Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wait, Don’t We Have Three Levels of Government…?

Why yes. Yes we do. Whatever the reason – mostly municipal election related – we’ve neglected coverage of our provincial and federal representatives these last few months. So with all things municipal chilled out until the new council sits for the first time on December 6th, let’s check in with our local MPP and MP and see what they’ve been up to.
Sandals Like a Pro

Guelph Member of Provincial Parliament Liz Sandals has been keeping her usual low profile, quietly doing the work of your average, everyday MPP. In fact, Sandals career as MPP is so chill that it’s always surprising when she makes the news for something that has nothing to do with a policy, funding announcement, or other act in accordance with her responsibilities as an elected official.

But back on August 20th, Sandals made the news in an unexpected way. She was name-checked by Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman from Thornhill as a member of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s caucus who was more deserving of cabinet position in the last reshuffling of the portfolios than some of the less experienced MPPs who were elevated to the head of a ministry. “Liz Sandals has been toiling away ... for a very long time,” Shurman said in an interview with the Mercury. “She can take the compliment. Maybe she would have been a better choice.” Of course of the two people who were given cabinet seats, Sherman said that the represented “an additional opportunity to tax and spend."

Aside from that one, odd piece of news, it’s been business as usual for Sandals. In October, she delivered $650,000 from the province for local literacy programs at Action Read and Conestoga College. The money is part of Ontario’s $122.9 million investment in the Literacy and Basic Skills Program. On that same day, Sandals also handed a cheque for $100,000 to the Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis Centre. The money will go to help repair a leaky roof at their 38 Elizabeth St facility. All in a day’s work it seems for Sandals.
Frank Valeriote in “The Road Warrior”

Meanwhile, things are much more interesting on Valeriote’s side of the street, not to mention dangerous. Family members of Guelph Member of Parliament Frank Valeriote, along with other members of the community, were victims of vandalism. Occurring overnight in the waning days of October, at least nine cases were reported to police of cars having their break lines cut, tires slashed, or having the letter ‘L’ spray painted somewhere on the property, sometimes all three. The incidents mirror similar vandalism committed recently in Toronto and again in Guelph earlier this year.

The question on everybody’s mind though was whether the slicing and dicing was politically motivated. Valeriote’s nephew was one of the affected, however the Guelph MP was not. “I don’t believe it is a personal statement,” Valeriote said last week. “I believe it is a statement against authority.” Guelph Beat Readers will also remember incidents of graffiti and vandalism directed against Valeriote near the conclusion of Guelph’s aborted Federal by-election in 2008. The incident was precipitated by the wide-spread destruction of election signs, until one Saturday when the homes of people who had Liberal lawn signs where vandalized with slogans like “Vote Liberal C-68 slime” spray-painted on houses and the break lines of cars were cut.

In more positive news though, Valeriote is moving forward with his community outreach endeavours, not the least of which was bring his boss, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School for an open mic Q&A session. As well, he held an open forum to respond to constituents’ concerns this past Tuesday as well as pledging his support to the “Movember” campaign to raise awareness about prostate cancer. “I’m proud to be part of the Movember team helping to support those suffering from prostate cancer and to raise money to advance research and education towards its eradication” Valeriote said in a press release. “4,400 men die from prostate cancer annually, and with the incidence of prostate cancer rising as a result of our aging population, a cure must be found.”

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