Bits and pieces

Sometimes in this paper, you’ll come across a page and wonder, “What was the editor thinking here?”

Usually those pages are a collection of stories that have nothing in common. Sure, they are all local, but they will cover a slew of subjects: a photo of a cheque passing, a sports story, a council story, and a story about housing prices, for example.

In the newsroom, we have a saying for these types of pages: bits and pieces.

Well, this week my mind is full of a few thoughts that have a common theme – local news – but the subjects not closely related.

With that said, here is this week’s bits and pieces column.

Political campaigns

I was watching the Toronto Maple Leafs game the other night, and couldn’t help but notice provincial election campaign ads are already popping up. And in the past week, I have received two invites from two separate provincial political parties inviting a reporter to a campaign event – one in Perth-Wellington, one in Huron-Bruce. Both events are being held in the next week.

The provincial election is in June – another seven months away.

It seems early to me to be campaigning for the election, and it also seems like some of the parties are taking an attack approach to campaigning this time around.

Those who love the American style of elections must be over the moon about this.

Me, not so much. I just wanted to watch the hockey game.


Some municipalities have already begun the 2022 budget process, while others are waiting for the new year to begin before figuring out how to spend the money they’ve already spent.

If you can’t tell, I am a fan of the budget process being completed before the year actually starts.

I spoke with one local head of council a few weeks ago, who told me that “doing the budget four or five months into the year is backwards. Imagine going to the bank with a business plan asking for money five months after starting your business?” What they told me makes complete sense – figure out now what monies you have for the coming year, and budget accordingly.

Passing a budget in April or May, long after you’ve sent your capital projects out to tender, is essentially rubber stamping the budget presented to you.

Every municipality should be doing budget this way.

Minimum wage

The Ontario government announced last week that minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour beginning in January.

The funny part about this? The Ontario Conservatives are giving themselves a pat on the back for this wage increase, three years after cancelling a planned minimum wage increase to, you guessed it, $15 an hour.

The sad part about this? It’s still below what the Ontario Living Wage Network reports for Perth-Huron and Grey-Bruce, or anywhere else for that matter.

The living wage is calculated as the hourly rate at which a household can meet its basic needs, once government transfers have been added to the family’s income and deductions have been subtracted.

In Perth-Huron, the living wage has been calculated at $17.95 per hour as of this month, and in Grey-Bruce the living wage is $18.39 as of November 2019.

With the price of housing continuing to skyrocket and inflation rearing its ugly head, something has to be done in order to make living affordable again.

What that is, I don’t know – I am not an economist – but what I do know is that I would hate to be working a minimum wage job and trying to find a place to live right now.

Some sense of normal

I travelled to West Grey a couple weekends ago to watch my son’s Minto Mad Dogs U8 hockey team take on the Warriors. And while driving to Durham early on a Saturday morning was not ideal, it was great to be able to go to the rink and watch the kids have fun.

The U8s don’t keep score, so who won on the ice is debatable. But everyone had fun, and that’s the important thing.

Lest we forget

Today is Remembrance Day. While we only take a few moments every year on this day to remember those who served our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice, and those who continue to serve, we should be thankful for them every day.

The world could look a lot different if it weren’t for these brave men and women.

Lest we forget.


Mike Wilson is the editor of Midwestern Newspapers. Comments and feedback can be sent to