Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Last News of the Year (Probably)

So in a couple of days it’s Christmas, and then a week after that it’s New Year’s. It the time of the season for retrospection and consideration, and with few exceptions it’s also a slow news period. So before we bid adieu to 2010 (next week’s column), let’s look at some lingering news items from 2010.

Frank Valeriote Will Slap a Minister

Local Member of Parliament Frank Valeriote wants answers now, or he wants them eventually in the case of the government’s discontinuing of funding for the faith-based NGO KAIROS Canada. Along with his colleague John McKay (MP for Scarborough-Guildwood) last week on the Hill, Valeriote tried to get International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda to explain why she denied KAIROS Canada $7 million in funding.

“KAIROS is an organization of the highest repute and does remarkable work on behalf of Canada for the world’s poor,” said McKay during last Monday’s Question Period. “The facts show that the Minister was not being honest when asked why KAIROS was cut. To make matters worse, church leaders have asked the Prime Minister for a meeting to get an explanation and as yet have received no response. The Minister and the Prime Minister have some serious explaining to do.”

“Without warning, its funding was mysteriously cut and the explanation given as to why was clearly not the truth,” added Valeriote. “This incident raises the issue of whether Canadians can trust this government to tell them the truth. If they are willing to mislead the House on this issue, what else are they not being honest about?”

So who are these fascists that no longer deserve the funding from our government? Well, KAIROS is made up of about a dozen member churches across Canada and have partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East to promote issues of Ecological Justice, Economic Justice, Energy and Extraction, Human Rights, Just and Sustainable Livelihoods, and Indigenous Peoples. A four-year grant of $7 million was requested by KAIROS, and apparently endorsed by the president and vice president of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), but somewhere between them and the Minister Oda, it was decided that the proposal didn’t meet CIDA standards. Or government standards. Or government priorities. One of the three.

Regardless, other aid groups across Canada are joining the two Liberal MPs in questioning how and why CIDA approves and disapproves of funding applications. Meanwhile, Oda says that she doesn’t know how or why the funding wasn’t approved when it came out of committee, even though her signature is on the document. What’s the old Bronson saying, “This ain’t over.”

New Officer to Liaise with Film

The Guelph Mercury reported last weekend that after an internal competition, someone has been selected to serve in the Film Liaison position vacated by Jennifer Peleschak earlier this fall. Christine Chapman will now fill the slot as the person at City Hall who will direct all matters pertaining to film and film shoots in the Royal City. For a while there, those of us in the local filmmaking community had some concern that the City was going to leave the position vacant. Of course, Film Liaison Officer wasn't Peleschak's official position in City Hall, it was something she took up when the City started getting inquiries about shooting films, TV projects and commercials in Guelph. Jen was uniquely qualified for the post because she genuinely loves film and was supportive of all productions, from big international projects like Blindness to local indies like Mind's Eye. So I happily welcome new Film Liaison Officer Ms. Chapman and say that as a filmmaker in Guelph, I look forward to working with her.

Are Taxes High or Aren’t They…?

A report in the National Post last week lit up the blogosphere like the Yule log on Christmas morning TV when it said that Guelph pays the third highest property taxes in Ontario behind Ottawa and Toronto. But not so fast, some are saying, are these numbers the real numbers? City reps point to a BMA Management Consulting in 2008 that says when compared to similar municipalities our size, Guelph has the lowest taxes in Ontario. As well, there could be an oversight in the report covered by the Post as some of the municipalities are two-tier payers, meaning they not only pay property taxes to the town they live in, but to the county as well; Guelph has a single-tier system. Either way, this is fuel for the fire as city council gets ready for budget deliberations next month.

No comments:

Post a Comment