|Posted on November 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM|
Last Monday, in council chambers, when I was thanking those who inspired me in my term, I mentioned my father's experiences in a Stasi prison and how he helped me understand the importance of fighting on behalf of the rights of others.
The local paper wrote about my speech but the article failed to provide context as to why my father was in an East German Stasi prison. He was not in prison due to anything that would be considered “criminal” by today’s standards. He was arrested for his involvement while trying to re-unite a family separated by the Berlin Wall.
Others with whom he served time with included university professors, priests, and hundreds of conscientious objectors to the soviet regime. The Stasis were brutal oppressors, particularly when suppressing basic human rights.
My father has since received an apology from the German government and I'm disappointed the paper has spun him being portrayed as a common criminal.
This isn't the first time the local paper, the Era, has attacked the integrity of my family. In one column, they printed an article portraying me as a criminal and were ordered to correct the record by the Ontario Press Council through mediation. In others, they questioned the integrity of my husband when he ran as a municipal candidate.
My father was a crusader for human rights and this is what led him to his stint in prison. The paper omitted that important detail in their story and have failed to respond to my request correcting the record.
|Posted on November 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM|
The last time I went in to see my Member of Parliament (then Frank Klees) my conversation made front page news in the local paper. With Frank Klees, every issue had a political end and he used each opportunity as such.
What a breath of fresh air it was for me to visit with the new MPP Chris Ballard.
My husband John Blommesteyn and I visited Chris and his staff at the new constituency office, located at 238 Wellington St. East, to discuss the attack ads against my husband that a Newmarket Service Ontario office employee was handing out to her customers on October 21st.
To be honest, I had prejudged MPP Chris Ballard. After all, his political stripes line up with my husband’s Ward 7 opponent, Christina Bisanz, former candidate for the Liberal party of Ontario. Bisanz is a veteran campaigner whose history of campaigns are shrouded with defaming, anonymous attack ads against her opponents. I thought the MPP would try to downplay the incident.
To my surprise, Chris was strong and unequivocal.
If the Newmarket Service Ontario office was distributing attack ads, Chris said, the franchise owner should lose his contract. MPP Chris Ballard is the Parliamentary Assistant for the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (under which Service Ontario falls); and he left no doubt that he was in the right position to make sure that there would be consequences for those who broke the rules.
MPP Chris Ballard said those responsible for the attack ad against me and my husband were no friends of his.
We were further made aware by his office that others have stepped up and reported a similar experience on the same day.
He also told us that he was steadfastly opposed to anonymous attack ads (in our case, it targeted our family) in municipal campaigns and advised us that he wanted to see a prohibition against them when the Ontario Government revises the Municipal Act to allow ranked balloting. He had already advised the Minister as such.
I'm glad to see Mr. Ballard take this offense very seriously and I look forward to his promise of getting answers.
I might disagree with MPP Ballard on matters of policy but I can’t disagree with how well I felt he handled our complaint. Based on our meeting, I expect that Chris will get to the bottom of this Service Ontario matter and will ensure that those who benefited from bending the rules are held to account.
|Posted on November 8, 2014 at 12:30 AM|
Below is a copy of my speech at a Remembrance Day service in Newmarket arranged by the Legion:
On November 11, 1919 Canada marked the first anniversary of Armistice with a day of Remembrance.
Ninety five years later, Canada still remembers.
We recognize the men and women who answered the call to serve. We honour those who were wounded and we remember those who fell.
The benefits of our freedoms are many. We have the right to live our lives peacefully, without oppression and pursue our own happiness. But there is a cost to all of what Canada offers. And our nation is fortunate to have those who bravely took up arms against evil doers who would see our freedoms taken from us.
World War One and Two, the Korean War, and the War in Afghanistan. Canadians have fought in great wars with honour and distinction.
And in peacekeeping missions around the world, Canadian troops have served to end violence between people and help nations rebuild afterward.
In troubled regions, such as the former Yugoslavia conflict, in Libya, and even now while we oppose the insurgents known as ISIS, Canadian military personnel rush in to stop the spread of violence and oppression.
