Open Sources Guelph - September 22, 2016

26Sep

We tried our best to make this week’s edition of Open Sources Guelph an all-Canadian affair, and there’s so much to talk about this week in terms of Canadian politics as well, but as last week proved, the best laid plans....  Parliament was back in session and there are about four or five number one priorities before the Trudeau government right off the bat, but it's doubtful that one of those priorities wasn’t torture, however a lawsuit on that issue is proceeding just the same. Also proceeding are protests south of the border against an oil pipeline in North Dakota, which is another whole legal mess brewing. And finally, we’ll talk about civility, or a lack thereof, from our elected politicians.

This Thursday, September 22, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Return of the Fed-i. It was back to work for the House of Commons this week as Members of Parliament returned to Ottawa after a summer of engagement and barbeques with constituents. There’s a whole lot of work in front of the federal government this fall including a sputtering economy, a new carbon tax, electoral reform, and ongoing issues with resettling refugees and proposed new tours for Canadian peacekeepers. Despite their own internal dysfunctions, the opposition parties were ready to pounce, and with Justin Trudeau and Co. coming up on one year in power, the criticism’s only going to get louder. (More on that later.) We’ll talk about how the first week of school went for our elected officials.

2) Torture Scorn. $100 million can buy a lot of things, but it won’t likely buy forgiveness from Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin for being tortured by Canadian security agencies in Syria to the point of confessing to ridiculous charges like being Osama bin Laden's "left-hand man” or plotting to blow up Parliament Hill. A lot attention’s raised lately about how provisions of Bill C-51 are still in place, but an order issued by former public safety minister Vic Toews in 2009 allowing law enforcement agencies to act on intelligence gathered from torturing suspects is still in effect. Is it time for Canada to turn over the rock and look at our own torture ugliness underneath?

3) Take This Pipe and Smoke It. While there are pipeline issues up here in Canada, First Nations people in North Dakota are in the midst of their own fierce anti-pipeline protest. The Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, N.D. has been challenged by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who argue that the $3.8 billion project poses a threat to local water supplies and endangers sites that are sacred to the community, and while federal agencies have stepped in to put a pause on construction, the protest is far from over. Can the demands of the pipeline be reconciled with the concerns of the Sioux, and are we looking into a dark mirror for our own pipeline future?

4) Back to the Sewer? Yes, Parliament is back this week, but what about the behaviour of Parliamentarians, did their summer off let them get it out of their system, or are they going to be as bad as they want to be? In a CBC article, Eric Grenier looked at House Speaker Geoff Regan’s attempt to keep servility in play in the House, not an easy task given "Shovegate" in the spring, but Grenier discovered something interesting: 100 per cent of the MPs reprimanded by Regan were men, and 32 per cent of the MPs being heckled were women. Heckling is a tradition in the House, but is it getting over the top, and maybe, a little sexist?

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #51 - Fred Dahms, Author of ‘Conflict and Compromise’

24Sep

Political books are nothing new, but a book about Guelph politics? That has the Guelph Polticast written all over it! Conflict and Compromise: Politics and Planning in Guelph 2000-2015 is the new book from Dr. Fred Dahms, and if you're looking for a good primer on how the City got from there to here on a wide variety of different issues, then you can't do much better.

Dahms is someone that knows planning. He is Professor Emeritus, founding member and former Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph and former Acting Dean of the College of Social Science. He was also a member for 11 years and Chair of Gueph's Planning Advisory Committee, which is now defunct. But the pages of his new book covers the time after he was so heavily involved in city planning, and a highly contentious time at that.

The synopsis of the book:

Between 2000 and 2016, Guelph has grown by about 20,000 people. During that period, many decisions have been made by city staff and council on how to guide growth in the city. A lovely aspect of democracy is being able to elect councillors whom you believe represent your idea of the ideal future. Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of debate about what the ideal future looks like.

In conversation with Dahms we talked about his background, how he decided what topics to deal with in the book, his professional insight into the various debates that have happened at council about planning over the last 16 years, the two Guelphs debate, and why he's sometimes skeptical that council can govern in the City's best interest (and he sometimes isn't).

So let's head to Dr. Dahms front porch and talk about the recent past on this week's Politicast.

