Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Norlock sweeps to victory, Liberals crash

Conservative Party incumbent Rick Norlock swept to victory in Northumberland-Quinte West, while Liberal candidate Paul Macklin faced a humiliating defeat.
But, it was the Green Party candidate Ralph Torrie was the biggest news of the night as it doubled its support with nine per cent of the total vote, up from 4.7 per cent in 2006.
Norlock won with 22,790 votes (251/274 polls reporting), about 47.7 per cent of the vote, compared to 41.3 per cent in 2006.
Both the Liberals and NDP suffered at the hands of the Green Party, as Liberal support dropped to 14,018, a massive drop from the 22, 563 votes in 2006, an eight per cent drop in the total vote.
The NDP saw a four percentage point drop from 18 per cent of the vote in 2006, down to 14 per cent this time.
It would appear the voter turnout was down, but no final figures are available. Certainly, the Liberals did not get their vote out for the election.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The new reality for journalists

Covering Communities  » Blog Archive  » Like sands through the hour glass …
This is a nice piece about the current reality working as a journalist for a traditional news organization trying to make the transition to the online world.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rude delegation?

A rude? delegation

Ben Burd has posted a public presentation by the Cobourg Horticultural Club to Cobourg council last Monday night where an emotional and testy exchange between the presenters and councillors.
This is an excellent example of the horrendous state of local politics. The politicians overreact and end up marginalizing a group of volunteers in the community. Councillor Bill MacDonald should resign because of his behaviour, acting like a tyrant. If anyone is rude, he is. What is even more terrible is Mayor Peter Delanty's absolute abysmal handling of the situation. He barely looks at them when he is addressing them and does not even apologize for council's behaviour.
And, nobody admits the faux pas of not consulting this important volunteer group. Shame on council. Shame on MacDonald. Shame on Spooner. Double shame on Delanty.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Brilliant analysis from Burd with some additional thoughts

The Burd Report: The OPP guy strikes again

Former Cobourg Councillor Ben Burd provides a piercing analysis of the county policing report that cannot be ignored by taxpayers and politicians. He has shown how civil servants have failed the system by providing a report that is bias and skewed toward a new policing system run by the OPP. It should be mandatory reading and must be addressed rather than dismissed.

Here is another concern. Cobourg council has lost the trust and credibility it needs to properly move forward with a public debate on this issue. The depth of mistrust was clearly demonstrated earlier this week on what should have been a minor item. A group of volunteers from the Cobourg Horticultural Society came before council to express concerns over plans to change the five-points intersection at King, Ontario and William streets. The group generously maintains a public garden on the northwest corner that provides a wonderful gateway to the main street. This is done without payment and as a public service.

During the discussions at council, one of the nice ladies who is involved had a heated exchange with council. Accusations were exchanges by both sides, as Councillor Bob Spooner was challenged (something he absolutely hates). Councillor Bill MacDonald displayed his usual lack of charm by sarcastically accusing them of failing to get all the facts before coming to council.  However, as Councillor Miriam Mutton pointed out, nobody bothered to consult with them.

If this is the level of communication around something so simple as working with a lovely group of volunteers who help our town look beautiful for visitors, what is going to happen around an issue so controversial as policing. This does not bode well.

The need for a citizens action group is greater than ever. The group that fought the ice rink/fountain should be the basis for a larger movement within Cobourg to respond to the policing issue. If not, Cobourg council will ram through a massive change in policing that will be done with only an illusion of democracy and not the real thing. The writing is on the wall. We only need to read it.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Any predictions for the election?

Predictions at this point are futile. A poll was released today in the London Free Press, The Toronto Sun and a few websites, saying the Liberals will take a majority. Just wait. By the weekend, PC leader John Tory's strategy to cut the religious school funding from around his neck will work. This was meant to bring those Conservatives who would have stay away back into the fold. With his base solid, his numbers will jump and we will be looking at polls come this weekend that will place the campaigns very close.

That means the election campaign is really starting today. And, it will be the undecided - that five to 10 per cent of the vote - that will become the focus. The leadership/credibility issue is not dead. It is the one that will certainly hurt McGuinty the most. Frankly, Hampton has the most to gain right now. If the Green Party can suck some votes away, as Ben suggests, then a minority government is possible. Either way, Hampton becomes a serious powerbroker.

But, there is not a central issue of significance.

Locally, who knows. The election is so boring it is painful. But, an interesting note. PC candidate Cathy Galt did not attend an all-candidates debate on Monday at a Cobourg high school. She was out knocking on doors. There are a few ways to read this. Maybe she was out nailing down her supporters or she may be within striking distance of Lou. The only way she will win this is by shaking hands and kissing babies. In other words, retail politics. Lou may be on cruise control, thinking he has the election in the bag. That could be a mistake. The NDP and Green Party will show up to anything that is free publicity. Sorry, but locally they don't have the numbers or the budget to mount a huge campaign.

Where are the questions around the frink and responsible provincial funding? What about containing urban sprawl? How come Belleville gets two new manufacturing plants and Northumberland none? Who is helping the tourism industry? Post-secondary education in Ontario is the most poorly funded per student in Canada, why?etc.....

The Northumberland-Quinte West race is tight. Not time to call anything yet.

Any predictions for the election?:
Here's mine. The Tories will win - just. The vote will be way down and the base vote will count. The Greens are picking up disaffected liberals thus allowing the tories to squeak in, the NDP are picking up more than the base vote of previous years, thus exacerbating the swing to the tories by means of the liberal lost votes. This riding will defy the liberal swing and go blue, maybe on a recount.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Realpolitik from a basement office in Cobourg.

"As a result of this deep cultural faith in virtually unrestricted political communication, there is stunningly little public discussion about how to design  a news and information system that might better suit the needs of democratic politics and citizen involvement." Lance W. Bennett

The moment that discussion take place, every elite in society loses power. And, that is never going to happen, if they have their way.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Continuing the debate

In the spirit of continuing this debate, I would like to make another suggestion about much needed studies.

We are told endlessly that development in the harbour and tourism in our town is beneficial to the downtown. And, while the proximity of the downtown to the harbour is obvious, I wonder if the benefits are the same. It is time to find out if all the development and all our tourism-related ideas truly make a difference.

It is wonderful to see our beach crowded with people each summer. And, it is equally satisfying to see all the visitors, mostly families, using Victoria Park. But, does all the activity translate into dollars for our downtown merchants.

Continuing the debate:
Last week Prof Robert Washburn and me commented on the political fact that we continue to study stuff that goes nowhere. Here is another good example of that problem. Loo (Rinaldi), the local MPP, is trumpeting a funding exercise with the sucker upper of all government funds, the local CFDC, that will study the possibility of local agricultural processing. With so much food coming from offshore, one of the flunkeys at the presser quoted the mantra, "Do you know 35% of our peas come from China", we now have to investigate the possibility of local processing.

I would suggest that the first thing that the highly paid consultant selected by the CFDC does to earn their  $45,000  would be to investigate what happened to the last attempt to  process locally in Northumberland. There was at one time a very expensive processing plant that sucked up oodles of government dough trying to process local crops locally. I can't remember the name of the place but it was located on Masthead Rd. in Hope Township. Went bellyup in a huge flameout of government money.

Just a suggestion look to history before treading into the future!