated to close in 2014 and Trainer is hopeful that OPG will convert to natural gas.

"This is part of our tax base," she said.

When asked about renewable energy options Trainer remarked, "Going Green is Expensive," people don't realize that their hydro bills could double."

"No Nukes in Nanticoke. It's not just a slogan anymore. It's a statement of fact," said Jim Elve of Waterford in an interview with The Chronicle on Friday morning.

Elve is a member of the Grand River Energy Quest, a grass roots group that was formed when Bruce Power announced their plans to build a Nuclear Plant in Haldimand County.

"I suggest there is a bit more to it than that," Elve speculated.

He believes there are underlying reasons why Bruce Power pulled the plug. Elve wondered whether the public opposition played a role in the recent decision.

Both Haldimand and Norfolk counties had passed resolutions supporting Bruce Powers environmental assessment, and stated that they would be "willing hosts."

Elve has always accused that both communities made Bruce Power believe they were willing hosts without any communications from residents.

Grand Erie Energy Quest has a petition, signed by over 1,500 residents in the Nanticoke area, against the nuclear build.

"Rather than putting all of our eggs in one basket and hoping a white knight will ride into town with a mega project, our councils should take this opportunity to encourage economic activity that doesn't rely on billion dollar investors. Renewable energy is the way of the future," said Elve.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Haldimand "Threat of Nuclear Plant is Hurting Local Economy"

Threat of Nuclear Plant is Hurting Local Economy
by Jim Elve of Waterford

On June 28, the Ontario government suspended plans to deploy two new nuclear reactors at Darlington. Even with a bottomless public purse, the costs were deemed too high.

On July 1, the largest energy company in the US, Exelon, dropped plans to build a two-reactor plant in Victoria, Texas. The costs were too high.

In April, another large American energy company, St. Louis-based AmerenUE suspended work on a reactor in Missouri. Costs were too high.

On July 2, New Brunswick revealed that the refurbishment project at the Point Lepreau nuclear station was eight months behind schedule and more than $100 million over budget.

On June 8, secret papers left at a CTV studio revealed that the refurbishment of reactors at Bruce Power’s Kincardine plant is over a year behind schedule and between $300 and $600 million over budget.

On June 11, Prime Minister Harper's chief spokesman, Kory Teneycke, said Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is a "dysfunctional," $30-billion "sinkhole" that will not get any more federal funding.

As of July 1, Areva’s Olkiluoto nuclear energy project in Finland was 42 months behind schedule and 60% over budget.

The new generation of nuclear development is proving to be a lot like the previous generation: too costly to deserve either private or public investment. The much-touted “nuclear renaissance” is proving to be just so much hype from a highly polished and well-heeled sales force intent on lobbying for a dubious, if not absurd, new round of fruitless investment.

Here in Haldimand-Norfolk, we are being lured with the same empty hook. Bruce Power’s bid to build a two-reactor plant with private capital is every bit as financially ill-advised as the aforementioned projects. The pie-in-the-sky promise of 1000 high paid jobs is as believable as the promises that the new generation of reactors would be built on time and on budget.

About three weeks ago, Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman reiterated in no uncertain terms that Ontario is not supporting Bruce’s Nanticoke proposal and that the province has no intention of purchasing any electricity that might be created at a possible Nanticoke nuclear plant. We simply do not need it. Ontario already has a surplus of baseload nuclear energy and on over 200 occasions in 2009, we’ve actually paid industrial customers to use it… after we paid the nuclear plants to produce it.

Last week, a Bruce Power spokesperson told Saskatchewan residents that a nuclear plant could not be built in their province without the support and stability offered by a firm provincial government commitment. Indeed, no nuclear project has ever been built without massive taxpayer support.

Despite the lack of financial backing and the strong probability that no plant will ever be built at Nanticoke, Bruce Power continues to press on with the Environmental Assessment it began last November. The nuclear Sword of Damocles continues to damage our local economy by scaring away potential new residents and driving away long time citizens.

