Gil Brocanier Gives Advice in Farewell Speech

At his final Council meeting, Mayor Gil Brocanier gave a farewell speech which included advice to the incoming Council – and he pulled no punches.  The opportunity was his Economic Development Coordinator report which is scheduled at the end of every regular Council meeting.  As his last report, he said that he and John Henderson, together with Manufacturing Attraction Specialist T.J. Flynn, are being sent on an all expenses paid trip to China by William Academy from October 10 to 18.  As well as being at a twinning with a city just outside Beijing and the setting up of a Hockey training centre like the CCC, they will pursue “business opportunities”.  Gil then thanked Councillors and Staff for helping achieve the Strategic Plan’s Goals and Objectives and said he was leaving on a high and has absolutely no regrets.  But he then proceeded to pass on some feedback (advice) to the new Council.

Mayor Gil Brocanier
Mayor Gil Brocanier

Gil said that in walking around Town, he is often approached by people who say they love Cobourg and all it has to offer.  Gil said that it’s important to understand that these people are the silent majority who are not interested in seeing their name in a newspaper or a blog site but they are telling us that Cobourg is a good place and they are happy to be here.

Gil continued:

We are fortunate to have very responsible media coverage on council (he indicated Cecilia Nasmith and myself at the media table) and I want to thank you for that. But that leads me to the vocal minority and for most of them, my advice is to ignore them as there are chronic malcontents who will never find anything positive to say.  A good example comes from a small group that blog [I think he means comments] on John Draper’s excellent News blog and several of them criticize me and staff even though a lot of things they say are not even true….   If you’re so discontented, why don’t you just leave.

He continued:

So while I’m at it, I want to advise you to ignore the Cobourg Taxpayers Association until they come up with something of substance.  I can’t find anyone who thinks the CTA represents them. (More below on the CTA’s response to his criticism).

Gil wanted to mention that never once has he been questioned on transparency and openness – I’m sure he sees them as being his strong points.  He then went on to list what he believes citizens do care about.

  • Employment opportunities – good-paying jobs to keep the youth in Town.
  • The Waterfront although they are polarized on this
  • A Safe Community
  • Lower taxes.  Gil said that most complaints come from people who have moved from the GTA where taxes are artificially low. He explained that if everything is factored in, the difference is less. E.g. Electricity is 50% more in the GTA and water is extremely more expensive. At a conference of Ontario Mayors, they all complained of the same thing and said “please do something about Toronto’s taxes”.  Gil believes in being fiscally responsible and keeping tax increases to a fair minimum.

CTA response

On Thursday, the CTA issued a response in an open letter to the mayor.

It was signed by: Lydia Smith – President, Dennis Nabieszko – Secretary, Bryan Lambert – Treasurer, Ken Strauss – Director and Ted Williams – Director and started by accusing Gil of  “serial bullying and abuse of the power inherent in your position” but that the “misplaced criticism of the Cobourg Taxpayers Association was actually a back-handed compliment”.

Since Gill criticized them, it showed they were in fact effective since “had we not been effective you would have simply ignored us.”

Their letter concluded with:

Your criticism of the concerned Cobourg residents with whom you disagree, in the forum of an official Council meeting, constitutes a cowardly breach of the Code of Conduct for Council Members. Suggesting that those with a different vision for Cobourg “should just leave” is completely unacceptable. You over-stepped the bounds of civility and respect knowing that, because this was the last official session of Council, a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner would not be possible. Nevertheless, we reserve our rights to redress this issue.

Your behaviour has caused us to redouble our resolve to be a valuable resource for the people of Cobourg. And we sincerely thank you for that.

You can’t accuse either Gil or the CTA of beating around the bush.  But we live in a polite democracy.  As several councillors said in their farewell speeches:  “Despite some disagreements, everyone has been respectful.”  Of course they were referring to interaction amongst councillors, not with outside groups.

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JUST SO U KNOW

In the interest of “Openness and Transparency, I hope the Ex-Mayor and Un Elected new Mayor on their Trip to promote Chinese Immigration to our Town, will warn potential newcomers about the Unaffordable high Property Taxes In Cobourg. I would also caution our free loading trio that visitors to China have been disappearing recently.

Wally Keeler

“…warn potential newcomers about the Unaffordable high Property Taxes In Cobourg.”

What a ludicrous notion. If the Chinese open a business here, their management team would be able to pay high end taxes. It’s the hired help from here that may get the short end of the high tax stick.

They are hardly a “free-loading trio.” Are they travelling on YOUR dime? Do you seriously believe that this trio will just party away and not bother to explore business opportunities?