I wish that I could say that we will never know war again and that our soldiers who sacrificed so much have already succeeded in putting an end, once and for all, to oppression and genocide. Unfortunately, I know that isn’t true. War remains a fact of life for many regions of our planet.
But I also know that where injustice, tyranny, and violence exist, Canadian men and women are willing to bravely intervene in order to make our world more peaceful.
While we remember the young men and women who have served and sacrificed, let us also remember those who remained at home too. Every soldier has a mother and a father who worried for them. Many had spouses and children who waited anxiously for them to return home. These are people who loved our soldiers as they fought overseas, and supported our brave troops as they served our country.
They too deserve our honour.
On November 11th, we mourn those we lost. We play the Last Post and lower the flag to half mast. We take a moment of silence and we remember.
Then we raise our flag again. We lift our heads high with pride and think about the freedoms we cherish. We express our gratitude to those who fought for those freedoms and we make a vow to them. We promise to repeat this act of remembrance next year, on November 11th, and to continue to do so every year for as long as we live.
Lest we forget.
|Posted on October 30, 2014 at 11:55 AM|
The similarities are startling.
Two conservative parties languishing in opposition. Both parties are struggling to gain a foothold within the urban centres of their respective provinces. A series of by-elections and winnable seats are lost. Questions about the leadership of the party.
This was the situation in 2013 for Tim Hudak on the heels of losing 4 out of 5 seats on August 1st, 2013. The winning seat, Doug Holyday’s, was more attributable to Rob and Doug Ford’s activism in campaigning for their candidate than Hudak’s leadership. The Ontario PC’s lost winnable seats in Scarborough Guildwood, Ottawa South and London West.
At the time, I wrote in the Toronto Sun that it was imperative Hudak face the membership on the leadership question at the upcoming September 2013 policy convention. There was nothing in the party rules that required Hudak to do so - but if he would have taken my advice, then he could have put the leadership question to rest: http://www.torontosun.com/2013/06/07/ontario-pcs-need-a-leadership-review
Instead, Hudak got defensive.
He surrounded himself with only his closest loyalists and he stopped listening to anyone else. This “Hudak Bunker” mentality ultimately lead to his disastrous springtime campaign, where he didn't share the party’s platform with even his own MPPs. Just ask former Barrie MPP Rod Jackson what if felt like to be as shocked as everyone else in the room full of media as Hudak surprised everyone with news of his plans to cut 100,000 civil servant jobs.
The end results – a Kathleen Wynne Liberal majority – could have been avoided only if the leader was someone other than Tim Hudak.
Fast forward to the by-elections in Alberta held earlier this week. The Wild Rose Party was desperate to win at least one seat of the four contests, but didn't succeed in any - and some insiders doubt whether party leader, Danielle Smith, can ever win in urban Alberta.
Instead of following Hudak’s example, Smith has taken the fight to the doubters. She's asked that a leadership review be included in next month’s Wild Rose Party’s convention, explaining that she needs to exceed 77% approval or she’ll walk.
It’s a bold, smart move.
It puts the question forward and ensures all doubts will be settled before the province heads to the polls in 2015.
It’s a savvy and fine example of what a leader should do after a serious set back. Smith has taken the bad news and used it to her advantage instead to show strength and integrity.
I have to admit my bias and say that I personally have admired and respected the Wild Rose Party Leader for many years. Looking into my crystal ball, I expect that Danielle Smith will receive resounding approval from her members and will see a similar bump in the opinion polls for accepting responsibility for the outcomes of the by-elections and putting her job on the line.
|Posted on October 26, 2014 at 9:15 PM|
I was thrilled last month when conservative MP Brad Butt joined us in Newmarket, along with ward 6 and 7 residents, to endorse us as candidates. Here's part of that video:
|Posted on October 25, 2014 at 3:15 PM|
Team Kelly Broome-Plumley: deep pockets and community ties: former Aurora Mayor Tim Jones, failed ward 6 candidate and weathly business owner Brian Johns, wealthy franchise owner and Belinda's Place women's shelter foundation Jim Alexander, and Aurora resident and Magna employee Steve Hinder (who also supports mayor Tony Van Bynen's campaign).