Surveys taken by MPP Toby Barrett over a three year period indicate that 76% of H-N residents are opposed to a new nuclear plant. New residents echo the same sentiment over and over; if they’d been aware that a nuclear plant was being proposed 6 km from downtown Port Dover, they would have bought their retirement homes elsewhere. Instead of helping our local economy with future jobs, jobs, jobs, the threat of a nuclear plant is stifling growth and curtailing employment for our existing local tradesmen and businesses.

Both Bruce Power and Premier McGuinty have assured us that they will not pursue nuclear development in anything but a “willing host community”. We can permanently remove the growth-inhibiting threat of a nuclear plant by urging our municipality, through resolutions by Norfolk and Haldimand County Councils declaring that we are not a willing host.

Haldimand and Norfolk residents can contact their democratic representatives on county councils and tell them to remove this threat that is already damaging our local economy. The hollow promise of future jobs relies on nuclear investors being hoodwinked into investing here when they are dropping the nuclear hot potato everywhere else. If it won’t happen, let’s make it clear to real investors that were driving unprecedented growth in Port Dover before the spectre of a nuclear plant loomed on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Haldimand "Craving Attention"

Craving attention
The Chronicle Editorial
July 1, 2009

So how much obligation does a newspaper have to provide coverage to someone who admittedly engages in acts simply to garner attention?

This is the question facing Haldimand newspapers in the wake of last week's dog and pony show in Cayuga.

In the days leading up to last Tuesday evening, Doug Fleming was asking people to come to a meeting where he would form a militia aimed at removing trespassers from properties in Caledonia. Specifically he wanted to target Six Nations residents who have been embroiled in land occupations in the area.

And then hours before the meeting Gary McHale distributed a press release saying, "At no time was Doug Fleming's new group going to be called 'Caledonia Militia'. It should be apparent to everyone that the word 'militia' was used to get media attention. It is unfortunate in Canada that media will not cover a story unless you use such a word..."

In no uncertain terms he was saying the whole thing was a publicity stunt.

McHale signed the release as media relations for the 'Caledonia Peacekeepers' , the new name of the Caledonia Militia.

In light of the confession McHale and the group have lost even more credibility. All along they have claimed they are only trying restore balance to a situation in which they perceive two-tier justice.

Yes, newspapers will pay attention when someone comes along and uses a phrase like militia. One of its definitions is "military force."

In Canada the use of a private army is going to get you some attention. It sure doesn't mean you're going to get respect.

Surely recruitment conducted for a responsible group of citizens who want, and need to band together for the common good wouldn't need a publicity stunt to succeed.

So it appears the goal wasn't to actually form a peacekeeping gang but rather simply to provide an opportunity to step once again into the spotlight.

We also have to wonder if the roughly 125 protestors outside the meeting compared with the 30 or so inside gave McHale and Fleming a hint that maybe they're not quite as popular as they think they are.

We have a democratic system in place designed to represent us and to solve problems such as the myriad of land claims across the country. Indigenous peoples will be the first to tell you our system isn't perfect but they wouldn't be the only ones. Average Canadians are also frustrated at the lack of progress in this arena.

But McHale ran in the last federal election. It appeared at the time he understood that in a democracy you can be elected to carry out the wishes of your constituents. But apparently, if you're Gary McHale, losing just means you take matters into your own hands, democratic process be

And no matter how you slice it, that makes him a vigilante -"One who advocates taking the law enforcement into one's own hands."

And yes in Canada that means getting media attention but in this case McHale is under a spotlight revealing -through his own admission -less than admirable motives.

There is no doubt that OPP have handled Six Nations residents differently than other citizens. They have little choice given directives from the Province in the wake of the Ipperwash inquiry.

But there is one question that has never been answered and until McHale or his disciples address it they will continue to be viewed as publicity seeking agitators by most citizens.

And the question is simple: Just how have your actions helped government negotiators reach a peaceful solution to land claims in Caledonia?

Article ID# 1636746

Haldimand "Protest Stays Peaceful"

Protest stays peaceful
July 1, 2009

The quiet town of Cayuga was full of action last Tuesday (June 23) as people came from communities as far away as Toronto. They gathered to protest or observe a controversial first meeting of the "Caledonia Peacekeepers" taking place inside the Cayuga Lion's Club Hall.

