The latest “Dialogue with Dawn” in Newmarket Today proclaims: 

MPP Gallagher Murphy 2nd Annual Community Barbecue

Please mark your calendar and plan to attend my annual community barbecue. Join me for food, music and fun for the whole family at the Riverwalk Commons, 200 Duncan Dr., Newmarket on Sunday, Oct. 22 from 2 to 4 p.m.


Inadvisedly, I posted this comment on the Newmarket Today website late last night:

“Last year’s “free” BBQ and Corn Roast was billed to the taxpayers and cost over $11,000. Our Progressive Conservative MPP has a warped sense of priorities if she believes this blatant self-promotion is an appropriate use of public funds.”

So far, it has generated two “thumbs-ups” from Newmarket Today readers. 

Have I seriously misjudged the public mood?


This humbling response tells me either (a) no-one reads Dialogue with Dawn or (b) people rather like the idea of taxpayers’ money being used to pay for “Free” BBQs and Corn Roasts for “hard-working” Ontario families or (c) people can’t be bothered to post comments on stuff like this. 

I got a rather better response when I tweeted about the Greenbelt Scandal and how Susan McGovern – a Ford appointee - sat on the Greenbelt Foundation when her brother and husband were actively manoeuvring to remove lands from the said Greenbelt.

My Tweet was viewed an astonishing 25,500 times. 

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Alan Ho was elected last year as one of four regional councillors representing Markham on York Regional Council. 

Personally, I think he is a disgrace.

He is ignorant and talks drivel. He has no self-awareness and, regardless of the subject under consideration, spouts incoherent babble. 

Yesterday he offered his scattered thoughts to the Region’s Committee of the Whole on an important report on York Region’s Ongoing Progress on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.


I could sense the embarrassment felt by other elected members.

But John Taylor stepped up to the plate and spoke for the overwhelming majority, slapping down Ho's ignorant comments.

"The position that you represented is in an extreme minority."

Click "Read More" below to read the exchange.

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Frank Klees, the former Progressive Conservative MPP for Newmarket-Aurora, is a friend of the developer Michael Rice who purchased 687 acres of Greenbelt land at Bathurst in King for $80M on 15 September 2022. The lands are now open for development. (Photo right)

Klees, an ex-Cabinet Minister turned consultant lobbyist, worked under contract for the Rice Group from 8 October 2019 – 11 September 2020. He had previously lobbied for changes to the boundaries of the Greenbelt. 

What are you attempting to influence?

The Lobbyist Register required Klees to describe his lobbying goal(s) in detail in respect of the Rice Group. It asked:

“What are you attempting to influence or accomplish as a result of your communications with Ontario public office holders?” 

Klees replied in his Delphic way:

“The objective of the communications is to brief certain Ontario public office holders on the economic development opportunities represented by a number of the client’s emerging projects.”

Clear as mud. 

Emerging Projects

What were these emerging projects? Klees refuses to say.

The register tells lobbyists they should give specific information about their lobbying goals and the intended outcome of the lobbying.

Whatever happened to the specifics and the intended outcome? In the Klees case, the “emerging projects” should have been clearly itemised.

Klees’ answer as it stands is entirely meaningless. And if the object of the Register is to promote transparency then it is clearly failing.

Family friend

Frank Klees is family friend of Michael Rice. (Photo right)

On 2 June 2009 Klees spoke in the Legislature welcoming the family to Queen’s Park:

“I am honoured to introduce family members of James Albert Rice, who are in the House with me today. I will have the honour of paying tribute to Jim Rice later on in the proceedings.

Present with us are Mary Rice, his widow, Doris MacDonald, Douglas MacDonald, Bobby MacDonald, Barb Collins, Aaron Collins, Patty Rice, Joe Pfaff, Jimmy Rice, Susan McGovern, John McGovern, Euston McGovern, Conrad McGovern, Parker McGovern, Michael Rice, Martha Rice, Theresa Davis and Matthew Rice. I would ask that we welcome them warmly to the Legislature.”

Klees then delivered an encomium to Jim Rice who founded his construction company in York Region. Klees closed saying this:

I am honoured, as a member of this Legislature and as a friend of James Albert Rice and his family, to invoke the recognition of all members of the Legislature of this great Canadian for his spirit of giving to his family, to his employees and to his community. May that spirit inspire us all.”

Clearly, Frank Klees is close to the Rice family. Then and now. 

