This Blog will discuss politics, government, corruption, police, S.I.U., courts, education, min. of attorney general, min. of labour, v.o.i.c.e. and other current and past events of interest to concerned citizens. In the "About me" section to the right and down I have included the names of persons whom I have tremendous respect for. Their influence on me however has been primarily environmental (and personal) and this is therefore a disclaimer that all words posted on this Blog/Website are mine and I alone am responsible for them. I say this with the greatest respect and affection to my friends.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
So we are advised that the very difficult changes within the WRPS have been underway for a long time. Isn't that just dandy. That must be of some comfort to female police officers who feel that their careers have been stifled and damaged by the culture that they've had to tolerate over the last few decades. Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story by Lisa Rutledge titled " Waterloo Regional Police to hire consultants to drive cultural change".
I'm the first to admit that there has been a huge cultural change in Canada within my lifetime. I was born just after the Second World War and boy there was animosity towards immigrants from the European and Asian countries that we and the Allies had fought against for almost six years (1939-1945). It changed but I know my father had difficulties with my friends of Germanic background even into the nineteen sixties.
What I find very difficult to understand is the workplace culture that discriminates against women. Here in Canada, boys and girls went to school together throughout our entire education from public school to high school and through university. In public school the majority of our teachers were female and any boys who were bullies or rude to the girls in the class quite promptly and appropriately got put in their place. In high school there were more male teachers although the ratio may have been 3:2 . Again discrimination or rudeness based upon gender simply didn't happen because if it did the offenders would be given one warning and then promptly sent home.
So what the hell happened in our workplaces? Yes I saw gender discrimination in wages and promotions in private industry. The vast majority of managers were male as were the bosses. As significant as that was what I did not see was overt rudeness and or gender based crude "jokes" or other obvious female putdowns. Subtle (somewhat) dumb blonde jokes maybe. The odd risque joke between two genders who were of equal status maybe. There was no touching, butt grabbing or skirt lifting as has been alleged (repeatedly) at the WRPS. That would have been grounds for immediate dismissal with no defence available whatsoever.
Guess what Waterloo Regional Police? In non-union private industry there was no democracy in the workplace. When the bosses said jump you asked how high. But despite this there were social conventions that were not explicitly contravened and those conventions were followed. If you seriously believed that women were less able to do certain jobs then that was your thinking. It did not give you license to treat them poorly or disrespectfully. From the top down through the ranks gender based blatant disrespect simply was not tolerated.
It appears that these beliefs and behaviours have never existed at the WRPS or many other police services. Traditional male dominated jobs such as construction, police , firemen, mining, military all likely share the same negative attitudes and sterotypes. It requires the so called leaders and managers to bring their institutions into the 21st century. The times changed dramatically during the Second World War when women were desperately needed in factories as the younger males all went overseas. Women filled these roles magnificently in all our times of need. That war ended nearly 3/4 of a century ago and our local police service and many others still haven't gotten with the program. Perhaps our current police leadership all need to step aside. Clearly they have been unwilling and or unable to keep up with normal, common sense behaviour in the workplace.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
And no they aren't appealing a ruling approving solitary confinement; they are appealing a ruling by the B.C. Supreme Court which struck down indefinite solitary confinement as being cruel, inhumane and can lead to severe psychological trauma. In other words its' use is counter productive as it can make either bad or mentally ill persons much worse. The story is on the front page of today's Waterloo Region Record and is titled "Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling". The B.C. Civil Liberties Assoc'n as well as the John Howard society had gone to the courts to try and have solitary confinement ruled unconstitutional. Prior to this an Ontario court had ruled that administrative solitary confinement longer than five days was unconstitutional however otherwise it did not violate constitutional rights. The B.C. Civil Liberties Assoc'n have stated that currently prisoners continue to spend weeks, months and even years in small cells without human contact.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Last Tuesday's Council meeting was going to discuss a Council Vacancy Policy produced by the Township Clerk, Val Hummel. Essentially this Council owns Val as they could have and maybe should have fired her three years ago for not doing her legislated duties in regards to the Municipal Elections Act (MEA). Councillor Mark Bauman in particular should have had the riot act read to him by both Val and her predecessor, Christine Broughton. Mark had repeatedly contravened the MEA by not, post election, filing Election Financial Statements with the Clerk and for public display. This of course is one more major weakness in provincial legislation in that it assumes that the Municipal Clerk, who is hired and can be fired by the CAO of the Municipality, is somehow independent and owes a duty to provincial legislation even when it is in direct conflict with her duty of loyalty to her employers, the Municipality.
On the first page of the Council Vacancy Policy we see Val hiding behind the Vacancy Policies of other communities such as Barrie, Vaughn and South-Oxford. Similarly the Ontario Municipal Act 2001 was quoted at the last Council meeting as the authority for Council not simply appointing the first runner-up in Ward 1 to the Council seat vacated by Ward 1 Councillor Scott Hahn. Again this provincial legislation is inadequate in allowing self-serving councils to have complete authority and discretion to literally appoint anybody they want. The legislation is wide open in that runner-ups can be appointed as can citizens applying for the vacancy or believe it or not, Councils supposedly reaching out at random to any citizen they wish, and giving them the nod without any alleged input from them. Essentially this section of the Municipal Act is an inappropriate and undemocratic gift to any Councils who want their friends, buddies or fellow travellors on Council with them. This is a bone and a perk from the higher tier of government to the lower.
