GUELPH POLITICAST #68 - Ted Drewlo, The Coldest Night of the Year

22Feb

This is probably not the type of weather you want when you're holding a fundraiser called "The Coldest Night of the Year," but on the other hand, if you want to rally people to come out and walk between two and ten kilometres to raise money for charity, this is maybe just the kind of weather you want.

Yes, it's that time of year again for CNOY, an annual fundraiser held in over 100 communities across Canada. It was the brainchild of Blue Sea Philanthropy in Kitchener, a way to raise money for charities that feed, cloth, shelter and support the poor and homeless by giving participants a small taste of what they face on a nightly basis. In the Royal City, the money raised goes to help support the programs of Lakeside Hope House. Ted Drewlo has been the director of Hope House's CNOY efforts for the last two years.

With its various community partners, Hope House puts together several programs to help Guelph's poor including a Food Market, the HOPE Stylin’ Haircuts and Clothing Bureau, the community Edu-Kitchen, the HOPE-in-Motion program, a Back-to-School Backpack Program, a daily café, and Christmas hampers. That kind of support doesn't come cheap, so the funds raised during CNOY is just a fraction of the fundraising that needs to be done in a given year. It's also an important reminder that there are a lot of people in the Royal City that need a lot of help. 

So on this week's Guelph Politicast, I talk to Ted Drewlo about organizing the Coldest Night of the Year, how you can get involved, and the challenges facing the poor in Guelph and those trying to help them.

For more information on the Guelph chapter of the Coldest Night of the Year, or to find out how to get involved, click here. To learn more about the work done by Lakeside Hope House click here.

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.

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Open Sources Guelph - February 16, 2017

21Feb

After weeks of waiting and handwringing, the time has finally come on Open Sources Guelph to deal with something you've been on the edge of your seat expecting: the arrival of first politician interview from  outside Guelph. Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife will be our special guest this week, the first of what we hope will be many sitting MPs and MPPs from the immediate area to join us on the show. We'll also talk about that other hotly anticipated meet-up, the one between the King of Selfies and the Reality TV president, and then things will get serious about the future of Guelph Hydro. 

This Thursday, February 16, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Beauty and the Beast. Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump finally met in Washington Monday and by all accounts it was the most boring day of the Trump era so far, and that was a complement. Trudeau and Trump met to talk about trade, and helping women go further in business, which was followed by a curt and relatively drama free press conference where the toughest questions came from Canadian reporters. So all's well that end's well, that is unless you're Michael Flynn. While Trudeau left Washington smelling like roses, the drama in the White House sunk to a new low. So what's the take away of this first bilateral meeting, and what do we make of the turfing of Flynn?

2) The Power of Won. Wednesday night was a very special meeting of Guelph city council, one that would start to decide the fate of Guelph's hydro utility. For months, the City has been getting feedback as to whether or not the Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. should be sold, merged, left alone or be used to buy up other utilities. A special committee has decided that the best bet is to either sell Hydro or merge it with another company, but now the decision is in City Council's hands as they must choose whether to proceed down that road, or end it here and now. You can probably guess what the majority of the people think (and Scotty for that matter), but what about council? What are they going to do in the face of this new report? We'll discuss all the latest developments.

3) Fife Expectancy. For the first time, an area MPP not from Guelph will be appearing live on our air. Open Sources is pleased to welcome Kitchener-Waterloo Member of Provincial Parliament Catherine Fife to the show. Fife is notably the only elected member of the NDP from our immediate area in either the provincial or federal legislature, but she has years of political and community involvement to her credit, from her days with the Waterloo Region District School Board to her unexpected victory in a 2012 by-election claiming the seat of former Conservative cabinet member Elizabeth Witmer.  We'll be talking to the NDP member about a number of topics including the ongoing concern including hydro prices, her work as economic development critic, and the priorities of the provincial NDP in the upcoming session at Queen's Park. We'll also be happy to take listener questions as always, and if you've got any of those, feel free to post them below.

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

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GUELPH POLITICAST #67 - The Voices of Electoral Reform

15Feb

Two protests in two weeks. Guelph hasn't been this riled up about something since the anti-Walmart days! But the passionate demands of Guelphites for electoral reform seems to have not been silenced by the apparent disinterest of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep his campaign promises. In fact, the PM's dismissal of the issues seems to have created a new urgency.

