The Dryden Observer

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Get Real

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

I don’t mean to nit pick.

Heaven knows that Dryden City Council has enough to deal with without another person piling on the bandwagon to add to the critique. On reflection my grievance seems rather petty, given the magnitude and the difficulty of the decisions our municipal leaders are busy working on.

Still, it’s a grievance that speaks to a fundamental issue that has plagued this council from the get-go. Party politics and the spectre of hypocrisy.

At the Feb. 19 open meeting of council, a vote was held to declare March 5 ‘Save ELA Day’ after council was approached through correspondence from the grassroots Kenora-based Coalition To Save ELA (Experimental Lakes Area).

The vote passed, but not before Mayor Craig Nuttall could express his concerns.

“My concern is that when we do proclamations we do it for the Red Cross and other complete organizations. This is a lobbyist group and I have a lot of concerns about supporting this resolution because I think we are opening the door to a lot of other resolutions that ‘lobbyist people’ will bring forward.”

Gosh, that doesn’t sound much like a former lobbyist, which Nuttall most certainly is.

Never you mind the fact that council, just moments before the ELA vote, also voted in favour of drafting a letter of support for forest industry lobbyists the Ontario Forest Industry Association (OFIA) asking the province to support the MNR’s plan to transition the forest industry into the new Endangered Species Act over five years.

Mayor Nuttall expressed no concerns about those particular lobbyists.

It would seem one of two things were going on here. Either the mayor was substituting the word ‘lobbyist’ for ‘environmentalist’, or he would prefer only to entertain correspondence from lobbyist groups whose politics don’t run at odds with his own.

Either way it’s not my concern. Mayor Nuttall is perfectly entitled to oppose Save ELA Day if he wants (and he did, by the way). What matters is that he’s trying to obscure his reasons for taking what might be perceived by some as an unpopular stance behind a bunch of nonsense that is frankly insulting to anyone who’s ever sat through a council meeting.

Why ever would a mayor who has built his relationship with the community based on straight talk, even to his own disadvantage at times, start slinging bull about this?

Politics.

Nuttall’s speech was likely more directed towards MP Greg Rickford, about whom Nuttall has been observed saying complimentary things into microphones at every opportunity. Rickford has suffered greatly in his own riding due to his government’s difficult to defend position on the ELA issue — his own offices picketed by dozens of Nuttall’s constituents in 2012.

Mayor Nuttall’s candor is perhaps his strongest attribute as a municipal leader. These small moments of disingenuous politicking gradually erode the trust and the expectation that the citizens have in their elected leader who weren’t voting for any political party when they elected Nuttall to his seat.

So get real. It’s better to say what you really mean, or say nothing at all.

Chris Marchand

 

One thought on “Get Real

  1. Too Bad—-after all these years, Mayor Nuttal still hasn’t learned when to keep his mouth shut. He is his own worst enemy at best.

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