Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Welcome to Guelph Beat

In the spring of 2008, I was wrapping up my tenure as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Guelph student paper, The Ontarion, and looking for new writing opportunities, so I responded to an ad in Echo Weekly looking for news writers. Now I had written for Echo a couple of times before, and after a lunch meeting with then-editor Ryan Farkas, we came up with the idea for "Guelph Beat," a weekly column covering news and politics in the City of Guelph. 

A lot of what I've done since has sprang from that one meeting: the By-Election Blog in 2008 that became Guelph Politico, subsequent appearances on CFRU including "Beyond the Ballot Box" and "Gang of Four," even being a quasi-expert on the robocall scandal last year. I owe a lot to my exposure in Echo, which is why when it folded in 2011, it was more than a little disappointing. 

More than that though, when Echo Weekly closed up shop, it also closed up its website. For me, what it meant was all that work, all those columns, interviews, tidbits and editorials were lost in the ether. Nearly 200 in all. So what was I to do? The solution is presented here: archive them on my own. The project took much longer than I expected. Writing an 800 word article is easy, posting and formatting some 170 articles one after the other is somewhat more time consuming (and daunting). Below are all the "Guelph Beat" articles I could find on my hard drive. Unless I'm mistaken, at least a couple of them are MIA, but for the most part, the entire collection is represented here. 

But before you dive in, allow me a moment to eulogize Echo. When I first came to Guelph, Thursday was a great day. Not because it was the day of the week for the weekly pub crawl, but because that was the day of the week when both the new Ontarion and the new Echo came out. I came from a town with one weekly newspaper, so all this regular reading material around Guelph was something akin to heaven. This probably should have been an early sign of my interest in writing and journalism, but hindsight it 20/20 as they say.

Time caught up with Echo. As the print industry took a hit around the time of the economic crash in 2008, Echo's parent company took gradual stages to reign in costs: cutting staff, moving offices, shrinking the size of the paper. As it turned out though, the more the paper cut, the less it could do. It's hard to cultivate a regional paper for the Guelph/K-W/Cambridge area when the head office for that paper is in Hamilton, and in the end, Echo Weekly died a quiet, unremarkable death in October 2011.

I miss the weekly grind of writing for Echo. I also miss the distinction of being one of the ink-stained wretches. Something was definitely lost when Echo stopped printing, and try as we might to fill the void with websites, to me at least, it just isn't the same as getting that fresh from the presses copy of Echo every Thursday morning.

So without further ado, let's take a walk down memory lane.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

SERIES FINALE - Election Results, Quarry Matters and Bus Drama

Sandals Still the Word in Guelph

The news may be a week old, but it’s still worth reiterating. In last Thursday’s Provincial Election, incumbent Liberal MPP Liz Sandals walked to victory in a very competitive race with 19,734 votes, a loss of barely 450 over her total vote load in 2007. Beating her nearest competition by nearly 7,800, it seems that opposition strategy to cast Sandals as Queen’s Park’s cat’s paw in Guelph didn’t seem to carry much water. And the argument for strategic voting doesn’t hold much water either because Sandals easy victory in Guelph was the closest thing to a blow-out in a region full of tight races.

But the real story in Guelph was the number 802, as in the number of votes that separated PC Greg Schirk and NDP James Gordon. Schirk won 11,950 votes to Gordon's 11,148. For Schirk it was a marginal 308 vote loss over what Bob Senechal brought in for the PCs in 2007, but for Gordon it meant a 63 per cent improvement over Karan Mann-Bowers, who ran for the NDP in the last election. Sadly for local Greens, Steve Dyck was only able to collect 3,234 votes, or barely a third of the votes of Ben Polley's third place finish in 2007.

Province-wide though the results for the Liberals weren’t so clear cut, as they won a 53 seat minority government, which is one seat short of securing their third straight majority. But will a minority McGuinty government in Ontario be under the same kind of attack recent minority governments federally were? Unsure. For one thing, McGuinty has a much closer margin than either Paul Martin or Stephen Harper enjoyed, and with so many close races, not to mention an exceedingly low voter turnout, a redo, impromptu election sometime in the next couple of years might work in McGuinty's favour. Then there's the Hudak factor. There are some grumblings about how much the PC leader didn't help the cause with comparisons to the increasing unpopular Rob Ford and commitment to potentially xenophobic and homophobic policies on the campaign trail. In an election where everything seemed in his favour to win, the reasons for Hudak's fortunes are multiple choice.

