GUELPH POLITICAST #243 – The Library Victory Lap


The Guelph Public Library Board of Directors met Tuesday night, and among their agenda items was the next steps for the new main library plan. For many people in Guelph, these are great signs of progress for a project that’s been gestating since the mid-90s, but there might be even more pressure for the board to now turn those plans into reality.

This week on the podcast we're joined by Scott Butler, who is the current chair of the Library Board. Butler is not the only person to whom credit goes for the new library building’s approval to proceed two weeks ago, and he admits as much in this podcast, but he is now the one that has to lead the Library board, staff, volunteers and friends down the literal and figurative road to the new main library, and its approved $62 million pricetag.

Before we get to all that, let’s take a minute to remember how we got here, all the work that got the project this far, and maybe enjoy the moment. And although there's still some doubt about the wisdom of the investment in some quarters, the project is now on course to be made a reality. There are capital campaigns to plan, final blueprints to draw, groundbreakings to attend, so what does going forward look like right this minute?

Along with that question, Butler will also talk about his immediate thoughts and feelings after the October 7 meeting of council where the Baker Project was approved, and his thoughts about some of the counter-arguments against proceeding. Then, Butler will discuss the immediate next steps, the opportunities for public input and assistance on the project, and where the Baker Project should be at this point next year. In between, we'll talk what happened to that "silent majority", and the value of libraries in the middle of a pandemic.

So let's check out (library pun) what Board Chair Butler thinks now that the vote is done on this week's Guelph Politicast!

To see the supporting documents for the new main library branch, and the audio version of the September 29 presentation of the design plans and building details on the Guelph Public Library’s website by following the links. You also follow this link to more information about the Library’s Board of Directors.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Open Sources Guelph - October 15, 2020


This week on Open Sources Guelph, we've got some leftovers to dig through on our post-Thanksgiving show. COVID is back, not that it ever really left, but things are getting more dangerous as the colder weather arrives. In other leftovers, we're got "Blue Lives Matter" making a comeback, more news about the American election, and a surprising update about the battle against online hate.

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

COVID Strikes Back. Last weekend, the Province of Ontario rolled back three COVID hotspots to Stage 2, closing up indoor dining, gyms and entertainment venues in the name of slowing a flare up of the virus before we get deeper into the fall. At the same time, those newly closed businesses are asking for more help, long-term care homes are feeling the strain of staffing issues, and the Ontario government is sending out mixed messages. So what is the state of COVID?

Symbol Freeze. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been under justifiable scrutiny after several Indigenous people were killed in police shootings this year, and getting caught up in the whirlwind of Black Lives Matter, so the RCMP banned all "Thin Blue Line" and other pro-police ephemera. Having said that, the National Police Federation, a police union, are telling the officers they represent to ignore the order. Why do police unions insist on doing themselves harm with these measures?

Do We Care Package. You may have heard that there's a presidential election going on in America right now, but why do we care? It's not unreasonable to say that what happens in the United States politically has an effect on Canada, and American political decisions have  a visceral impact on Canada when you consider relations with China, pipeline construction, and international trade. So why does this election matter to Canada in the short and long term?

Death on Denial. Facebook took a step it has long hesitated to do for some reason: ban Holocaust deniers. The social media site has formally banned posts and groups that deny or distort the fact that the Nazis killed six million Jewish people in World War II, and just in time for the 75th anniversary of the end of the war. Facebook has been hesitant banning anyone because an active user is money in the bank, so what finally convinced Mark Zuckerberg to ban the original truthers?

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

End Credits - October 14, 2020 (The 40-Year Old Version)


This week on End Credits. it's time for another deep dive into the New York arts and theatre scene with all the neuroses, personalities, and creative obsessives that come with it, and it's in black and white! This week, we're reviewing The 40-Year Old Version, and before that we will catch up with some good old fashioned movie news!