Culled from about two hours of audio at two rallies - one on Sunday February 5 at City Hall and the other Lloyd Longfield's Cork St constituency office on Saturday February 11 - this week's Guelph Politicast is a collection of a dozen voices who believe in electoral reform, even if it's their own party (or just one that they voted for) let them down on the matter.

From Longfield in the House of Commons, to local politicians like Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner and city councillor James Gordon, to electoral reform advocates like Steve Dyck and Susan Watson, and to regular advocates like George Kelly of the Guelph Coalition for Social Justice, the message to Trudeau was clear: The ain't over. And on top of that, you will also hear from a young Conservative, who's not yet not old enough to vote, but when he does, he wants that vote to be in someway proportional.

Speaker's List:

  1. Lloyd Longfield
  2. George Kelly, Chair of Guelph-Wellington Coalition for Social Justice
  3. Susan Watson
  4. Laurie Garbutt
  5. Steve Dyck
  6. James Gordon
  7. Vera Dyck
  8. Mike Schreiner
  9. David DeWeerdt
  10. Anne Gajerski-Cauley, former NDP Candidate, Wellington-Halton Hills
  11. Brendan Hollingsworth
  12. Me

So let's head to the streets and hear from the people. Voices of Electoral Reform is the theme of this week's Guelph Politicast.

Stay tuned for coverage on electoral reform because something tells me Guelph is not going to let this go.

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.

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Open Sources Guelph - February 9, 2017

13Feb

It's a special occasion this week on Open Sources Guelph, and we're inviting a lot of friends over to mark the day. What's the occasion? Why we're marking six and a half decades of Queen Elizabeth II's rule, and we're going to celebrate with our old friends in the Conservative leadership race, our good pals in the Trump administration, and all those both concerned and elated to making our little town by the two rivers an official "sanctuary."

This Thursday, February 9, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Last Tangle in Halifax. He came, he saw, he was... the butt of many jokes. Kevin O'Leary participated in his first Conservative leadership debate in Halifax this weekend, officially a part of the oversized ballot of politicians all vying to be the leader of the Official Opposition and the presumptive prime minister in waiting. All eyes were on O'Leary, who did acquit himself well in his first official political event, but with 14 people on stage in a two-hour event it was already hard for any one candidate to make an impression. With less than four months to go until the leadership event in Toronto, what will it take to start seeing some real movement in this race?

2) They Sell Sanctuary. Following in the lead of London, ON, two Guelph city councillors thought that idea of making the Royal City a Sanctuary City was a good idea. There was some disagreement on that point. A Guelph Today article announcing the intent of Cllrs James Gordon and Phil Allt to put forward the motion unleashed a torrent of anger and ignorance in the comment section. (Meanwhile, a story on the Magic 106 website didn't even bother to open comments.) But then there was the fact that the mayor's comments of support to the victims of the Quebec attack unleashed a racist tirade, and a Walmart cashier was fired last week for racial discrimination, all of which begs the question: What's going on in our sorted little 'burb?

3) Elizabeth: The Sapphire Age. Queen Elizabeth II marked 65 years on the throne this week, that's the Sapphire Jubilee for those keeping score at home. From here on out, every year as the queen is another record for Her Royal Highness, and at the age of 90 she really shows no signs of slowing down. She's even become a pop culture icon thanks to the Netflix series The Crown, which chronicles the turbulent early years of Elizabeth's reign. But on this auspicious occasion of the Queen's Sapphire Jubilee, we look back at the life and legacy of Elizabeth II, and ask the inevitable question: Have we hit peak Queen?

4) Secret Wars. Monday. President Donald Trump gets up at U.S. Central Command in Florida and tells the troops that the dishonest media were playing down the number of terrorist attacks in Europe. Meanwhile, questions arose from the weekend about some concerning false equivalencies Trump made between the U.S. and Russia and about how he put political advisor Steven Bannon on the National Security Council without even knowing it. Elsewhere, the Democrats filibustered the vote to approve Trump's secretary of education appointment Betsy DeVos, a federal judge agreed to hear arguments to reinstate the travel (don't call it a) ban, and it was revealed that Trump's labour secretary pick had hired undocumented immigrants. And one again, that was just Monday.

