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

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