City council – April 10

April 11, 2012 at 9:55 am (News, Politics, Rants) (, )

Leslie O’Shaughnessy officially resigned his seat on Cornwall city council yesterday. He said he plans to hold a press conference in the coming weeks to explain his reasons for the decision, though he’s previously expressed frustration over in-camera issues and how they were handled. He’s walked out of several of the private gatherings over the last few months, refusing to participate in votes.

The rest of council will meet next Monday, April 16, at 6 p.m. to decide how to replace him. They have three options: hold an expensive by-election, appoint Gerald Samson – who finished 11th in the last municipal race – or appoint someone random from the community. I think the second option is best, though there are some concerns about Samson’s eligibility.

The vacant seat didn’t slow down the other ten members of council last night.
They approved a plan to combat geese in Lamoureux Park, agreed to allow leashed dogs in the green space on a permanent basis, debated a public consultation process for waterfront development, reviewed changes to their procedural bylaw, and voted on some tenders and bylaws. They agreed to purchase a piece of land from the conservation authority – for the whopping sum of $2 – that will eventually house a relocated snow dump.

They also asked staff to come up with a recommendation on a possible casino for Cornwall, since the provincial gaming agency has suggested building a new facility somewhere in Ontario. Personally, I think there’s better things we can do with our resources than offer gambling – especially in a community with such a high concentration of social assistance recipients who can’t afford to burn cash on slot machines. The city shouldn’t even offer that temptation. I understand the argument that it will provide a much-needed influx of jobs and dollars, but I’m sure there’s less controversial avenues to do that.

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So … it’s Christmas.

December 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm (Random, Rants) ()

Maybe it’s because it has been so green lately, with barely a snowflake in sight all month long.

Maybe it’s because my family members out west have chosen to postpone a trip to Ontario until February, depriving us of exciting arrivals to look forward to.

Maybe it’s because an unusually high number of people have been ranting to me lately … so much for holiday cheer.

Maybe it’s because I’m working this weekend … again.

Maybe it’s because I attended a bunch of Christmas concerts and plays early in the season but then became caught up in various other – and unrelated to the time of year – activities.

I haven’t entirely put my finger on it, but I’m aware that I’m seriously lacking Christmas spirit. Oh, I’m excited for a candlelight Christmas eve service at my church, and seeing my massive and awesome extended family next week. But these last few weeks have been so busy, with work and random other commitments. My spare time has been filled with baking, shopping, wrapping, photo shoots and editing, etc. Which is not my usual routine. And none of it is Christmas to me.

I think part of it has to do with the sheer commercialization of the holiday, which I seem to be strangely vulnerable to this year. It’s also frustrating to see the continuing debate over “merry Christmas” verses “happy holidays”. From cancelled school Christmas concerts to holiday trees, the ridiculousness goes on. And all while the majority of people seem completely content with the day’s title. Christmas is the name on the calendar, and it’s going to take more than political correctness cops to change it.

As Richard Land wrote, it’s not easy to be a Christian at Christmastime. I’m hoping a good nights’ sleep and a read of the book of Luke will put me in the right frame of mind. I may have some shopping to finish first though …

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Cabinet shuffle and Senate reform

May 18, 2011 at 11:47 am (News, Politics, Rants) ()

For Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first majority government, he chose to slightly expand the cabinet for the 41st Parliament. There will be 38 people with portfolios, many of them sticking to the files they’ve been working on for the last few years. There were six vacancies to fill because of retirements (Stockwell Day, Chuck Strahl) and losses in the election (Gary Lunn, Lawrence Cannon), with a couple others being left out this time around.

