Last month York Region approved its Transportation Master Plan which guides transport policy.

It is updated every five years. 

It is heavy on roads. But what about rail?            

York Region and the transportation agency Metrolinx have an arms-length relationship when they should be blood brothers. 

They don't talk to each other.

I’ve been hassling Metrolinx for years. I am not a railway buff nor a trainspotter. I just know that the GTA needs a modern sophisticated GO rail network to move us all about, quickly, seamlessly, effortlessly and in comfort. 


In August 2021 there was a breakthrough. Metrolinx announced plans to run a 15-minute service up to Bradford and that would mean that Newmarket, downstream, would get the fast trains too.

Yet this important announcement was nowhere to be found in the Region’s draft Transportation Master Plan. I was astonished and said so. I made the case to the Region’s Transportation chief Brian Titherington and, to my surprise and delight, the plan was amended to take in my concerns.

Now that the 15-minute service is in the plan we can start talking about how and when it can be delivered, and at what cost.

I have been pressing for a 15-minute all-day, two-way GO train service to Newmarket for years. (Go to and type Metrolinx in the search box)


I’ve watched politicians go with the flow when they should have been energetically making the case for fast trains. A 15-minute service would be transformational – getting people out of their cars and helping the environment.

The listless gradualism of our former Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, now our MP, was particularly hard to take. Seven years ago (on 9 November 2015) he was saying things like this:

“In my own mind the difference between a 15 minute and 30 minute service doesn’t change the world immensely although I think eventually we’ll need to get there. But I’d rather see us easing into that, responding to the demand as we go forward.”

That was his reaction to the planned 15-minute service stopping in Aurora.

This kind of whispered advocacy takes us nowhere.

If we are going to get a 15-minute service to Newmarket we’ve got to make the case and demand it.


Gordon Prentice 4 October 2022




An election meeting will be held on Tuesday 11 October 2022 in the multi-purpose room at Newmarket Public Library from 7pm-8pm. All are welcome.  

I wrote to my opponent on 11 September 2022 asking him to join me on a public platform to debate the issues and his “track record of getting results”.

I have heard nothing since.

The meeting will go ahead with or without Vegh. If he is a no-show he will be replaced at the podium with a cardboard cut-out.

Without an opponent who is prepared to engage how can we grab the voters’ attention? It’s like clapping with one hand. It doesn’t work.

One fifth of candidates in Ontario go unchallenged

The Toronto Star reports on its front page this morning that one-fifth of all races have already been decided – without a ballot being cast.

The Star quotes Calgary academic Jack Lucas who says acclamations are much more common at municipal level due to the lack of political parties and the natural advantage of incumbents.

The Star’s Ben Mussett writes:

“Even when a federal or provincial party doesn’t believe it can win a riding, it will almost always run a candidate, preventing the possibility of acclamation. Incumbents also tend to fare especially well in municipal elections, which can scare off potential challengers.”

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario says one third of all Mayors, Reeves and heads of council have already been acclaimed.

Seems to me all the candidates running for election deserve a medal – except ones like my opponent who are afraid to debate the issues in public and rely on gilded and fanciful accounts of what they have achieved in office.

Our democracy is broken

Democracy needs constant care and attention – just like my 2015 Toyota. It needs regular maintenance or it will rust up and start to fall apart. If it is not looked after it will eventually break down.

When did it ever become OK not to have election debates? Is this the new norm?

Our new MPP, Dawn Gallagher Murphy, excused herself from the first candidates’ debate because of a family emergency. That was OK. But when she didn’t show for any of the other debates I realised this was a deliberate tactic. And she won – on the lowest turnout ever.

In her maiden speech on 10 August 2022 she trilled:

"To my colleagues, newly elected and returning members on both sides of the aisle: Congratulations to you all. Putting your name forward on a ballot, going through the election process and receiving the support of your family, friends and volunteers is truly a unique experience, one I believe is a test of our dedication and commitment to our communities. Bravo to all of you for your strength, both mentally and physically. Well done."

No mention there about the importance of debates in the "election process".


I shudder to think what the turnout will be here in Newmarket on 24 October 2022.

The on-line election will deter as many people as it attracts.

I’m savvy on-line and I know the internet. But some traditional ways of doing things still work and make sense.

When you walk into a Polling Station you are not just exercising your right to vote you are also making a civic statement.