Either way, it's a new day, (almost) the same as old day in Ontario. Where will go to next?

Sandals Calls Mega-Quarry ‘Bizarre’

In a move that would have scored her points during the campaign (like she needed the help as it turns out – see above), Sandals came out strong against the proposed “mega-quarry” in Melancthon saying that “I think it’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen,” while talking to the Guelph Mercury Editorial Board the day after her re-election.

The word “bizarre” is kind of putting it mildly for advocates against the quarry. An American-backed company is petitioning to build a colossal limestone quarry on 930 hectares of farmland in Melancthon Township in the Hills of Headwaters, about 80 kilometres north of Guelph. The eventual pit will reportedly be as deep, if not deeper than Niagara Falls. The Ministry of the Environment ordered a full environmental assessment of the proposal under the Ontario Aggregate Resources Act. Sandals said that the government couldn’t just say ‘no’ to the plan without a clear, technical reason why the project shouldn’t go forward, and she thinks the assessment will provide such a reason.

“At the end of the process of digging out this great huge pit is that they are going to pump out the ground water in perpetuity and grow potatoes at the bottom of the pit,” Sandals said. “How can you possibly guarantee that somebody is going to pump out anything in perpetuity?” he added before quoting Prince. “That is forever. That is a very long time.”

Bus Hiccup

Regular Guelph Transit users who were eagerly awaiting new routes and new schedules on November 6th are going to have to put their excitement back in a box. Due to circumstances they should have foreseen, the City of Guelph has had to push back the start date till the New Year.

“Over the past couple of months, we’ve worked hard at planning and communicating the introduction of new routes and improved service anticipating a start on November 6,” says Michael Anders, General Manager of Guelph Transit and Community Connectivity. “We are ready to implement the changes, but because of collective bargaining agreement obligations, we have to move the implementation date to January 1, 2012.”

I can see the new signage running late, but some fine print in the collective bargaining agreement of Transit employees? Isn’t that something that should have been checked first off? Combine this latest incident with thrice delayed transit hub and constant yo-yoing of transit funding, the slogan of Guelph Transit should be “In Your Way” instead of “On Your Way.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It’s Election Day!*

*Assuming of course, you’re reading this on Thursday, and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be because everybody waits with baited breath for the new issue of Echo, right? Right?

After three years, covering four elections, I get a rarefied opportunity to release a column on an Election Day, rather than just before or after. Perhaps you’re reading this on your way to the polls. Perhaps you’re reading afterward. Perhaps Election Day is over and you already know who won. Perhaps this knowledge disappoints you verily. Either way, I think it’s time to articulate my views on elections, why vote every Election Day and why you should do the same.

There were two elections within a year I turned 18, and I voted in both. It was 1997, and the first was that year’s Municipal Election and the other was the Federal Election that elevated the Jean Chrétien Liberals to their second term. Two years after that was the 1999 Provincial Election that returned Mike Harris’ Tories to Queen’s Park, and as a university student at the time, I have to say that that wasn’t the way I wanted things to go.

But you know what I didn’t do? Throw up my hands in exasperation and renege on the notion that democracy doesn’t work. This is an attitude I find all too common: democracy doesn’t work because the outcome we wanted wasn’t achieved. No, democracy works, you just didn’t get what you want. And while I agree that an electoral system that lets the party that achieved only 40 per cent of the popular vote to form a majority government is broken, it’s only because another 40 per cent sit on the bench believing their either too busy or too unimportant to vote.

In the short term, electoral reform is out because no party in power is going to legislate change that will mitigate their own power. But if the 40 per cent that sat out the Federal Election this past spring threw their support behind an independent candidate like, say, Communist Party candidate Drew Garvie, then right now he would be MP for Guelph. Or to go back to last fall’s Municipal Election, where two-thirds of electors sat out exercising their franchise, if even half of those people voted for antique store owner Ray Mitchell or skateboard enthusiast Scott Nightingale, then they would be sitting in the Mayor’s office this minute.