Here’s a full list of the new cabinet; I’ll just list those who have moved to new positions:

  • Tony Clement – Treasury
  • John Baird – Foreign affairs
  • Joe Oliver – Natural resources
  • Maxime Bernier – Minister of State for tourism and small business
  • Peter Van Loan – House leader
  • Peter Penshue – Intergovernmental affairs
  • Alicia Wong – Minister of State for seniors
  • Christian Paradis – Industry
  • Gail Shea – Revenue
  • Keith Ashfield – Fisheries and oceans
  • Tim Uppal – Minister of State for democratic reform
  • Bernard Valcourt – Minister of State for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
  • Steven Fletcher – Minister of State for transport
  • Ed Fast – International trade
  • Bal Gossal – Minister of State for sport
  • Julio Fantino – Associate minister for national defence
  • Steven Blaney – Veteran’s affairs

Folks like Peter McKay (defence), Rob Nicholson (justice), Jim Flaherty (finance), Jason Kenney (immigration) will stay the course with their unchanged portfolios.

Parliament is scheduled to resume on June 3 with the throne speech.

UPDATE: I realized I can’t just blog a list of names and leave it at that. There’s some ranting to be done here.

I’m sure that most of these parliamentarians are qualified and diligent, and I won’t comment on people I don’t know well enough to question their abilities. My main issue is with the reappointment of Bev Oda – at the very least she should have been demoted to a lesser profile after the “not” keruffle. It’s ridiculous that her behaviour had absolutely no consequences.

But what I’m actually really upset about is the Senate appointments. After Harper’s press conference following the swearing in of MPs, it was announced that Josee Verner, Larry Smith, and Fabian Manning will be sent to the Upper Chamber. All three are failed Conservative candidates in the election a couple of weeks ago. Smith and Manning were both members of the Senate before resigning to run for Parliament … and now they’re headed back, even though they never expressed any expectation of that happening.

The government spin has been, and continues to be, that until the Senate is reformed, the prime minister will fill the vacancies. Fair enough, but there should be at least some indication that the Conservatives are still committed to changes instead of being more interested in stuffing their supporters there. So far, I haven’t seen any of that commitment, and this latest round of appointments imply that the opposite is true.

And I’m a fan of the Senate. What do you think?

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What do you vote for?

May 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm (Election 2011, Politics, Rants)

Democracy. It’s a beautiful thing.

It allows a young woman who has never set foot in a riding to be elected by her constituents. It provides seats in the House of Commons for several students with little real-world political experience. It offers residents the choice to vote for a party or a leader rather than the person who will directly represent them to the government.

Democracy is great. I just think the electorate is strange sometimes.

Sure, residents in Berthierville wanted change. But they voted for an MP who never knocked on doors, debated, or put up signs. She spent half of the campaign vacationing in Vegas, and then was shocked when she received the most votes on Monday. I don’t blame her for being surprised. Apparently the voters cared so little about who their actual representative would be that they simply wrote an X next to the name that would boost Jack Layton’s showing on Parliament Hill. I’m not bashing the NDP – I’d have the same comments if Ruth Anne Brosseau was Liberal, Green, Conservative or from the Rhinoceros Party.

What’s hilarious to me is that now residents from her riding are clamoring for an appearance, an interview, something. They want her to show up, to explain herself. Fair enough. I just don’t understand why they didn’t demand that during the campaign.

I admit, I like the American voting system for one sole reason: they cast a ballot for the person at the top. They vote for the President. We, on the other hand, in the glorious land of Canada, vote for a Member of Parliament.

It’s an often difficult decision: you may like your local representative and what he/she has done for the riding, while disliking the leader of the party or some of the polities. Or, maybe you’re a big fan of the national platform but don’t get along with the local candidate. Across Quebec and other regions this time around, people seemed to rally around a party leader without paying much attention to who was on the ballot or what they stood for. There has to be a balance, a weighing of what is most important: the kind of government or the character of the representative.

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Love Wins

March 8, 2011 at 8:13 am (News, Rants)

I’m a Rob Bell fan. I have been since Velvet Elvis and the Nooma series. Then I discovered the Mars Hill podcast. Rob Bell is a great teacher – even if he is a bit of a nerd. He’s never shied away from the controversial questions, and his latest work is no exception.

