6 Jan 2010

Municipal Election 2010 - Watchdog or Lapdog?

This should be an interesting year for Clarington residents, and in fact for everyone in Durham Region. It is an election year, so self-serving rhetoric will abound from many incumbents and from some challengers.
When considering your choices, take the time to get to know a little about the candidates. Incumbents have an advantage with built-in name recognition, but just recognizing a name is not a reason to vote for someone. Some of our worst representatives both locally and at Regional Council are incumbents. Certainly in Clarington that is the case in my humble opinion.

When deciding who you might want representing you at the region, keep this question in mind: Do you want a watchdog for Clarington residents or a lapdog for Regional interests and an unelected chair above all else? We need watchdogs, not lapdogs. We need people with the courage to stand up for their own municipality and residents and not people who will 'compromise' (sell out) on issues of great importance to our communities. We need politicians who don't say "I was elected to represent the Region of Durham" (Mayor Abernethy). I thought he was elected to represent the municipality of Clarington.

There are always wonderful EXCUSES made by politicians for the decisions they make. Some are valid, many are not.

Revisiting the incinerator decision

What is wrong with this picture? Lots. Do we need servicing for employment lands designated as the Science Park in Bowmanville and the Energy Park in Courtice? Yes, we do. Are we held hostage by Durham Region's unelected Chair and reduced to begging to get our fair share? Yes. Should we perhaps find another way to pay for servicing of these lands, other than being reduced to accepting buy-offs from the Region just to get an agreement to begin an EA to consider servicing? Is there a law that says we must depend on Regional tax money for our services rather than being inventive and thinking outside the box to find a better way where we can be the authors of our own destiny instead of waiting for crumbs from the Region? Clarington has not gotten our fair share without having to give up more than anyone should - being the garbage dump for the Region. Sewage plant and municipal waste incinerator, auto wreckers, nuclear plant and cement factory, new 407 link and on and on - all spewing unhealthy emissions and adding to our already poor air quality and health risks. And all right along the 401 - gateway to Clarington! Such a beautiful sight. Rationale from the consultants: this air shed is already so polluted, adding a little more won't make a difference. Well sorry, but it makes a difference to us. To the residents of Clarington!

Were our 3 Regional Councillors (Mayor Abernethy, Councillors Novak and Trim) right to completely disregard votes taken at Clarington Council (before the flip-flop of Local Ward 4 Councillor Gord Robinson) declaring us an unwilling host, and not supporting the building of an emission spewing incinerator in our community? Were they right to completely support every vote at the Region to promote the building of an incinerator, start to finish over the last few years? Were they right to completely disregard the overwhelming majority of residents who care more about their health and the health of their children and grandchildren than getting half-baked promises from an Region that we no longer have any faith in?

Are our Regional representatives right to sell out our future health for a 'business plan' that is totally dependent on Durham Region? Who has faith that the Region or Province will adequately monitor this garbage burner? Both their records are lacking historically and the vote of Regional Council to reduce monitoring from what was originally promised to residents because it would cost too much, appear to care more about their own financial health than the physical and financial health of their residents, especially those in Clarington and in Oshawa who will be most heavily affected by emissions. But remember that all surrounding communities, including those outside of Durham Region, will be affected by the increase in tiny particulate matter which can have a profound effect on health and by a substantial increase in dioxins and furans, known cancer causing emissions. These emissions won't be adequately monitored, and some won't be monitored at all. I suppose many of these politicians subscribe to the idea that "What we don't know won't hurt us".

Hype and Hyperbole

I hope those same politicians are given a pile of hurt in October. There has been too much dishonesty, too much hype and hyperbole.

Here is a question that should be asked of each one of those who voted on June 24 to approve the very faulty EA (more on that later) produced to support building of the now infamous Durham Incinerator:

"Your rationale or excuse for continuing to vote approval of the incinerator forward at each milestone was that you wanted to get ALL the information. You said that you were voting forward the incinerator at each step of the way without having complete reports or having satisfactory information at that point was so that you could get more information at the next step. If that were true, then WHY did you vote to approve an incomplete EA with incomplete reports which where completed and submitted to the Province more than a month after you voted to approve? Why have no questions been asked or protests lodged by Regional Councillors after seeing that this EA was incomplete and faulty. Why are you still supporting it?"

More questions might be asked as well, such as, "Why did you consider only the hired gun's (consultants) and proponents of incineration to have credible information but not that of local and regional doctors and doctors and scientists worldwide? Why did you not consider the credible articles in medical journals, peer reviewed and widely accepted that were presented to you by local residents? Why did you allow yourselves to be reeled in and see only what the proponents wanted you to see? Why didn't you give both sides equal consideration?"

