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Some Comments on Recent Events

Web posted on December 07, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

Recently there was a fair bit of controversy about designating a National Bird. I thought we already had one, but then I realized they were talking about the feathered variety. I have a lot of non feathered birds for most of our elected officials.

The city wants to spend $800K on new meters for downtown parking. As I understand it these would be the pay and display dispensers. This would mean parking, then going to get a ticket for your dashboard, hoping that you don't get a parking ticket in the mean time. Sounds like the mess in the Baker Street parking lot all over again. Just when you think things can't get any worse downtown. My column in April made it clear that I am completely opposed the parking insanity downtown. I am sure that the merchants outside of downtown, and even as far away as St. Jacobs will appreciate all the extra business that will soon be coming their way.

Then there was the 75 Dublin Street North Debacle. This project should never been allowed to see the light of day. That land should not have been sold to a developer in the first place. I see a very disturbing pattern here where churches are selling off surplus property to developers. This must never be allowed to happen again. Property belonging to any religious organization should only be sold or transferred to other religious institutions, community groups or educational institutions. Some congregations are suffering, and others are thriving. There are many community groups in need of space. Only if there are absolutely no takers for the property, could they apply for a possible exemption. I am sure that the Upper Grand District School Board could have used that land to increase the playground area at Central School by moving staff parking to that space (it's already paved). The bylaws must be strengthened and if necessary get the province involved. The current situation is absolutely intolerable. Once again, the wishes of the neighbourhood are ignored. Sounds rather familiar doesn't it? Remember these well thought out decisions when it comes to your choice of candidates in the next election that is less than two years away.

Several councillors (some of the usual suspects when it comes to spending) want to have a 1% special levy instead of the half percent recommended. If there were even the slightest chance that the money could possibly be used in a responsible manner, I might be tempted to support the idea. Knowing the spending record of many of our elected officials, it's not going to happen. Fix the spending problem before asking for more money. Live within your means just like the rest of us have to. Stop wasting money on grandiose dreams and schemes that cost us money. Yes, there are some worthwhile projects long overdue, and with judicious spending in the past, some might even be completed by now. It's time to Drain The Cesspool. It's not big enough to be called a swamp, but is getting there rapidly. It might even become a swamp by the time the next election comes around in less than two years.

Development is out of control because the people at Queens Park want to make all of the Golden Horseshoe into an extension of Toronto. The Places to Grow plan must be repealed and replaced by something that reflects reality. Look at the loss of valuable farmland and green space. It is causing all sorts of emissions of greenhouse gases from the vehicles of commuters traveling every day to Toronto. Not to mention the strain on our local water resources that will come in the future. Urban sprawl must be ended outside of the greenbelt area immediately. We should not be forced to be a part of Toronto's problems, and we must never be a part of their solution. Ontario has become three separate zones with vastly different needs. There is the Toronto area (the GTA as they call it - I have yet to figure out what they think they are greater than), the rest of us in Southern Ontario (or as it appears on all the Toronto maps - The Great Beyond) and Northern Ontario (Here Be Dragons). They are becoming more and more incompatible with each other. Toronto solutions for problems and issues only work for Toronto, barely. Certainly not for the rest of us. They tend to make things worse instead of better. Perhaps we need to consider splitting the province, or maybe just create a new People's Republic of Toronto. Drain The Swamp.

Moving on to Ottawa. Looks like election reform as promised may not happen. There will be more consultation, more talk, and they will run out of time. Another promise bites the dust. As you know I have some differing opinions on the concept of electoral reform. Then there was the split pipeline decision. The Trans Mountain pipeline should not have been approved. Line 3 reconstruction to Wisconsin is needed. I will cover this and other energy related items in a future column. The CF-18 situation is getting critical. We just lost a pilot and a CF-18. It will be a while before the cause is known. It's over a year since the election and a lot has been said and almost nothing done. The possible purchase of 18 Super Hornets to fill the gap is woefully inadequate. They will need more than that number, because the current birds are getting very old and tired and will start falling out of the sky no matter how much money they spend. At the rate they are going, the F-35 replacement aircraft will probably be in service with the U.S. military before our government makes up it's mind. Young Trudeau's comments about the late Cuban dictator certainly raised some eyebrows, as did his occasional visits to Ottawa. Sunny Days in Ottawa have been obscured by lots of very dark clouds.

The current government is incredibly good at talking, and saying nothing, just like during the election campaign. A lot was promised, and not enough delivered. I wonder if they actually remember everything they promised? They are very good at dancing around the issues. Perhaps they should all be on one of those unreality TV shows about dancing. They would probably win. Prepare to Drain The Swamp.

No matter where we look, we have swamps and some very unpleasant swamp creatures. They love eating our money, and look what comes out the other end.

The idea of using the non feathered bird as our national avian symbol is looking better all the time.

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

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