Btw, tell us more about the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Canadians that have disappeared in recent months in China. Tell us how we should be very very afraid.

Walter L. Luedtke

Taking up Cobourg Person’s post about the CTA’s ‘lack of substance’.
“It’s about countering the unreasonable demands of unionized town workers for more pay and benefits while the rest of us have to live within our means.” From the CTA website.
Mayor Henderson has been negotiating with Cobourg’s Fire Fighters, Local 1731.
Which of the demands of the Fire Fighter’s union for more pay and benefits did the CTA think were ‘unreasonable’?
If there were any unreasonable demands, how did the CTA go about ‘countering’ them?

Walter L. Luedtke

No answers to those questions from the CTA supporters.
Just lots of down and upvotes.
All hat and no cattle.

Bill Thompson

Since when would a citizen’s advocacy group be dealing with a local union branch of a large union organization ?
You may want to revisit the mandate of the CTA
Surely as a school teacher and a past union member I would imagine you must be aware of the procedures.
Shades of stirring the pot remarks comes to mind.
Stick to the subject at hand if you can.

Walter L. Luedtke

Good question!
https://www.cobourgtaxpayers.ca/about-us/what-we-are-about
Read what this says about ‘unionized town workers’ and comprehend if you can.

Bill Thompson

According to the statement it appears that it is the town Staff ,not the Union that is requesting the additional pay and benefits unless I’ve misinterpreted it.

Frenchy

The CTA is Walter’s ear worm. He’s got it bad.

Stan G

Thanks for your service mayor Brocanier. You can count me among that silent majority who think you’ve done a good job, and who the Cobourg Taxpayers Association certainly isn’t representing. In fact, it irks me a little that they call themselves that. I am a Cobourg taxpayer, and I definitely don’t want to be associated with their kind of asshattery. I’m crossing my fingers the upcoming election will end up snubbing most or all of the candidates who seem to hold the same values as the CTA, who in my view is nothing but a bunch of whiny naysayers without any kind of vision or positive plans for our town.

Alma Beston

George and I wish Gil and his family peace and contentment in retirement. We love our town and his contributions to making a great place to live, work and raise our families.

Cobourg Person

I think the mayor has a point when he says the CTA lacks substance. When the CTA was formed they listed the following as issues:

1. Increased Municipal staffing;
2. Police and fire services arbitration;
3. Holdco;
4. CIVI initiative;
5. Northam;
6. Irregularities in municipal election voter list and e-voting;
7. CCC on-going cost overruns;
8. By-laws that don’t serve businesses and the public.

Have the CTA ever provided an update on the above issues and what they have accomplished towards correcting the issues?

Wally Keeler

A point: I am a private individual and I do not provide updates about my activities concerning any issue anywhere at any time except of my own will. The CTA is a salad of private individuals.

Cobourg Person

The “salad of private individuals” created a community organization whose purpose is to represent and address the major concerns and issues of taxpayers. If that organization identifies a list of concerns then I fully expect them to provide an update on their activities concerning the issues.

The above is a completely different situation from the concerns of my neighbours, friends, etc. Although they have concerns, I don’t expect them to provide me with an update on how they have addressed those concerns.

Frenchy

I don’t think it’s up to the CTA to “correct” any of those issues, but rather town staff and Council to change things. I think the CTA just wants to bring these issues to the forefront so the public knows about them.
If they don’t, who will?
For the record, I’m not a member.

Wally Keeler

” I fully expect them to provide an update …”

Really? Do you subscribe ($$$) to them? That’s quite the sense of entitlement you seem to think you have over individuais that you neither paid nor elected. You have NO RIGHT to expect anything from those individuals, just as you have NO RIGHT to expect anything from this individual, me. Btw, they have an outstanding invitation to any Cobourg resident to meet with them to discuss matters. Give them a call and request the information. You might learn something.

Cobourg Person

I asked the CTA for their meeting dates and they have refused to provide them.

Wally Keeler

That is their right.

Bill Thompson

Did you give the CTA your real name when you asked ?

Cobourg Person

No, I did not give my real name. I requested the meeting dates and they refused, labelling my request as absurd.

Wally Keeler

Why do you think they said that?

Bill Thompson

If your interest in genuine why wouldn’t you give your real name?
I wouldn’t answer you either if you choose to hide behind an anonymous title.I believe that qualifies you as possibly just being a troll.

It is a free country and freedom of speech is still available.so why the hesitation ?
What are you afraid of ?

Kyle

And exactly what in your list would the CTA have direct control over? They are are all still relevant to challenge the local government over. Thankfully there are some that are not lemmings or drink the koolaid on demand. Running for local Council is not the only way participate in a democratic society. Whether you agree or not with every position taken they have every right to express their opinions. Reality does not aways exist in any media release.