Having said all that, I do understand why people still think that their vote doesn’t matter, but like the man said, with all things, you’ll miss it when it’s gone. That’s why I’d like to propose a simple amendment to election law: If you do not exercise your right to vote in three consecutive elections you should lose that right. Not forever. I’m not quite mean like that, but almost.

My proposal is modest: if you shirk on your vote for any reason, for three elections in a row, at all levels of government, and you decide that you would like to exercise your right to vote in an upcoming election, then you will have to writer a 1,500 word essay explaining why you didn’t vote, and why you’ve decided to vote again. You won’t get marked on it, and if nobody likes your essay you won’t be refused the right to vote, but the point is the effort. You have to put in the effort, and you have to prove that you want it. Like most things in life, the work is its own reward.

Sound harsh? Especially in light of the fact that essay writing was at the bottom of a very long list of things you didn’t like about school? That’s what I thought, and that’s why this idea occurs. So before someone with real authority not bestowed upon them by the publishers of Echo snatches up this idea, then you might want to get off your duff today, find your polling station at wemakevotingeasy.com, and put an ‘x’ beside the name of someone that you’d like to see speak for you in Queen’s Park. Even if they have, in your mind, no chance of winning.

Besides, unless either the McGuinty Liberals or Hudak PCs are returned to Queen’s Park in a minority government, then this will be the last election for us until the year 2014, and let’s face it, if those conspiracy theories turn out to be true, we could all be dead by then. But in all seriousness, to go from four elections in three years to no elections for the next three years, will be a tough adjustment for us happy few politicos. And if voter fatigue is a real thing, I expect to see record turnout for the Municipal Election in 2014.

To get all the scoop post-election and other political stuff, visit my blog, Guelph Politico, at http://guelphpolitico.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Candidates: Sandals and Gordon

James Gordon Sings a New Tune

In politics, like show business, name cache matters. Just look at Julian Fantino, the former OPP Chief, who has run twice for MP of Vaughn and has won twice despite the fact that he gave no press access, and participated in no public forums. But Gordon’s not that complacent. As a singer, song-writer, playwright, and radio man, Gordon knows how important the public forum is.

Now, after being an active member of the NDP for years, and after years of having party members try and entice him to run for office, Gordon is now putting his name on a ballot, and aiming to get himself elected as Guelph’s MPP. “I think it’s because they presumed that I had a profile in the community already that would work well,” says Gordon on his appeal as a candidate. “But in the arts sector we have a natural outlet for trying to communicate messages and issues, so I’ve always said no to them because I’m already doing that work, and enjoying what I do and having fun while doing it, so why would I want to change it up?

“This is the first time when they’ve asked when, you know what, I’m ready for a change up,” he adds. “I think this is an exciting opportunity and that there’s a unique window of opportunity with this particular election.”

Gordon’s campaign has been as much about hearing what the people have to say as it is about promoting the NDP platform. Gordon’s says his summer listening tour, going to constituents’ homes and hearing what they have to say, was a smash success. “It was a great experience,” he says. “They’ve almost disappeared because every evening now is filled with debates and events. But it was such a great learning process for me, and everybody was actually surprised by the process that ‘Hey, people want to know what I have to say,’ and you realize how seldom it is that people gather for the purpose of sharing ideas and visioning.”

Liz Sandals Has More Work to Do (And Wants Your Vote to Do It)

Liz Sandals has represented Guelph for the past eight years in Queen’s Park. That’s a large amount of time to hold any political seat, so it’s no wonder that a lot of her colleagues took the opportunity this fall to retire from provincial politics to explore new ventures and new challenges. But Sandals felt that her current job still had some challenges left to conquer.

“I think we’ve made really exciting progress so far in turning the province around,” says Sandals. “It’s been tough work the last few years because we’ve had worldwide recession, but all things considered Ontario has pulled through that pretty well. We’ve recovered the jobs, but there’s still a lot of work we have to do rebuilding the economy here in Guelph, making sure we’ve diversified the economy so that we don’t take such a deep hit when there’s a recession. And I’m really excited by some of the things we’re doing with education because that’s my background.”

In the campaign, Sandals has been hitting back against the impression that she doesn’t represent the people of Guelph as much as she represents the Liberal Party in Guelph, but Sandals says this depiction is wrong. “I think if you look at some of the projects that I’ve personally been involved with advocating for here, they actually are a result of listening to people in the community,” says Sandals. She points to the development of an emergency mental health ward, working with Guelph General Hospital and Homewood, to better serve the community, particularly people in mental health crisis.