His new book, Love Wins, will be released on March 15. But it’s already created two camps of those for and against. In this latest work, Rob is asking questions about heaven and hell and what kind of God we believe in. Does God send people to hell? That’s the premise, as I understand it so far. Yeah, I can see people freaking out about it. I plan to read the book with a healthy dose of skepticism.

But I’m frustrated by the intense division even the suggestion is causing. Shouldn’t we be able to have these questions? Aren’t we supposed to test and figure things out? Isn’t God big enough to handle our uncertainty?  And since the book has not even hit shelves yet, isn’t it a little early to be calling Rob a heretic or other things? Can we, please, read through the pages and then come to our own conclusions?

Yes, I’m a fan. But I wouldn’t follow Rob over a cliff. I’m not saying his opinions are correct – I’m saying I’m not entirely sure what his ideas are yet. In the meantime, I’m going to keep listening to Mars Hill podcasts.

Here’s the trailer for the book. Watch it and let me know what you think.

Even if he has lost it, we should take a lesson from the book’s title and let love be the order of the day. Really, it’s what we should be known for anyway.

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The Crazies

March 2, 2011 at 11:31 am (Entertainment, News, Rants) (, , , )

There’s a whole lot of crazy people in the world. There are three that have been in the news especially as of late.

  • Muammar Gaddafi. As his people protest his dictatorship and call for reform, the Libyan leader blames his problems on al-Qaeda and thinks the revolters are stoned. His incoherent ravings prove to me that he has lost it. Maybe it’s the new pressures from his population that have pushed him over the edge, or maybe he’s always been a little out of it. Either way, he’s definitely crazy. And he needs to resign. He needs to get out of the way so his country can back away from the edge of civil war and move towards democracy.
    Related note: it is super irritating that nearly every media outlet has decided to spell his name a different way: Qathafi, Gadhafi, Khadafi, etc. There must be a right way, right?
  • Charlie Sheen. I don’t usually wade into entertainment news, but this guy is quite the exception. All those years of substance abuse has definitely messed up his brain. I don’t understand the fans who are more devoted than ever, to a guy who brags about his porn star friends and asks for a raise after insulting his boss. Yeah, what a role model. I’m glad CBS finally suspended down his TV series – no matter how popular it is, there’s a point where having that kind of actor on your set is no longer an asset. I’m not saying I think he’s a terrible person, I just think his judgement has been seriously clouded; his rants are pretty clear proof. I assume those cocaine binges had something to do with it.
    Related note: I love his dad, Martin Sheen. He was the best president the U.S. never had.
  • Julian Assange. I’m not putting the WikiLeaks founder in the same category as either Gaddafi or Sheen. But the other day he ranted that the blame for his troubles lies on the shoulders of Jewish journalists. This isn’t to say he’s lost it, but he has some pretty serious issues he needs to deal with. For one thing, he thinks he’s a journalist himself – not so. He needs to face justice, whether or not he’s guilty of sexual assault in Sweden as accused. I would actually have some respect for him if he stopped playing the victim in everything that has happened … it’s just not attractive, Julian.

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Reporting and motherhood

February 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm (News, Rants) ()

According to Toronto Sun columnist Peter Worthington, mothers are unfit for war zones. He says whether they are journalists or soldiers, they should not be doing their jobs in international conflicts if they have children at home.

I’m all for the stay-at-home mom thing, but this is ridiculous. To say that I should not be allowed to pursue my passion by covering a war because I’m female and could have domestic responsibilities is rather insulting. I would never leave my kids to hop on a plane for dangerous regions if I wasn’t absolutely certain I had trusted people looking after them (like, say, a husband) and that it was the right thing to do.

But in recent weeks I’ve dreamed of being a correspondent in Northern Africa, and I’d jump at the chance to cover foreign events. I don’t think I’m any less qualified because I could be a mother someday. Wilf Dinnick agrees – and his wife was recently reporting from Egypt.

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Cornwall, part 4

February 2, 2011 at 9:57 am (Rants) ()

So … I know I said I was going to keep this series positive, but I need to take a moment to rant about something.