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

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Open Sources Guelph - February 6, 2017

6Feb

This week on Open Sources Guelph, we will have to once again confront tragedy, albeit closer to home. What's been described by many as a terrorist attack has cast into sharp relief many of the political discussions happening around coffee shops and computers right now as people look to what's happening south of the border and wonder if it shares some of the blame. We'll dedicate the first half of the show to terrible news from Quebec, and then we'll look at the (lack of) electoral reform here at home, and how events in Washington might now be having a negative impact on the Canadian economy. 

This Thursday, February 2, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Quebec Part 1. The Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec was the venue of a terrorist attack Sunday night. Shortly after Muslim parishioners were gathered for their evening prayers, a gunman burst in with an assault rifle and replayed a scene that's been enacted far too often in recent years. Five are dead, almost 20 more are injured, a couple of whom are still critical, and one man has been taken into custody. If there's a bright side to this whole saga, it's that Canadians came out en masse to support their Muslim friends and neighbours, and Canada's messages of peace and inclusivity seem louder today than the day before. We'll gauge the cultural fallout of the attack.

2) Quebec Part 2. Alexandre Bissonnette is the suspect charged in the case, and by many accounts he was an introverted, but otherwise ordinary young man. We don't know much about the 27-year-old, but seems that he was anti-refugee and anti-feminist, but pro-Donald Trump and, more disturbingly, pro-Marie Le Pen, the leader of France's ultra-right political party the National Front. Combined with the fact that this attack came on the same weekend Trump signed his controversial "Muslim Ban" executive order, and the chaos it caused, can we separate the actions of this madman with the politics causing so much decent and uncertainty around the globe? Should we be concerned that the actions of certain politicians might inspire more violence?

3) Electoral Dysfunction. Well, it seems all those predictions that the Federal Liberals were trying to weasel out of electoral reform were right after all because the Liberals did indeed weasel away on Wednesday saying that there's no national census or thirst for changing our voting system. That will surely come as a surprise to all those people that came out to town halls and meetings to speak on the subject, not to mention having to put up with odiously cliched moves like the MyDemocracy survey with the slim hope that they may still reach the promised land. But now the Liberals have dashed all hope, the question is, will they pay for it at the ballot box?

4) Meanwhile in Ingersoll. On Friday afternoon, the biggest worry in our area was the news out of Ingersoll that the GM plant there was cutting over 600 jobs and shuffling them off to Mexico. It's an unusual development because over the last several months, the plant there has actually been staffing up, and adding more shifts as the car maker seemed to be ramping up their Ontario operations. So what happened? People are wondering, and it seems to come down to one word: Trump. GM, afraid of incurring the Twitter wrath of the U.S. President, is looking at making cuts in Canada instead of the U.S. So is Canada now slated to be NAFTA's whipping boy in the Trump era, and what can the Government of Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau do about it?

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

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GUELPH POLITICAST #66 - The State of the City 2017

1Feb

If you haven't already read the article, recapped live blog, watched the video, or learned about it somewhere else, you can now download the State of the City right to your device and listen to it via whatever podcasting platform you prefer.

Now this isn't because I had a guest that fell through this week, no sir. Well, sort of. Still, it's probably something I would have done anyway because like that other State of the Union, this speech by the mayor is an important benchmark. In it, Mayor Cam Guthrie outlines the achievements of his tenure so far, and what he thinks is working in Guelph and what we should be celebrating.* It's perhaps an insight into what the mayor is thinking halfway through his first term.

*Areas for improvement aren't really covered here, so it falls to me to do that in tomorrow's Market Squared column on Guelph Today #sneakpreview

Mainly, the speech was about #GuelphProud moments, a social media campaign that actually started trending Friday morning as Guthrie delivered his speak, which either speaks to the power of the mayor's idea or just how many Chamber members are Twitter. Regardless, Guthrie went through a laundry list of accomplishments including jobs, infrastructure, technology and team-building at the breakfast, and I guess it was all so convincing the that mayor didn't get one single question. Or maybe the Delta Hotel breakfast was just that good. 