“It took a lot of work, working with all the different players of Guelph, it took a lot of bugging the Minister of Health of the day because this was a uniquely Guelph problem,” she adds. “This wasn’t something for which there was a provincial funding line, but we were eventually able to get Trellis, Homewood and Guelph General to all come together, and now there’s an emergency mental health ward at Guelph General Hospital that has the proper secure facilities.”

To hear the complete interviews, check out the Guelph Politicast, available at http://guelphpolitico.blogspot.com/

The Horse Race As It Is

With one week to go until Election Day, the polls are coming fast and furiously, and with every announcement it one thing is perfectly clear: it’s a toss up as to what the political landscape in Ontario is going to look like next Thursday. Province-wide, the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives are in a statistical dead heat, with the NDP in a respectable, but distant 23 per cent. With these numbers and others, ThreeHundredEight.com’s seat projection model shows that the Liberals are likely to win 55 seats, which is one more than they need for a majority. It’s a loss of 15 seats for the Grits, but just barely enough to win their third majority.

Locally, the results seem much clearer. A Forum Research poll released last Saturday showed that Liberal Liz Sandals will walk to re-election with 37.6 per cent of the vote. PC Greg Schirk comes in second with 30.3 per cent followed by NDP James Gordon and Green Steve Dyck with 21.9 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively. Next Thursday should be very interesting indeed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Candidates Speak!

After a busy couple of weeks covering some anonymous film festival in Toronto, I finally got down to the real process of politicking by interviewing the candidates running for Member of Provincial Parliament of Guelph. Of our riding’s seven declared candidates, here are some words from three who are looking for your vote on October 6th.

You Don’t Know Dyck

Green Party candidate Steve Dyck faces a similar dilemma as he campaigns for Guelph MPP that his Federal counterpart John Lawson did in this past spring’s election. Like Lawson, Dyck follows a candidate with two elections under their belt and a wave of popular support. But unlike Lawson, Dyck hopes to break though and build on Ben Polley’s third place finish in 2007, and he hopes to do that by tackling his party’s core issue, and doing so more thoroughly than the other parties.

“I’m so passionate about the issues,” says Dyck who officially kicked off his political career as the Green Party of Ontario’s energy critic on The Agenda with Steve Paikin. “I feel like the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP really have abandoned the environment.”

The environment doesn’t get a lot of air in these difficult economic times when jobs and budgets are more worrisome, so how does the Green Party candidate reach voters? “I often don’t speak about the environment, what I mostly talk about is the economy and building an economy that makes sense, and works for people,” explains Dyck. “The Liberals have imported the Green Energy Act from Germany, and when they did that I wanted to applaud. But they imported the technology and left the community out. Renewable energy in Germany is overwhelmingly community-financed, community-based, which allows rate-payers the ability to gain the benefit.”

Fourth Time Around for Garvie

By running again for the Communist Party of Canada in Guelph, Drew Garvie holds up a proud Royal City tradition as the Canadian face of the revolution began here in 1921. Garvie is running for the fourth time for political office in Guelph, his second attempt at the MPP seat after two Federal runs.

Amongst his campaign promises, Garvie, and the Communists, are pledging to do something that, surprisingly, no other party has said that they’ll do: completely eliminate the HST from Ontario’s bookkeeping. “I think what the HST basically is, and the voters of B.C. obviously understood it, the majority of voters see it as placing the burden on them rather than the people who actually have the ability to pay,” explains Garvie.

Garvie also wants to bring attention to another issue that’s not being discussed a lot in the campaign: the demand for an inquiry into police action during the G20 protests in the summer of 2010. “It was the largest crackdown, the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, and it was facilitated by the McGuinty Liberals and the Federal Tories,” Garvie says emphatically. “[They] gave police sweeping powers that they need to go in bust heads, arrest 1,100 people and ended up not charging a lot of them. People were in terrible conditions in ‘Guantanamo North,’ as they called it, and André Marin, the Ontario Ombudsman, has said that this was the biggest compromise of civil rights in Canadian history.”

