2022 City Election



- by Jeff Caldwell

 At the All Candidates (I’m one of them)  a number of people on stage made comments  that motivated me to do some research. Footnotes below,

Marion Koepke and Brock Hamley both mentioned roads in their opening statements. Mrs. Koepke said her “biggest advocacy is towards roads”, a strange thing to champion given the social issues we face and that only 4% of respondents to the citizen satisfaction survey felt roads were most important.(5) Mr. Hamley also mentioned roads; his literature suggests he wants to increase spending on roads by 10% and he will do this by “more effectively allocating existing tax dollars”. Has he been ineffectively allocating tax dollars for the past four years? The city already allocates 27% of the capital levy to roads, the largest expenditure.(1) To reallocate funding to roads some other area will have to lose out proportionately.  I wonder which area he’d be interested in underfunding? The library, parks, and recreation facilities? His plan lacks details.

Mr. Thomas promised to strike “The Mayors Task Force on Property Tax”. The evidence is already in and needs no further research. By any metric you care to choose we pay too much and receive too little. (2,3) I’m not sure Mr. Thomas’ concerns about taxation can be taken at face value as this is the same man who is adamant that the city construct a new Art Gallery at the low low cost of 25-30 million dollars. (4) This kind of emotionally based willingness to spend taxpayer dollars on something that few citizens identified as something of concern (5), seems to be at odds with Mr. Thomas’ logical lamentations towards taxes.

Even in the face of research-based studies that show development charge holidays do not have the intended results and in fact, likely have no effect at all (6) incumbents held to their previous positions on this issue. (7) One of our neighbours has outlined the problem with development charge holidays while giving the current council a failing grade in Economics. (8) It is worth noting that at least 2.3 million dollars of development charge holidays have already been granted and if this continues another +- 5 million dollars will also be passed over. Yet many capital projects go unfunded. (9)

Two candidates mentioned common sense. Mr. Douglas was quick to point out that he didn’t mean the Mike Harris kind of common sense. I tend to believe him, but he might have just been spit-balling like he was when he suggested a curfew and more police and criminal enforcement to deal with the homeless. Mrs. Middlebro’ also used the term common sense, I suspect she does mean it in the Common Sense Revolution way given her previous political activities and roles on the local Conservative executive, and comments in her now hidden twitter posts and bio where she declared herself conservative, and generally derides Liberal governments. (10) During the pandemic, we all became well acquainted with the devastating effects of what happens when you embrace the kind of short-term financial thinking, of the last and current conservative provincial governments. The Common Sense Revolution gave us the Walkerton tragedy (11) and the downloading of services is directly responsible for the public housing problems we face today. Common sense might work well for running a toy store but it has no place in responsible government.


1.   https://pub-owensound.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=34896

2. https://www.owensoundtaxes.com/Taxes

3. https://www.owensound.ca/en/city-hall/resources/Documents/2021-Final-BMA-Study.pdf

4. Mr. Thomas on the art gallery starts at 2:31:00 https://pub-owensound.escribemeetings.com/Players/ISIStandAlonePlayer.aspx?Id=7fa1be17-1caa-4f75-a783-844f107278fc&fbclid=IwAR0a5Y486FBeq6QT2ZGPxcrNADjL2Xl1oCKkFApLII84Su-5N88oCsBNX5c

5. https://www.owensound.ca/en/city-hall/resources/Documents/Owen-Sound-Citizen-Satisfaction-Survey.pdf


7. https://owensoundhub.org/city-hall/8323-councillors-had-a-say-on-development-charges-last-election.html

8. https://owensoundhub.org/city-hall/13786-owen-sound-failes-econ-101.html

9. https://pub-owensound.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=34896


11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0085253815536120#:~:text=Improper%20practices%20and%20systemic%20fraudulence,all%20contributed%20to%20the%20crisis



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