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.
Monday, December 30, 2013
The Waterloo Region Record carried this story last Saturday, December 27/13 : "Media, police misled public on marijuana, new book claims". According to this book written by Professor Susan Boyd "Assertions by police- particularily the RCMP, which is responsible for policing in much of B.C.- were left unchallenged, she says and politicians, in turn, relied on such misinformation to push for stricter drug laws.". Furthermore when politicians were properly informed via their own Justice Department research that the links between grow ops and organized crime were very minor, they simply buried the report.
While the author suggests that police and politicians are exaggerating the problems with the marijuana trade in order to discourage it, I have a different suggestion. All police rely on crime statistics for their funding. By constantly hyping the volume of 'crime" as well as the seriousness, they are simply protecting their funding. Liars are liars no matter their motives.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Boy how attitudes change over time. All my life I've only grumbled in a minor way after snowshovelling either my own drive, or the parents when I was a kid; as the city snowplough came by and filled in the end of the driveway. Well I'm now 64 years old and more importantly I'm six months into a new hip. Today's Waterloo Region Record has a Letter to the Editor today titled "Time to get mad". This Letter isn't just a bitch session it's actually got some fairly reasonable suggestions to solve the problem.
The long and short is that ploughing the roads and putting major chunks of them into our driveways is ridiculous, painful, unhealthy and time consuming. Shovelling fallen snow from our own property is one thing but shovelling much heavier, wetter and denser snow from the public roadway deposited into our drives is unacceptable. Quite frankly here in Elmira I would trade my sidewalk plough doing my sidewalk for the same plough, as suggested in the Letter, removing the snow from my approach.
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Nobody begrudges our police the respect they deserve for often difficult if not dangerous working conditions. That said we can't just continue paying them wages that are so far above what the taxpayers themselves can afford to pay. Today's Waterloo Region Record has this article titled "Rising police salaries spur calls for change". While I was aware that our regional Police budget for 2013 was $135 million what caught my eye in today's article was this quote "The cost per full-time equivalent increased 14 per cent to about $109,000.". Are you kidding me? This includes salaries, pensions and benefits. $109,000 per full-time equivalent??? I'm sorry but teachers salaries are ridiculous and while I agree that either nurses or police should do better than teachers; this is no longer financially viable. All of these groups deserve a solid living wage or better but not to the point where we are basically bribing them to do difficult jobs that their hearts are not into. This is counterproductive for everybody. Police work especially should be a calling and yes they should have lifetime financial security if they suffer a horrendous on the job injury but $100,000 per year plus is overboard.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Boy until I started this Blog a couple of year's back I didn't realize exactly how often various members of the force were in trouble with the law. What exactly gives here??? Anyhow this is an Officer Snyder who is currently undergoing a trial on sexual assault charges. Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys a very short article titled "Verdict due in officer's sex assault trial". There is a court order protecting the identity of the alleged victim as well as prohibiting any release of the evidence. Therefore it's presumably fair to say that unless folks have actually attended the trial and heard the evidence; that an opinion is probably way out of order. As I have heard absolutely zero details of the evidence and have not attended the trial that's what I'm sticking with. However.... if this officer is acquitted I certainly hope that that fact is made at least as public as were the original charges and any media coverage therof.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Officer Andrew Robson is still fighting to keep his job as a Waterloo Regional Police Officer. Robson's lawyer has a valid point that believing he was smoking marijuana did not justify using an undercover female officer to entrap him into stealing two ounces of it that supposedly a mother had turned over to him. I guess that my take on things is that if entrapment is illegal to use on the general public then it should be illegal to use on a police officer.
That being said I'm wondering that some sort of negotiated settlement couldn't have been worked out. The officer was/is sufferring from PTSD and kicking him when he's down isn't right. At the same time does he really want to go back into high stress physical situations possibly involving death and mayhem? Police officers routinely suffer from elevated stress based upon their line of work and the likelihood of incidents involving mutilated/dead or dying human beings is unfortunately high. Could the Waterloo Regional Police not show some class and some compassion in this case? Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Officer appeals drug sentence".
Friday, December 20, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Ashley is at peace," mom says after inquest verdict". Well, well, well, the verdict is murder. Joanna Pauline and Cindy Berry were the deputy warden and acting warden respectively at the time. They bear an enormous amount of responsibility for everything that went wrong. They also bear responsibility along with many others for the whole system of "institutional" charges that can be used to break inmates. Finally their superiors at the Correctional Services Canada also need a huge wakeup call. My suggestion is an enforced stay at the Grand River Institution for Women in Kitchener. Perhaps they should spend one week per month in solitary confinement as well.
