Sir: One evening recently, I had occasion to drive from Ridgetown to Blenheim along the Ridge Road on a crystal clear night. As I stared into the blackness ahead of me, I was struck with the flashing red lights of the outrageous number of turbines in that part of Chatham-Kent.
I had read that we had hundreds of turbines in the municipality, but not until I saw all of those lights at once, did I finally grasp the enormity of the waste that is the Ontario Liberal Party’s green energy fiasco.
Chatham-Kent has all of those turbines, in part, because we have self-identified as a “willing host,” accepting all of the turbines that anyone wants to place here. I am sure that the community grants from turbine manufacturers and generating companies had no influence on the decision process.
Well, folks, as you drive along that stretch of road some night, let all those red lights remind you of something else. With Chatham-Kent’s willing acceptance of all those turbines, encouraging the buffoons in Queens Park to continue on their hare-brained path to provincial bankruptcy, recognize that Chatham-Kent has also been a willing participant in the back-pocket assault of Ontario taxpayers. When seniors on fixed incomes open their hydro bills and gasp at the ludicrous jumps in billing amounts, they can remind themselves that communities like Chatham-Kent have been willing assistants to this Liberal boondoggle.
We have just witnessed the annual little theatre production of The Municipal Budget, the yearly farce that determines how much more money is going to be gouged from local taxpayers. By definition, budgeting is determining how to best spend the financial resources that one has. In our municipality, the “budget” process consists of administration putting together its demands for the next year, followed by several sessions of melodrama where council painfully cuts what is presumed non-essential. Just once, I would like to see council start with a clean piece of paper, a budget of zero and then let administration justify each and every expenditure that gets added to the total.
Just because we did something last year, or had a person occupying a position last year does not automatically mean that those costs are required for the coming year.
Why do we need an office in China when we cannot afford a tourism office in Chatham?
Why did we need to spend $50K for consultants to tell us what most people in the area already know, that we have a rich heritage of Black, First Nation and agricultural history. We needed a “brain trust” to tell us that because of the region’s setting for significant battles in the war of 1812-14 we have a tourism opportunity?
Why do we own a defunct railroad that was shut down because of lack of use 10 years ago?
When I was a school board trustee, five trustees were an adequate number to represent all of the people of Chatham-Kent. Why do we need a council of more than three times that number?
We are blessed to have a few clear-thinking members of municipal council. However, we have an abundance of deadwood amongst our elected officials, who are mentally stuck in the 20th century, convinced that given a sufficient number of trips to China, jobs will pop up like mushrooms after a spring rain for people with limited education to be rewarded with generous salaries and benefits, just like the automotive branch plant heydays of the 1960s.
Those days are over, and it is not a minute too soon to begin thinking of how we will remove those fossilized members of council in the next election.