We'll get into specific claims and comments made by our incumbents during this election year (both past and present statements). But I implore you to get involved this year. We have several incumbents in Clarington who should be replaced due to past performance on a number of issues; in my estimation 4 of our 7 Clarington Councillors need to 'feel the pain' of their callous disregard for the health of their citizens. Health and quality of life should be a #1 priority, and an incinerator is inconsistent with both objectives.

There are better alternatives. Incineration is the most expensive, least environmentally friendly solution to the waste problem. This fact is being shown across North America by Councils and Trustees choosing better solutions and refusing to capitulate to the incineration industry and their claims of safety. Sure incinerators are relatively more safe now than they were 20 years ago. But does that mean they are safe? NO. It means they've cleaned up their act somewhat, but the technology does not yet exist to make them "safe".

The horse-trading by a powerful, unelected Regional Chair must be curtailed, especially when it benefits another Region (York) and hurts physically and financially residents in our own region. Backroom deals between York and Durham have been ongoing for some time. Durham must be put first for a change. These deals so lauded by some of the lapdog politicians are not so great for Durham, if you take the time to investigate them and not just settle for the distortions and embellishments served up on a platter for and by Regional Council and Committees.

WAKE UP CLARINGTON! Get involved. Voice your concerns. Make your voice heard. Don't settle for less than we deserve. Don't settle for lapdogs instead of watch dogs for our municipality.

Watch for more information on all of this - 2010 election, incineration health risks, better solutions, Regional shortcomings, and of course the "Elect The Chair" campaign, renewed.

16 comments:

  1. Great to see you active. This year will be a pivitol year for sure for the future of Clarington.

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  2. Well I can get behind replacing Clarington's Mayor and 2 regional councillors Novak and Trim and the Ward 4 local councillor, Robinson. Easy! They're so busy making excuses and patting themselves on the back for getting basically nothing besides some empty promises but putting our health on the line.

    I can also get behind an "Elect the Chair" campaign. After a dozen years of Roger Anderson we're ready for a change. We need a change. We want a change. His shabby behaviour these last years has been atrocious. But he has an iron grip on certain councillors and that is atrocious too. Can't they think for themselves?

    CHANGE IS IN THE AIR!!!

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  3. Dear Blogmaster: Luv the cartoon of puppet-master Roger Anderson with our fearless leader (Mayor Abernethy) sitting on his lap; like a hand-puppet! Too bad there wasn't room for the other 3 Clarington lapdogs - Trim, Novak and Robinson.

    We can look after these 3 (as well as mindless councillors and mayors across the Region) in October, and we will!

    However, an even bigger challenge will be to rid ourselves of a cancer caller Anderson. There is still plenty of time to get the 'loose' municipalities to put the 'elect-the-chair' question on the ballot for 2010. Forward-thinking municipalities like Oshawa, Ajax and Pickering have already had the decency to ask their respective residents (in 2006) if they want an elected Regional Chair, and the result was an overwhelming YES.

    It is time for the loose municipalities, especially Clarington and Whitby to allow their citizens to voice their collective opinion. In a democratic society, we should not even have to ask; however, don't confuse democracy with anything to do with the current Chair (Anderson) and a host of additional puppets in the 'loose' municipalities.

    The time to act is now!

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  4. Are you saying that those 3 councillors and the mayor sold us out so they could get the region to pay for sewers and water to the future employment lands (that's what they call them!) in south Clarington? What is more important? Our health or bribery from the region? Those lands should be serviced and would be by the region anyway. But our councillors fell for the old bribery/blackmail line from Roger Anderson?

    That alone is enough to get rid of them. Mary Novak is my regional councillor because I am in ward 2. I hope someone good runs against her because I'll campaign like crazy for them to get her out. And the same for the mayors seat. Abernethy is the worst mayor we've ever had. He doesn't have a clue which is evident during the televised meetings.

    How did we get so unlucky in Clarington? People had better get out and vote in this next election.

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  5. Great post watchdog. As a resident that has grown tired of the folly this past four years, I am involved in a few municipal campaigns.

    I do know and am working with former Mayor John Mutton on a "Chair for Change" campaign. Mr Mutton is going to all councils for re affirmation of previous positions of direct election encouraging the 5 remaining councils to have a referendum on the direct election of Regional Chair. He speaks to Oshawa Council Monday night.

    Mr Mutton is also intent on challenging for the Regional Chairmans position with asking the next regional council to elect a Chairman that will implement and support direct election for the 2014 election.

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  6. Further to the post by Jessica Partridge, I would like to add that as one who feels passionate about having the right to elect our Regional Chair (one would expect that in a free and democratic society!)that I too am scheduled to speak to Oshawa Council on Monday.