Walter L. Luedtke

First, thank you Mayor Brocanier for your many, many years of service to our community as Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor. I had the pleasure of serving on a committee with you and I found you to be well-prepared, well-informed and gentlemanly at all times. I am certain that many folks in Cobourg are grateful for your service. Second, I should like to respond to the CTA’s open letter. That letter uses the word ‘bullying’. Mr Strauss, the treasurer, in a column in Northumberland Today, called for the replacement of those Councillors and Staff members, who do not do exactly as they are told by the CTA. CTA supporters on this blog have constantly accused Council and Staff of conspiracy and secret manipulations. The accusations and suspicions extend to Cobourg Police Services, the Fire Department, Holdco and Northam. ‘Cowardly’? The CTA believe that they are the voice a large segment of Cobourg citizens and that they alone know what is good for our town. What is puzzling then, is that none of the inner circle of the CTA are running for office. If the CTA has such a large following, do they not owe them seeking seats on Council? CTA… Read more »

Pierre

Well said Walter. Mayor Brocanier has offered his time, energy to serving in a public office. One might agree or disagree with him, that’s one’s prerogative but he deserves respect for his years in office and the CTA letter is very disrespectful, and I think uncalled for at the end of his tenure.

Frenchy

I agree with you Walter and Pierre and thank Gil for his many years of dedication and service.
The CTA letter seems to be in response to Gil’s tongue-lashing he gave to the CTA and anyone who doesn’t agree with him, in his farewell speech. What a negative way to end a great career. Is this how he wants to be remembered?

Frenchy

“If you’re so discontented, why don’t you just leave.”
Why not stay and try to make it better?

gerinator

Coz that effort, desire puts you into the “vocal minority ….and … to be ignored” category of peasant. And no I’m not from Toronto!

Wally Keeler

Whenever I watch the Cobourg Civic Awards, I am amazed at the number of volunteers armed with a sense of community who improve the Town in a multitude of ways over generations. These volunteers stay. And their example brings in fresh residents to become volunteers or run for elation to Council.

Old Sailor

A tip of the hat to Mayor Brocanier for his many years of service to our town. A road not often travelled.

gerinator

Absolutely Gil should be congratulated on his tenure as Mayor of Cobourg and his interaction with the County. Public service is not for the faint at heart or thin skinned. It is hoped that John Henderson has learned from Gil’s successes and his failures; that he will implement the badly needed cultural changes to enable Council, and Councilors, to succeed on all fronts.

Rusty Brown

I, for one, would like more details on these “badly needed cultural changes” so that I might understand local politics better.

Mrs. Anonymous

Is the Jeff Weng that owns Williams Academy the same Jeff Weng that is part of Ideal Immigration Services? (immigrant.ca) by any chance?

I’m not sure what you mean by “setting up a hockey training centre like at the CCC”. In other media it sounded more like they wanted to open a hockey school here. The term “business opportunities ” is awfully vague.

Hopefully some clarification on these matters will be forthcoming.

gerinator

My prediction: Gil will be going in his new role as ‘influencer’ within this community and County; John is going because he has control of the purse. There is no other explanation.

The expenses should come out of Gil’s and John’s respective pockets; ensures the relationship, and the perception of that relationship, is on the up-and-up. Further, I don’t know Mr. Weng, probably a good guy but, he should know that business acumen 101 says that these types of boondoggles are often prone to sever backlashes Especially if over time there are some real, tangible benefits that find their way to either the Academy or Ideal Immigration.

Walter L. Luedtke

“Mr. Weng Xuwei, Chairman of Canada’s Ideal Immigration Study Group, has a double master’s degree from the University of Toronto and York University, and has been engaged in immigration and study abroad for more than 20 years. He has a wide network of contacts in the immigration and education sectors. He used to be a host of students studying in Toronto Chinese Radio Station and has been interviewed by many well-known media such as CTV.”

Wally Keeler

I can smell the scent of sinister now. gerinator is another premature rejector. Forbid that the Academy or Ideal Immigration should ever expand their business in Cobourg over time, as if Cobourg is not in need of jobs. gerinator’s attitude is all too common, blocking this or that with petty fantasies. If something like your paranoid fantasy does come up, there is an easy remedy. When/if anything ever comes up in Town Council, Mr Henderson can recuse himself from the decision-making concerning that particular issue. No problem.

gerinator

Gullibility is not one of my strong suits. Nothing in this world is for free, least of all ‘free’ trips provided by ‘entrepreneurs’ that may have ‘needs’ at some point in the future. Recuse pllleeeeaase!!