Gordon Prentice 4 October 2022

Spending over the statutory limits means instant disqualification from office. It is in everybody's interests that the law on elections is observed meticulously. It's fair to candidates running for office. It's fair on the public. Photos on right: Lawn sign September 2018 asks voters to "elect" Tom Vegh. Lawn sign October 2022 with sticker top left asking voters to "re-elect" Tom Vegh.

I emailed this to Tom Vegh earlier today:

Good afternoon Tom

I hope you are well.
Your signs are all over Town. They make a very impressive showing.

You will realise, of course, that all campaign goods and materials from a previous municipal campaign used in this campaign have to be itemised in Table 4 of the Financial Statement we all have to file with the Town of Newmarket once the campaign is over.

We are required by law to (a) describe the campaign materials (b) the date they were acquired (c) the supplier (d) the quantity and (e) the current market value $.

We both have a self funding limit of $16,098. 

In your 2018 Financial Statement you declared 40 wooden stakes with a value of $70 purchased on 8 September 2014 from Upper Canada Signs.
Importantly, the value of the campaign materials must be recorded as a contribution from the candidate and as an expense.

I do not know if the signs you are using in this campaign are from the 2018 campaign. But we have noticed that your signs have stickers in the top left hand corner with the word “Re-elect”. This suggests that you are using old
signs but it is not proof positive. That will come when you file your 2022 Financial Statement.

Can I ask if you are using your signs from 2018 or have you had a new batch printed - with the same design and photograph? 

You told Newmarket Today on 30 September 2022 that you would be self-financing your campaign and you wouldn’t accept money from people who are doing business with the Town or may do in future.

In 2018 you spent $11,472.30 on signs.

According to the Bank of Canada’s inflation calculator this would be $13,044 in today’s money.

If we subtract $13,044 from your self-funding limit you are left with $3,054 for all other expenses.

Of course, you can fund-raise to meet any deficit but you have already foresworn donations from people who do business with the Town or may do.

You should know that, win or lose, I am putting you on notice that the expenses you submit in your Financial Statement will be analysed by me in minute detail. 

The locations of your lawn signs and their numbers are already out there in the public domain.

I expect to see this and all other details required by law to be accurately reflected in your Financial Statement 2022.

I am copying this to Joseph Quigley at Newmarket Today and Lisa Queen at the ERA.


My good friend Margaret Davis and I will be at Etobicoke's Historic Assembly Hall for the annual awards evening on 13 October 2022 hosted by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.

We have been nominated for our work to save the Town's historic Main Street from the developer, Bob Forrest.

There are three nominations in our awards category and we are keeping our fingers crossed.

Richard Longley - a Past President of the ACO - tells me it is a bit like the Oscars which leaves me feeling a tad nervous.

Margaret, 100 years old, will sail through it.

A few days ago there were Tom Vegh signs along Gorham Street stretching as far as the eye could see. 

Take a look now.

I spent a couple of hours on Gorham this afternoon, introducing myself to the people who live there.

I tell them about myself and explain why I am running. 

I am invited into houses. A thoughtful young woman gives me a bottle of Glaceau Vitamin Water and a Chocolate Premier Protein drink. I am knocked out by this gesture. I had strolled along Gorham on a beautiful sunny afternoon. I hadn’t walked across the Gobi Desert. Still, what a terrific gesture.

I knock on the door of a house where the lawn sports a Vegh sign. After ten minutes chatting about how we can improve health provision, my sign now sits next to it.

Some people are reluctant to take my lawn sign because they don’t know enough about me. Or they say they never take lawn signs.

No worries

“That’s OK, I say. No worries. It’s water off a duck’s back. I’m interested in your views. Your opinions.”

Now I hand over my leaflet:

“Have a look at my website because I won’t be on your doorstep again in this campaign. And email me if you’ve got something you want to say or something you think I should know about.”

As I turn away from one doorstep I see a familiar looking face across the road waving his arm at me, trying to catch my attention.

I had chatted to him earlier. He didn’t want a lawn sign but took one of my leaflets.

Now he starts telling me the 15-minute GO train service is just what the Town needs. His work frequently takes him down to Toronto and he is frustrated by the hours stuck in traffic. I am sympathetic:

“Yeah, I know. I pretty much always take the train to the city.”

He wishes me good luck and takes a lawn sign.

Gordon Prentice 2 October 2022

If you spot an empty or derelict house there will be a Vegh sign outside. Guaranteed. This one is on Gorham near the junction with Prospect.