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  7. I must admit that I have supported Mary Novak at the polls in every election she has contested. That has now changed.

    As a long time resident of Ward 1, and one who has children and now, a grandchild living here, I was shocked that my elected representative (Novak) has supported and even promoted the incinerator to be located in her (our) ward. I just can't believe that she would do this to us.

    As well, I know for a fact, that a small but vocal group of good people within the church group I belong to are equally disappointed with her accepting this thing without a fight.

    That is reason enough for me and about 31 others (not including husbands/wives and children of voting age) to turn against her come next October.

    Our only hope is that the electors in Wards 3-4, and in the Local Wards (1-2-3-4) will also turn against the incumbents like Trim, and Robinson.

    I have no doubt that our mayor (Jim Abernethy) will be soundly defeated as well; not only because he was a supporter and promoter for the incinerator lobby, but simply because he does not have any leadership capabilities at all. I trust that most people realize this; especially those who actually watch council proceedings on the TV (or attend).

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  8. Where are we all going to find these replacements? Having recently moved to Clarington after being born and raised in Ajax I find most politicians to be "yes" men with very little charisma and even less back bone.

    Nobody seems to want to think for themselves these days. I was approached 5 years ago to run for the Mayor of Ajax against Stevie Wonder. It was suggested I go after a position on the towns Committee of Adjustments, once on the committee it did not take long to deduce even at that level the other participants went along with whatever the town planners put forth, without giving much actual thought to the outcomes of each application.

    Where is Clarington's Obama hiding? We need leadership and foresight, not lapdogs and liars.

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  9. Puh-Leeze. Don't ask for a leader like Obama for Clarington. All talk and no action. Campaigned on one thing and took another direction after being elected. Oh yes, he would fit right in here, wouldn't he? Give us hope and then let us down. Or lie during the campaign and then do what he wants after election.

    We need someone honest and willing to listen to the people. We need someone who won't put all developers first ahead of quality of life for residents. We need someone who can think outside the box, not be trapped inside the same ol', same ol'. We need someone who can look at all sides, not just the money side of an issue.

    These qualities are difficult to find these days. We need someone with GUTS to stand up to Anderson and the region and to stand up to our mayor if we have a lousy one.

    You're right. Where do we find people like this? And that goes for all the municipalities. Not just Clarington!

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  10. I do not really want to debate Obama. People need to clean up their own backyard before they worry about the neighbourhood.

    Men do not choose moments, moments choose men. Where are the real men and women of Clarington? Why is there never a true representation of residents in positions of power and influence? Is politics in Canada all about the "Brown envelope" showing up in the mailbox to sway an important decision?

    A truly democratic process only works when constituents show up to vote, the indifference demonstrated by todays youth in terms of public policy is sad. Consumerism is alive and well and driving virtually all decisions within our priviledged society.

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  11. Dear Watchdog,

    You must be on vacation or taking another break...

    When are you going to post an update on the incinerator deal?

    People who follow this blog would be interested in your take of the latest 'flip-flops' from Ward 4 Councillor (and Regional hopeful - ha ha)Gord Robinson.

    He must be taking his decision-making directions from a higher source (again)as he has flipped his vote once again on an important issue dealing with the Host Community Agreement, and 'screwed' the public one more time.

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  12. Dear Blogmaster: Luv the cartoon of puppet-master Roger Anderson with our fearless leader (Mayor Abernethy) sitting on his lap; like a hand-puppet! Too bad there wasn't room for the other 3 Clarington lapdogs - Trim, Novak and Robinson.

    We can look after these 3 (as well as mindless councillors and mayors across the Region) in October, and we will!

    However, an even bigger challenge will be to rid ourselves of Roger Anderson. There is still plenty of time to get the 'loose' municipalities to put the 'elect-the-chair' question on the ballot for 2010. Forward-thinking municipalities like Oshawa, Ajax and Pickering have already had the decency to ask their respective residents (in 2006) if they want an elected Regional Chair, and the result was an overwhelming YES.

    It is time for the loose municipalities, especially Clarington and Whitby to allow their citizens to voice their collective opinion. In a democratic society, we should not even have to ask; however, don't confuse democracy with anything to do with the current Chair (Anderson) and a host of additional puppets in the 'loose' municipalities.

    The time to act is now!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Further to the post by Jessica Partridge, I would like to add that as one who feels passionate about having the right to elect our Regional Chair (one would expect that in a free and democratic society!)that I too am scheduled to speak to Oshawa Council on Monday.

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  14. Maybe it "thrills" some of the Regional Councilors, but it doesn't thrill me. I live in Courtice and I will do my best to see none of the 4 pro-incinerator people on our council are re-elected.

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