By Ross Kentner
A round of darts and laurels will enable us to touch on several issues today.
And we+?G??G??ll start by welcoming Premier Dalton McGuinty to Owen Sound with, I+?G??G??m sorry, this is a dart. Sir, you have just added 8% to the cost of radio advertising which I know our clients can+?G??G??t really afford. They need to keep advertising in this recession+?G??-?why sock them with that? I think when all is said and done, Ontarians are going to find their pockets are a heck of a lot lighter. They+?G??G??ll have you to thank!
A laurel to Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Larry Miller. For one thing he has single-handedly launched a much-needed review of how the Bluewater Board of Education manages its affairs. But he has also been named to head the food safety committee of the Commons Agriculture Committee. It+?G??G??s an important job because according to Paul Caron, a retired inspector of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, we+?G??G??re giving away the store at the border.
So here is a laurel for Mr. Caron for speaking out and a dart for the Agency. While United States inspectors check all of our cross-border meat shipments, our guys call American exporters three days ahead to give them a heads up. Why? So they can send the good stuff those days?
Here is yet another dart for the RCMP in connection with the Robert Dziekanski case. The force+?G??G??s indiscriminant use of taser shocks on Dziekanski has given Canada a terrible image in Europe, but that+?G??G??s no reason for the RCMP to now turn the inquiry into a character assassination.
Once again I find it necessary to aim a dart at the oil companies. When the price of crude oil plunged and the price of gas at the pump fell back below a dollar a litre, what we appreciated most was a consistent 7-day a week price. But, hey, what is it about us crazy Canucks. We drive too much on the weekend and they just can+?G??G??t resisit, so now, even though there is no real reason, if you don+?G??G??t fill up by Thursday, you+?G??G??re a sucker!
Let+?G??G??s wrap this up on the positive side with a laurel for the Owen Sound Chamber of Commerce which has just published an analysis of labour statistics for Grey, Bruce, Huron and Perth Counties. They show that year to year, unemployment increased only 1%. Because the local labour force grew by 2100 people, the unemployment rate has gone from 3.8% to 5.9%.
That compares with the provincial average which, in January was 7.2%. And remember that until recently, 6% unemployment was really considered "full employment."