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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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Andy Brandt Marina

Tue, 08/07/2018 - 09:25 -- Dan McCaffery

City council made the right move last month when it renamed Sarnia Bay Marina after Andy Brandt.

Brandt, who is 80 years old, was one of the most successful local politicians of the 20th century.

First elected as a councillor in 1971, he served in municipal government for nine years, including six as mayor. During that time he dramatically altered the appearance of downtown.

Few remember it today, but at the beginning of the 1970s Front Street was a shambles. Brandt once said the west side of Front looked like Berlin in 1945 when he became mayor. And he was right.

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We’re destroying their habitats

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 15:56 -- Dan McCaffery

One afternoon last month I was standing at the end of my driveway when a neighbour pulled over and excitedly yelled that there was a deer on the street.

Looking up, I saw the creature running down McMillen Parkway West, headed for Lakeshore Road.

At first I was thrilled to see such a beautiful creature close up.

A day or two later, on Facebook, I saw a video of two deer making their way down the sidewalk on Christina Street near the post office. A day after that, I read a story about a bear being spotted near Wallaceburg.

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