Less than an hour after the polls closed in Thursday’s provincial election, the takeaway from the campaign in Elgin-Middlesex-London presented itself.
For the most part, the eight candidates ran a clean race with no mud-slinging, vitriol and finger-pointing evident.
Around 10 that evening at the Knights of Columbus Hall, as Flack was bathing in the adoration of his supporters, word was relayed to him Liberal candidate Heather Jackson was waiting outside the room to offer congratulations.
You could tell Flack was truly moved by the gesture of the city’s former mayor.
A classy moment all around in a world dominated by raging rhetoric and damning divisiveness.
After the brief exchange, Flack continued with his words of thanks, which included a fitting tip of the hat to the riding’s previous MPP, who stepped aside at the end of February.
After dealing with a devasting forest fire season that blazed a swath through Northern Ontario, Elgin-Middlesex-London Conservative MPP Jeff Yurek is on the move. Literally. As announced Monday morning (Nov. 5), Yurek fared prominently in Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet shuffle that sees him replace John Yakabuski as Minister of Transportation. Yakabuski, in turn, will assume Yurek’s previous post as Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, a position he took on after Ford swept into power in June of this year. The cabinet tweaking, involving a half-dozen MPPs, was necessitated by the resignation last Friday of Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson who, according to Ford, stepped down to deal with an addiction issue related to alcohol. Global News and other media outlets have since reported allegations of sexual misconduct prompted Wilson’s sudden resignation. Continue reading →
While talks continue, no settlement has been reached between OPSEU Local 152, representing 22 health care professionals and Closing the Gap in St. Thomas. Their contract expired on March 31 of last year. And, those employees could be off the job in a week’s time. Closing the Gap is a healthcare provider offering services in homes, schools, workplaces, long-term care homes, hospitals, and clinics across Ontario. On May 2, a final offer from the employer was presented to OPSEU members who unanimously turned down the deal. The outstanding issue remains wages, with Closing the Gap earning, on average, $165 per client visit while paying their employees $46 to $48 per visit, some of those lasting almost two hours. Continue reading →
Last month, we noted the city is looking at a bylaw to deal with non-licensed residential care homes in St. Thomas. The move is prompted, in part, by the situation at Walnut Manor, operated by Niagara Supportive Living out of Welland. Well, a report from Tim Welch Consulting out of Cambridge – which undertook the city’s 10-year housing and homelessness plan – is before council Monday (June 11) and in it is a section dealing with informal residential care facilities (RCF) like Walnut Manor. These homes “provide supportive housing to non-senior individuals who require assistance for daily activities due to physical disabilities, mental health and addictions challenges,” as defined in the Welch report. “Level of supports varies depending on individual need but are most commonly in the form of meals, administration of medicine, bathing, supervision etc.,” the report continues. Continue reading →
With the provincial vote less than two weeks away, the leaders of the three main parties have promised billions of dollars in goodies to entice voters. Trouble is, there is a real lack of detail forthcoming on how these enticements will be funded. As a ratepayer, that should be a concern for you and when considering which candidate will receive your vote, ask them first who is picking up the tab. As Lynn Dollin, president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, correctly notes, “The provincial government dictates and regulates municipal services. At the same time, municipal governments deliver and help fund key provincial programs, like social housing and child care. Our fates are deeply intertwined.” Continue reading →
Last October, about two dozen staff at the Elgin branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association stood outside the Centre Street office where they claimed to be working in an environment of fear, intimidation and anxiety. At that time, OPSEU staff representative Carol Warner asserted St. Thomas employees are consistently targeted and penalized by upper management for speaking up about health, safety and other workplace concerns. “It’s hideous, it’s a long-standing issue,” noted Warner. “I would say it’s a systemic issue. We have grievances in the docket that are, at a minimum, four or five years old. And the grievance program has flaws as well.” That information picket by members of OPSEU Local 133 and the allegations of workplace harassment resulted in the appointment of a third-party investigator by the Southwest Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN) to report on CMHA Elgin’s compliance with its contractual agreement to the LHIN.Continue reading →
Residents of St. Thomas and Elgin are being “shortchanged” on physiotherapy services, charges Elgin-Middlesex-London Conservative MPP Jeff Yurek. He stood up in the Ontario Legislature this week to question the Kathleen Wynne government on the closing of MobilityFit Physiotherapy in St. Thomas, one of only two such services in the city funded through OHIP. Yurek alleges both the Southwest Local Health Integration Network (SW LHIN) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care have “refused to act on the impending loss of service.” Yurek added, “When contacted for a status update, both the SW LHIN and ministry responded with the same talking points. Neither would state whether or not the clinic is closing.” Continue reading →
Michael Loewith of Loewith-Greenberg Communities made an impressive presentation to city council Tuesday, outlining his proposal for developing the Alma College property. There have been proposals in the past for the site of the former school for girls, so is this latest presentation the real deal? “He (Loewith) is the right guy,” insisted London Developer Gino Reale, current manager of the Moore Street property. “It took a little while to find him. But, I think we found the right guy . . . I’m not a builder, but if I find the right guy then that’s who is going to buy it. And this guy, in my books, is the right guy.” Loewith has a conditional offer to purchase the property, as Reale explained earlier this week. “There are conditions on the offer until April. As far as he (Loewith) is concerned, it’s a done deal. Until he sends me the paperwork and says he waives the conditions – which was primarily this meeting with council and a couple of other minor things – it will solidify or fall apart by April.” Continue reading →
Spurred by a don’t-talk-to-me-about-my-workload retort from Mayor Heather Jackson, council Monday ditched any effort to formally establish a deputy mayor position at city hall.
A pair of motions addressing different methods of selecting a deputy mayor – prompted by Coun. Mark Tinlin’s desire to “move forward and formalize the position” – were defeated, although the initial version fell on a tie vote.