As the municipal election campaign in Newmarket draws to a close, I would like to address a vicious, anonymous and libelous ad that went out to approximately 8000 homes about me and my husband, John Blommesteyn, a candidate running in the ward beside me, ward 7.
None of these allegations are true.
An anonymous Twitter account that goes by the name of @NmktTownHall releases tweets every 3 hours smearing the reputations of my husband and I and is followed by individuals who sit on our opponents’ campaigns (Kelly Broome-Plumley and Christina Bisanz). The Mayor himself, Tony Van Bynen, actually engages with this anon account despite the fact that it offers nothing but smears.
Please do not confuse @NmktTownHall with @NwktTownHall. The latter is a brilliant blog that has been around for years which discusses issues and political records; the former is a mere anonymous Twitter account that tweets smears about two individuals running for office with libel and outright lies.
@NmktTownHall claims they are responsible for sending out libelous, US-style attack ads via Canada Post to thousands of homes last week; something that doesn’t come cheap. It was done by individual(s) with very deep pockets and with a single purpose in mind: to make sure Kelly Broome-Plumley replaces me as the ward 6 councillor.
Canada Post cannot find any record of this order and in addition believes the material would have violated their policies. They are in the process of determining whether authorities will be asked to get involved and investigate.
Canada Post is also investigating why large swaths of neighborhoods in ward 6 did not receive my annual yearly update a month ago: https://www.scribd.com/doc/243568866/Ward-6-Newsletter-2014-Maddie-Di-Muccio" target="_blank">https://www.scribd.com/doc/243568866/Ward-6-Newsletter-2014-Maddie-Di-Muccio
And just last week, my husband was alerted that an employee of the Ministry of Transportation drivers license renewal office was actually accessing customer’s personal information to determine what ward they lived in and using that information to distribute the hate literature created by @NmktTownHall.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is investigating and we are told taking this breach very seriously.
My husband and I, in front of our children, have been accosted in the street while campaigning due to this literature. It has divided our community so much that my youngest son asked me if we could “leave Newmarket.”
Who’s running Newmarket, folks?
The group behind the anonymous smear campaign are individuals who don’t want me to get back into the ward 6 seat; they want my opponent Kelly Broome-Plumley to.
I have campaigned for 4 years exposing the scandalous records of this council and now we have possible violations with certain individuals working within both the provincial and federal government in our small community.
Take it back.
I have never stopped campaigning for truth and justice and I never will.
When those who have abused their power for too long find that their deeds are closing in on them, they pull out all stops to hold on to that power.
Those who have integrity are those who expose the lack of it. Having me back on council with an ally, ward 7 candidate John Blommesteyn, would be very, very dangerous for Tony Van Bynen and his cabal of thugs who have been running this town for decades.
And that’s why it’s so important to get out and vote for integrity on Monday, October 27th.
Do it for our future.
|Posted on October 22, 2014 at 11:55 AM|
There’s a lot to lose in this election for some people.
In Newmarket, it’s the political family dynasties - and their cronies - that have managed your municipal taxes for generations. If they are pushed out of government, their reign ends.
And that terrifies them.
It terrifies them so much that in the last days of the election, when they see their opponents gaining momentum, they resort to desperation by using Canada Post to mail out appaulling attack ads like this:
We know this is a well thought out, spare-no-expense, organized attempt to discredit the integrity of myself and ward 7 candidate John Blommesteyn and our family. This is the low ball levels that some opponents will go to in order to fight the principles we believe in, campaign on, and advocate on your behalf. These principles include:
13 years ago, my husband John Blommesteyn and I moved to this wonderful community to start a family. We volunteer, we raise money for charity, we advocate for a better community and for a just government.
That’s why we’re running for office.
That’s why we stick our neck on the line for you.