Schirk is Lovin’ the Campaign Trail

Greg Schirk talks about missing his morning coffee, but he doesn’t seem like it. The Progressive Conservative candidate was the last of the major party candidates to be acclaimed by his riding association, but Schirk says it’s been an easy transition to full-on campaign mode, and he’s ready to help PC leader Tim Hudak form the next government of the Province of Ontario. But first things first: the issues.

For one thing, Schirk maybe campaigning on eliminating Smart Meters and undoing some of the McGuinty government’s deals to create Green energy, but Schirk doesn’t want you to think he’s not environmentally friendly. “Guelph has a reputation for being a green community, and that happened long before the Green Energy Act,” he explains. “It was grassroots driven, it wasn’t top down. You look at this community and I just can’t see us shutting that desire to be a community and contribute to a better environment. When you look at this push from the community, I think it’s going to continue regardless of what legislation is in place.”

Schirk has been busy campaigning and attending events and debates, and says that he wouldn’t mind campaigning full-time. “I’ve got to tell you how much I love doing this,” Schirk says with obvious joy. “This is so much fun. I get to meet so many people, I’ve always liked talking politics, and I’m learning so much, that’s the great thing. And I’m not only learning fro the PC caucus, but from the average person that answers the door.”

To listen to the complete candidate interviews, go to my blog at http://guelphpolitico.blogspot.com where you can listen the complete podcast of my candidate interviews, as well as get all the latest election scoop.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Garvie's Back, Sign Issues and Debate Prep

Fourth Try for Fifth Party Candidate

The day after the writ was officially dropped for the 2011 Ontario Provincial Election, Communist Party candidate Drew Garvie announced his intention to once again run to represent Guelphites.

“Youth and working-people in Ontario are justifiably angry at the Liberal Government for protecting corporate wealth and privilege while real wages and living standards are falling, real unemployment is rising and the real economy is tottering on the edge of another deep recession,” said Garvie in a press release. “But voting Tory to punish the Liberals is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.”

Garvie first ran in the 2007 Provincial Election, eventually winning .4 per cent of the vote. Running the next fall in the Federal Election, he didn't finish as well with only .13 per cent of the popular vote, but he did however capitalize on that in this past spring's Federal Election, increasing his vote share to .17 per cent. True it doesn't sound like much, but for a so-called third party candidate, literally every vote counts. Garvie’s entry into the race takes the slate up to five, although potential candidates have until 2 pm today (Thursday) to file their nomination papers.

Fun fact: the Communist Party of Canada was actually founded just outside Guelph in 1921. Of course, “just outside Guelph” is relative because what was outside of Guelph 90 years ago is now way inside the city limits. Some may say Garvie’s being a nuisance, but to the rest of us he’s keeping up a proud Royal City tradition. Welcome back to the race, Drew.

Sign Language

A bit of controversy to kick off the election as the Liz Sandals campaign put up election signs on Tuesday afternoon, several hours before the writ was official dropped for the start of the campaign. This is a bit of a murky area because while limitations for fundraising for a campaign are very well defined, advertising your campaign with the placement of signs is not. “Our read of Elections Ontario is that there is not a distinction,” between pre-writ and post writ advertising with signs, Sandals told the Guelph Mercury. She added that the reason her campaign didn’t put out signs earlier is out of respect for the public. “It’s more a case of respecting the public’s tolerance for wanting to look at signs, as opposed to any particular legal rule,” she said. An Elections Ontario official said that elections signs can appear anytime before the writ so long as the campaign can identify who paid for the signs.

Opening Arguments

The first all-candidate meet of the election happened last Thursday at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. Liberal Liz Sandals, NDP James Gordon and the Green Party’s Steve Dyck were each in attendance, while the PC’s Greg Schirk and Communist Drew Garvie were unable to attend.

Not surprisingly, one of the major issues discussed was library funding, a hot button for library-lovers given Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s recent efforts to cut the municipal library budget in that city. Gordon was quite adamant in his support saying, “Investing in libraries and cultural activities brings money to a community. It’s not ‘throwing money at a problem.’ Libraries are income generators.”

Gordon then promised to cut the wait time for the construction of a new library in half saying that 10 years is too long a time to wait. But Sandals rebutted that while libraries are a good thing, the library funding isn’t really a matter for the provincial government. Dyck, meanwhile, wanted to talk about the provincial budget and getting Ontario out of the red, which means not much room for new spending. “The Green party would hold the spending in all ministries except health care,” he said. “We can’t tax more and we need to get our debt in line. So we’d have to hold the spending for now.”