This Wednesday, October 14, at 3 pm, Adam A. Donaldson and Peter Salmon will discuss:

The News. It's been a while since we caught up with the latest movie news, and the biggest news is still the fallout of COVID-19 as more movies move to 2021, and theatres struggle with the lack of new product. We will also look at how the next Spider-Man movie is getting Stranger, a possible Social Network sequel, and the inevitable return of Cleopatra.

REVIEW: The 40-Year Old Version (2020). Radha Blank's directorial debut is about a Black playwright on the cusp of her 40th birthday. She was once hailed as a promising new artistic voice, but now she teaches theatre to school kids, so in her frustration, she puts her doubts and anxieties to a hip-hop beat. Blank's Sundance winner hits nicely in an oeuvre of New York movies about New York arty types trying to make it, so does Version make it for Blank?

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and Wednesday at 3 pm.

GUELPH POLITICAST #242 - This is Halloween


We know that small businesses everywhere are struggling, but every business is struggling in its own way. Halloween is Christmas for those businesses that sell costumes, make-up, and party supplies, but there’s definitely not going to be any parties this year, and even the possibility of Trick or Treating is in doubt. So what will Halloween look like, and where does that leave the people for whom Halloween is big business?

This week on the podcast, we're joined by Missy Morrow, who is the proprietor of Party Corner Costumes. Believe it or not, the Centres for Disease Control has a list of recommendations for a safe and healthy Halloween, and indoor costume parties and door-to-door trick or treating are among the more high risk activities though. The CDC does offer some alternative suggestions though, so the holiday is not dead, but what about the people that supply the party favours?

But Party Corner is more than a one holiday pony so to speak. In fact, one of their biggest annual draws is St. Patrick's Day, which was more or less cancelled this year because the lockdown hit just before its March 17 celebration. There was lost revenue from all the green and Irish party favours for a university town that enjoys a good St. Patty’s Day shindig, and all occasions in between, so is this Halloween going to make or break the local costume business?

That’s one of the questions Missy Morrow will answer, along with how she’s had to adapt and change her usual business practices because of COVID, and the incredible amount of extra work she’s had to put in to help her business to survive the pandemic. She will also discuss what this Halloween will look like, what people are doing, how much pressure she’s feeling to make the most of her busiest holiday, and whether or not she thinks there’ll be Trick or Treating this year.

So let's talk about Halloween, and the costume business, in this COVID age on this week's edition of the Guelph Politicast!

You can find Party Corner on all social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also fine them on their website, call them at (519) 763-6400, or visit them at their store at 200 Victoria Road South, the Eggcetra Plaza, from 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday, and 10 am to 7 pm on Sunday.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Open Sources Guelph - October 8, 2020


This week on Open Sources Guelph we will take everything we know about a busy news week, pack it in a tote, and leave it in the basement to gather dust because we've got a new standard for what a busy news week looks like. So Trump got COVID, and so did, it seems, most of his senior staff, which cast this week's Vice Presidential debate  in doubt. Meanwhile in Canada, we elected a new Green leader with no problem, and we've got a new provincial election to talk about.

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

American COVIDiot. Between Thursday and Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he had COVID-19, was taken to Walter Reed hospital, given various treatments, and returned back to the White House where he said COVID was wicked easy to beat and he was discontinuing all negotiations on COVID relief until after the election. Trump claims that he's really learned from the experience, but did he? Also, how should Joe Biden by campaigning now with a month left till Election Day?

Veep Stakes. Speaking of the election, current Vice President Mike Pence met perspective Vice President Kamala Harris on the debate stage Wednesday after much wrangling with the debate commission since Pence might be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. Pence versus Harris is a debate a lot of people were waiting to see, and a debate that was likely to be more formal that the s**tshow between Trump and Biden last week, but did it debate change any minds?

Green with Annamie. After eight rounds of voting, Toronto lawyer Annamie Paul broke all kinds of barriers to be named the new leader of the Green Party of Canada. Paul is the first Black woman and the first Jewish woman to lead a national party in Canada, and she's only one of two major national party leaders who are People of Colour, so will representation make people take a second look at the Green Party, and how will Paul be able to build on Elizabeth May's legacy?

