Federal budget is nothing but ‘magic beans’


Ian McCallum

Ian McCallum


Jack (The Mouth) Layton roared into St. Thomas on Wednesday for a town hall meeting that, for the most part, focused on the task at hand — addressing the needs of Canadian families ravaged by a vicious downward spiral of plant closings and layoffs.
“This is driving people into homelessness and despair,” warned
Layton. “How are we going to bring the economy back if that’s how
we’re treating people?”

Layton advocates job creation through a significant infusion of
federal cash, tax cuts, building affordable housing and a Made in
Canada buying policy for government spending.
He lived up to his nickname when he drifted away from the plight of
ordinary Canadians and pushed his personal agenda — an overthrow of
the government by the now all but dead Liberal-NDP coalition.
Layton still vows to bring down Harper when the federal budget is
presented Tuesday, saying he’ll vote against the budget he has yet to
lay eyes on, but concedes will be filled with tax cuts and money for
infrastructure.
Gee, that mirrors Layton’s comments two paragraphs above.
“It’ll be a budget that’s hard to vote against,” Layton admitted,
but added, “It’s a budget made of magic beans.”
If Jumpin’ Jack had paid closer attention to Tuesday’s inauguration,
he would realize the swearing in of Barack Obama heralds a less combative and far more transparent era in politics.
In fact, all of our elected representatives should ensure they are
on that same page.

WE’RE HERE TO SERVE YOU
How much will it cost to attract new industry to St. Thomas, a city
that has some first-class plants now available for purchase?
The main Sterling Truck facility, located on 85 acres along South
Edgeware Road, can be had for $12 million. The 18-year-old factory,
including additions in 2006, boasts 36 truck-level docks, 15 drive-in
doors and features a fully paved, fenced and lit yard.
Two associated buildings at 320 South Edgeware and 425 South
Edgeware are on the market for $880,000 and $2 million, respectively.
The latter includes a pair of 7.5 ton cranes in each of its four
drive-through bays.
We’re open for business.

DISAPPEARING JOBS
Overnight Wednesday, the city lost another 100 jobs that you didn’t
even know existed.
At Layton’s town hall meeting, Mayor Cliff Barwick asserted construction of a new police headquarters would create 500
construction jobs.
When contacted by the T-J the next day, that lofty number had
slipped to 400 jobs which would “probably” be created.
He back-pedaled further by advising, “They may not be all together
there at once. I’m talking about all the subcontractors, trades, I’m
talking about everything.”
Including the people who built the delivery trucks and sold coffee
to the tradespeople themselves.
It’s one thing to pursue an aggressive job strategy, it’s quite
another to pull numbers out of thin air.

THE REST OF THE STORY
City resident (and a thorn in the side of our mayor) Bill Sandison was gonged at the 10-minute mark of his deputation to council Monday, before reaching the conclusions of his 2008 comparison of Ontario municipalities.
His report was prompted by Barwick’s comment last December that St.
Thomas council’s remuneration is in the “bottom ten percentile in the
province of Ontario,” and the mayor’s musing now would not be a good time to boost his salary to $80,000 by asking the residents to make him a full-time mayor.
Sandison conducted a survey of nine similar sized Ontario
communities – Timmins, Quinte West, Georgina, Woodstock, Brant,
Lakeshore, Innisfil, Stratford and Orillia – and found all had a CAO.
In addition, St. Thomas had the most members in the $100,000 salary
club at 22, and the next closest is Timmins with a population of
42,977 and they have 16 enjoying life in the “Sunshine Club.”
He concludes our council is fairly remunerated when compared to its
nine peer municipalities.
“I suggest this council adopt, by way of a bylaw, that the
municipalities grouped in the 30,000 to 45,000 population are
established as their benchmark for all future comparisons and that
this study is refreshed from time to time, especially the area of
total compensation.”
Somehow Bill, I doubt the mayor and council will give your study a
prominent spot on any shelf at city hall.

DON’T MISS THIS ONE
This corner strongly urges attendance by all members of the Alma
Advocacy Association, most notably Dawn Doty and Suzanne van Bommel, this coming Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Carnegie Room of the St. Thomas Public Library, for a discussion on the challenge of heritage building preservation in the city.
Bring your notebooks, an open mind and be prepared to leave at the
end of the evening enlightened beyond your expectations.
The keynote speaker by the way is Mayor Cliff Barwick.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Municipalities can spend the money much more wisely than any senior
level of government.”
Mayor Cliff Barwick hoists the flag for fiscal responsibility Wednesday during NDP leader Jack Layton’s town hall meeting. I guess
awarding a $154,350 contract to demolish the still very upright
Sutherland Press building is an example of municipal shrewdness?
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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7 thoughts on “Federal budget is nothing but ‘magic beans’

  1. Re: “Don’t Miss This One”
    Can’t wait to hear what his Worship has to say about the protection and preservation of our built heritage. Dawn Doty and I will be there with bells on. We look forward to being “enlightened”.

    Thanks for the heads up, Ian.

    Suzannne van Bommel
    President
    Alma Advocacy Association

  2. Suzanne – I plan to attend as well. When I first saw the flyer I thought it was a cruel joke. Our mayor has passed the buck so many times when it comes to heritage issues I can’t fathom what words of wisdom he will pass along other than it is someone else’s responsibility. Ian

  3. The keynote speaker by the way is Mayor Cliff Barwick? Well words are something he never runs out of … the cruel joke is that he is filling in for the Sinister Minister Aileen Carroll (kidding, of course).
    Bulldozer Barwick has probably forgotten that he led the charge to have Alma College demolished well before she was torched. He seems to suffer from selective memory and a distortion of fact.

    Wikipedia states in part;
    “Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations.
    The heritage that survives from the past is often unique and irreplaceable, which places the responsibility of preservation on the current generation.”

    Bulldozer’s record on heritage building preservation in this city is abysmal.

    Save me a seat. Bill

  4. Bill: You have raised a key point that is worth reiterating. With the exception of ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman and Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands, Bulldozer Barwick and the rest of council voted in favour of issuing a demolition permit to the Zubicks and that point should be stressed Wednesday. Seats may be in short supply that evening. Ian

  5. Ian,

    Weather aside, does not look like Christine and I will make the meeting being held by the Archives Association.

    I did speak with Jane Hughes to understand the format of the meeting.
    It is fairly loose in structure;
    7:00pm – 7:30pm
    Coffee and goodies
    7:30pm
    Introduce speaker: Cliff Barwick who will have 40-45 minutes to talk about items of interest to the community. Jane thought Port Stanley might get some mention
    8:15pm
    Some Q & A followed by wrap up

    Bill

  6. Don’t hold your breath for Mayor Barwick to show for this meeting.I do believe a “snowstorm” kept him from attending the big Mayor’s conference in Toronto,not to long ago.It wouldnt surpise me one bit to hear the Mayor decided not attend,because he couldn’t find his snow shoes…

    Bob Foster
    Brampton,Ontario

  7. Sorry Bob, but Mayor Cliff did show up and delivered one of his tired history lessons for about 40 to 50 people. Dodged questions from Suzanne Van Bommel and the meeting ended on a tempestuous note when David McGee, owner of the Sutherland Press building, challenged Barwick to justify spending $150,000 to demolish his building when the city balked at spending money to safely secure Alma College. Barwick refused to answer, citing the question was not heritage related, and after a spirited exchange the moderator terminated proceedings.

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