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Don’t forget the big ticket items

Mon, 05/27/2019 - 15:05 -- Dan McCaffery

I fear our new city council is getting bogged down with non-essential matters.

In recent weeks council has found itself debating whether to fly the rainbow flag at city hall, whether to ban plastic bags for leaf collection and whether to give away free menstrual products at public facilities.

It’s not that these issues didn’t need to be dealt with. I am not, for example, opposed to flying the rainbow flag at city hall every June if that makes people who are often bullied and mocked feel a little better about themselves.

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See the world before it changes

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 12:26 -- Dan McCaffery

Marceil Saddy once said to me “see the world before it changes too much.”

Saddy was the publisher and editor of the old Sarnia Gazette weekly newspaper and I was a cub reporter, fresh out of the journalism program at Lambton College.

He encouraged me to take time off at some point and go travelling through Europe for several months. Saddy had been all over the globe and he was a big believer in the benefits of seeing other people and their culture. He also told me travel would give me a greater appreciation for Canada.

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Integrity Commissioners unnecessary

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 12:10 -- Dan McCaffery

It’s time for the Ontario government to get rid of the province’s so-called ‘integrity commissioners.’

Queen’s Park requires every municipality to have such a person available. The idea is to have someone on hand who can look into unethical behaviour by local politicians and levy fines on those found guilty of any misconduct.

On paper, it sounds like a good idea. But too many people are using it as a political weapon. They take silly complaints to the commissioner rather than solving their problems politically, at the ballot box.

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We need the paper-pushers

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 15:21 -- Dan McCaffery

It’s popular to bash bureaucrats, whether they work at the municipal, provincial or federal levels of government.

God knows I’ve done my fair share of it.

But the truth is we need the paper-pushers to make government work. Without them, everything would ground to a halt.

The trick is to find bureaucrats who will tell their political masters things they don’t want to hear. But, at the same time, they must be willing to do what they’re told once a decision has been made.

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Restore our log cabin

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 08:54 -- Dan McCaffery

Put me down as one of those who supports the restoration of the 19th century log cabin in Canatara Park.

Sarnia has a long and sad history of tearing down historic buildings that goes back many decades.

I well remember a debate in the 1970s over whether an old house build by former prime minister and stone mason Alexander Mackenzie should be saved. In the end, it was razed to the ground.

Some would argue that it’s too expensive to retain these ancient structures. But I would suggest there’s money to be made by preserving them.

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Preservation of our parkland

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 13:52 -- Dan McCaffery

One of the major challenges Sarnia’s brand new city council will face this year will be the preservation of parkland.

Late in 2018 a draft master plan for parks, recreation and culture was released, recommending as many as nine smaller parks be sold or “consolidated” with other parks.

Mayor Mike Bradley and his councillors should move swiftly to put an end to this idea.

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Honouring Our Veterans

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 11:26 -- Dan McCaffery

Last month’s Remembrance Day ceremonies were among the most moving ever seen in the city.

Certainly they were among the best attended, with well over 2,000 people on hand.

Part of the reason for this was the fact that Nov. 11 marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

But it would be a mistake to honour only the men and women who fought for us in the world wars. Many others went through hell on earth in places like Afghanistan and Korea.

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Iceland should be your travel destination

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 10:51 -- Dan McCaffery

After the better part of a lifetime in which my wife and I have devoted a lot of time and money towards travel, we’re often asked what our favourite destination might be.

Until now it has not been an easy question to answer because we’ve been to so many exotic and interesting places. Since the 1970s we’ve been to Europe 11 times, all over North America and to Japan and Australia.

But after last month’s trip to a little island in the North Atlantic I think we might have the answer – Iceland.

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Politician’s Handbook

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 16:03 -- Dan McCaffery

What makes for a good local politician?

That’s an important question now that municipal elections are almost upon us.

One way to determine who we should vote for is to study the leaders of the past to ascertain which ones were exceptional and, more to the point, what made them so good.

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Question your candidates

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 10:14 -- Dan McCaffery

There’s a question every candidate for Sarnia city council should be asked this fall.

“Do you support the gag order the current council has slapped on municipal politicians?”

And only a one-word answer should be accepted. Yes or No.

Anyone who answers ‘yes’ should be rejected by any voter who values democracy. Anyone who fudges their answer or qualifies it in any way should get the same treatment.

Only those who say unequivocally that they are opposed to this draconian law should even be considered by thoughtful people.

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