Dahms will be launching Conflict and Compromise on September 27th at 7 pm at the Bookshelf eBar in conversation with former city councillor Ian Findlay, former Mayor Karen Farbridge, and urban planning Phd candidate Audrey Jamal. You can buy the book right now at the Bookshelf or from Amazon.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

Stay tuned for future editions of the Guelph Politicast!

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Open Sources Guelph - September 15, 2016

22Sep

This week on Open Sources Guelph, we are finally going to get the media and political class back for all the awful lies they've spread about us. Oh wait, sorry, that's Doug Ford's script. Here on the show, we do the good work of trying to bring fair, well-researched and humorous political punditry to your radio airwaves, and this week is no exception. From the leadership race no one wants to lead, to the leadership at Queen's Park that can't decide where to lead next. From great expectations about Guelph's budget to dwindling expectations about the presidential race south of the border, we're going to do our best to bring you the truth... folks.

This Thursday, September 15, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) MacKay of the Dead. He was the last great hope for a renewed Conservative Party post-Stephen Harper, but former Justice Minister Peter MacKay said "thanks, but not thanks" to the job he was so obviously next in line for because he needs to spend more time with his family. That would be fine, but MacKay is the frontrunner even though he was never officially part of the race, and right behind him is Kellie Leitch, who, you might have heard, has been having some troubles lately. That leaves Andrew Sheer, who stepped down as Conservative House Leader this week, as the biggest brand name member of the blue team to step up, but is that enough to deflate Trudeaumania 2.0?

2) Game of Throne Speech. The Liberal government in Ontario under Premier Kathleen Wynne tried a resest this week by having a Speech from the Throne. With concerns over government spending, a recent by-election loss, and ongoing mismanagement of hydro and pricing all top of mind, Wynne was hoping to wipe the slate clean by announcing new childcare spaces and rate relief on electricity bills. Where is all this money going to come from? Who can say? Not even the premier herself. So it begs the question: is this the Liberals' attempt to put lipstick on the proverbial pig with less than two-years left to their mandate?

3) The Crunch Before the Crunch. Although the budget process doesn't really hit the ground running till next month, it hasn't stopped all sides in the debate from martially their talking points. Mayor Cam Guthrie has come out to say that this is going to be the toughest budget to come before council in a long while, but councillors are all eager to get their pencils sharpened as staff promises new tools to make sure the citizenry is better informed and better engaged than ever before. But are we ready for budget season? Are we well prepared? Is there too much politics in such an important process with not enough wiggle room?

4) Health Class. On Friday night, Hillary Clinton had the audacity to say that half the people who supported Donald Trump were amongst the racist, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-everything-not-white-male-and-straight caucus, or as she called them, a "Basket of Deplorables." By Sunday it was a different story though, as a bout of pneumonia caused the former Secretary of State to nearly collapse at a 9/11 memorial event. With conspiracy theories about her health already prevalent, the last thing Clinton needed was to have to take a sick day. Trump meanwhile, the most politically incorrect candidate since there was a term for it, is demanding an apology for the basket crack even while his supporters embrace the term. We'll have the latest from the U.S. campaign.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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Open Sources Guelph - September 8, 2016

12Sep

We're back! It's back to business as usual this week on Open Sources Guelph as the team re-unites to tackle the latest issues of the day. We'll kick off with the circus south of the border, which promises get even more circus-y now in the final two-month stretch of the campaign. Up here in Canada meanwhile, the Ontario PCs have won a beachhead, but can they use it to build a coalition for 2018, and at what cost? Another Conservative, one trying to win federal party leadership, has encountered trouble of her own making, and a beloved Canadian moose news anchor announces the date of his final broadcast.

This Thursday, September 8, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Cough Drop? They say that after Labour Day, the campaign really begins, but what does that look like in the Trump era? Well, it apparently begins with a post-long weekend bump in the polls for the GOP nominee, who is now statistically running neck and neck with Secretary Hillary Clinton even though he can't articulate a coherent immigration policy, his signature issue. Clinton, meanwhile, had a bit of a cough Monday, a fact unlikely to dissuade conspiracy nuts who think she's hiding health issues. The polls seem to be panning out that the email issue is hitting Clinton hard, even though the smoke has yet to yield fire. We'll try and make sense of this campaign week that wa... But wait, the luggage!

