Fact Check…..Please

Have you been watching the Trump Clinton debates and as well as the daily ongoing rhetoric? It’s the first time I can ever remember the media resorting to “fact checking” to prove or disprove claims by candidates in a leadership race.  Consider if you will the “absolute facts” frequently thrown out by Trump, claims validated as he thrusts his stubby little fingers in the air with ….”Believe me!”. Perhaps the “Donald” really believes his verbal diarrhea or perhaps he just suffers from delusions of grandeur?  Is it possible the prevailing Sou’west winds are now blowing this fact fabrication trend north to our fair province?
   Let’s put it to the acid test. Closer to home our very own former Mayor Mel Norton has been in the news lately. Norton is pinning his hopes for the PC leadership on his record as a leader and the progress he made in the Renaissance City,
There is no question previous Common Councils had been labeled by many as “Comedy Council” and for good reason. at the very least mayor Mel Norton brought some order and decorum to the horseshoe. Going on from there  Mel Norton’s claim to fame and a hopeful ticket to the Conservative leadership seems to be pinned on pulling Saint John back from the brink of death and despair. ……….really?
1) The Saint John Pension Plan – The Saint John Pension Plan had an underfunded liability to the tune of at least $195 million dollars. Susan Rowland, pension expert, suggested that council switch the city’s nearly bankrupt pension plan to a a shared-risk plan. Rowland chaired a pension task force in New Brunswick that had recommended the adoption of the shared-risk model in the province. Enabling legislation was subsequently passed and the shared-risk pension plan became a reality. Saint John Common Council eventually voted to adopt Rowland’s shared-risk suggestion to keep the plan afloat. It was a shotgun wedding folks, Saint John had no choice.

2) Clean safe Drinking Water – The leg and design work for clean safe drinking water started back in 2008. In 2012 Mayor Ivan Court replied, “We may have it secured, but we may not have it completed by 2012”. The premier and his MLAs were on record as saying they were with the project until it was finished. The same was true of  MP Rodney Weston.. Safe, clean drinking water was Court’s number one priority for the citizens of Saint John. In June, Common Council voted to file a funding application with PPP Canada Inc., the federal office responsible for P3s.  The lion’s share of the work had been done so who should get the credit?

3) One of Mayor Mel’s claims to fame was that Saint John became the Renaissance City. We were a hotbed of economic activity Remember the True Growth Strategy? Most folks would consider a renaissance as a revival, so how did we do? Read the following story and decide for yourselves. “Saint John comes up short on economic performance targets.”  As if to throw a little more fuel on the Renaissance City in Dec 2015 Turner Drake reported “Saint John continues to have the highest overall vacancy rate and lowest overall net rental rate in Atlantic Canada”. (Turner Drake and Partners) …this after Mayor Mel and Council had been at the helm for over three and a half years.

4) A month later January 2016 when asked by CBC if the good Mayor would re-offer to run as Mayor he replied that he was ready to return to private life with a renewed focus on his legal practice.…..really? Could running for the PC leadership be considered returning to private life?

The problem with facts is they has a way of popping up and kicking you where and when you least expect them.