Double Agent Brando


I have come to the conclusion that someone needs to automatically cue up the James Bond theme music when I walk into a room. Or the Mission Impossible theme, with its iconic 5/4 rhythm. Really any music that blatantly identifies me as the cunning and ruthless super-spy that I am. The Secret Service agencies of most Western countries would be jealous of the closely guarded secrets that I protect on behalf of Her Worship, North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford and her loyal Council. 

I am a busy man. Sometimes, when I am plotting to ruin the lives of North Grenville residents while simultaneously sticking my neck out on behalf of the five members of North Grenville Council, three of whom I have never even spoken to, I get a rush of remorse and compassion. I think – “No! You can’t continue to support the Evil Five and their plan to overthrow North Grenville. You MUST speak for the common North Grenville resident!” I suppose this makes me a double agent. Supporting Council AND speaking out against Council? What a thick and twisted plot! Seeing as most people call me “Brando”, I would like to be known as “Double Agent Brando”, to fill my new shoes. 

It is at this point in my writing that I feel the need to point out that I am being sarcastic. Normally, I would assume it is obvious, but in this day and age, I can’t risk it. In 7 years of university and 7 years as an educator, I have never been accused of anything even remotely as heinous as the things I have been accused of in approximately 7 months as Editor of the Times. Such accusations include the notion that I am “in” with Council. My only question is… why? This is the problem with most conspiracy theories – they simply make no sense. What could I possibly stand to benefit from having a back door relationship with North Grenville’s local government? 

Some readers may recall that I live a few minutes outside of North Grenville’s borders. I care about North Grenville, and being only 15 minutes from Kemptville means it’s a major hub for me, my educator colleagues, and my friends and family. But decisions made by North Grenville’s Council do not govern the taxes I pay, the roads I drive on, the trash that I can put at the end of my driveway, or the quality and quantity of the recreational amenities that are within walking distance for my children. Why then, would I risk my own reputation as a person of integrity to engage in a devious relationship with the NG Council? Conspiracy theorists come pre-loaded with dozens of questions, but they always fail to simply ask themselves… WHY?

If I am a villain, I sure am a balanced one. Not only did I criticize Council in an editorial in January for the handling of the so-called “KPS apartments”, but I also welcomed the voices of many others who did the same. Between mid January and early April, the Times printed no fewer than 11 letters and op-eds criticizing Council specifically regarding the proposed Reuben Crescent apartments. These were from Bev Arcand, Nadia Gray (x2), Colin Creasey, Victor Jarjour, Colleen Lynas, Elaine McGreavey, Ralph Raina, Kasandra Comfort, Kathy Piche, and David Herman. Did I also write a follow up opinion explaining some of Council’s decision-making logic after John Barclay sent me some reading material? Yes, I did. Did I similarly write an op-ed explaining that the North Grenville Council is far more welcoming, inclusive, and open to residents’ concerns than the Council of North Dundas? Yes, I did. But if I did my math right, 12 critical articles is still way more than 2 fluffy ones. I guess if I want to take down North Grenville, as so many people believe I do, then I should probably re-take kindergarten math first. 

The Times is, and always will be, a forum for the community. We print letters and op-eds with which we strongly disagree because we believe in open conversation. Like any publication, however, we cannot break the law. Libel – which refers to making untrue or unproven negative statements about someone or a business – is something we have to take seriously. Not only could we be sued for printing libellous material, but it’s also a crime in Canada. Libel laws are the reason why the word “alleged” appears in news articles before words like “perpetrator”, “thief”, and “murderer”. Without the word “alleged”, these labels for suspected criminals could land newspapers and contributors in hot water for defamation, until the accusations have been proven in court. 

It may amuse readers – and further my argument – to point out that Times contributors often pull the plug on each others’ writing. We are human, and sometimes articles written with an angry passion are found to be potentially libellous or harmful when given the benefit of sober second thought. In fact, when sifting through old content to count the number of anti-Council letters and op-eds we printed, I came across an editorial of mine that was never published. I was proud of it. It was filled with my classic play-on-words, subtle sarcasm writing style, and it drove home my own feelings on a local controversial topic with ferocity. However, I knew when writing it that it could be nothing more than a case of me blowing off steam, and sure enough we (internally) decided it was too risky to publish. Perhaps I should have written an angry Facebook post about how I can never write for the Times again. Or an op-ed – “Brando refuses to print article by Brando”. 

The lesson here is simple: I urge North Grenville residents to use logical reasoning before pointing fingers. The Times is a forum for healthy debate and community news and opinions. We are “the voice of your community”. At least I think that’s our secret identity. I’ll ask the CIA. 



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