Incurring the wrath of those who post three-legged signs


The electoral tide just may have turned this week after the disturbing display of tag-team thuggery at Tuesday’s council meeting.

A crimson-faced Ald. Tom Johnston and a trying-hard-to-remain-detached Mayor Cliff Barwick partnered in a highly-orchestrated attempt to pummel Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman over last month’s boil water advisory.

If you remember, while the city and Elgin St. Thomas Public Health stuck to protocol (a procedure that seems to evolve on a continual basis) Jackson-Chapman utilized cyberspace to tweet the information hours in advance of officialdom.

Boy, was that a social faux pas on her part.

For her display of initiative, Jackson-Chapman was pilloried by the pair that are not only joined at the election sign, but also apparently at the hip.

And then, to twist her reference to Walkerton into a political pretzel is shameful.

For the record, Jackson-Chapman responded to the media with the following quote, “After what we went through in Walkerton, we should do better. This is serious. We definitely need to review this.”

For anyone living in this province, the mention of drinking water and E. coli bacteria is an automatic prompt to replay the memory of Walkerton.

To read anything else into Jackson-Chapman’s comment is simply opportunism, as Johnston attempted with the following remark.

“Our department takes pride in ensuring the ratepayers in the city have great water. I think that’s an insult to compare our staff to Walkerton’s staff.”

It sure would be, if that is what Jackson-Chapman had implied. In this case Tom, you are way off the mark.

As to fearmongering, something the mayor has accused Jackson-Chapman of, you have to ask, aren’t Barwick and Johnston guilty of the same charge?

Twisting debate on the safety of city water for their personal political gain.

When the orchestra finished Tuesday, the credibility pendulum could be seen swinging Jackson-Chapman’s way.


With Friday’s nomination deadline for the 2010 municipal election behind us, it’s time to get down to business.

Quickly out of the gate is the St. Thomas & District Labour Council, which is seeking to promote a greater spirit of cooperation between St. Thomas and it’s neighbours, Central Elgin and Southwold.

An excited David Kerr contacted this corner Friday to alert readers his organization is putting the finishing touches on a televised debate to take place Oct. 14 at the Talbot Teen Centre involving all mayoral candidates in those three municipalities.

Kerr explained the labour council is targetting these communities because of the obvious links, such at the soon-to-be-closed Ford Canada St. Thomas Assembly Plant and the water/sewage infrastructure.

The goal in these difficult economic times is to pull together, instead of sniping at each other, as was the case with last month’s boil water advisory which affected all three municipalities.

What caught our attention is one critical element of the debate format. Candidates must answer questions in a concise and direct fashion and not drift off to blah-blah land in hopes of evading the tough issues.

Stay on key or be gonged, as it were.

As they say, stay tuned for more details.


With Peter Ostojic’s announcement on Thursday, the potential exists for the new council to include the past three city mayors: Cliff Barwick, Jeff Kohler and Ostojic.

How’s that for dynamics?

It would be one rowboat circling in the water.


The acting medical officer of health for this area is Dr. Frank Warsh, and not Dr. Frank Walsh as he is so often referred to by Ald. Johnston.

Perhaps if our elected official attended more Elgin St. Thomas Public Health board meetings (he is a board member, after all) he would get to know the good doctor on a more personal basis.


The City Scope challenge, in partnership with accessibility advocate Ed McLachlan, will be undertaken in the next couple of weeks, so this is the last opportunity for council members/candidates to sign up.

You’ll get a first-hand feel for what it’s like for those with accessibility issues to manoeuvre through day-to-day activities — undertakings that most of us take for granted.

And, to be fair, it’s also an opportunity to see what progress has been made at the municipal level.

Be proactive in one respect this weekend, call Ed McLachlan at 631-7239 and sign up.


“Follow protocol, keep cool, watch what you say to the press and everything will turn out OK.”

And everyone will live happily ever after in Mayor Cliff Barwick’s world.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to:

3 thoughts on “Incurring the wrath of those who post three-legged signs

  1. Having viewed the council footage of the so-called tag team thuggery I must say I find the editors comments highly prejudicial and extremely biased. Maybe Ian should strive to be more professional, print the facts and let the voters decide.


  2. Danny: That’s why it’s called an opinion column. Or, I’m I to take it your opinion is right and mine is wrong. And, based on the phone calls I have received, I am not alone in my prejudicial and biased take on what transpired that evening. Ian.


  3. The mayor’s quote:
    “Follow protocol, keep cool, watch what you say to the press and everything will turn out OK.”
    May just be the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to who I am supporting for Mayor this year.
    If it were not for twitter notifications my family would not have known about the boil water advisory until the 11pm news by which time my 1 year old son would have had a glass or two of water and a bath in waters that the city thought were contaminated with ecoli. If there really was contamination, and we were not notified then no, everything may not have turned out OK.
    Thank you Ald. Heather Jackson-Chapman.


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