Artificial Intelligence vs Democracy

Run to the hills, the computers are coming! Whether you’re excited about the growing potential of AI to change our world, or deeply concerned about it, you’re also probably getting tired of hearing about it by now. There’s been a ton of analysis about whether or not a computer will take your job (the answerContinue reading “Artificial Intelligence vs Democracy”

Small Town Sprawl

We’re working through the Strategic Planning process, and we just had a series of public engagement opportunities where residents could talk about their vision and hopes for Brighton’s future, their recommendations for new initiatives or improvements, and even their concerns and frustrations. Excellent exercises, and we had over 60 of our neighbours participate. Going throughContinue reading “Small Town Sprawl”

Process and Delay

Government processes are the perfect example of how to make something simple and straightforward into something convoluted, costly, and time consuming. At least, that’s how it seems much of the time, and I hear the same from residents pretty regularly. I also hear the same from (typically conservative) politicians, often as a good reason toContinue reading “Process and Delay”

Crossing Lines

Long before I was elected, people knew me as “the politics guy” and would ask “who do I talk to about ______?” Very often, the person was barking up the wrong tree: what they thought was a provincial issue was actually municipal, or federal. Sometimes it wasn’t a government issue at all, actually a unionContinue reading “Crossing Lines”

The Municipality, and the Community

The way that we talk about ourselves can reveal a lot about us, but it can also obscure some important distinctions. What does it really mean when I say that I’m from Brighton? I might be referring to the Municipality of Brighton, which is a place with defined boundaries, but which is also a localContinue reading “The Municipality, and the Community”

Who Pays for That?

The history of government in Ontario has been an ongoing back and forth between municipalities and the province about who takes responsibility for which services. You’ve probably heard municipalities groan about “downloading”, when the provincial government passes responsibility down to municipalities – sometimes with the funding to match, sometimes not. You’ve probably also heard aboutContinue reading “Who Pays for That?”

Emergency Management

Last week council was trained on our Emergency Management Program, which I found absolutely fascinating. I have a thick binder full of info, but I’ll give you the outline of the different kinds of things that go into Emergency Management; maybe a future post will break down the Emergency Response Plan for Brighton. The presentationContinue reading “Emergency Management”

Law vs Justice, Power vs Authority

It’s Easter weekend, so I’m taking a break from the usual “how does this process work” focus of this blog to indulge in a more philosophical post. I’ll try to keep it from being too much of a sermon. There are four concepts, or two pairs of concepts, that are foundational to governments of everyContinue reading “Law vs Justice, Power vs Authority”

Going Through the Motions

As I read the agenda for Monday’s meeting, I paused on a phrase in the partnership agreement between the Municipality and the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board. Under the rules of how their Board of Directors will function, it said that the Board will: 5. Be an initiator of policy, not merely a reactorContinue reading “Going Through the Motions”

If A Tree Falls

Few things are more associated with environmentalism than protecting and planting trees. I was known as “the green guy” long before I was elected to council, which may be why I hear about trees so often, but I hear about it almost as much as I hear about bad traffic. So here are a fewContinue reading “If A Tree Falls”