Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Resolution

Posted by auroracitizen on May 12, 2013

The final outcome of the Phyllis Morris SLAPP Lawsuit — which Councillor Ballard, Gaertner and Gallo still seem to be trying to pretend didn’t actually happen.

Here is the letter that was sent by the Town to follow up the published apology in the newspaper.

Town Apology Letter

Here is a link to the newspaper ad; Apology ad_7_7

Posted in Election 2010, Leadership, Legal, Politics | 6 Comments »

Gaertner Owes Apology to Bulk Barn and Aurorans

Posted by auroracitizen on June 2, 2012

Councillor Gaertner has embarrassed herself — and defamed Aurora’s reputation — with her recent comments about the inadequacy of Bulk Barn as a corporate citizen here in Aurora.

Her desire to wait for something better is also probably the reason she has had such poor success in her quest for a youth centre here in Aurora — her single issue that she has wrapped herself in since she ran all those years ago. Still nothing she can point to as done. Still just a pipe dream.

Gaertner has made a political career standing back and criticizing what others are trying to do — rather than actually working with others to get something accomplished.

Would another organization have brought more job to Aurora? Maybe. But Bulk Bran would be welcome in almost any community — except Geartnerville.

BTW, possibly one of their supporters could point out the names of the companies and number of jobs she and her cronies from the last four-year term got to re-locate in Aurora? None come to mind.

Below is the Era Banners Editorial comments on this issue. Seems like more than ourselves see the folly in her thinking.

Waiting for ‘better’ option makes no sense

ISSUE: Aurora Councillor Wendy Gaertner not impressed with Bulk Barn’s 400-job announcement.

There’s a lot of truth in the old saying, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

As Aurora council approved the site plan for a new corporate head office and distribution centre for Bulk Barn, most councillors applauded the notion of  400 new office and distribution jobs coming to town. But the sentiment wasn’t unanimous.

In fact, Councillor Wendy Gaertner wasn’t impressed at all. “Frankly, I didn’t think it was the best use for these lands,” she said. “We are trying to bring in many well-paying jobs to this community. I would have liked something more like State Farm that brought with it 800 high-paying jobs with benefits.”

It’s great to aim high, but downplaying the impact of the Bulk Barn relocation is ridiculous, especially considering the deal meets the provincial business land mandate of 50 jobs created per hectare of land sold.

“I am glad this fits in with the mandate, but I still don’t think it’s the best use of space,” she said. “If we look at GTA land value, for the most part, it keeps going up, so I would have rather waited.”

That amounts to a pie-in-the-sky attitude in this day and age. There’s not a person out there who wouldn’t rather have 800 jobs come to town, instead of 400, but there comes a point where waiting for a better deal that might never come is a bad idea. Aurora and area was hit particularly hard when the manufacturing sector dumped jobs in the late 2000s.

The 2009 closure of Magna’s Exterion plants in Aurora and Newmarket alone put 850 people on the unemployment line. That means we’ve already been waiting three years to replace those jobs. That’s long enough.

We know 400 doesn’t equal 800, but people want to work and jobs are jobs, right now. Food bank use continues to rise and queues for subsidized housing grow every day. The Bulk Barn jobs won’t end the need for subsidized housing and they might not even make any difference at the food bank, but they provide hope, which is desperately needed.

BOTTOM LINE: Bulk Barn’s relocation guarantees 400 new jobs during time of need.

Posted in Community Input, Leadership, Local Business, Politics, Town Council | 12 Comments »

Councillor Throws Wet Blanket Over the Barn

Posted by auroracitizen on May 29, 2012

A Reader writes … I read, with delight, in the Banner that Council moved us a step closer to welcoming a major corporation to Aurora.  I would like to offer a warm welcome to Bulk Barn Foods Limited.

This company will add 400 new jobs to Aurora.  It also puts much needed cash into the Town’s hands by purchasing 25 acres of land directly from the Town and by paying commercial property taxes for land that was not generating any revenue as long as the Town owned it and sat on it.

Deputy Mayor Abel is quoted as saying “with all the jobs they bring, I am looking forward with great optimism that we will see several other corporations follow their lead.”  The Town’s Planning Director said the move is “significant”.  This development meets a standard for employment lands, established by the Province, of 50 jobs per hectare.

However, on the flip side, Councillor Gaertner once again shows her complete ignorance in terms of understanding business by making statements such as “Frankly, I didn’t think it was the best use of these lands” – “We are trying to bring in many well-paying jobs”.

This is a corporate head office that supports over 190 retail outlets.  Anyone with any business acumen at all knows that it takes lawyers, accountants, payroll management, professional sales people and marketing professionals, just to name a few positions, in order to successfully run a corporation like Bulk Barn.  They will employ over 300 people in the offices alone.  A quick review of Bulk Barn’s website indicates they are currently looking to hire an Executive Assistant to the CFO, an Accountant, and a Payroll Administrator, among other positions.