After a week of speculation and media frenzy into the apparent forming of a "militia" group in Caledonia, the facts came to light just hours prior to a meeting on Tuesday organized by Doug Fleming of Caledonia and Gary McHale from Binbrook.

The press release read; "At no time was Doug Fleming's new group going to be called 'Caledonia Militia'. It should be apparent to everyone that the word 'militia' was used to get media attention. It is unfortunate in Canada that media will not cover a story unless you use such a word, but the fact that Doug Fleming called it an unarmed militia meant that it wasn't a militia. The name of the group has been a closely guarded secret to ensure max. Media coverage. The name of the new group is the Caledonia Peacekeepers"; Gary McHale signed this press release, media relations for the Caledonia Peacekeepers.

The normally quiet street was lined on both sides with vehicles as far as one could see. Media were there in full force speculating on a clash between the "peacekeepers" inside and the protesters outside. People gathered in small groups. Some were residents who live on the street and surrounding area. Others were from Six Nations who are the target of the "peacekeeping" initiative.

The situation escalated when about 125 protesters from CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group lead by Tom Keefer announced they would attend in protest of the proposed "militia."

Pat Hebb from Hamilton and Margaret Munday from Hagersville were part of the crowd that gathered Tuesday night outside the Lion's Hall. Both ladies own trailers at Conway Park in Cayuga and walked over to see first hand what was going on. "I don't blame them, the protesters or the people inside. I blame the government. They (the government) need to get off their asses and settle this," said Hebb.

The group from CUPE 3903 chanted "Go away KKK" and had signs that read "Canadians Don't Want Anti-Native Vigilantes," "Klan Meeting in Progress," "Militia Go Home".

Niki Thorne, a York University student and member of the First Nations Solidarity Working Group was one of the speakers. "We oppose the threat of violence and escalation of the problem: "This is a bigger issue. This is not just about Caledonia. We need to settle all land claims in a crisp, peaceful and fair manner."

While protesters were making speeches outside about 26 people filled the Lions Hall. In his opening statement Fleming said, "I'm going to be very blunt here. My grandfather's generation fought a war against Nazi Germany to combat that type of thinking. If any of you here have bought into this racist doctrine, I just want you to know this: I despise your beliefs. I couldn't disagree with you more, and this is not the group for you." Fleming went on to say that he personally knows people who have suffered for the last two years and feels compelled to do something about it.

McHale, media relations for the Caledonia Peacekeepers, was the speaker for the rest of the evening. McHale went into detail about issues such as the "race-based policing" of the OPP and how the new group would carry out citizens arrests.

In an interview Monday morning with The Chronicle, Keefer expressed his personal opinion that the renaming of the Caledonia Militia to the Caledonia Peacekeepers is nothing more than "more classic McHale double talk."

"The bottom line is that the forming of this militia is only going to escalate things and could lead to violence. There is no positive outcome to this," said Keefer

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Haldimand "Monthly Marches to Continue"

Flag flap continues
Monthly marches planned
Posted 16 hours ago

Escorted by the OPP, Merlyn Kinrade of Caledonia and about two dozen demonstrators peacefully marched down the shoulder of Argyle Street past Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) last Saturday.

The march the Caledonia Lions Hall before the group drove to the OPP station in Cayuga where they presented speeches and hung posters.

Merlyn Kinrade is the Caledonia Liaison for the Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE) and was the organizer of last Saturday's march. The march was held in support of Randy Fleming who the group contends was "illegally arrested for carrying a Canadian Flag while he walked down Argyle St. past DCE". DCE has been at the centre of controversy ever since it was claimed as native territory by Six Nations citizens in 2006.

CANACE had requested that Mayor Trainer and Councillor Craig Grice of Haldimand County Council, Haldimand/Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett and Haldimand/Norfolk MP Diane Finley march in support of residents who they (CANACE) feel have been the victims of race based policing. They did not attend.