Moe Better Choose. As scheduled, the Provincial election in Saskatchewan is underway, and it seems pretty unlikely that Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party will be dethroned with a shift to the left and the NDP. Having said that though, at least one Saskatchewan Party candidate had to resign from the race for espousing support for QAnon, while another is getting attacked for a history of juvenile behaviour that doesn't sit well post-#MeToo. Still, can Moe be denied?

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

End Credits - October 7, 2020 (The Babysitter: Killer Queen)


This week on End Credits we're going to blind you with science, and then blind you with Satan! In terms of the former, we're going to talk to a U of G professor with some expertise in the subject matter of the documentary we reviewed last week, and then, in this week's review, we cross streams again with another horror comedy that features a Satanic cult.

This Wednesday, October 7, at 3 pm, Adam A. Donaldson and Candice Lepage will discuss:

Talk to an Expert. Last week we reviewed Kiss the Ground, which is about carbon sequestration and better farming practices, but we broadcast from Canada's "Food University", so we can get more information from the source, right? This week we do just that with Prof. Rafael Santos from the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph who will discuss his research into getting more carbon into the ground, and issues the movie might not have mentioned.*

*(Click here for the stats Prof. Santos mentioned in the interview)

REVIEW: The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020). Just in time for Halloween (or Thanksgiving depending on how you feel about the original), we get a sequel to the 2017 Netflix hit, The Babysitter. Two years after the original, young Cole is still the nebbish, low-end of the social totem pole, but that might change with a weekend at the lake with his best friend Melanie and her friends. Still, you can't escape the grasp of high school Satanists so easily. So does this movie re-capture that dark energy again, or is it just another needless sequel?

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and Wednesday at 3 pm.

GUELPH POLITICAST #241 - The Real Work of Helping Children and Families


There was a gathering of people in Riverside Park in late August, and even though they said that they didn't identify with QAnon, they still knew all the buzzwords like “save the children”. And then, one of the counter protestors said something interesting: “Why don’t these people, if they’re so concerned about child welfare, volunteer with a local organization that does just that?” Good idea!

In that spirit, this week's episode of the podcast features Sheila Markle, the executive director of Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County. FCS used to be known as the Children’s Aid Society, but the name change was meant to flush away the old image of a child care worker forcibly taking a kid from his or her home after one negative report, the type of scene that launched so many “Lost Love” stories from Unsolved Mysteries.

In fact, nearly 99 per cent of children under FCS care remain at home with their families, and it’s only in circumstances where there are no family, relatives, or other type of personal connection that children end up in care. FCS offers clinical support, parenting groups, foster parents, and adoption opportunities, but working with children can be difficult at the best of times, so how as FCS been coping with the added anxiety of COVID-19 and public health crisis on their usual workload?

That's one of the questions we'll ask Merkle, along with a broader discussion about the work that she and her staff do, how the work has changed over the years, and where things currently stand in terms of the demand and requests for assistance. Of course, we will also discuss the effects of COVID, what kind of help FCS is looking for from the general public right now, and what kind of help their clients need in these difficult times. 

So let's learn more about helping children and families here in our own backyard on this week's edition of the Guelph Politicast!

To find out more about the work of Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County, or to learn how you can get involved, or what kind of volunteer assistance they need, you can go to their website.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

Open Sources Guelph - October 1, 2020


This week on Open Sources Guelph, we begin October with a discussion of the most terrible show on Earth. Yes, we will dive into the sewage of the first Presidential debate for 2020, and then we will talk about some of our own issues right here in Canada with people who think they're cops trying to arrest people on fake charges. In the realm of the real, we'll talk to a member of city council about the always controversial library project in Guelph.

This Thursday, October 1, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

Debase Night. The first Presidential debate of the 2020 cycle was... Uh, what's a polite word for "$h!tshow"? Indeed, the worst predictions for what the first round of Biden Vs Trump would like like were not bad enough to capture what actually happened, including another chance for the President to refute white supremacists that even his loudest supports [almost] couldn't forgive. We'll talk about the debate highlights (?) and whether or not there'll be a second.