2) St. Patrick's Day. The Progressive Conservatives did what was once thought impossible, they won the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River last week in a provincial by-election that marks the first time since the riding's creation in 1999 that it didn't go Liberal red. But to what to we owe this breakthrough? Is it ennui with Liberal governance? Did the incumbents get caught with their pants down not putting more effort into campaign in the dog days of summer? Certainly there are many in the PC Party who are hoping that it wasn't a letter from leader Patrick Brown that promised to repeal the new sex-ed curriculum. That's the sort of dead weight social that could cost someone the premiership. We'll look at the angles.

3) Kellie Disservice. The Federal Conservative leadership race took a hit to its own attempt at Sunnier Ways last week when the campaign of Ontario MP Kellie Leitch sent out a survey that asked the question if there should be some kind of "Canadian Values" test for new immigrants. Coming from the woman that's still trying to live down what could easily be the worst campaign idea of modern political times, the Barbaric Cultural Practices phone line, Leitch should have known better since she was there when they announced the BCP line and got politically hung for it. With every Conservative basically throwing her under the bus for the questionnaire, is Leitch's leadership ambition over? And have the Conservatives turned a corner in terms of indulging its nativist leanings?

4) Petered Out. In a surprise announcement, Peter Mansbridge told Canada that he would be stepping down as host of The National come next summer. Many of us have noted that Mansbridge has been mostly checked out for some time anyway with Fridays and summers off the last couple of years, but to hear that he's hanging up his anchor hat after over 25 years as lead anchor for CBC is still a kick to the nostalgia bone. We'll look back on Mansbridge's career, his nearly $1 million per year price tag, and whether celebrity anchors matter in modern news gathering as we kick off the one year countdown to a "Canada Without Mansbridge" (trademark pending).

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #50 - Susan Ratcliffe, Eden Mills Writers Festival

11Sep

Way back in 1989, Governor General Award winner, and Eden Mills, ON resident, Leon Rooke was releasing a new book. The proprietors of the Eden Mills General Store suggested that Leon hold his book launch on their lovely front steps, but for such an ostentatious venue, Rooke felt his own literary  presence wasn't enough. So he invited other literary icons Rohinton Mistry, Michael Ondaatje, Jane Urquhart, and Linda Spalding to join him. It was, in effect, the first Eden Mills Writers Festival, and it's still going strong.

Since that little porch party 27 years ago, Eden Mills Writers Festival has grown to be one of the most preeminent literary events in the country, and an appointment every September for local book lovers, authors, and aspiring authors and writers. Despite much discussion about the imminent death of the printed world, it seems digital can't land a killing blow against the physical book, and while there are modern struggles for publishers and authors, people still love their books. And they love talking about them and talking with authors at Eden Mills.

I reached out to the festival and got in touch with artistic director Susan Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe is a long time volunteer with the festival, and we do mean volunteer; 99.9 per cent of the people that put together the festival every year are doing it for the love of books. Talking with Ratcliffe we discussed the power of the written word and the continued draw of that literal page turner, how the festival maintains its old-fashioned feel, the importance of a festival like this to authors, and what keeps her coming back for more year after year.

So let's jump to the ending, and get into this week's Guelph Politicast.

You can learn more about the Eden Mills Writers Festival at its website, where you can also get a list of authors and the schedule of events and readings. You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can get tickets at www.emwftix.ca  or by them in person downtown at the Bookshelf.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

Stay tuned for future editions of the Guelph Politicast!

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GUELPH POLITICAST #49 - Live (ish) From the Labour Day Picnic

7Sep

This past Monday was Labour Day, and let's face it, sometimes in the rush to enjoy the last long weekend of summer, we forget that there's a story behind it, a long history of workers standing up for their rights, often with an organized union having their backs. These aren't the best of times for unions, but as you'll learn from this Guelph Politicast, they're are also far from the worst. Yet.

This past Monday, I was invited to go down to the Guelph and District Labour Council Labour Day Picnic at Riverside Park, and talk to various union leaders representing a great many workers in the City of Guelph. No word on attendance, but over 600 hot dogs, 250 samosas and countless snow cones were consumed in celebration of the working man and the working woman. It got me wondering though, in this day and age, where just 15.9 per cent of private sector jobs are union (versus over 70 per cent of public jobs in the public service), what do unionized workers have to celebrate?

