Connect the dots to fake rice

January 6, 2016   ·   0 Comments

By Doug Harkness

I had a great Christmas holiday.  Lots of time off to spend with family and friends as well as way too much food. 

When you have a 5- and 6-year-old at home like we do you’d have to be some kind of Grinch to not enjoy the holiday season.  The kids of course enjoyed the shiny new toys while I’d probably note hockey with Mini Me (the 6-year-old) and skating with the entire family as the fondest memories for me.

Another highlight was the day we went out altogether to watch the Good Dinosaur, followed by dinner out with friends after. 

Now I don’t want to spoil it for you but I can’t help but wonder why Disney so often feels the need to kill of a parent in their children’s movies, but I digress. 

For dinner we went to Boston Pizza, which is a great place to take kids.  They give them this big activity book to keep them occupied until dinner arrives.  You know they do a good job of it when the kids will actually put down their new 3DS and Leap Pad long enough to do some of the activities.

I was particularly pleased with the joy my kids received from playing connect the dots.  Now that, my friends, is the development of a life skill that you just can’t get from today’s modern electronic games!  I used to love playing connect the dots when I was a kid and certainly didn’t realize at the time how important a skill it would become when I became a political writer.

So let’s play connect the dots Dufferin County-style.  You may recall that back in September Mayor Williams went on a trade mission to China along with eight other GTA mayors.  I believe that a smug columnist at the time may have called it a junket.  That’s dot number one.

Then in December the county decided to receive the request from the Town of Orangeville to pay for half of the Mayor’s air fare.  This means they can consider it at a later date but they decided at the December meeting not to pay it at that time. 

One could argue that it’s really only one-quarter of the air fare since Orangeville taxpayers pay about half of the county levy, but no need to split hairs here.    Mayor Williams did the right thing and declared a conflict on the matter.  That’s dot number two.

Later in the same meeting, after hearing a legal opinion on the matter, County Council decided to award the County’s 911 monitoring services contract to a company in Sudbury rather than to the Orangeville Police Service, which has held the contract since 1994.  This comes with a savings of close to $70,000 from what the county paid the year before.  There is your dot number three.

Mayor Williams gets upset at the meeting, dot number 4.

To me, though, the picture is still incomplete.  If our picture was one of a clown, we still don’t have the big red nose or the fuzzy hair.  I know that my Facebook friend Mayor Williams is a smart guy.  I’m sure that he’s working on some deals to benefit the area from his trade mission but sometimes these things take time.  Then it struck me all at once – fake rice. 

I remembered a story that I’d read on social media over the holidays from Althealth Works about the dangers of some fake rice reportedly being shipped out of China.  They report that China produces about 800,000 tons of its famed Wuchang rice in a year, yet 10 million tons are sold.  The difference comes from “rice” made out of potatoes, plastics, or a combination of all three.  The plastic variety is only toxic if consumed in large quantities!

Now just think about the resources our local market could offer to such a scheme.  There are a lot of potatoes up there in North Dufferin.  Finding another market for them might increase their value to a point that no one would ever consider trying to extract the gravel underneath them again. 

A new market could help revitalize Orangeville’s proud plastics industry.   

There are some pretty smart folks over there.  Maybe they could even come up with a version suitable for human consumption.  It all just seems so symbiotic to me.

For now, though, our connect the dots picture is still a little fuzzy around the edges.  We’ll just have to wait until the entire picture comes into focus. 

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