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More political junk mail on the agenda

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I would be embarrassed to show a blatant political bias as a member of council supposed to represent ALL the people of this municipality, not merely a select group of a particular political stripe. I would be even more embarrassed to publicly treat junk mail like some serious political statement and give it prominence through our agenda.

Apparently our mayor is immune to such sentiments.

Once again on our agenda we feature another piece of unsolicited, unaddressed admail in the mayor's correspondence*. And as you readers guessed, it's one of those taxpayer-funded pieces from our MP. Everyone else in town calls it junk mail. The mayor, however, must have a more reverential name for it, because he treats it with a respect usually reserved for scripture.

I wrote a piece questioning the mayor's inclusion of our MP's junk mail in the agenda in a previous entry, last September. And how little things change in nine months! Here we are again with another poorly-written, stylistically inconsistent piece of bombast being entered into the public record.

On the front page of this "newsletter", our MP presents a total of 83 words, not including her name and contact information. That's a whole page to say what almost anyone else could say in a single, short paragraph. Aside from the headline, this is a mere two sentences of self-aggrandizement. Seventeen words are - very annoyingly - written in all-capital letters, like we're being scolded. She writes "over" instead of "more than" and "3" instead of "three." Her picture appears twice on the two-sided flyer. And it's all in 24-point or larger type.

The whole of the back side - the only bit of real content - is also printed in huge type, and could have been presented in a quarter-page, chart included, in a more readable 10 or 12-point size. Plus there are more CAPITALIZED words shouting at us, as well as the usual grammatical and stylistic errata.

But the real question is not why our MP doesn't have an on-staff person with some better skills in presentation and writing, but rather why the mayor feels compelled to put her junk mail into the public agenda.

Former councillor-candidate Lorne Kenney asked a similar question in a letter to the Enterprise-Bulletin last week. Lorne wondered why the town's page in the EB was being used for political purposes rather than information and important content for residents:

What earthly purpose was the reproduction on the Town's announcements page of Mayor Carrier's letter to our MP intended to serve? (Friday, June 5, 2009, Page 12)

It is, without doubt, a most verbose, content- free and sickly sweet bit of political treacle. It reveals a sycophantic side of our Mayor that I had not seen before and it calls his judgment into question. It's one thing for him to be a quietly supportive Tory, but it is a misuse of his office and the Town's resources to so blatantly heap praise on the current sitting member in an unctuous attempt to promote her interests.

We wonder the same thing. But the mayor is a lot more than "quietly supportive." He not only got our MP to endorse his candidacy on his election flyer, he endorsed hers in return. Now while many of the members of council** have expressed a political leaning, most don't use their position to further the political interests of a fellow party member. The mayor seems to have no such scruples.

The Guergis/Clement/Carrier assemblage must have been such a joy to behold. Judging by Carrier's letter, there was lots of curtsying and ring-kissing taking place amid the gentle tossing of verbal bouquets. I'm left to wonder, though, if the local business people actually obtained any useful undertakings from the politicians.

Personally, I don't care what anyone's political leaning is, and like the question of faith, I believe it is up to the individual's conscience. But when political agendas get thrust upon us - and upon the public - like this, it embarrasses me. If you're a non-smoker, you know the gagging irritation you get walking into a cloud of tobacco smoke outside a door to a restaurant where smokers have been exiled to puff outside. I feel the same when I see such blatant political trolling in our public agenda.

* In previous terms, there was only one section of correspondence in the agenda, called the "consent agenda." Our current mayor added a special section called the "mayor's correspondence" - I can only assume this was done to emphasize his importance to the public. Since much of the material in the "mayor's correspondence" is addressed to mayor and council - or like this junk mail isn't even addressed to anyone - it strikes me as a somewhat pompous inclusion. Our previous mayors were obviously a bit more humble. But they were merely one of nine. Our current mayor is The One among nine. You can always identify him in a crowd - he's the one wearing the chain of office...
** I consider myself a political agnostic and have no formal association with any political party.

The Admiral
Jun 21 2009 07:43 PM
I may have to cut short my self imposed time-out. This ridiculous bufoon can't be allowed to go unchallenged for too long! What next? The Canadian Tire flyer in the agenda?
Ian Chadwick
Jun 22 2009 05:44 AM

Did I mention there are also nine letters from Helena in the mayor's correspondence today? Some date back from late April Some are simply letters between Helena and another minister, not directed to anyone in Collingwood. While perhaps of some significance to the airport - why were these not simply forwarded to the airport service board and included on their agenda?

Um, I actually wouldn't mind the Canadian Tire flyer... I accidently dumped mine in the blue box already...
Mayor Carrier's abuse of Collingwood residents and democarcy in general through misdirected Council agendas must be addressed. Its a numbers game with eight Councillors elected to represent Collingwood citizens. Hopefully, at least five Councillors would see the light and take corrective action to provide balanced municipal management. There are many important issues which should be on meeting agendas, such as the town budget and current financial statements, so that both Councillors and public can understand overall community deelopments. We are not illiterate children and deserve better.

Dick Hill
Ian Chadwick
Jun 22 2009 07:43 AM

Um, I actually wouldn't mind the Canadian Tire flyer... I accidently dumped mine in the blue box already...

Hmmm. How about a name change for the agenda... from "mayor's correspondence" to Blue Box...?

Collingwood deserves better in oh so many ways!
A small victory has been won for municipal decency. In the Collingwood Council's June 29th agenda there the section on "Mayor's Correspondence" has been dropped. Congratuations to Ian Chadwick and Collingwood Confidential's YouTube satire for pointing out the obvious to Mayor Carrier and those he blames.

Dick Hill
Ian Chadwick
Jun 28 2009 07:35 AM

A small victory has been won for municipal decency. In the Collingwood Council's June 29th agenda there the section on "Mayor's Correspondence" has been dropped.

Sorry to disappoint you, Dick, but on the June 29 agenda (PDF here), the Mayor's correspondence appears - see page 2. No junk mail or politically partisan self-aggrandizement is listed in the correspondence, but it's still there.

All of the material in the mayor's correspondence should be included in the general correspondence section, since none of it is specifically related to the mayor - it's all about the town or meant for council's consideration. Simply being addressed to the mayor doesn't mean it's meant for him alone - sometimes the address is a mere courtesy. But the mayor appears to need to have his own section even when it's not about him.

I can't take credit for what others say or do on other sites. My efforts are all here. I can only hope to inspire.

I'm inspired and will continue to work towards an effective Collingwood Council.

When I check the June 29th Council agenda on June 27th there was no "Mayor's Correspondence". However, on today's agenda variation there is a Mayor's Correspondence section. How can an interested resident judge which agenda Council will be following?

I'll directly send a jpg image of the June 27th Agenda item.

Dick Hil

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