Look for several debates and candidates forums in the next couple of weeks. Two of the biggest ones will be the University of Guelph debate on September 28th, which will feature questions from students, and the Guelph Chamber of Commerce debate, which took place this past Tuesday, but will probably be repeated ad nauseum on Rogers TV.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Schirk Smarts, Garbage Woes, and Gordon Plays

Get Smart

It seems one of the big issues in these early days of the election is the newly installed hydro smart meters. The intention of the smart meters is to charge a premium during a peak hours in the effort to get consumers to pay a fee closer to the true cost of electricity and to promote conservation. But some people are calling it an unfair hit to the pocket book of Ontarians, including Guelph Progressive Conservative candidate Greg Schirk.

Schirk was joined in town last week by PC MPP Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey), and the two not only campaigned against the smart meters, but what they’re calling the “Smart Meter Tax,” which is a charge to administer the monitoring of the smart meters. The Tories say that under Dalton McGuinty, hydro rates have gone up 84 percent and 150 percent for homes with a smart meter, not to mention the $1 billion ($200 per household) price tag that came with installing smart meters.

“The choice Ontario families face is clear,” says Schirk in a press release. “Dalton McGuinty who plots tax hikes in secret. The NDP who plot tax hikes out in the open. Or a Tim Hudak Ontario PC Government – that will cancel the Smart Meter Tax, unplug the mandatory smart meters, and give families the relief they deserve.”

Current Guelph MPP Liz Sandals responded in the Guelph Mercury calling the Tory allegations “a campaign stunt.” She also said that the added costs to install and maintain smart meters were included in long-term energy cost projections and are public knowledge. And then, for the final blow, Sandals said that if the Tories are only finding this out now is “their problem,” and that “they have not discovered anything new.” Ouch.

Look for this to be an ongoing campaign issue in the next couple of weeks.

Garbage Woes

So was your garbage picked up last week? If it wasn’t it might be because you’re not aware of the new regulations concerning what garbage goes into what bag. On September 1st, some slight modifications were made to what type of garbage should be put in what bag. Dirty diapers and tampons can no longer be put in green bags, and plastic coffee cups and Styrofoam can no longer be placed in blue bags. These changes are but the first phase of as the city tries to follow provincial mandates and new standards concerning waste collection, including the elimination of plastic bags and the introduction of bins for household waste collection.

The Music Man

There were cupcakes with orange coloured icing, orange coloured punch, and, of course, oranges. So it must have been an NDP campaign event. James Gordon and staff officially opened their campaign office last Wednesday offering a cozy atmosphere, light refreshments and some tunes in the old Alma Gallery space. Considering that Mayor Karen Farbridge used the space last fall in her successful re-election campaign bid, perhaps the Gordon crew are hoping the good karma will rub off. "It's new what we've got here," said Gordon kicking the night off in front of over 100 supporters and well-wishers, "It's democratic and it's a party."

Several of the local NDP’s familiar faces were in attendance including Bobbi Stewart, who ran federally in Guelph this past May. Charlie Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay, was also on hand for the opening. Angus played some music, along with the candidate himself, and local favourite Tannis Slimmon. "Suddenly it's okay to for a musician to be an MP, and it's okay to bring music to politics," cheered Gordon before he broke into his first song of the night.”

Gordon’s got a lot of expectations on him being a familiar Guelph celebrity and an active activist in the community. As of last Wednesday, his campaign has raised $8,000 so far, and will be holding at least two other fundraiser, including one at Spice 11 on Monday.

Dyck Moves

Green Party candidate Steve Dyck has been quietly building support, but this Sunday he has his first big campaign event, a dinner and silent auction with special guest Mike Schreiner, Leader of the Green Party of Ontario. The dinner begins as 5 pm at the Woolwich Arms, or the Wooly to the those in the know, and includes salad, choice of meat or vegetarian lasagna and dessert. Tickets are $50 each and are available to purchase by calling the campaign office 519-780-5193. In the meantime, I stopped by the Guelph Greens website to see if, at the start of this election season, it was back up and running at full capacity. It wasn’t

For the latest campaign news go to http://guelphpolitico.blogspot.com/