The proposed changes to the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association bylaws take my breath away.

April 27, 2017

I have never seen a not-for profit community group concentrate as much power in their executive.

Inconsistent with several democratic principles. Perfect to serve corporate or corporatist interests.






Changes in red.

Board members: Sandy Buxton, David Strachan, Margaret Prophet, Connie Spek, Barb Kutcher, Kevin Newman

Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association annual meeting: “we recommend you vote with us to change the bylaws” (so we stay in power).

April 27, 2017

So we can continue to help our developer friends elect/re-elect our friends by creating a ticket into the next municipal election on Oct 2018?

So we can have our friends knock down the current Midhurst Community Hall?

A screen shot of the email from the current MRA.

Is it possible that +$40 billion development could turn a few heads?

Influence is the law in business, not the exception.

Why is it risky for community groups to endorse any individual or a “slate” of candidates in an Ontario municipal election?

October 4, 2014

A type of election campaign advertising arrived in the mail this week from the Midhurst Ratepayers’ Association, MRA.

MRA vote for front


MRA vote for back


I think this is the link that provides more detail on the MRA’s endorsements of what appears to be a slate of candidates.

MRA endorsements 1

Questions Arising:

  • Had the MRA’s membership dues and fundraising made it clear that they would be recommending one candidate over another in the upcoming election?
  • Were members and contributors informed that funds would be used to promote one candidate over another?
  • Were the funds spent by the MRA on the design, printing, and mailing a form of subsidy (indirect $ contributed) to the endorsed candidates’ campaigns?
  • Was this indirect funding a form of soft money campaign donation (undisclosed by the candidate under existing provincial law)?
  • Since Margaret Atwood and Others had been centrally identified as allies, were they aware and approving of this new policy direction?
  • Was a weighted rating system used?
  • Were the means and implications of using the endorsements disclosed to the four candidates?
  • Were the candidates informed of the evaluation method process?
  • Were the candidates provided a copy of the finished evaluation matrix (self and others)?
  • Could and were each of the evaluations, independently audited?
  • Who were the individuals who ranked and evaluated the submissions (eg. MRA’s own transparency and accountability)?
  • Would a secretive and non-accountable process of evaluation likely result in a perceived and real non-biased recommendation?

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. George Orwell

MRA 4 endorsed candidates

 Posted on

Is Springwater Township council a functioning democracy or just an agent for other interests?

April 14, 2012

Democracy does not mean an out-of-touch aristocracy or dictatorship interrupted by inconvenient balloting every four years.

Growing battele

David Strachan, Connie Spek and Gary Green sit amongst 1,400 signatures on a petition aiming to halt a development that would see thousands of new homes built north of Barrie. Topher Seguin Photo

Electoral mandates are given by voters in good faith with conditions. An administration has the authority to govern within bounds and one of those bounds is to at least listen to their supposed “bosses”, even when it is uncomfortable to do so.

We teach our kids to “use your words”. There is no public administration possible without two-way communication. Somebody broke that social contract.

On the front page of today’s Barrie Examiner in 2.5 cm (1 inch) high font, Growing battle: Midhurst residents take action to halt plans that would see thousands of homes be built by Cheryl Browne. Word pdf

Political responsiveness?

Councillor Jack Hanna:

The ratepayers, whose hamlet of about 3,500 residents, may soon be overrun by construction vehicles haven’t been kept in the loop, nor has Springwater Ward 5 Counc. Jack Hanna.

As one of the few elected officials to go on record to discuss the planned development of Midhurst, Hanna is vocally opposed to exponential growth in the area.

“I ran (for office) because I have the same concerns as the ratepayers,” said Hanna, who lives in Midhurst.

“I support the ratepayers and their efforts and hope it gets through to the rest of council and the province, so maybe we can open up a discussion with council,” he said, adding he has not been told when the OMB hearing is scheduled for.

Mayor Linda Collins and Deputy Mayor Dan McLean:

…were unavailable for comment on Friday.

Mayor Linda Collins

Deputy Mayor Dan McLean

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing might consider 3rd party management for Springwater Township before the private-law Ontario Municipal Board rubber stamps  a developer-friendly solution.

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