Wally Keeler

There are conflict of interest laws and guidelines and I sure that citizens like yourself will not hesitate to yell CONFLICT OF INTEREST whenever Mr John Henderson opens his mouth about any associated interest. If we followed your paranoia policies we would never have any progress whatsoever. Your contention is so remote that it has virtually no plausibility. Yes, recuse. Politicians in many levels do it. Get used to that overwhelming fact.

Bill Thompson

How is Williams Academy doing these days incidentally?
Everything has been rather silent after the sale of CDC West which I think may be unusual for a local,successful business transaction by the town.
I’d have thought that such a good result would have been cause to publish updates in some local media but strangely nothing since.

Walter L. Luedtke

The ‘Town’ did not sell the West Collegiate because it did not own it.
So stop your sneering.
“The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board approved the sale of the school site located at 135 West after receiving an offer for $1,660,000 from buyer Xu Jiong Weng.”
If you really really really want to know how they are doing phone them:
905-372-1000

Bill Thompson

“”Stop your sneering” ?!
How did that comment arise from a simple question ?
Your biased assumption is just another example of your typical reaction to someone else’s comments that you dislike so read into them your narrow default negative response.
There was no sneering involved as you imply.I simply asked about the school because of the reasons I stated.
It is located in town and part of it and the sale details in the local media so I would think that the town was directly involved in the sale process
Did it play no part in the sale of it ?

Wally Keeler

“I’d have thought that such a good result would have been cause to publish updates in some local media but strangely nothing since.”

Nothing strange at all about it. The Academy is fulfilling its priority mandate — to educate its pupils. It’s a private organization, much like the CTA, and the Academy doesn’t have to provide updates to the public just like the CTA doesn’t have to provide updates to the public. If you want to know how the Academy is doing, give them a call and see how they respond.

cornbread

There is no way our next Mayor should be accepting a “Gift Trip” from a business operating in our community. The twinning with a city in China is just an excuse as far as I am concerned….and the rest is just a sham.
Beware of foreigners baring gifts…there is a hook somewhere. Henderson should refuse the trip!

Walter L. Luedtke

Uh oh! This did not take long.
Cornbread, Ms Q and Mrs Anonymous smell a rat already and Mr. Henderson is not even Mayor.
And Chinese foreigners yet!!! Maybe he has a niece there.
Better obey, Mr Henderson!
Or else!

cornbread

Wake up Walter…It’s called “Conflict of Interest”
Plain & Simple.

Wally Keeler

How is it a conflict of interest?

Bill Thompson

Of course city /city and town /town twinning has been used to form international business links for many years, but a City the size of Beijing proposing twinning with a Town with population around 19000 ?

Wally Keeler

Does it matter to you that Manufacturing Attraction Specialist T.J. Flynn, is also included on the trip?

Frenchy

Is this Cobourg’s version of JT and entourage visiting his old lifelong family friend the Aga Kahn in the Bahamas?

Wally Keeler

Omg, your fiction is blandsand.

Walter L. Luedtke

Red herring troll alert!

Frenchy

We never should have taught Walter that word.

Susie-Q

“….are being sent on an all expense paid trip to China….”.

Wow, that sure is a big thank you! Hmm. Enjoy your trip gentlemen!

Hillary

Green looks good on you!

Frenchy

It’s an advertising/recruitment campaign for the school.
Nice little trip for our guys, have fun.

Frenchy

About transparency and openness, his Worship says:
“Two words put forward by people who trying to create an issue every time there is an election”
2:09:30. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=812UDi1FU_U&t=7775s

A little bit of quick research finds that 8 out of 11 candidates (plus the acclaimed mayor-elect) use those two words in their campaign literature or during interviews.
Those words are used by:
John Henderson
Suzanne Séguin
Randy Curtis
Adam Bureau
Miriam Mutton
Travis Hoover
Nicole Beatty
Karl Vom Dorff
Emily Chorley

Haven’t got time to dig further but I’ll bet those words are somewhere in the campaigns of:
Johnny Percolides
Aaron Burchat
Brian Darling

But Gil thinks openness and transparency are a negative? What is he saying about the current crop of candidates?
Give me a thumbs down for everyone who doesn’t think we should have openness and transparency in government.

Walter L. Luedtke

Don’t get excited!
What the Mayor meant was that ‘openness and transparency’ are trite, overworked slogans like ‘motherhood and apple pie’.
Most every candidate uses them.

Bill Thompson

Walter
Surprising that you feel it necessary to speak for the mayor to clarify what he meant about openness and transparency.
I wonder if he’d get excited about you doing so.
He is not a candidate seeking election but a mayor on his way out.