Apathy.

It drives me crazy.

I mentioned in an earlier post that one of my major frustrations is people who always find the negative aspects of anything to complain about. It’s additionally concerning when most of those naysayers are the ones that gripe from the comfort of their home without engaging in any processes of improvement.

I know not all are as interested in politics and current events as I am, but I think everyone should be involved at some level or another.

MP Guy Lauzon hosted a forum last week to get input on the government’s budget for 2011. Now, I’ll admit I’m slightly skeptical that priorities for SD&SG would make it onto the federal list, but it’s still an important process to tune in to. Only about a dozen people showed up. A visiting MPP stopped in Lancaster a couple of weeks ago to talk about energy. Her audience was a Standard-Freeholder reporter and her assistant.

More city-centric town hall meetings definitely garner increased interest. But it’s important that we are invested in the higher levels of government as well. It’s not just for the politicians; we should all strive to have the ear of our elected officials and contribute what we can to the process. Too often we simply gripe about how things are done without even considering that we could have a hand in its improvement.

I’m not saying we should or could overthrow bureaucracy. This rant applies far more to smaller scale issues than Parliament Hill. The issue could be a greener waterfront, more environmentally-friendly transit, less government spending, better social services, and the list goes on. In all things in life and community, we should be willing to work to make things better instead of complaining about the way things are.

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What is journalism?

January 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm (Rants)

I’m a proud member of the media. I soaked up all I could in journalism school. I was blessed with a few great positions at community newspapers. I work hard to find news and craft stories well.

It drives me crazy when I see people with no such qualifications calling what they do “journalism”.

Let’s start with WikiLeaks. I’m not going to get into whether or not I agree with Julian Assange‘s goals, but I’m pretty adamant in my frustration when he says his opposition is attacking responsible journalism. Really? Posting classified documents on the website is considered journalism? I know it’s a topic of heated debate, but I don’t think it’s the case. The reporters who WikiLeaks are leaking the information too, who are doing research and interviews and compiling stories – they are doing the work of a journalist. Not Assange.

And then we have those people who carry around video cameras and post press releases to a blog. Sorry dude, but that’s not journalism either. Not everyone who writes their opinions on the world wide web can call themselves a reporter. If all I had was this blog, I wouldn’t call myself a journalist; but I have a day job.

I’ll admit, there are some darn good “citizen journalists” out there. But I worked hard to do what I do, and it just frustrates me when people put themselves on the same playing field. Half the time they are giving us a bad name when they carry out their crude form of sharing news, giving themselves a media pass without properly earning it.

I know a lot of people who play hockey but don’t call themselves hockey players. Just because you write and know the news doesn’t make you a journalist.

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Legalized prostitution, part 2

December 2, 2010 at 7:08 am (News, Rants)

Ontario could be the first province of one of the only nations to decriminalize prostitution. But I hope not.

The provincial Court of Appeals is expected to rule today (or sometime soon) on whether or not a lower’s courts ruling to legalize the occupation will be upheld.

Other than setting a dangerous precedent and putting Canada on a path I don’t really want to peer down, the legalization will result in a free-for-all. There are no regulations in place that could take effect if prostitution is okayed … governments of all levels will be scrambling to come up with ways to oversee the trade. As Cornwall’s police chief said, we’ll have to act fast to ensure our reputation as a safe and comfortable city continues. Not that I expect a big problem with prostitution here, but I think that’s the point. No one seems to know quite what to expect … how could this ruling change the landscape of Canada? I don’t want to be Holland II: a sex tourism destination that attracts all manner of sketchy characters and twists the reputation of the nation.

Basically, I’m anti-prostitution, so of course legalizing it is something I’m against. I think it  could encourage the exploitation of women and young girls, increase human trafficking to Canada and remove some hope and protection for those unwillingly caught in the sex trade. Additionally, if prostitution is legalized today, who knows what’s next? Polygamy? That’s a whole other blog rant (coming soon!).

Your thoughts?

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