Our citizens can’t have a group of nameless faces behind politicians who put out disgraceful, libelous attacks.
This is an attack on our community.
It should inspire you to vote for integrity on October 27th.
Tell your family. Tell your friends. Take a few minutes of your day to take advantage of the power you have.
Don’t reward disgraceful tactics like this by our opponents.
You can change government and make it better.
Re-elect Maddie Di Muccio for ward 6 councillor and John Blommesteyn for ward 7 councillor.
Because Newmarket deserves better.
|Posted on October 19, 2014 at 11:50 AM|
Ward 6 candidate Kelly Broome-Plumley is seeking a seat on Newmarket council. She believes the ward has been unrepresented and communication has been lacking.
This doesn't surprise me because prior to this campaign, Kelly Broome-Plumley wasn't involved in municipal politics. She simply wasn't engaged, so she probably didn't notice what was going on.
In fact, despite the Town of Newmarket spending hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars a year in advertising and employing their own communication department, most taxpayers are unaware of ongoings.
It wasn't until two members of the community (one who is currently running for regional councillor and one who ran in 2010 for ward 6) made public that they were approached by the Old Boys Club in order to, ironically, prevent my communication to ward 6 taxpayers, by running against me in this election, that Kelly's name popped up: http://nwkttownhall.blogspot.ca/2014/10/newmarkets-manchurian-candidate.html
And I thought I'd post a sample of how hellbent the Old Boys are by making sure my annual newsletters updating ward 6 residents like this recent one: https://www.scribd.com/doc/243568866/Ward-6-Newsletter-2014-Maddie-Di-Muccio are not met without outrageous challenge:
Let me tell you about some of the people who did notice my work in ward 6, in all of Newmarket, in Ontario, and the rest of Canada, on behalf of taxpayers:
1) Yearly updates on my work in council on your behalf delivered to your homes: http://maddiedimuccio.webs.com/apps/blog/show/11526927-ward-six-newsletter-year-one and http://maddiedimuccio.webs.com/apps/blog/show/23410261-2012-end-of-year-newsletter and https://www.scribd.com/doc/243568866/Ward-6-Newsletter-2014-Maddie-Di-Muccio
2) Going door-to door with my own Town of Newmarket Budget Survey Questions: http://maddiedimuccio.webs.com/apps/blog/show/21112804-budget-2013-it-s-politics-and-increases-as-usual
3) Regular meetings: one-on-one, hosted in ward 6 homes and organized by ratepayers.
4) The National Post: Within a few weeks of being on the job, syndicated columnist Michael Taube had this to say about me standing up for taxpayers against exorbitant pay increases: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/02/23/michael-taube-quiet-suburban-library-a-strange-place-for-a-free-speech-battle/
5) The Toronto Star: shortly after that, due to my weekly blogging on Newmarket issues, reporter John Goddard wrote about my commitment to Newmarket taxpayers: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2011/03/17/rookie_councillor_insists_on_her_right_to_blog.html
6) The Toronto Sun: after following my exploits on Newmarket Council via my twitter and my blog, I was asked to join the Sun's team of columnists commenting on Newmarket, York Region and other political issues with a bi-weekly column: http://www.torontosun.com/author/maddie-dimuccio
7) The Manning Institute for Democracy: in 2013 I was invited to participate on a panel alongside federal MPs and Ministers Michelle Rempel and Candace Bergin, and MP Joan Crockatt to give insight as to how to increase the number of women elected to public office. My comments on the panel were widely reported in the national media and included my work on Newmarket council: http://www.hilltimes.com/news/politics/2013/03/08/bergen-crockatt-rempel-say-political-parties-don%E2%80%99t-need-quotas-for-female/33970
8 The organizers of" Municipalooza": I was invited to speak to a group of prospective municipal candidates at the Muncipalooza convention held in Ajax.
