That was the year that was, in words


After an enjoyable Christmas and New Year’s hiatus, City Scope returns with a tradition dating back to 2005, when we welcomed the incoming year by casting a final glance back to focus on the wit and wisdom served up by some of those individuals who graced this corner over the previous 365 days.

Since that debut, we have broadened our horizon to include quotes from a variety of sources, including Times-Journal readers.

As an unabashed collector of quotes, this flashback is an enviable task that neatly ties the preceding 12 months into a compact package to open and savor at the demise of another year.

And, as American writer and editor Daniel Okrent deftly observed, “I’m afraid we’ll see reporters stop chasing quotes around the same time dogs stop chasing cars.”

With that introduction out of the way, let’s glean a year’s worth of columns to capture the essence of 2014 in and around city hall.

Just two weeks into a new calendar, then alderman Cliff Barwick was taken to task for his BARWICK Cliff 08 cmyktraditional outlook on casting ballots at election time.

“Too bad and to think a retired teacher didn’t encourage this for the most important voter (young adult), change is good not bad!”

T-J reader Jil Crosby posting on line after Barwick voted against a motion to allow internet voting during the advance polling period in the October 27 municipal vote.

In February, a project undertaken by the city laid bare a grim economic reality in one of its conclusions.

“For many municipalities, including St. Thomas, the stark reality is that the manufacturing jobs that have been lost over the last decade are not returning. In this economic environment, new sources of wealth creation and economic development must be found.”

An excerpt from the City of St. Thomas Cultural Asset Mapping Project unveiled early in February.

At the end of that month, emotionally fraught users of The Caring Cupboard vented their anger and frustration with caring cupboardjpgexecutive director Janice Kinnaird.

“When you have no food, and you can’t pay your rent, your hydro is going to be cut off, the only thing that really controls your life from the moment you wake up until you go to bed at night is fear.”

Food bank user Sharon Hodgeson, speaking out at The Caring Cupboard annual general meeting. A week later, Kinnaird was replaced by interim general manager Anne Ashfield.

Oh to be young again and dream of the endless possibilities that can so enrapture an impressionable mind, as this delightful quote from early March so patently illustrates.

“My students already career plan. When they grow up they want to be Cinderella, race car drivers or Batman.”

A wonderful observation via Twitter from teacher Stephanie Scott, responding to an online story announcing career planning will begin in kindergarten under a new policy that was to be rolled out in Ontario schools this past fall.

Ryan's Law was prompted by the death of Ryan Gibbons following an asthma attack at school.

Ryan’s Law was prompted by the death of Ryan Gibbons following an asthma attack at school.

Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek is the driving force behind a bill designed to protect asthmatic students at school.

“This bill represents some common sense that most parents would think occurs already in our schools.”

MPP Yurek commenting on Ryan’s Law, his private member’s bill that would let asthmatic children carry inhalers at school with a doctor’s approval.

We’ve long suspected many reports directed to the attention of city hall staff and council disappear into the Twilight Zone,

Ed McLachlan, standing, points out the accessibility issues at Emslie Field in Pinafore Park.

Ed McLachlan, standing, points out the accessibility issues at Emslie Field in Pinafore Park.

never to re-surface, as this quote from June attests.

“We’ve done all of the reports and a lot of those reports disappeared. We gave the reports to the right people, but we never got answers back.”

Ed McLachlan, chairman of the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee, commenting on the lack of action at city hall in the 12 years he has volunteered on the committee.

As a parent dealing with an adult child who has developmental disabilities, life can quickly close in on you.

“I understand why families are forced to abandon their adult children. It’s not because they are cold or callous. It is because their hearts are broken, and their spirits are crushed, by years of traumas, crisis, endless paperwork, and meetings upon meetings with teachers, principals, doctors and specialists.”

St. Thomas resident Susan Buro Hamm in an excerpt from her January 2014 presentation to the Parliamentary Select Committee regarding the lack of services for adults with developmental disabilities.

Barwick has long been a source of quotable quotes and he outdid himself in August with this gem.

“Frankly, they’d hire guys with carnations in their lapels to run me off the road.”

That’s Barwick describing possible tactics considered by his naysayers bent on keeping him from returning to the mayor’s office in the October municipal vote.

In a matter of weeks, the new city council will come face to face

Colin McGregor Justice Building

Colin McGregor Justice Building

with housing the St. Thomas Police Service. To warm things up, a quote from a city lawyer in the know.

“I believe the Colin McGregor Justice Building was both planned and constructed under the supervision of the late G. Duncan Black, who was a great engineer but no architect.”

St. Thomas lawyer Thomas Por in a letter to the editor asserted the present police headquarters is not a viable option for renovations.

And finally, food for thought from an outsider looking in.

“Political campaigns are about disinformation, who can yell inaccuracies loudest.”

Bob Lefsetz, a former entertainment business attorney and now music industry analyst and critic.

We will return to our normal programming next week in this corner.

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

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