Woolwich Council sincerely thank the province of Ontario for this perk. Now they can hide behind other self-serving politicians further up the food chain, in order to avoid the embarrassment of having to appoint the runner-up, Dr. Dan Holt, to Council. Dr. Holt via Council's own stupidity (see last Thursday's Elmira Advocate posting) publicly humiliated this Council two years ago when they attempted to stifle democracy and deny citizens' right to attend Council and speak to them as Delegates. Sandy Shantz actually went so far as to suggest that Council was not a "soapbox.". Lynne Hare in her Delegation two weeks later assured Sandy that in fact it was a soapbox for citizens to address their concerns and complaints directly to Council.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
FURTHER ALLEGATIONS IN REGARDS TO THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST THE WATERLOO REGIONAL POLICE SERVICE
The following allegations are found in an Affidavit in support of the class action lawsuit. They were filed by Sgt. Karin Eder and sworn on December 18, 2017.
Early in her career her immediate supervisor Fred Benedict repeatedly showed her unsolicited photographs of him having sex with various women. On one occasion he grabbed her waist from behind and pressed himself into her buttocks. Both Detective Fred Sinko and Fred Benedict made loud verbal comments regarding her female anatomy in front of other officers. Sgt. Benedict also on many occasions grabbed her buttocks. Both Staff Sgt. Wherle and Inspector Beacock refused to assist her in regards to her complaints of sexual harassment and assault. Furthermore both of them were dismissive and rude and refused to address her complaints. Supt. Pat Dietrich is also named in her Affidavit in regards to several rude and crude behaviours towards her. Several other officers both union reps and superior officers were aware of the nude photo that Supt. Dietrich sent to her but no action was taken against Supt. Dietrich. These and other behaviours and actions of sexual harassment went on throughout her thirty years as an officer at the Waterloo Regional Police Service.
Monday, February 12, 2018
The Waterloo Region Record published the following story on February 2, 2018 titled "SIU investigating 4 sexual assault allegations involving officers". The investigation is of the Waterloo Region Police (WRPS). The alleged assaults are in regards to a class action lawsuit that was filed last June and in which a number of complaints including sexual assault were stated. Further to the initial lawsuit there were three Affidavits filed this past December, in support of the suit, and in which three new complainants also added more allegations against specific officers within the WRPS.
The fact that the SIU is investigating these complaints is a good sign. That said however the fact that they didn't go to the SIU a long time ago is worrisome. There are many possible reasons for this not occurring including the understanding that it could be career suicide. The promotion within the WRPS may very well be, as alleged, discriminatory. In other words rather than promotions based upon merit, the criteria could be extremely subjective including opinions of the very same officers accused of illegal or immoral behaviours. Hence who in their right mind, seriously trying to get ahead in the force, would want to allege criminal misconduct by one (or more) of their superiors?
Friday, February 9, 2018
Apparently Canadians will soon be seeing in detail how yet another male dominated institution treats female members. We already know from lawsuits and Human Rights complaints how the RCMP as well as some provincial and municipal police forces treat female officers. Twenty years ago I exposed how the City of Waterloo's Public Works Department treated their female employees. All of these male dominated organizations condoned bullying, harassment and sexual assault.
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried a story titled "Pm orders review of arguments against military lawsuit". It seems as if federal Justice Department lawyers have taken an aggressive stance against the proposed class action lawsuit filed last year by three former service members. They are seeking $800 million for themselves and others in similar situations. Beyond the aggressive stance is a claim by these lawyers that the government does not owe a duty of care to individual members within the Armed Forces nor must they provide a safe and harassment free work environment. Obviously that flies in the face of statements and actions of Prime Minister Trudeau over the last couple of years. Interestingly though they are in line with comments recently made by the lawyer for the Waterloo Region Police Services Board who are facing a similar class action lawsuit.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
The title of today's posting is in regards to a civil suit that is potentially about to start in Toronto this week. The Waterloo Region Record carried the story this past Monday titled "Kitchener man's civil trial stemming from G20 to start". The man, Luke Stewart, filed his statement of claim in 2011. Seven years it's taken to merely get close to starting in court. That is pathetic. Literally witnesses could have died, retired or simply disappeared. That is not justice.
The G20 Conference occurred in June 2010 in downtown Toronto. Mr. Stewart claims he was assaulted and detained illegally by Toronto Police Services. He is suing the Toronto Police Services Board. Furthermore his personal property, a pair of swimming goggles were seized from him. He was attempting to attend a legal protest and had the goggles for defensive purposes in case police deployed chemical weapons (tear gas). This apparently is the only civil suit to date to have gotten this far. There have been other minor legal actions taken against police including one criminal conviction for assault.