What a week-end. A protest was held yesterday in front of Collingwood Ethanol by citizens who are fed up with the endless excuses and promises this company has made for the last 15 months. Also over the past week-end, just about every house and business in Collingwood received a recorded phone message taking swift aim at Mayor Chris Carrier. Without defining any real issues, it generally suggested that the Mayor and Mayor alone, was responsible for a potentially huge tax hike. The message ended by saying it had been sponsored by the Progressive Group for Independent Business.
Thanks to a new, anonymous blogger in town, it was quickly revealed that this organization has a direct link to Collingwood Ethanol (CE); a local company that has been the subject of significant controversy since its arrival in Collingwood about 15 months ago.
The Executive Director of this group is a fellow by the name of Craig Chandler. Out of interest, I took a look at their website and note that all of PGIB’s directors are based in Alberta and that very few of their initiatives have taken place in Ontario and certainly not in Simcoe County or even close. The 905 phone number they list for Central Ontario is out of service. They state that they lobby for less government and in this case, they sure are!
Now you’ve got to wonder why a neo-conservative, western based organization with no previous interest in our area has suddenly gotten so interested in little ol’ Collingwood. Well, let’s see. The Executive Director of their organization just happens to be the son of CE principal, Bruce Chandler. Coincidence?
Here’s the thing. I totally support vocal debate and active participation in democratic process. I also know that decisions of council are made by a majority of 9; not by one Mayor. This council has shown by their voting record that they are very pro-business and, they’ve shown more fiscal responsibility than any previous council. They tried to work patiently with CE to resolve the problems but finally, their patience (and that of the MOE) has run out. And rightly so.
What PGIB has attempted with this utterly unsubstantiated smear campaign of erroneous statements against our municipal leader is to divert attention from the real issue and the search for solutions. They have not engaged in any factual debate of the issue at hand and, they are using tactics usually not seen north of the border. I think they may be surprised to learn that Collingwoodites are not hicks. They may be surprised to learn that their campaign is backfiring. They will surely be surprised to learn that Collingwood is pretty smart. But still stinky.
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