Lobbying Register inadequate

The Auditor General’s special report on changes to the Greenbelt described lobbying as

“a practice available to those who have the means to fund it and who know how to contact politicians or their political public service staff. The private interests that lobbyists are paid to advance can be at odds with the public’s interest. Thus, lobbying has the potential to influence government to make decisions that do not represent the interests of the majority. 

Although it is a driver of political change and has always been part of Canadian politics, lobbying is closely related to patronage (the exchange of personal gifts or favours) and carries with it the potential for conflict of interest. Therefore, it is usually closely scrutinized and regulated.”

Klees' entry in the Lobbyist Register tells us absolutely nothing about what he got up to on behalf of the Rice Group. We are given vague generalities and nothing more - just the way the insidious network of developers and PC politicians like it. 

The Lobbyist Register, as it currently stands, is woefully inadequate and not fit for purpose.

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more on Frank Klees.

On Thursday (14 September) York Region’s Committee of the Whole will be considering a report from the Chief Administrative Officer, Bruce Macgregor, on the Provincial review of regional government. 

It tells us that on May 18, 2023, the Province committed to assessing the upper-tier municipalities of Durham, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe, Waterloo and York by appointing Provincial “facilitators”.

The Province should have announced the name of a facilitator by today – but it hasn’t. 

Instead, the new Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Paul Calandra, is having second thoughts about a revamp of two-tier government in York, Halton, Durham and other regions. (photo right)

Ford’s 2019 review of regional government went nowhere. The reports of that abortive exercise still haven’t been published.

And here we are again.

Back where we started.

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Click "Read more" below for the Toronto Star report. The Globe and Mail quotes Markham's Mayor Frank Scarpitti:

“The fact is, the status quo is not an option. If in fact they want to see, and they do, more housing built in the next decade, reform is needed.”

Scarpitti has zero support on York Regional Council for his proposal to abolish all nine lower tier municipalities and create a new megacity. Former Ontario Liberal Leader and now Mayor of Vaughan, Steven Del Duca, wants a full scale municipal reorganisation. Del Duca favours a “single tier” Vaughan taking over many services currently provided by York Region. It's all very broad brush - and not thought through. 

Update on 12 September 2023: From Global News: Ford's mandate letters

Update on 13 September 2023: From Global News: Ontario Regional Government review to move ahead without facilitators. And from the CBC. Calandra's request to the Legislature's Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy Committee was posted on Twitter.

Update on 14 September 2023: From Newmarket Today: York Region loses $34.9M in development charges thanks to Housing Bill

I see from Dawn’s latest “Community Update” that she is planning a re-run of last year’s wonderful and hugely successful “Free” BBQ and Corn Roast

Maybe this year Doug Ford can put in an appearance – fresh from his run of magnificent Ford-Fests. I hope so!  All across Ontario, from Windsor to Scarborough to Kitchener, Doug has been treating the great people of FordNation to free hot dogs, free burgers, free veggie-burgers, free pop, free T shirts. And free rides for the kids! 

Remember, in FordNation everything is absolutely FREE! Everyone is welcome. No-one will be turned away!


Personally, I think Doug owes Dawn a favour. 

Our Ford appointee MPP is a “FordFanNatic!”. Dawn is wonderfully obedient and never strays off-message. Here is what Dawn told her many thousands of wonderful readers:

Save the Date – MPP Gallagher Murphy’s 2nd Annual Community BBQ

You’re invited to our 2nd Annual Community BBQ.  Autumn will be here soon and it’s great to get outdoors and spend time with my community meeting all the wonderful constituents. 

Since the last BBQ we have been busy working on behalf of everyone in the community, I hope we will see lots (of) my Newmarket-Aurora friends for a fun day of food, music and children’s activities.  I am inviting you all to my free BBQ on Sunday October 22nd between 2:00 & 4:00 pm at Newmarket Riverwalk Commons. Hope to see you there!


Last year's wonderful free BBQ cost the taxpayers a paltry $11,160.

Who amongst us would begrudge spending this trifling sum to stage such a spectacular event?

The Free BBQ and Corn Roast feeds the hungry, entertains our lovely neighbours and promotes our splendidly talented MPP - all in one go!

Dawn is such a treasure. 

Doug is lucky to have her - and others like her - in his caucus.

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Update on 10 September 2023: Doug Ford promises homes under $500,000 at Kitchener Ford Fest.