This edition of the Politicast is more of a round robin. Two by two, I talk to local labour leaders about local labour issues. City workers, University of Guelph workers, firefighters, transit drivers, and Catholic and elementary school teachers are all represented. We talk generally about the current conditions for organized labour, but we also talk about union-specific issues, like how the teachers are still feeling burned from last year's negotiations, or how the firefighters are still negotiating a contract that expires in four months, and how transit drivers have weathered this summer of discontent on city buses

So we'll just leave that there, and dig into this week's Politicast, Live - ish - from Riverside Park!

Keep up with the Guelph and District Labour Council at their website. And special thanks to Gundi Barbour (UGETFO), Mark Bernardino (OECTA), Liz Cherry (USW), Andrew Cleary (ATU), Janice Folk-Dawson (CUPE), and Colin Hunter (GPFA) for taking time out of a very busy picnic to talk about labour issues!

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

Stay tuned for future editions of the Guelph Politicast!

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Open Sources Guelph - September 1, 2016

6Sep

This week, Open Sources Guelph marks Labour Day by taking a break from our labours and remember fondly the time when politicians really did have the best words. We all know that political speeches have the capacity to be uplifting, to make us think, to engage us and spur us to action - and not just in the movies. That kind of rhetoric has been at a premium this election cycle in the United States, but it still exists, at least in the archives. So as Adam A. Donaldson takes the week off to engage with fellow nerds at Fan Expo Canada, Scotty Hertz will countdown the greatest hits... of political speeches.

This Thursday, September 1, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz will discuss:

Some of his favourite political speeches of all time, and he's reaching deep back in time for some of these clips. In 1944, on the eve of his historic victory leading the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation in Saskatchewan, Tommy Douglas made his famous "Mouseland" speech, a compelling critique of the Canadian political system that's as apt now as it was then. Scotty will also play clips from John Diefenbaker as he reflects on his friendship with Winston Churchill, Lester Pearson's speech announcing his retirement, and outtakes from the 1968 leaders' debate, which included some very interesting (and enlightening given the times) perspectives on gun control. Chances are though that Scotty won't be playing this, the best speech ever given by an American president.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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Open Sources Guelph - August 25,2016

31Aug

We wind down the summer here on Open Sources Guelph with more of our patented political discussion about hot button issues of the day. For instance, is Donald Trump now actually *trying* to run for president? He hasn’t said anything grotesque this week, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about. And just because the House is in recess, it doesn’t mean that Canada’s federal politicians aren’t making news, even if they wish they weren’t. In media matters, we’ll look at the never-ending newspaper strike on the east coast, and wonder where all the reporters are in the deep south.

This Thursday, August 25, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Don’t Call It a Pivot. After weeks and months of waiting it seems as though Donald Trump finally pulled himself together to become something resembling a mainstream candidate; he’s even softened his stance on immigration and conceded that the situation at the Mexican border is not a Mad Max-like wonderland. But is it too little too late? Has Trump changed enough to make this a race again, and how long can he hold on to the facade that he’s just another Republican politician? Especially since a) he still won’t release his tax returns, b) he seems to be using his campaign to line his own pockets, and c) no one’s now entirely sure that the heck his campaign is supposed to stand for.

2) Still On Strike. In a couple of weeks it will be Labour Day, that one time of year we salute the working people and give them a much need break from their labours. In Halifax though, there are some people that would love to get back to work right now, and they’re the members of the Halifax Typographical Union at the Chronicle-Herald, who have now been on strike for almost eight months. Negotiations seem to be going nowhere, and the administration seems more than happy to keep the paper going with a temp staff, but the question must be asked: How long can both sides keep this up? How long can Halifax’s largest paper operate in neutral? In the midst of concerns over media job losses, why aren’t we hearing more about journalists fighting the good fight?

3) Business as Usual. After a brief cabinet shake-up, it was back to business as usual for the Federal Liberals as they prepare for the fall session of the House of Commons. Jobs, the economy, and First Nations relations are all top of mind, but something much worse has enraptured national attention: a spending scandal. Oh yeah! So Jane Philpott likes taking limos and chilling executive lounges while Catherine McKenna likes getting her picture taken to the tune of $17,000 worth of photos (good thing we don’t develop anymore). Conservative lips were chapping at the taste of a Liberal spending scandal, while Justin Trudeau tries to make sure that he and the fans are still cool, but can the government overcome demons external and internal to get back on message?

