Today Councillors in Durham Region will vote on their incinerator folly, and will anger and alienate even further the majority of their constituents.
Mr. Anderson, Regional Chair, stated last week that he could not believe people would work to put Regional Councillors out of office over one item. Well, think again Mr. Chair. This "one item" is the largest expenditure ever in the history of Durham Region. It locks us into a chemical spewing, ash producing, resource destroying incinerator that few people want and many are strongly opposed to, for 25 to 35 years. This "one item" is one which has brought out more people than any other issue since the landfill wars many years ago. This "one item" has made people realize that their Regional Councillors (most of them) could care less what their residents think, what their concerns are, what their better alternative ideas are. This "one item" has been bought and paid for with our health, our Gas Tax money that should be used to improve and increase our public transit, our roads, our quality of life. Instead this "one item" has been pushed through by this council without the benefit of all the information.
Throughout this process the excuse has been used by Councillors that they were simply voting to approve each step so that they could get ALL the information before making a final decision. Well, that excuse won't work anymore. So many large, complex studies and reports have come forward all at once that there is little time for anyone to read through them all, and we KNOW that most Councillors only bother to read the Executive Summary and nothing more, if that. We also know that ALL the studies are not completed and ALL the Peer Reviews are also not complete.
Yet these same Councillors are now voting before all the information is in, so that lame excuse that no one believed anyway, is now so much junk.
I want to tell you, Regional Council, we resent being treated like dunces. I would submit to you that it is not the residents who are unworthy of being listened to, or unworthy of respect. It is you, those who have lied to residents and who continue to do so. Those who refused to listen to the people who voted them into office.
We voted you in, and we can most certainly vote you out. This Watchdog Blog was active during the 2006 campaign, and will be even MORE active during the 2010 campaign. I won't let people forget, and I am not alone. There are many who have vowed to organize to help in each municipality to defeat those who have betrayed us right across this region. There will be qualified candidates running, with support (monetary and door to door legwork) from those who have been snubbed and dismissed by their regional representatives.
You may see more local councillors moving up to run for regional seats as well as new candidates moving in. There are a number of pro-incinerator (from the start) candidates who are already being targeted and things will only get tougher as next year draws closer.
In Clarington, the choices are obvious. Mayor Abernethy, should he choose to run again or run for any other seat whether at the local, provincial or federal level eventually, will run into a brick wall. His reputation has suffered greatly with his obviously unequal treatment of residents, his lack of understanding of the EA process and of his municipal duties (he thinks he represents the Region first, over and above Clarington, unlike the other Mayors in Durham Region). This man has lost all credibility and is known as one of the most "un-green" Mayors in this Region, and with so many ungreen mayors, that's reaching quite the pinnacle.
Mary Novak has done nothing to distinguish herself from Abernethy - they are voting together (as usual) on this incinerator, although using different excuses. No one has believed she was 'on the fence' or hadn't made her decision early-on as Abernethy did. Her continual denials only convinced people more that she would vote to approve this incinerator. Her acceptance of the Host Community Agreement that was basically blackmail and gives Clarington very little of anything shows her incompetence and her bias. She will never convince anyone she is doing what is best for the community, or that the incinerator has been proven "safe". It has not.
Charlie Trim has sold out his community and isn't worthy of his seat. The buzz is that he's not running again and has given his seat to Councillor Robinson next term. Well you can't do that. Charlie's supporters are not sheep and will vote as they please, and from those I've heard from, very few will even consider voting for Robinson after his total betrayal of the entire municipality as it was his vote that accepted the HCA and gave up the unwilling host status. He single-handedly, in one fell swoop, destroyed any future he may have had in Clarington politics. Or maybe he's been promised an appointment by Roger Anderson. Whatever the reason, no one has any respect for the man any longer. It was a total and blatant betrayal, and one that won't be forgotten. I hope he believes it was worth it.
I hope a lot of residents show up at today's meeting and aren't so discouraged that they give up. There is still much work to do, right through next year's election. I will take bets on how much larger a voter turnout there will be next year, and how many seats we can put new faces into. I do know of 4 seats in Clarington that MUST be cleaned out and re-filled. We won't forget.
Yes I may be a little premature, but I can't seen any of them changing their votes today. I've even heard that at least one municipality won't receive emails from their own constituents, and openly won't listen to them. Why Would We Wish to keep elected officials like that around?
To the good Councillors who have done the real research and have had a very open dialogue with residents, I commend you. To those of you who have listened only to one side of the story and who have betrayed your own residents, I say you deserve what you get next year, which will be a spot in the unemployment line.
And to Mr. Anderson, we will work diligently to make sure that the Durham Regional Chair is elected and accountable to the people.