Thursday, January 7, 2010

Goodbye 09, Hello 10

While You Were Sleeping…

After the year it’s been in Guelph, it would make sense that the Royal City would get one last lick in before the books were closed on 2009. Our fair city made national news last week when one of the runners in the Olympic torch relay fell while carrying the torch downtown during an apparent clash between torch security, police and anti-Olympic protesters. There was a galvanizing effect as a result of this issue as many junk-piled on the protesters for either precipitating the clash or out-and-out tripping the torch bearer, 28-year-old Courtney Hanson from Milton. Arrested for assault was 19-year-old from Kitchener, and before I go into the division of perspectives, can we at least take a moment to find the oddity in a Milton woman being tripped by a protester from Kitchener during the Guelph leg of the relay. Anyone?

Okay, so I think we can all agree that what happened to Ms. Hanson was horrible. No matter how you feel about the legality or morality of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, ruining a once in a lifetime experience for someone, not to mention the thousands of people that came out to share it with you at the crack of dawn,is the epitome of a dick move. But having said all that, the exact details of the altercation are still a little fuzzy as of the writing of this column. Some say it was a direct provocation by the protestors to the torch’s security and RCMP escort, others say that it was a crowding issue as tempers on all sides flared. Unfortunately, nothing less than the Zapruder film equivalent of this incident will prove anything one way or the other, and such evidence has yet to surface. Just consider the whole thing proof that the wackiest stuff always happens when you’re taking time off from your column.

Newsmakers of ’09 Named

The Guelph Mercury named their male and female newsmakers of 2009 last week, and on the one hand the choices can almost be taken as a case of David versus Goliath. The female newsmaker was Mayor Karen Farbridge who was cited for a busy year that included the protest over the Hanlon Creek Business Park, legal battles over waste processing and city hall, and a year end budget crunch. “If I’m newsmaker of the year it’s because of my role as mayor and spokesperson for council,” Farbridge said. “I think (the honour) reflects a lot more on our CAO, council and senior staff who support the spokesperson’s role.”

For male newsmaker of the year, the prize went to Matt Soltys, one of the organizers of the opposition against the HCBP. Soltys was also recognized for his work with local groups like Groundworks and the Apple Seed Collective. “My hope lies in more people recognizing the need for that,” Soltys said. “I think a lot of people know very well the futility of always playing by the rules that are set out for us.”

Countdown to Indecision 2010

Yes friends, 2010 is an election year, and in October Guelphites will be asked to go to the polls and elect the next Guelph city council and mayor. Nominations officially opened on Monday January 4, but there’s already been speculation as to who amongst the current slate of councillors will run again. Before the holidays, the Guelph Mercury talked to several councillors and the Mayor about their re-election plans and their answer, for the most part, was a definite maybe. Ward 1 Councillor Kathleen Farrelly said that she’ll most like run so long as her health holds up, while Ward 6 Councillor Karl Wettstein says that he’s leaning towards running, but won’t firm up his plans until March. Karen Farbridge said that she’s “obviously giving (another run) serious consideration,” but has not yet dedicated herself either way. If you’re interested in seeking local office, the list of appointments and rules and guidelines for the nomination process are available on the city website at

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