The group gathered at the OPP station in Cayuga for a few speeches. Two posters of Randy Fleming were erected. According to the organizers these photos showed the "excessive force that was used against Fleming during his arrest". The poster read, "Warning. OPP Racist Policies Enforced."

"We are at the end of the beginning," said Mark Vandermaas, who is the advisor for CANACE. Vandermaas spoke to the group about the recent news coverage they have received. "We haven't had this much media since we were arrested. We are still going to hang flags, at every pole across from DCE."

"My brother got manhandled walking down the street," said Doug Fleming during the speeches. Fleming also spoke to the group about the forming of the "Caledonia Militia" and the meeting schedule for Tuesday June 23. Fleming said using the word "militia" was meant to touch a nerve, and it did. As far as he is concerned, "We preformed a community service today, and we will work within the law; we have enough outlaws now."

According to Kinrade CANACE will keep marching, "Until we get resolution to the madness in Caledonia." His plans are to march once a month.

When I sent my story to the editor I sent him the one that was not quite complete, so here is the rest of the story;

“The march by a few residents and non residents was completed without incident and the OPP are happy for that” said Inspector Dave Maclean, Haldimand OPP detachment. “The organizers of this march and those marches they plan to continue into the summer, really need to look at their objectives and what they hope the end result will be before they disrupt this beautiful community any further. As well as draw costly police and emergency resources away from serving the entire county”. This sort of activity will not resolve the land claim issue or any of the associated activity.

Maclean is of the opinion that all it does is increase tensions and frustrations locally and affects the majority of people in both communities who want to carry on with their day to day lives, and who hope this gets resolved by those who have the ability to do so.

Haldimand County Mayer Marie Trainer declined the invitation to Saturday’s march with CANACE. Trainer said in a telephone interview with the Chronicle Monday morning “I just don’t think that it is quite appropriate for me to march with them”. As far as the “militia” Trainer said this was made out of frustration and she would make a final decision as to where she stands on this issue when she sees what their actions are. Trainer will not be attending the militia meeting in Cayuga on Tuesday night. “You don’t know what is going to happen,” said Trainer.

Haldimand "Council Delays Dealing with Militia Issue"

Council delays dealing with 'militia' issue
June 24, 2009

A debate heated up at Council on Monday night after Councillor Craig Grice voiced his concerns regarding the recent events in Caledonia and the forming of a militia group. Grice went on to say, "This is not 2006 or even 2007, it is 2009. If it were 2006 or 2007, I would be saying something different."

Grice is not in favour of a militia group being formed in Caledonia. He spoke of the meeting Tuesday night in Cayuga: "We now have a protest protesting the protest. This does not move us forward. Don't get sucked into the antics of others, Caledonia is a collection of issues; we need positives, period. We are suffering through our corporate image."

He asked, "What is the Municipal stand on the demonstrations, on the militia, and other events like the flag raisings?"

"It is time that we took a stand on this. This has gone on long enough, and it's not just Caledonia," said Councillor Lorne Boyko. According to Boyko the recent coverage of the militia is sending a negative message about our community that will affect shopping habits and tourism. "This is negative towards Caledonia and for Haldimand County."

Councillor Buck Sloat agreed with Boyko. "We need to take a stand on the issues and have the courage to stand behind it". According to Sloat council needs a resolution the Mayor can promote. "We need to have a stand from you, Madam Mayor; you are a pillar of the community."

"The media goes to you first as Mayor. What is your position on this, are you in favour or not?" asked Grice. Trainer did not respond to the question.

"This council speaks through resolution," said Councillor Don Ricker.

Council agreed to deal with the issue after their summer break as no resolution had been formulated before last night's meeting.

But Ricker voiced his concerns regarding Trainer speaking on behalf of council for the next month or so, as council is now in recess for five weeks.

Defending the decision to deal with the issue after recess Boyko argued, "I think we have a direction. We didn't come here tonight prepared to deal with this."

