A hot issue for Mr. Brown

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Philip Brown

Mayoral candidate needs spice in platform

For newly announced Charlottetown mayoral candidate Philip Brown, there is an obvious addition to his platform as he challenges incumbent Clifford Lee. Mr. Brown can add public accountability for travel and other expenses by members of council who presently pay little more than lip service to scrutiny and transparency.

There was great fanfare last September when Charlottetown followed Summerside’s lead and posted general expenses on line. There hasn’t been anything since although we are assured Charlottetown is “working” on an updated list that should be available in the next few weeks. Just the word tends to suggest sanitized editing.

Why aren’t travel and other expenses simply posted monthly when the bills come in? Mr. Brown, who joined the electoral fray via Facebook on Wednesday, has developed four major priorities following conversations with residents.

They include making the mayor's office and council more efficient and effective; ensuring property tax fairness; addressing the issue of cosmetic pesticides; and creating a capital area pollution control authority to enhance the quality of effluent going into the rivers.

If Mr. Brown runs on a plank of actually banning cosmetic pesticides, that will be sure to create some interest, but the others, not so much. Mr. Brown needs an issue like transparency in expenses as a sure way to jazz up his campaign.

Weekend thoughts

In a national news story this week, it was revealed that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is reluctant to fill the 11 current vacancies in the Senate. Ever since an April decision by the Supreme Court that informed the PM that he can’t unilaterally reform the Senate, he has virtually ignored the Upper Chamber. The embarrassment created by the suspension of three prominent Conservative senators didn’t help matters. The two-year banishment of Mike Duffy has left P.E.I. with just three active senators, and on July 25, Sen. Catherine Callbeck reaches the Senate's mandatory retirement age, reducing our list to just two. This pending under-representation is a concern for Premier Robert Ghiz and it should be, because we need all the support possible in Ottawa. Let’s hope the PM doesn’t wait too long before filling the soon-to-be-vacant P.E.I. senate seat. Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart is reported to be a front-runner for the position.

From the 40th Annual Statistical Review released this week by the province, comes the revelation of a major faux pas by Samuel Holland, the Dutch-born surveyor who started his famous map and survey of P.E.I. (St. John’s Island) 250 years ago this year and completed it in 1765. Holland drew a map, which was to divide the Island into three, equal-sized counties, then parishes and township lots. He obviously started in Prince County (Lot 1), went to Queens and apparently ran out of time and land in Kings. Kings County is only 1,684 sq. km. in area, Prince County has 1,980 sq. km. but Queens County is a whopping 2,020 sq. km.  Even 250 years ago, Kings County was getting the shaft from the rest of the province.

Alas, the Eternal City is preparing for possible fire and brimstone to rain down Sunday. The World Cup soccer final features Argentina vs. Germany and we have two popes with very partisan loyalties involved. Pope Francis is from Buenos Aires and an avowed football enthusiast. He says he "might" watch the World Cup final in his Rome apartment but is unlikely to join his German predecessor, pope emeritus Benedict XVI, better known as an academic with a penchant for classical piano. The smart money is on Germany but Francis . . . err, Argentina, has a great opportunity for the upset because we know who has the inside track on papal infallibility right now. Pass the popcorn, Your Holiness, please.

Organizations: Supreme Court, Upper Chamber, Lot 1

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Summerside, Kings Prince Rome Argentina Germany Ottawa Queens Buenos Aires

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Recent comments

  • simon
    July 12, 2014 - 20:04

    There is too much `slush` in the Lee administration ,- it is time for a change. Let's get a lean, mean `City machine` - new ideas, new thinking--- wish more new faces would come forward for counsellor seats as well.

    • nitpicker
      July 15, 2014 - 09:53

      I don't disagree that we need new faces, Simon, but have you ever noticed how elected people are absolutely skewered these days for the most mundane things? The media perpetuates this too, which was the point of my previous post. There are a lot of good people with good ideas who wouldn't touch the job with a 100 foot pole.

  • kevin
    July 12, 2014 - 19:58

    I not only want to see the expenses of the city counselors, I want to see what we are laying out on a daily basis for these concerts and all the crap that is going on at the waterfront. A police trailer is parked there at all times, so there must be extra cost for police there as well as for directing traffic and close Grafton Street during the concerts. Then there are the `gate keepers`, those who takes down and puts up the portable gates between the expensive wrought iron fencing along the whole area. Let`s see the `hidden` costs of making sure the `hospitality industry` in Charlottetown continue to laugh all the way to the bank to add to their millions. Sickening that this has to be done on the back of the taxpayers of the City of Charlottetown

    • We are a Prov capital......
      July 13, 2014 - 21:45

      Kevin we are a PROV CAPITAL,we get special funding for infrastructure ,we have big events,royal visits,conventions, it requires policing and support services ...CITY GOVT is big business.The CRAP at the waterfront attracts tourists and locals alike and creates jobs.......If you want the expences apply for them..go to city hall...Have you not seen the changes in this city in the last 15 years??Mind you there is more openness required..but that will come ..it has to .

  • wilf
    July 12, 2014 - 19:48

    Anyone promising to leave Victoria Park alone will get my vote and that of our whole family. Although a motion was passed not to implement the great (stupid) PLAN, I am not trusting the current crew to leave hand off, just because they promised it. After the election they will go wild again, if we elect the same people. Time to get some sensible people in.

  • trent
    July 12, 2014 - 19:43

    well, here is a chance to see a change at City Hall, it is time to take that chance, -- just to get new ideas and better accountability of public funds. Too much slippage as years go by. The City has grown, and so has the tax base, and the Province's new indexed grab in property taxes gives the City a windfall. Therefor the City portion should be reduced and taxes lowered. I am voting for any one suggesting that.

  • nitpicker
    July 12, 2014 - 16:13

    If the Guardian doesn't like "sanitized editing" when it comes to a list of politician expenses, the paper may wish to consider its handling of two recent "exclusives" regarding political spending i.e. a purchased movie and a room upgrade by two provincial politicians.