I was at Rabba Foods in Mississauga when I got the call.
The voice on the other end identified himself as Brad Morrison adding “I’m Brian White’s minister and I’d like to respond to your column.”
Earlier in an email Morrison expressed “disappointment” with my “post election discourse.”
As I walked to my car it became clear he and I were on opposite ends of a debate. The fact that he is Brian White’s minister at Grace United Church did little to ease my suspicion of his call and its purpose.
Morrison indicated he saw my column on Facebook. He did even though he shouldn’t have. While printed copies of First Monday were trickling out to newsstands, online versions weren’t. We wanted time for our front page story about Oakville – based Seasons Retirement Communities and its more than $100 million rejuvenation of Bayside Centre to reach the street.
Seasons and its massive plans represent a game changer for downtown and a positive way forward for a new Council.
The worst Council in Sarnia’s history was on the way out and a fresh start lay ahead. Say good bye to Matt Mitro, Cindy Scholten – Holt, Mike Kelch, Bev MacDougall, Andy Bruziewitz and Anne Marie Gillis. The winners now have an opportunity to drive the City forward supported by Seasons, a well heeled company with a plan.
But Morrison was only interested in my column and in particular my comments about his parishioner Brian White. I had questioned what voters were thinking re-electing White, a disruptor and left wing activist. He was one of them, the anti Mayor faction that spent $411,000.00 taxpayer dollars unsuccessfully trying to oust Mike Bradley.
The old Council was mostly purged. The negative harassment crap was supposedly behind us or so I thought.
But suddenly there was Brad Morrison on the end of my phone. It was surreal. Here was a man of the cloth trying to convince a wayward disciple that I should find God.
Why wasn’t he interested in something more than my column? And what’s with Facebook? First Monday wasn’t on Facebook yet. The printing plant had avoided loading the publication to Facebook.
Morrison kept referring to my column. He kept referring to Facebook. I suggested he was misinformed but he insisted.
The trucks were fanning out across the City with the still wet copies of First Monday. But not on Facebook.
Yet there was Brian White’s minister reading my column on Facebook and wanting to be the first with a rebuttal.
How could that be?
I placed a call to Katie Horvath, our Facebook guru. She assured me First Monday wasn’t on Facebook.
Within minutes she called back asking if Brian White’s minister is a follower of Steve Loxton, an internet troll with too much time on his hands and an uncomfortable interest in me and my political views?
Seems Loxton took screen shots of my column from a still wet First Monday and passed it along to his Facebook followers who apparently include Morrison, White, Mitro and the others taken out in the municipal election.
Which explains Mitro in his final moments as a municipal politician. His focus was on me. His focus was on my column and this question to the Mayor. “Did you tell Chris Cooke of First Monday that Margaret Misek – Evans hasn’t spoken to you in three years?”.
Not being a Loxton Facebook follower and not having a printed copy of First Monday, the Mayor was caught off guard. But he responded appropriately saying he hadn’t seen the column and couldn’t and wouldn’t comment.
Mitro seemed surprised although he shouldn’t have been. The fact Misek – Evans had a $75,000.00 wall, bars and security cameras suggest communication between she and the Mayor was at best strained and likely restricted.
Since the election there have been rumblings that several of the new Councillors want six months to review the employment of the Chief Administrative Officer.
The lady makes $185,000.00, lives in Petrolia and spent $411,000.00 in tax dollars in a failed attempt to oust the Mayor.
Does anyone really believe she speaks to him?
Which brings me to Brian White’s minister and his belief that the discourse needs to change.
Here are some facts.
Bradley is extremely popular.
Anne Marie Gillis and her supporters not.
Politics is a blood sport and voters are cranky.
They voted for change at City Hall and I can assure the new Councillors they want it in less than six months. Brian White won’t give it to them so the onus is on the rest.
No wall, no bars, no Margaret Misek – Evans.
That is the election result. That is the clear message.
Until that happens the discourse won’t change.
I could be wrong but I’m usually not.