Article ID# 1626672

Haldimand "New Nuclear Power Plant Project goes to Review Panel"

Environment Minister Refers Nanticoke New Nuclear Power Plant Project to a Review Panel

OTTAWA, June 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's Environment Minister Jim Prentice
announced today that the proposed Nanticoke New Nuclear Power Plant Project in
Haldimand County, Ontario will undergo an environmental assessment by an
independent review panel.

"I am confident that an independent review panel will fully consider the
environmental issues related to the proposed project and make sound
recommendations to the federal government," said Minister Prentice. "This will
be the best means of addressing public concerns pertaining to this major
nuclear project."

The Minister's decision is based on a recommendation made by the Canadian
Nuclear Safety Commission.

The project is a proposal by Bruce Power Erie Inc. to construct and
operate up to two new nuclear reactors and associated facilities, in the
former municipality of Nanticoke, Ontario, for the generation of 2200 to 3200
megawatts of electricity. The proposed site is located on the north shore of
Lake Erie in Haldimand County.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) is making
available up to $100,000 in participant funding to assist individuals or
groups to take part in the environmental assessment process. This funding will
help successful applicants in Phase I of the process to review and comment on
the draft guidelines for the environmental impact statement (EIS) and draft
joint review panel agreement. In Phase II, additional funds will be made
available to help applicants review the EIS and prepare for and participate in
the public hearings. Funding applications for Phase I received by July 27,
2009 will be considered.

Information on the funding program, the proposed project and on the
environmental assessment process is available on the Agency's Web site at, under registry number 08-03-43757.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency administers the federal
environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects
of proposed projects and measures to address those effects, in support of
sustainable development.

For further information: Media: Annie Roy, Senior Communications
Advisor, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, (613) 957-0396

Friday, June 19, 2009

Haldimand "Are you Concerned about Your Property Rights?

Here are a few updates from MPP Toby Barrett;

Anyone concerned about private property rights?

The arrival of an illegal smoke shop on the front of a privately-owned farm on Highway-6, South of Caledonia, has raised a number of questions.

Does government not have a role in defending private property, or are people on their own?

Smoke shops are illegal, regardless of who owns the land where they are located. So why are they seemingly condoned by all levels of government?

We have government for a reason. We have law for a reason.

And, as I explained in a June 12th letter to Premier McGuinty, when government abdicates responsibility it puts matters back into the hands of people themselves. Hence talk of a Caledonia Militia and other measures not seen since the American West of the late-1800’s.

On June 1st, I introduced, for the third time in the last 14 years, legislation to restore property rights in the Province of Ontario. The Property Rights and Responsibilities Act, 2009 provides measures for compensation and a public hearing in those cases where a home - or property – owner is subject to a government initiated ‘taking’ of property.

My bill does not provide measures to protect property owners from a ‘taking’ by a private individual or group because the law has been very clear on this one – you don’t set foot on someone else’s land or go in their home to intimidate or extort or steal without suffering the extent of the law.

We have had such protections, from intrusion by government and by private individuals, for centuries going back to the Magna Carta of 1215 and the beginnings of English common law. The legacy of these protections can be found in the Criminal Code of Canada.

In 1960, Prime Minister Diefenbaker introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights - one of the most comprehensive human rights documents in western society. Upon introduction, the bill gave Canadians statutory protection against the federal government infringing on their rights – including “security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law.”

However, for whatever reason, Prime Minister Trudeau did not include the right to own property in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In light of this constitutional void, it is up to both levels of government to pass laws protecting property rights. It’s time for society to acknowledge the very basic need to address an individual’s right to own and enjoy one’s land and home.

These are some of the reasons that I joined John Tory and now Tim Hudak in calls to beef up the Trespass to Property Act – the most recent proposal calling for a significant increase in penalties for trespassing, as well as the designation of separate offence for ‘illegal occupations’.

As well, I will continue to seek support for my private members bill calling for property rights protection in this province – following my The Land Rights and Responsibilities Act, 2006, and The Property Rights Statute Law Amendment Act, 1995.

While my focus has always been directed at ensuring protection, consideration and possible compensation for private property from government-takings, the most recent smoke shop example makes clear the need for further steps to ensure that property rights are maintained, strengthened and enforced throughout Ontario.

