Adelaide-Metcalfe: IWT’s at the debate
Below is my rant on the Adelaide Metcalfe township debate, as it is. Take and leave what you want; it has plenty of opinion, based on Tuesday night’s facts. I’m trying to say it as plainly as possible, but please don’t think I’m personally attacking these candidates, just some of their contradictions and past record for clarity sake. Esther Wrightman
David Bolton was the moderator, and also the acclaimed mayor. He let us know that one of the rules of the night was that the moderator could make up other rules as they went along, if he needed to. Hope that isn’t how his future council is run.
First the good stuff :
I’m not sure who the gentlemen was that stood and asked why DeBruyn, Bolton and Copp didn’t answer the questions on our wind turbine questionnaire. I like this question…It’s kind of like the teacher asking these guys why they didn’t do their homework. And the responses (general notes, not exactly word for word) were:
- DeBruyn: “Didn’t have enough time. I only had 2 days to answer it”. (OK this is funny because he had just said in his intro that he had “all the time in the world” since he was retired + since he doesn’t have an e-mail address I had to mail it to him, but that shouldn’t have taken more then a day or 2 to get there…so that would give him at least 5 days…I don’t know, but Randy Campbell worked 72 hours that week, and he still brought it to me on time. I gave DeBruyn a self-addressed stamped envelope, and if he would have just wrote answers like Putts did (Yes / Yes/ Yes) and sent it in late, it wouldn’t have hurt him, and would have satisfied the rest. Better late then never.)
- Bolton: “I don’t put things in writing because sometimes people misinterpret what I write”. (This is lame. If you are mayor, and are afraid of putting things in writing, then I am very nervous for our township. I thought having them write their OWN words would be a lot better than me interviewing them and possibly getting things twisted up in conversation.)
- Copp: “I didn’t want anybody else running my campaign”. (These were questions from residents in the township…nobody is running his campaign. Why would he ignore some questions that his constituents had? I’d say he answers constituents ‘selectively’.)
*Or in other words, the teacher heard “I didn’t have enough time”, “I didn’t know how to do it”, and “ I didn’t want to do it”. Can’t give them any mark…
Doreen Orrange asked a good, general wind turbine question, which let us see the candidates faces when they answer:
- Adrian DeBruyn said he was “all for studies”, and then he sat down. This was a trend in the meeting last night, and let me assure you, this current council is very PRO-TURBINE, except for Nick Stokman. They signed every document they could to allow these projects to go through (aside from the Bornish substation severance, which they have ‘deferred’ for now because there were 80 people in their council chambers that night). The Adelaide project was so close to being approved last fall that even the Ministry of the Environment had given its approval to go ahead (and this would have been in the township’s hands, NOT under the new Green Energy Act) but thankfully the OPA hadn’t given them an agreement. So when you hear these guys saying they would support studies, hardly believe them, because they basically scoffed us out of the office when we wanted the township to support having studies done a year ago. It’s all about appearing good to the masses (yeah, I know I wouldn’t be allowed into the Optimists Club, but the Pessimists club would understand where I’m coming from!). Another problem is we really don’t know which councillors supported the resolution asking for studies to be done before wind turbines are put up, because (surprise, surprise) it’s not in the minutes. Actually, if you want to read how these councillors responded to wind questions over the last year, you can see some of my notes from the township meetings here:
- Betty Ann MacKinnon said that she is all for green energy and believes the ‘reports’ say that there are NO impact on health from industrial wind turbines. This basically sums up Betty Ann. Besides spell-checking, she has been useless in the past year for any of our concerns.
- Richard Copp was all over the map, testing out the attitude of the crowd. He said that the issue should be taken to Queen’s park instead (Richard…we’ve been there….twice, and don’t hide from the township’s responsibilities). And then he said he would support a moratorium on wind turbines. I can’t follow this guy’s thinking.
- Nick Stokman said, “My answer is on the flyer”. Missed opportunity, but at least he wrote enough to get his gist and he is always methodical in making his decisions.
- Randy Campbell stressed that an independent study was needed and that he believed WT’s shouldn’t be constructed until proper studies are completed. Very straight and to the point.
- Mary Ann Hendikx had some lovely “Dr. Colby” studies printed out and said “there are 4 pages of references so that should mean something.” Yikes! Well, she is signed up for turbines so I guess this kind of dismissal of health issues would only benefit her.
- Kurtis Smith generally said what was on the flyer which was that we need studies first before any WT construction, good.
- Putts Strybosch said there is a health cost AND a monetary cost, with the price of electricity going up up up, “When the government throws millions of dollars at something— watch out”.
Now the not so good stuff:
Since my question was a little inflammatory, and I already have a target on my forehead… I knew I was going to be shot down. My question was how would each candidate deal with the lack of an Accountability and Transparency policy for our township, that should have been in place almost 3 years ago. Copp jumped up and said he wanted me to explain it in “Layman’s terms”, and then that he had never seen of one of those policies (here’s Strathroy’s and London’s [pg. 63]) . I hope they all went home and looked those 2 words up in the dictionary. Even my 7 year old knows what ‘transparent’ is, he told me this morning that it means “see through, so that light can get through”. Exactly…so why did I have to explain this to a bunch of adults? And accountability? Geesh…… anyway, when I look back at it, it didn’t matter what my question was, their payback to me was to not get anymore of my questions answered. Fine. I also know that a couple of the new candidates would have answered my question, heck, Randy and Mary Ann both had the word “accountability” on the front of their flyers, so it was in their vocabulary. Another point for Putts for mentioning later on that we need a more accessible and open council that works better with the public. Randy and Kurtis echo this as well.
There were a couple bungled responses to my question: Betty Ann said that poor clerk Fran works 30-35 hours a week (I might add for $109 000 a year, Sunshine List) and 2 assistants work 20 hours a week each, so its not their fault that they didn’t get it done, they just don’t have time! Really??? Frankly, when the Ministry of Municipal Affairs says you need a policy in place by January 1st, 2008, I would assume it’s done, not put on the ‘to do’ list for 3, 4 years down the road. Copp said he’s never had any problems with council in all his interactions. So does that mean he doesn’t think we need this policy? Side note, earlier this year we sat in on a county council meeting. Most of the mayors were griping about having a similar policy for elections. They said they didn’t need it because “we’re all trustworthy”. At the end, SW Middlesex’s mayor Doug Reycraft slammed them all and told them he has seen all the rules broken by numerous candidates and that they owe it to the taxpayers to be open and transparent. There was no more discussion. He is so right. What’s to hide?
Anyway it ended with a lovely oxymoron from the to-be mayor Bolton, that this issue of Transparency and Accountability was an … ahem … “internal issue” that should be discussed within council, not among candidates. Wow, and so is everything else that they don’t want us to hear.