We don’t make mistakes.

People make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. And it should be a sign of character to admit to your mistakes.

So why is it that politicians seem unable to admit their mistakes?

Waterloo Region councillors introduced the green bin for composting kitchen waste a couple of years ago. Uptake by local citizens has been slower than they would have liked. And they committed themselves – some would say overcommitted – to a very expensive 10 year processing deal:

When a new contract starts in October, taxpayers will spend $654 to turn a tonne of kitchen waste into compost that enriches farm fields, The Record has found in tallying costs. That’s five times the cost to dump the same garbage ($132).

At this price, kitchen scraps become more valuable than rice ($563), wheat ($323) or corn ($306) according to commodity markets.

But it wasn’t a mistake.

“We’re not getting value for money. And that’s quite clear,” Waterloo Coun. Sean Strickland said.


He resists the argument that council messed up in launching an expensive program that some cities have rejected and then misjudging use and processing.

No really, it wasn’t.

“It’s disappointing,” Kitchener Coun. Jim Wideman said. “I don’t think (council) made a mistake. I think that we made certain assumptions about what our tonnages would be.”

Councillors made the decision to start the program. To commit to a 10 year agreement at a high tonnage. But they didn’t make a mistake.

Nope. It’s your fault for not using the green bin that you didn’t ask for. So now they may have to punish you for your “mistake”:

To muscle people into using bins, council could ban food waste from the landfill. Another option is to limit garbage bags at the curb, effectively requiring some families to fill bins. Another option is to reduce garbage collection to every two weeks while collecting green bins weekly. This would invite people to fill bins to get rid of rotting food more quickly.

So now I’m wondering, once they have finished spending $818 million or so on the LRT, and the ridership numbers aren’t high enough, will that be your mistake ¬†too? Of course it won’t be theirs. They won’t even be around then.

So will ridership be increased by muscling people into taking the LRT? Perhaps banning cars from the downtown core, or charging congestion fees?

Whatever happens, just remember, it’s your mistake, not theirs. After all, you elected them.

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