Toby here,

Please find attached and below a news release regarding my support for Tim Hudak’s proposed changes to the Trespass To Property Act and related creation of a separate offence for illegal occupations.

Have a great weekend.

For immediate release:

June 19, 2009

Barrett backing Hudak law against illegal occupations

Simcoe: Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett endorses Leadership Candidate Tim Hudak’s plan for a renewed focus on the rule of law in Ontario.

Barrett says he is particularly heartened by Tim Hudak’s commitment to strengthen the Trespass to Property Act.

“Tim’s proposed changes to the Trespassing Act will aid in the prevention of illegal occupations of property whether it is private property or public,” stated Barrett. “These changes would include the creation of a new offence for illegal occupations – something I feel is sorely needed.”

Hudak’s proposed changes include:

Significantly increasing penalties for trespassing

Making illegal occupation a separate offence, with escalating penalties each day of an occupation

Making it an offence for an organization to encourage others to engage in an illegal occupation.

“The people of our area have dealt with three years of government inaction on land disputes and occupations,” Barrett concluded. “We look forward to seeing concrete steps taken through strengthening and updating trespassing protections to help address these ongoing concerns.”

The initiatives build on previous proposals announced during the 2007 election by then Opposition Leader John Tory to strengthen trespassing legislation.

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at (519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629

June 19, 2009

Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1

Re: Illegal Occupation of Privately-owned Farmland II

Dear Premier:

On June 12th I wrote to you concerning an illegal smoke shack occupying a privately-owned farm not owned by the occupiers.

In my letter, I indicated that government abdication of responsibility will force the matter into the hands of private individuals. This has now happened.

Your government’s response to this situation has been to label the formation of a Militia, “a dumb idea”, but you have not addressed the illegal smoke shack on private land.

For three years Ontario has watched the Warrior flag fly over mayhem in the Caledonia area – much of it occurring on a provincially-owned highway and provincial property. I think of the destruction of the Sterling Street Bridge, excavation of a trench across the main street of Caledonia, the three year occupation of Douglas Creek Estates, ongoing blockage preventing construction of the Middleport Hydro Corridor.

You have criticized the concept of a Militia as “a dumb idea”, but for three years have been silent on the destruction wreaked under the banner of Warriors. What is your public position on the Warrior Society? Do you condone the Warrior Society and its activities in the Caledonia area?

Premier, as you know, smoke shops and the business they do, are illegal whether on public or private land. What is your plan of action to bring this ongoing illegal activity to an end?

Toby Barrett, MPP

cc.Prime Minister Harper
MP Diane Finley
Mayor Trainer
Key stakeholders

Haldimand "Keep Off our Lawn, pair tells Fledgling Caledonia Militia"

It is strange how a story can grow it's own legs. Well this one certainly has.

I wrote an article for the Dunnville Chronicle about the Caledonia Militia. The incident that I was speaking of that triggered these events was Ernie Palmer. He owns property just outside of Caledonia where a smoke shack has been erected. Now I might add that this is a different scenario than the rest of the smoke shacks as this one is on private property.

I know a close friend of Ernies and when I asked about getting a hold of him for an interview I was told that he just wanted to be left alone. He will deal with this situation on his own. So I respected his wishes and never attempted to contact him. Other media outlets did and the story has grown it's own legs. Thank goodness I stayed away from that one. Although I guess I am not a very good reporter for not pushing.

The whole issue of Ernie's property has been, he said she said they said. Everyone seems to have different factual information. So today in a Toronto newspaper everything seems to be crystal clear. There is a picture of Ernie and Powless smiling and hitting their fists together. (I cannot put pics up on my site.)

Keep off our lawn, pair tells fledgling Caledonia 'militia'

Ernie Palmer is okay with Stephen Powless running smoke shop on his land.

Jun 19, 2009 04:30 AM
Peter Edwards
Staff Reporter

CALEDONIA–Ernie Palmer says he's smoking mad at locals who want to set up a "Caledonia Militia" in part to protect him from natives running a discount smoke shop on his front lawn.