9) The Ombudsman of Ontario: On the day following Newmarket Council's decision to censure me, Andre Marin, the Ombudsman of Ontario, invited me to speak publicly on the appalling lack of transparency on Newmarket (and Ontario-wide) municipal councils: http://www.ombudsman.on.ca/Resources/Reports/2012-2013-OMLET-Annual-Report.aspx?lang=en-CA#
10) The Newmarket Era: The Era named me Newsmaker of the Year in 2013: http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/4298724-newsmaker-2013-newmarket-s-di-muccio-had-several-run-ins-with-council/
11) TVO Agenda, The Toronto Star, CP24, CBC, Global, Newstalk1010, Talk AM640, Sun TV: I have been a regular contributor for all these media outlets on a variety of Newmarket and York Regional issues: http://tvo.org/guest/195226/maddie-di-muccio
12) The Human Rights Commission of Ontario: Along with York Region Police Chief Eric Joliffe and former Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, I have been invited as the keynote speaker to share my work in successfully advocating for the Town of Newmarket to become partners with the Canadian Coalition Of Municipalities Against Racism And Discrimination later this month.
It’s truly unfortunate that Kelly Broome-Plumley didn't notice my communications and my commitment to ward 6 while the rest of the GTA, Ontario and even across Canada has been noticing. In fact, when I’m at the doors, almost all ward 6 residents know me by those efforts.
Perhaps Kelly Broome-Plumley feels that she can get more attention as your ward 6 councillor by writing about how terrific council currently functions, what with the ongoing in-camera meetings, the mayor's refusal to take questions, and the enormous tax increases, topping us off as the second highest taxed municipality in York Region.
I’d be interested in hearing how she plans on accomplishing this. From what I can see, the last tweet she posted was about partying at the Magna Hoe Down with Newmarket councillor Jane Twinney more than a month ago.
|Posted on October 10, 2014 at 12:50 AM|
|Posted on October 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM|
“I represent a positive, professional and passionate voice for Newmarket. Please support me…” – Regional Councillor John Taylor, who is seeking re-election, Twitter
“(I believe) in leading by example and positivity.” – Mayor Tony Van Bynen, seeking re-election for a third term.
You’ll notice in the above quotes the word “positive”; a term often used by council.
I’m not running for the Regional Councillor or Mayors’ position. I’m running for re-election to support taxpayers in ward 6, who, for years, have been led by these two men responsible for shutting down any attempt in a challenge to their policies. If you’re not an ally of the mayor or regional councillor’s tax- and-spend-behind-closed-doors agenda, you’re viewed as an outsider. You will be ostracized and painted as a negative person who can’t “get along.”
You will be the subject of a vicious smear campaign by an Old Boys Club that is destroying this town we love.
Today’s politics didn’t get its reputation through elected officials behaving statesman-like. The appalling behaviour of behind the scenes political on goings that continue to be exposed creates apathy and division amongst our community.
Ask former Newmarket councillor Diane Springstein, a strong woman who worked with Mayor Van Bynen and once used the term ”blackmail” to describe council.
Ask well respected former town of Newmarket Director of Engineering, who left his job this term in disgust. He’s the same man who contacted me to explain that the mayor’s administration sent out a communication piece less than 6 weeks of me being in office ordering all staff “not to meet with the ward 6 councillor alone if she requests (informational) meetings because she may record what we’re saying.”
Which brings me to the above quotes regarding our leaders, both of whom are running their useful ally, ward 6 candidate Kelly Broome-Plumley, who, besides adorning homes with overbearing signs and glossy literature, doesn’t speak much on issues, and who herself is running a campaign on “positivity.”
Newmarket Council members want you to know that they are a transparent group, and that being united together in promoting positive leadership while rooting out negative politics is important. This is so that they can make decisions on over $100 million (and growing) of your taxes without interruption.
These folks have great difficulty understanding that a challenge to their policies are not a blight on the great community of Newmarket, it’s a blight on their records.