So let's go back in time to Friday and a #GuelphProud moment on this week's Guelph Politicast.

For more State of the City coverage you can click here, or here.

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.

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Open Sources Guelph - January 26, 2017

30Jan

So some staff happened this week. Too much stuff for a single episode of Open Sources Guelph, but since we only do one episode a week, that's all you'll get. So here's what's going down: a week full of American zaniness, the Canadian reaction on two key fronts, and some very serious talk about a year in First Nations affairs. We'll try and decode all the official and unofficial things coming out of the White House, the fallout of how Donald Trump's new direction affects Canada, and we'll wrap up with an update about Aboriginal matters with our resident expert on Aboriginal issues. 

This Thursday, January 26, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) My Week with Arrogant. So how's the first week of Trumpland going? Was it worse than you thought it was going to be? The first item up for bids from the new President of the United States was to fight the press over the actual size of the crowds that turned out for his inauguration. The fact Donald Trump would do this is unsurprising, the fact that he would do this in front of the memorial wall at CIA headquarters in Langley was somewhat more surprising. Later, he continued to perpetuate the lie that millions of people voted illegally in an election he won, signed a bunch of executive orders that made only hardcore conservatives happy, and took the first steps to build his wall, albeit at the American people's expense. So now what?

2) Cash Pipe. Despite concerns, Trump's arrival in the White House was actually a good news/better news situation for Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government. First, one of Trump's unofficial advisors told the Trudeau cabinet that the upcoming NAFT-AH! renegotiations will be all about Mexico and not so much about Canada. Then, Trump signed an executive order to proceed with Keystone pipeline construction, which means mo' jobs and mo' money for the Alberta oil patch. Despite everything coming up roses, Trudeau still got slammed for confusing messages about the oil industry at a Calgary town hall, so was it a good first week of Trumpland for Trudeau and Company, or was it an okay week?

3) First Nation Problems. The year 2016 saw some signs of hope for Canada's Indigenous communities, but it also showed that there's still a long way to go. With Keystone coming, and approval of other pipelines in Canada, the First Nation's community has got an uphill battle as compared to the all-powerful oil industry lobby, but closer to home there are still grave concerns about the rate of suicides on First Nations reserves and the fact that half the children living in poverty are Aboriginal. In other words, there's still a long way to go in terms of nation-to-nation relations for Canada's Indigenous people and the Government of Canada, and we'll talk about the progress made and not-made with Métis writer and activist Paul Smith. You can read Smith's recent Ontarion article on the subject here.

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

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GUELPH POLITICAST #65 - Phil Andrews, Former Editor of the Guelph Mercury

25Jan

It was one year ago today that the news broke that the Guelph Mercury was shutting down. Under different circumstances, this year would be a cause for celebration for the Merc, it's 150th birthday, but instead, despite the honest efforts of several people in the community, the hole left behind by the paper's closure still hasn't been filled. So is there a better time to look back?

On this week's edition of the Guelph Politicast, we hear from Phil Andrews. Andrews was the managing editor of the Guelph Mercury for its last decade of publication. It was not the position Andrews wanted to be in, but it's the one he found himself in when he was told the Friday before the public announcement that the Mercury would be closing after nearly a century-and-a-half in publication. The rest, as they say, is history. But it seemed appropriate one year later to put history on tape (so to speak). 

There have a lot of questions since the closure of the Mercury, a lot of "What if...?" scenarios about what Metroland might have done as opposed to closing the paper, or what Metroland's calculation was when they decided that it wasn't in their business interest to keep the Mercury open anymore. Andrews talks about some of that, not to mention what he thinks Guelph lost in the paper's closure, what he might have like to have seen done with the Mercury instead, and how he's coping in his new life as a communications professional with the Government of Ontario.

Oh Guelph Mercury, how we miss you is the topic of this week's Guelph Politicast.

Following up on something Andrews said in the podcast, Vocamus Press announced Monday that they're working with Andrews and fellow Merc alums on releasing Guelph Mercury Rising sometime later this year, with some of the proceeds going to Action Read Community Literacy Centre. You can order an advanced copy now at info@vocamus.net.

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.