Councillor Gaertner, I have news for you – these are professional well-paid positions.   Additionally there will be over 100 positions in the distribution centre.

This is a win, win, win for our Town and the last thing we need is a bitter, out of touch Councillor throwing a wet blanket on it.

Posted in Community Input, Guest Post, Leadership, Local Business, Politics, Town Council | 23 Comments »

Farmers in it up to their ears

Posted by auroracitizen on May 13, 2012

This week saw the genesis of a most bewildering and ill-conceived concept, a Code of Conduct for the Aurora Farmers’ Market.

We in Aurora cannot forget a similarly titled document that was introduced by the former mayor, as part of her “Gold Standard” of democracy and governance. It applied to members of Council and came replete with an Integrity Commissioner.

That gentleman did not last long in his position as he was fired without ceremony when his first decision did not agree with the former’s opinion.

The Aurora Farmers’ Market was created by a municipal By-law passed on April 8, 2003. A copy is attached below for those who wish to read the entire document.

In the By-Law the Town appointed a Market Clerk who effectively administered the market. Lease agreements originally were between the Town on the one hand and the Lessee on the other for operation by the Lessee of a market stall.

At some point the location of the market moved from Temperance Street to its present location in the Town Park.

The Farmers’ Market seems to have acquired a Constitution, exactly when is a matter of some speculation. There was a rumour that former Councillor Granger had drafted one. We don’t know that the copy of the document attached below was his work.

The jam lady, in her capacity as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Aurora Farmers’ Market, has produced a risible bunch of words that purport to be a Code of Conduct for Vendors of the market. Attached below is the only copy we were able to find, and it is with thanks and hopefully the permission of Evelyn Buck.

We will refrain from commenting, other than to say that these words seem to simply demonstrate someone’s heightened sense of ego run berserk.

We would love to have your comments on this latest test of our town’s sanity.

AFM Enabling By-Law 135

AFM Constitution 136

AFM Code of Conduct 137

Posted in Code of Ethics, Community, Community Corner, Community Input, Guest Post, Leadership, Local Business, Politics | 29 Comments »

When Will We Get A Cultural Centre Update?

Posted by auroracitizen on April 27, 2012

At a Special Council meeting on April 5, 2012, Section 5.1, among others, of the Terms of Reference, was amended to replace two members of Council with two members of Town staff, plus one alternate.

The apparent reason for this amendment is that insofar as the Negotiating Working Group will be meeting in secret, members of Council could not participate. A secret, or closed session that involves elected representatives is only permitted under the Municipal Act in very limited circumstances; the Negotiating Working Group does not qualify.

The above having been said, we are now almost three weeks after the above referenced Special Council meeting. Has there been any public announcement from the Town advising which two members of staff, plus one alternate, have been named to the Group?

Is the composition of the Group just as secret as its deliberations? This does not appear to be typical of our democracy at work.

The Group is only dealing with approximately $500,000 per year of taxpayer money. Is this not a large enough sum to warrant some limited public disclosure?

Has anyone heard any updates?

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Town Council | 24 Comments »

Silly Is As Silly Does

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

Tonight Councillor Gaertner again demonstrated just how silly she has become.

First, she voiced her opinion that Council was discussing an illegal motion because she felt that the motion of March 28 was contrary to the approved motion from Feb 27. Then, when the Clerk stated that his opinion was that Council was discussing a legal motion — she indicated that she couldn’t vote. She even made a point of stating twice that she hoped the press had heard her.

Yet she continued to stay in the chambers and participated fully in the debate. Then when the vote was called — she leapt from her chair and took 2 steps away — then returned to her chair to vote on the confirming by-law and adjournment. What’s was that supposed to mean?

For someone who seems to be so concerned about following the letter of the rules — surely she also knows that you can’t declare a conflict on a matter unless it is a pecuniary conflict. And furthermore, when you declare a conflict you are required to leave the room.

So what happened to her interpretation of the rules here. The was no conflict and she participated fully in the discussion and was in the chambers during the vote

Since a non vote is considered a “nay”, the Council minutes must show that Councillor Gaertner voted “nay” on the motion.

It will be interesting to see what the record shows.

Hopefully the press saw that as well.

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Special Meetings, Town Council | 10 Comments »

Common Sense Returns

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

Tonight Council revisited the decisions made in the Aurora Cultural Centre debate and brought some long overdue common sense to the table.

Tonight Council amended their earlier motion to remove politicians from the discussion and now staff will work with the Cultural Centre towards a new agreement — which will then be brought forward to Council for discussion and a decision.

This removes much of the politics from the debate and staff can now look to the Mar report for direction.

Kudos to Councillor Pirri for bringing this motion forward and to most of Council for supporting this motion. Only Councillor Gallo was not in attendance. Of interest was the silliness perpetuated by Councillor Gaertner. See next post for details.