Citizen's Oppressed. On Parliament Hill, one man has decided that he's going to clean up the place, but no one elected him, and he has no law enforcement powers beyond the ones he's given himself. The same guy that tried to arrest Justin Trudeau this past summer, has been harassing other people on the Hill, which compounds the issues of government members and other politicians who are being harassed and receiving threats. Do MPs need more protection?

Library Marred. Coming up next week at Guelph City Council, there will be a vote on two major infrastructure projects, the South End Community Centre and the new main branch of the library. The latter is a project that's been on the City's to-do list for the last 25 years, and it's starting to look like it's in danger of not going forward. Ward 5 Councillor Cathy Downer will join us to lend her vast experience on the file, and to discuss her hope that the project will still move forward.

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

End Credits - September 30, 2020 (Kiss the Ground)


This week on End Credits, we're going to get dirty, but it's not what you think. We're going to take a look at a documentary that covers the important need for soil in our ecosystem, and it's called, appropriately, Kiss the Ground. Before that, we will talk about the latest movie release news, and we will run the series on Spider-Man.

This Wednesday, September 30, at 3 pm, Adam A. Donaldson and Tim Phillips will discuss:

More Musical Chairs. As we get closer to the end of the year, the assumption was that we were going to start getting more new movies at the theatre. Nope. This past week, there have been more major movie moves... to 2021, and it's going to disappoint Marvel fans the most. We'll have the latest on the new release dates.

Run the Series: Spider-Man. He's amazing! He's spectacular! He's your friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler, and his cinematic adventures have now spanned four different franchises. From the classic Sam Raimi movies, to the bloated Marc Webb flicks, to the MCU and the animated adventures of Miles Morales, we will rank all the Spider-Man movies.

REVIEW: Kiss the Ground (2020). It seems like every year there's a new documentary about climate change meant to raise the alarm on the pending threat. Kiss the Ground takes a different tact though. Yes, it raises the alarm again, but it's also focused on practical considerations. It turns out that we can save the world with dirt, and Woody Harrelson takes on a journey to prove why this is so. Is it enough to find optimism again?

End Credits is on CFRU 93.3 fm and Wednesday at 3 pm.

GUELPH POLITICAST #240 - Catching Up with Kween


We’ve heard a lot of talk about this being a moment, and June 6 was indeed a memorable moment in the history of Guelph with over 5,000 people in Market Square to march for Black Lives Matter. It amplified of a lot of voices who don’t always get heard in our community despite best intentions, but moments pass and that one was almost four months ago. How have things been going lately?

Since the Black Lives Matter march here in June, more people have been sharing their stories and experiences with an inequitable system, and to add insult to injury, the search for that justice made Guelph Black Heritage Society the target for renewed racist attacks. In the summer, the Society’s headquarters at Heritage Hall on Essex Street was repeatedly vandalized, a very visible and very visceral reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done in our backyard.

This week's guest is Kayla “Kween” Gerber, who is the executive director and community engagement co-ordinator of Guelph Black Heritage Society, and one of the leading faces of the Black Lives Matter march in Downtown Guelph this past June. Issues of racism and inequality have not gone away in the last four months, but the intention of this week's podcast is to check on our progress.

Kween joins us this week to talk about how it felt to stand up in front of thousands of her fellow Guelphites, and how she’s been coping by making herself the face of the cause. She also talks about the sometimes difficult conversations she’s had with the Chief of Police and the especially difficult discussions she’s tried to start with the people that send her racist comments. She also discusses the bigger issues for all of us, like recognizing our own privilege, and how we can measure progress on equality and social justice in the immediate future. 

So let's catch up with Kween on this week's edition of the Guelph Politicast!

The Guelph Black Heritage Society is trying to raise $135,000 to create an education fund, and you can go to their website, or look for the hashtag #ChangeStartsNow to learn more. You can also check out the first episode of Diverse and Converse tonight at 9 pm on Rogers Channel 20.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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