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Open Sources Guelph - January 19, 2017

23Jan

This week on Open Sources Guelph, we enjoy the last few hours of the Obama era, which we may recognize in the years to come as the Age of Reason. Well, we have reason to be concerned, as do the thousands of people making their way to Washington this weekend to protest the incoming president and we’ve got one of them on the show. We’ll also talk about the problems with our own country’s leader, the problems with trying to lead another country out of a lucrative alliance, and we’ll mark the end of one of the worst abuses of judiciary power of the last 10 years. 

This Thursday, January 19, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) More Cowbell! Apparently, the “Cowbell Tour” is how PMO staff have privately referred to Justin Trudeau’s travels to every church basement and Tim Hortons from here to the Atlantic Ocean as the prime minister’s listening tour rolls on. Things have not always gone as planned. One woman was upset about electricity, a student in Quebec pulled a bait and switch with a selfie, and now Trudeau’s got some ethics trouble from an ill-advised helicopter ride. We’ll check in with Trudeau’s totally awesome cross-country meeting series and talk about whether or not it was the sunny way to buy more sunny days.

2) Brexit Plan. Meanwhile in Britain, United Kingdom Prime Minister Teresa May finally outlined the plan that will take the U.K. out of the European Union, and from the sounds of it, she wants all the benefits of EU membership, but without any or that being an actual part of the club nonsense. May’s looking for free trade, the continued free flow of people and information, but the real question is how is the E.U. itself going to react? Entering it’s first divorce, will the remaining union members play hardball and teach Britain a lesson, or will they back-pedal in order to keep them close to the fold? We’ll look at the drama so far.

3) This Is the End. This weekend, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington. They're not there to celebrate the new president, but to protest him. From D.C. to New York to Toronto and now onto Guelph, perhaps millions of people across the continent will mark the beginning of the presidency of Donald Trump with a protest against him. We’ll talk to Courage, a Native American protestor that is taking a break from fighting for the environment at Standing Rock to make sure that the incoming president knows exactly what the majority of people think of him. Given that he’s indigenous and two-spirited, he’s probably got some things to say about Trump.

4) Free Manning. In one his last acts as president, Barack Obama granted clemency to Chelsea Manning, the former armed forces officer who allegedly leaked classified information to Wikileaks showing American troops basically committing war crimes in Iraq. They didn’t just throw the book at Manning, they threw a library, and she was given a massive 45-year sentence, which is far more draconian than other sentence for similar crimes. What is the message that Obama was trying to send by pardoning Manning? Was it sympathy? Was it guilt? Or is Obama trying to set a tone for the new president about the realities of a free press and whistleblowers?

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

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GUELPH POLITICAST #64 - The Allt Brothers

18Jan

It's arguably the most important meeting of the year for any city councillor, the night when council votes on the city budget for the coming year. What could possibly more important that the immediate financial future of the city for one of the politicians that oversees it? Well, Phil Allt couldn't make the budget night vote last month, and he had a very excellent excuse: he was saving his brother's life.

Councillor Allt's brother Greg needed a kidney, and Councillor Allt - Phil - was ready and willing to give his brother the organ he needed. Greg was lucky. Of the 4,500 people in need of an organ in 2014 and on the organ donor list, 77 per cent were needing a kidney. And although organ donation has gone up in the last decade, 278 people still die waiting for the replacement they needed; one-third of those that died needed a kidney.

So you can imagine the relief of the Allts. Not only was Phil a willing living donor, but after rigorous testing - physical and psychological - Phil was approved to be a donor. In this week's Guelph Politicast we talk to Phil and Greg about Greg's illness, why the time came to get a new kidney and the long, strange journey for Phil to give his brother the life-saving operation he needed, even if it didn't always look likely it was going to happen.

Yes, this week's podcast is a human interest story. A fascinating tale of two brothers, the gift of life, and a reminder of the importance of identifying yourself as a organ donor, and making your loved ones aware of that fact. Over the last decade, "deceased donation" has gone up 44 per cent, but nearly 300 people are still dying every year as they wait for the organs they need.

It's an uplifting story, it's a story of gratitude, it's the story of brothers, and it's this week's Guelph Politicast.

To learn more about organ donation in Ontario, you can click here, and if you choose to be a donor yourself, you can click here and register to be a donor.

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.

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