Now let’s look forward to some productive staff-led discussion and a new agreement in place for the start of 2013.

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Special Meetings, Town Council | 2 Comments »

Update: Have You Heard the News?

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

There is a special meeting tonight (April 5) at 6PM. Because it is a special meeting, it doesn’t require  notice. We have checked the Town website and currently there is nothing indicating a meeting is taking place. Of note, the announcements were updated this morning with a notice of service disruption. But nothing yet about a special meeting.

We found out through Councillor Buck’s blog post “Further Thoughts“. Pity we didn’t find out through the Town.

Councillor Buck indicated that the problems many readers/watchers anticipated are coming true. It will be interesting to see how Council works their way through the mess that has been created.

If you have time, drop by and see the proceedings.

———————————–

Updated @ 11:41 am

The agenda is up, but still nothing on the home page. So if you don’t know there is a meeting — so we guess you will never know until it’s over and published.

According to the  agenda, the focus is to seek Council direction on “Council membership of the ad hoc negotiating working group and the provisions of the Terms of Reference relating thereto” which smells like a reconsideration.

Hopefully when they reconsider they will come up with a plan that makes sense and is not subject to the criticism we have heard thus far about inappropriate closed door and confidential meetings.

There is still time to get this situation back on track. Let’s hope it gets done tonight.

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Special Meetings, Town Council | 5 Comments »

Have You Heard The News?

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

There is a special meeting tonight (April 5) at 6PM. Because it is a special meeting, it doesn’t require  notice. We have checked the Town website and currently there is nothing indicating a meeting is taking place. Of note, the announcements were updated this morning with a notice of service disruption. But nothing yet about a special meeting.

We found out through Councillor Buck’s blog post “Further Thoughts“. Pity we didn’t find out through the Town.

Councillor Buck indicated that the problems many readers/watchers anticipated are coming true. It will be interesting to see how Council works their way through the mess that has been created.

If you have time, drop by and see the proceedings.

———————————–

Updated @ 11:41 am

The agenda is up, but still nothing on the home page. So if you don’t know there is a meeting — so we guess you will never know until it’s over and published.

According to the  agenda, the focus is to seek Council direction on “Council membership of the ad hoc negotiating working group and the provisions of the Terms of Reference relating thereto” which smells like a reconsideration.

Hopefully when they reconsider they will come up with a plan that makes sense and is not subject to the criticism we have heard thus far about inappropriate closed door and confidential meetings.

There is still time to get this situation back on track. Let’s hope it gets done tonight.

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Town Council | 1 Comment »

Legal Precedent Being Established

Posted by auroracitizen on October 24, 2011

Michael Geist is the Internet Law Columnist for the Toronto Star, and we have referred to his writings here before.

His qualifications to comment are impressive. He is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Master of Laws degrees from Cambridge University in the UK and Columbia Law School in New York, and a Doctorate in Law from Columbia.

He recently commented on the Supreme Court decision around the case on internet linking http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1074612–supreme-court-stands-up-for-the-internet

The are many differences between the Alberta case that went to the Supreme Court and the recent lawsuit here in Aurora, but his final comment was very insightful

Given the connection between freedom of expression and the Internet, the Supreme Court has signaled that it will look with great skepticism at laws that could have a chilling effect on the ability for Canadians to fully participate online.

The decision on the Norwich motion — which by abandoning her appeal signals that Morris has accepted the wisdom of the courts — is equally important in defending Canadians’ ability to participate fully online.

Going forward, when similar lawsuits come before the courts, Phyllis Morris will be referenced as the leading case in this area. She made legal history.

When posting online, a witch hunt is not allowed. As a first step, a real case of defamation must be established before the courts will even consider a request for names to be released. Where the online posts concern political commentary, the court will be even more diligent in ensuring that the plaintiff makes out a real case of defamation.

In the Aurora case, no proof of defamation was made out. It is not simply enough to allege defamation as Morris did — the words themselves must be clear, and capable of a defamatory meaning. The Court held that she never did this — and Ms. Morris has now accepted their ruling.

This lack of proof that there was ever something defamatory said about her, even under a generous reading, was the significant factor on her motion being dismissed.

In fact, even where Ms. Morris could have submitted an affidavit to further explain why she thought the statements she viewed as hurting her reputation were defamatory, she did not do so.

Furthermore, while at least three motions were before the court at various points in the lawsuit, at no time did Phyllis Morris herself actually place any evidence before the court. Not once.

By not submitting an affidavit herself, Mrs. Morris neatly avoided having to answer any questions herself.

Instead, she argued her case in the press, mentioning claims about physical threats.

When push came to shove, Ms. Morris preferred to try her case outside of the Courts.

Now, she has no case to be tried. None whatsoever.

Posted in Legal, Media, Politics | 1 Comment »

 
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