"We have the OPP if there is lawlessness," the retiree said yesterday in an interview on his 19-hectare property on Highway 6.

However, he doesn't foresee any need for anyone to protect him from Oshweken resident Stephen (Boots) Powless, 44, one of the smoke shack's proprietors.

"I have found (Powless) a very nice man," said Palmer, who came to Canada from Hungary in 1957. "We have drunk so much coffee we're swimming. ... I have a good dialogue with Boots."

While he didn't invite Powless to set up on his land, Palmer said he respects the attempt to reinforce the assertion that native land claims can't be extinguished.
At one point in an interview on Palmer's lawn, Powless joined in and aimed a squirt gun at the property owner as if taking him hostage, which caused Palmer to burst out laughing.

Powless calls Palmer a friend, but said the area could have a long, hot summer of racial tension if the militia idea catches on.

"I have never run from anyone," he said. "If they come here looking for a fight, they'll get one.

"Hopefully, things remain peaceful," he added.

He said he was willing to leave Palmer's property until he read on the Internet of the plans to set up a local militia.

Organizers stated their right to remove "illegal trespassers" from local properties.
"Trespassers will be arrested and turned over to the OPP," the Internet announcement said.

As for the militia, "hotheads need not apply," the announcement said.

One of the organizers, Doug Fleming, also feels local racial tensions could come to a boil this summer.

"I think people are less resilient," said the 47-year-old, who installs pools and cuts firewood seasonally.

He acknowledged some may have problems with the term "militia."

"It conjures up images of shotguns and rifles," he said. "We're going to discourage (recruits) who are looking for a fight."

The OPP says it opposes formation of a local militia.

Insp. Dave Ross dismissed criticism that the OPP haven't kept law and order, noting the 148 charges laid against 61 people since early 2006, when protests began against a housing development on Douglas Creek land claimed by Six Nations.

"Our role is to act in an appropriate manner to monitor the peace and act in the best interests of everyone involved," Ross said.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Haldimand "Caledonia Militia being Formed"

Caledonia Militia being formed
June 17, 2009

A citizens group called the Caledonia Militia is being formed by Caledonia resident Doug Fleming.

Fleming said in a recent release the group is being formed due to the ongoing reality that the OPP refuses to enforce the Criminal Code with regards to people's property rights.

Fleming has the backing and support of Gary McHale, of Caledonia Wake Up Call and President of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE).

The idea has been rolling around for about three years said Fleming in an interview with The Chronicle Tuesday morning.

"I wish that we didn't have the need to do this, we are not here to add to the trouble, we are here to help."

Fleming realizes that the name Militia will conjure up images of guys toting guns. This couldn't be farther from the truth, we are following in the spirit of the Guardian Angels, a group of unarmed citizens that will have cool heads, adhere to the law and exercise restraint.

A recent incident in Caledonia triggered Fleming to officially kick things off.

"This has nothing to do with land claims, this is to do with law enforcement and is a reflection of the shortcomings of the OPP", said Fleming.

Next Tuesday, an information session will be held at the Cayuga Lion's Hall starting at 7 p. m. No "hotheads" are allowed. Interested parties will be screened said Fleming with the intentbe a law abiding group not a goon squad.

McHale will do a presentation on Sections 38-42 of the Criminal Code. This section of the code relates to the rights of a citizen to place an individual under arrest when law enforcement fails to do so.

"CANACE will support this group" if the group adheres strictly to the law, McHale said in an interview Monday evening. "Serious self-control will be required, this is not to have boxing matches between people."

If someone is on private property and breaking the law, the members of the militia will use reasonable force and arrest the individual breaking the law and transport them into the custody of the OPP.

"This is all Caledonia needs" according to Haldimand County OPP Inspector Dave McLean. "This group will serve no good."

This is just another attempt of a few individuals to aggravate the situation without all the proper information. This group is just trying to discredit the OPP said McLean.

