By David Judd
IT’S the sandwich that hit the fan.
A drawing of a “shit sandwich” was included in Mayor Kristal Chopp’s presentation to an Ontario cabinet minister last month.
The drawing, shown to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, aimed to draw attention to Norfolk’s need for provincial help on several issues.
Apparently, Mr. Clark viewed the sandwich with good humour.
But Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett wasn’t impressed when he heard about it later.
“I can’t get the image out of my mind,” Mr. Barrett said in an interview last Thursday.
Our economy is fragile and public relations are important, Mr. Barrett said.
“We cannot use this kind of language and we definitely don’t want to use this kind of language with a cabinet minister.”
The sandwich incident took place during a 10-minute meeting at a conference of rural municipalities in Toronto in January.
Mayor Chopp, accompanied by Port Dover Coun. Amy Martin and Port Rowan Coun. Tom Masschaele, presented Mr. Clark with newspaper articles, examples of how the provincial government has shortchanged Norfolk County over the years.
She concluded her presentation with the drawing of the sandwich.
Mayor Chopp says she would do it again.
“I didn’t do that to be humorous,” Mayor Chopp wrote in an email to The Maple Leaf on the weekend.
“I did it to make a point and one that would be remembered.
“I dropped article after article on the table with commentary to go along, starting back to Nanticoke losing 600 jobs and the province not paying up their share of the tobacco (transition) money, $200 million, 60 per cent of which would have gone to Norfolk.”
Mayor Chopp placed some blame on the former Liberal provincial government for allowing Norfolk to get behind in filing annual financial reports, which would have shown the county slipping into increasing debt.
Mayor Chopp’s council has brought financial reports up to date.
In a Facebook post, Mayor Chopp said she knew Mr. Clark well enough that she was comfortable using the sandwich to make her presentation stick in his mind.
“I may be unconventional but I know that they will remember that presentation above all others.”
But the drawing bothered Mr. Barrett.
He talked to Mr. Clark and told him “it’s not the way we operate around here.”
Mr. Barrett said the province is aware of Norfolk’s financial problems and its high turnover in staff.
And Mr. Clark remembers the sandwich, Mr. Barrett said.
Coun. Martin, who was at the sandwich meeting with Mr. Clark, said in an interview that the minister took it as humorous.
Coun. Martin said she had no opinion whether Mayor Chopp should have used the sandwich.