4) Flood-gate. A Baton Rogue attorney posted an open letter to America’s news organizations and it went viral. In short, it accused them of ignoring the recent flooding that’s happened across Louisiana and it’s hard to say that the letter’s accusation is wrong. The writer explained that in their opinion the media is being biased against the poor, an accusation not unfamiliar as it’s the same one that was levelled against the government in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. On top of that, there’s the broader issue of how the media covers these disasters. Are they ignoring the possibility that these incidents are the result of climate change? Is the media equipped to talk about these stories when there’s no partisan angle?

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #48 - Food Trucks in Guelph

26Aug

Can you smell what the trucks are cooking? Guelphites certainly have been this summer as the City has experimented with new rules and regulations for the roll out (pun intended) of food trucks in the Royal City. In years gone by, the most you can expect in terms of "meals on wheels" was a hot dog cart; I myself have found memories of the chip wagon strategically situated between my house and my high school in Georgetown, but as we've seen this summer, the food truck business is incredibly more diverse than we might have once thought possible.


To discuss the topic from the perspective of those trying to make a go with the new food truck economy, I found two of the people really promoting that diversity of offerings. On the one hand we have Jakki Prince, owner of Sweet Temptations who uses her food truck as an extension and promotion of her south end cupcake shop; and on the other we have Scotty Yates, whose Chef Scotty Yates Bistro Tour offers unique meals made from locally-sourced ingredients. If you've been to a local event with food trucks this summer, it's likely you saw one, or both of them, there.

So in gathering these two entrepreneurs some of the questions I had concerned their thoughts on the this summer's great food truck experiment, whether they thought that the City's on the right track with crafting its permanent policy, the feedback they've personally been getting from the community, and their reactions to the remaining criticism of the business model. Over all, it seems that business is very good for these culinary experts, and while there are still some details to iron out, the message is that the sky's the limit for Guelph's growing food truck fleet.

Hope you're hungry, because there's a lot to talk about with the food truck business on this week's Guelph Politicast.

So are you hungry yet? Make your way to Sweet Temptations at 1398 Gordon St., Unit #5 or check it out at the store's website, Facebook page, and of course follow along on Twitter. As for Chef Scotty Yates Bistro Tour you can find out where he'll be next through his website, as well as through his Facebook page, and Twitter account also. 

If you want to learn more about the City's pending improvements to the food truck by-law, visit the City's website here, and stay tuned because the changes will be coming before council for approval later this fall.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

Stay tuned for future editions of the Guelph Politicast!

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OPEN SOURCES GUELPH BEAT #8 - City Councillor Mark MacKinnon (Ward 6)

24Aug

Summer is winding down, and so are a lot of summer vacations, which means it will soon be time to get back to business as usual (or unusual as the case may be) at City Hall. Before that happens though, we look backwards one more time and the last city councillor to grace the CFRU studios for their 30 minutes of fame on Open Sources Guelph, Ward 6 Councillor Mark MacKinnon.

MacKinnon appeared on the July 14 edition of Open Sources, and is the fifth member of Guelph's city council to visit the show so far, but he is the first member of council we've had in who dabbles in board game publishing. That's one of many interesting factoids about MacKinnon, whose day job is in the more ordinary arena of real estate, but his part-time job as a city councillor makes MacKinnon a triple threat around the horseshoe.

Representing Guelph's "Deep South", MacKinnon is front and centre for a lot of difficult issues, perhaps none more so right now than the fate of the Niska Road bride, which remains a high contentious debate despite the fact that council voted to demolish it and build a two-lane bridge almost a year ago now. (We got a listener question about that one.) We also talked to MacKinnon about the things that never happened, like the service review he was pushing for last fall in the budget, and the ward boundary review that was also not supported in this year's budget. We also talked about non-Ward 6 issues like downtown redevelopment. 

So let's flashback to the July 14 edition of Open Sources Guelph and our guest Mark MacKinnon.

You can get in touch with Councillor MacKinnon through his office line at 519-822-1260 x 2296 or by email at mark.mackinnon@guelph.ca. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ward6Mark, and read his blog by clicking here.

You can download more podcasts off the Guelph Politicast channel on Podbean, including episodes of the Guelph Politicast, and full episodes of Open Sources Guelph.

For updates on special guests coming up on future episodes of Open Sources Guelph, you can visit the show's website here.

Of course, you can listen to every edition of Open Sources Guelph, live, Thursdays at 5 pm.

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