Article ID# 1615957

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Haldimand "Nanticoke Nuclear Bid goes to Review Panel"

Nanticoke nuclear bid goes to review panel

Bruce Power Erie wants to build two reactors

May 07, 2009 NANTICOKE – The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has asked the Minister of Environment to refer the environmental assessment of Bruce Power’s proposal to build two nuclear reactors in the industrial area of Haldimand County to a review panel.

The commission says in a statement late Wednesday an assessment is required before it can consider Bruce Power’s licence application and has concluded that public and stakeholder concerns warrant that a request be made to the minister for an early referral to a review panel.

Bruce Power, which operates a nuclear power plant on Lake Huron near Port Elgin is seeking to build the reactors beside the coal-fired Nanticoke generating Station which is set to be closed in 2014.

The province is not endorsing the proposal, but it has support of Haldimand and Norfolk council’s, local MPs and federal cabinet minister Diane Finley.

A review panel is a group of experts selected and appointed by the minister of the environment.The commission said it has considered Bruce Power Erie's project description, the views already expressed by the public, interest groups, Aboriginal groups and in media reports on previous major nuclear projects, as well as its own experience with consultation on major nuclear projects and decided “…public and stakeholder concerns warrant that a request be made to the minister for an early referral to a review panel.”

A group calling itself Grand Erie Energy Quest has launched a petition requesting a moratorium on nuclear development in Nanticoke because its members feel there has not been sufficient public discussion of contamination, cost and security issues.

Jim Elve, spokesperson for the group, said today the commission decision comes as no surprise. “its the next step,” he said.Grand Erie Energy Quest, which expects its petition to gain momentum with better canvassing in good weather, wants the questions of contamination , cost and most importantly disposal of nuclear waste generated by the plant given a full airing, he said.

“We want to know just where you’re going to put it ... forever,” said Elve.

Elve said the group’s visibility in Haldimand and Norfolk rising as more and more of its dandelion yellow signs are popping up on lawns.

Bruce Power Erie applied in October 2008 for a licence to prepare a site for the future construction and operation of two nuclear reactors to potentially generate between 2,200 and 3,200 megawatts of electricity to the Ontario grid.

The application for a licence to prepare a site is the first in a series of applications to build and operate a new nuclear power plant, as part of the CNSC licensing process.

Haldimand "Donna What's Up?

I have been asked more than once what has happened to my Blog.

As some may be aware I was appointed to the Haldimand County Disaster Relief Committee by council back in March. I signed up to work on the Fundraising Sub-committee, and let me tell you that has kept me hopping! The nine people that I am working with on the committee have been great especially Don Edwards who is the Chair of the sub-committee that I am working on. I am loving every minute of it and the support coming in is very humbling. We have raised around $20,000.00 so far, but still have quite a way to go. It looks like the committee may need to raise around $100,000.00. We will have a solid goal around May 21st when all of the applications are in.

Bob Lidddycoat, editor of the Dunnville Chronicle asked me to cover council meetings for the paper when Karen Best announced that she was leaving. May 4th was my first "official" council meeting as a reporter. Deadlines are another thing when the paper comes out on a Wednesday. I was up most of the night Monday writing.

I was able to meet my "first official deadline". But let me tell you I wondered what the hell did I get myself into here? When the paper came out on Wednesday and I read my articles I was quite proud of myself, as I accomplished what I thought I could never do, and that was write articles that spoke only of the "facts" with no personal "opinions"!

I have been a "blogger" for the past two years and I can tell you that writing for a paper is totally different than blogging!

As a reporter for Council Meetings, I am to report the "facts" with no "opinions". Although I have always said that I blogged the facts about council, I have learned very quickly that "blogging and reporting" are as different as "black and white".

Maybe if I am lucky Bob will allow me do an "Opinion Piece". I am already working on one about my experiences so far with the paper, council, staff and some residents of Dunnville that have commented on my new position with the Chronicle.

So for the past two months I have not blogged much. Believe me it's not because I don't have anything to say, there just seems to not be enough hours in the day.

It is nice that I was asked the questions from those of you that enjoyed my sometimes "colourful" articles.

Thanks for asking!