A year ago, I was forwarded several emails that came directly from Regional Councillor John Taylor to a ward 6 resident. She shared these emails with me because she was deeply concerned about the lack of integrity of the individual who sent them. She explained that for years, the regional councillor “sends out (negative) propaganda regularly” about myself and my family to a group of hundreds of Newmarket taxpayers, including staff and council, and encourages recipients to pass them on – as long as they make sure they remove his name as the sender. I can only describe the content of these emails as appalling (I’ve posted one here). All of them have three things in common: they started at the beginning of my term, they focus exclusively on me, and they end with “Please keep this confidential” Or “Do not forward.”
In one email, dated just a few weeks after my being elected to office, Taylor gives his recipients the heads up that together with the CAO, he and Mayor Tony Van Bynen orchestrated a public meeting in council chambers in an attempt to humiliate me for not voting in favour of a CUPE wage increase for library workers. (See media here:
He encourages his contacts to skip out on the portion of the council meeting that deals with legitimate town issues and instead come to the part where my lawyer is scheduled to make a deputation defending my rights. At the time, my lawyer requested to speak so that he could challenge council’s orders to delete my blogs. (There was absolutely no talk of “litigation”, as Taylor wrongly implies in his email).
Taylor actually attempts to convince readers in his email that “find(ing) fault with…Council” is a “fiasco harming the reputation of Newmarket” and that taxpayers’ “attendance will send a message that the people of Newmarket care deeply and do not want to see our town descend into infighting.”
Let that sink in for a moment. Can you imagine a democracy where the politicians you hire to represent you believe that finding fault with their record will harm the reputation of a town, or city or country? That they are above reproach?
The Regional Councillor then ends his message by reminding recipients to pass it along to others but making sure his name isn't tied to it.
For 4 years, together with mayor Tony Van Bynen, Regional Councillor John Taylor has been promoting himself and the rest of council as positive do-gooders by hiding under an umbrella of charity work.
The real John Taylor is a vicious, mean spirited individual who has actively engaged in the smearing of our family by working behind the scenes in his duplicitous agenda of character assignation through his regular communiques, like the one I posted above. The use of integrity commissioners and orchestrating the embarrassing dramas on council is just part of how these thugs operate in their agenda to keep information from you, the taxpayer.
By ruthlessly attacking the integrity of the one who exposes their records.
That’s not positive politics. That’s destructive politics. That’s behaviour that borders on sociopathic and that divides communities and hurts families.
Don’t take my word for it. Ask Andre Marin, the provincially appointed Ombudsman, whose office personally invited me to speak publically last year on my experiences in Newmarket council regarding their appalling lack of transparency and leadership.
And don’t rely on the local newspaper, who rakes in hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars in town advertising, on top of being regularly treated to lunch by the mayor (also with your tax dollars, I should add).
These two community leaders are so desperate to make sure that anyone who “finds fault with council” (in the regional councillor’s own words) are shut down and are voted out of office so much that they’re willing to do anything, including funding campaigns for their puppet candidates, like Kelly Broome-Plumley, who had the mayor as a star guest at her campaign launch and is endorsed by regional councillor John Taylor; and who is so unqualified, she’s been ordered not to speak on the recent scandals that have been uncovered concerning these two men.
I loathe backroom politics. And I loathe blogging about it even more. But unless we expose those who are tasked with leading our community’s future, we risk dividing our neighborhoods.
It hurts to have my name dragged into the mud by this group of men.
It hurts to be labelled as an individual who doesn’t care for taxpayers – especially because my record proves beyond a doubt that I care so much, I’m willing to put my neck out for you.
It hurts to have to defend myself as a good citizen, and be forced to explain that I have done many good things for the people in Newmarket.
Before I got involved in politics, I dedicated my time to volunteer work. I spent every day for 3 years reading to school children as a teachers’ assistant. I wiped away many tears, tied many shoelaces, and gave out many hugs.
I worked as a palliative care volunteer, holding the hands of and comforting those who faced imminent death.
And just last week, I was contacted by the guidance department at Sir William Mulock to help put together a program I proposed last year in helping high risk teenagers.
I don't need to advertise those things. I help my community because I care for it's people with humility.
When you love people, you love your community.
And when you love your community, you want people with integrity to lead it.
I don't want to divide my community. I want to lead it.