Frenchy

Really?
Almost 4 hours after my post, 6 people think that openness and transparency in government ISN’T a good thing?
Where are you from?

Bill Thompson

Frenchy
I assume you’re responding to Walter’s comments re don’t get excited etc.

Frenchy

No, just surprised that 6 people actually gave a “thumbs down” to my challenge:
“Give me a thumbs down for everyone who doesn’t think we should have openness and transparency in government.”
These people want secrecy in government?

Wally Keeler

You once pointed out to me that I get thumbs down because people don’t like me, that it had little to do with the actual opinion. The thumbs up or down is a useless metric on this blog. A sincere answer to your question might be interesting, but alas …

Frenchy

true dat Wally, but have you ever seen 49 thumbs up (or down) for any post here as you see in the one below from Greg H?
49

Wally Keeler

Not that I recall, but I don’t think I’ll indulge in conjecture.

Wally Keeler

Not that I recall. Conjecture?

Pierre2

It seems to be true that self made men tend to fall in love with their creator!

manfred s

…”several of them criticize me … even though a lot of things they say are not even true…. ” that is indeed a good example of that old saying about a kettle and a pot, kinda made me chuckle. It’s certainly not a surprise, not to me anyway. I think Greg got it spot on when he said “became increasingly erratic and unwilling to listen to citizens”.

Jason Beatty

I’ve typed, deleted, and re-typed a reply a few times now and all I’m left with is the sage old advice “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. My apologies for the lack of content.

manfred s

that was a very nice way of saying “nothing nice” … pretty smooth too.
With that kind of finesse, you could have been a candidate too 😉

Jason Beatty

Manfred I’d like to say I’ve slept with too many people for politics, but that would be a bold face lie.

Hey, I just may be cut out for it after all….

Greg H

The New York Times publishes articles and editorials that are extremely critical of President Trump. This does not mean that New Yorkers are unpatriotic and should leave the USA. It means that a significant number of them want a better leader.

“ Your Worship “ is historically used as an official way of referring to Mayors. Unfortunately it is increasingly being seen as being over-the-top. Praise now is seen as needing to be earned, rather than automatically given.

Mayor Brocanier was initially welcomed, but became increasingly erratic and unwilling to listen to citizens. He developed a very sharp tongue to respond to people with alternative ideas. His critics are still proud to be Cobourgers, but should not be expected to continually praise the Mayor.

Durka

In Gil’s defence there is a contingent of people who post here who seem to genuinely dislike Cobourg. The example of people who hate Trump is more hating the man but still loving the country.

Bill Thompson

Possibly the genuine dislike is for the mayor and town/council methods of management vice the dislike of an inanimate town of Cobourg itself.
I would think that more likely in all reality.

Bill Thompson

“Your Worship” title is incongruent with the decision made to discontinue the Lord’s Prayer at council meetings a while ago is it not ?

Walter L. Luedtke

Chuckles!
“Greg Hancock said bluntly that over the years, it has been Council’s fault that bad Heritage decisions were made.”
Over the years – going back at least to 2005 – Mr. Hancock has had his run-ins with Council..
https://www.northumberlandnews.com/news-story/3770772-tempers-flare-over-cobourg-audit/
So his animosity towards Mayor Trump-Brocanier comes as no surprise.

Wally Keeler

He developed a very sharp tongue to respond to people with alternative ideas.

I’ve had alternative ideas all my life and received sharp tongues from every direction, including expulsion from school, SS of RCMP intercepting and withholding my mail, informing landlords and employers that I was a suspected subversive, and so and so on. It all comes to advocates of alternative ideas. Nothing new about this. I have noted that those who whine about my alternative ideas invariably have none of their own. Life’s like that. I also learned to sharpen my tongue with 45 calibre metaphors and surface to sentence similes and other means to write powerfully and deflate the righteousmess and the textually bland.

manfred s

Wally, I think people like you (and me sometimes), those who challenge anything that the masses simply and blindly accept, just frankly scare the bejeebies out of them and they react with whatever means they know to ‘drive us out of town’, so to speak. Of course, once those radical, scary ideas gain some traction, they are only too happy to jump on the band wagon and cheer for them. The savvy politicians just wait for the dust to settle and then come out championing those once reviled ideas as something they’ve always supported. As you say, “Life’s like that.” Yup, but we know it doesn’t have to be and better yet, it shouldn’t be.

Bill Thompson

Does the mayor’s remarks at his farewell speech advising that “people who are discontented in Cobourg should just leave “ fall into the category that you’re describing ?

Rusty Brown

“All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; and Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer [1788 – 1860]

manfred s

ain’t that the truth…