Julian Falconer, lawyer to the Smith family, referred to Correctional Services Canada (CSC) as a "lawless" organization. Can we the citizens of Canada not see clearly what is going on? Corrections and jails are a bloody business. Their "clients" are provided by the courts. Apparently criminal activity is and has been on the downswing for years. I guess when one of these institutions get their grip on an individual they don't want to let go. Canada is rapidly gaining a reputation as a third world country in our treatment of our own citizens. Move over U.S. and Russia. Canada is just as plain stupid and nasty.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Today's on-line Waterloo Region Record advises us that the Coroner's jury has returned a homicide verdict in the death of Ashley Smith at the Grand Valley Institution for women, six years ago. A death by homicide is unprecedented in a federal facility that was not the result of another inmate. The title is "Coroner's jury returns homicide verdict at Ashley Smith inquest".
The behaviour of the Warden and her superiors the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has been disgraceful. From the CSC fighting tooth and nail in court to avoid producing documentary evidence to the abdication of responsibility by the Warden under cross-examination; this case has been repulsive. Immediately after Ashley Smith's death the Warden and her minions threw the guards to the wolves initially resulting in criminal charges against them which were later dropped. The Crown and police had been misinformed in the beginning and felt that criminal negligence charges were appropriate because the guards had sat and watched and not intervened until it was too late. Only later did they learn of the orders and threats the guards were under by management in responding to Ashley's ligature tying. Hopefully this homicide verdict will shake things up, cause heads to roll, possibly result in appropriate criminal charges this time and most importantly change the culture within the CSC. Inmates have been reduced from human beings to statistics and the CSC behaved as if the statistics were the important issues. Shame on their stupidity and insensitivity.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
It's also gone to the judges, lawyers, politicians and other assorted self interest groups pretending otherwise. Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Verdun left country as Astley pursues payment". Apparently Mr. Bob Verdun has publicly accused Mr. Robert Astley of various ghastly financial and or ethical indiscretions to the point that Mr. Astley sucessfully sued for libel. In our perverted and perverse judicial system a Defendant in a Libel suit is not assumed innocent until proven guilty. In fact it's quite the opposite. The onus of proof is on the Defendant to prove that his words were honest amd accurate or he must prove they were fair comment, responsible communication or protected by privelege. Interestingly this country's biggest professional liars namely politicians all have absolute privelege while they are lying within the Legislature or House of Commons.
A judge has awarded Mr. Astley $900,000 to be paid by Mr. Verdun. Apparently it's against the law to steal a car. Ditto with stealing someone's house. However in this filthy legal system if you can't prove to a judge (sometimes a jury) that your words were accurate then it's O.K. for the judge to steal your car, house, savings ; literally everything and more that you have. It's O.K. because our f...ing politicians say it's O.K. . Well guess what. It's not O.K. Far better that two adversary's duke it out than this disgrace pretending to be justice.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys a "Road Ahead" article written by Jeff Outhit. The title is "Ending secrecy around decisions first step to an open government". Mr. Outhit begins by suggesting that Liberal House Leader (Provincial) John Milloy is laying it on thick when he states that citizens need to change their us versus them mentality in dealing with government. Jeff Outhit then explains how the provincial government did such a good job in refusing to comply with K-W Record Freedom of Information requests around the Light Rapid Transit funding decisions made by them. Similarily the Record went to the Conservative federal government requesting similar information as the federal government are also putting up hundreds of millions of dollars for Waterloo Region's LRT. Same result, different level of government and different party. As Jeff states we should keep in mind that we are dealing with a transit system here not nuclear weapons or anything else dealing with national security.
Monday, December 16, 2013
It is truly amazing how politicians know they are dirty but prefer to keep it out of sight. Our federal parliament have decided to make it illegal? or at least against their rules for employees or even former employees to blow the whistle on them. This is of course at a time when protection for whistleblowers is generally seen as a good thing when it comes to private industry. There whether chemical, financial, construction, development or any other industries involved in wrongdoing need to be exposed. Apparently that shouldn't be the case for governmental corruption, lying or other everyday behaviour. Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Parliament slaps lifetime muzzle on staff". Funny thing while we the citizens remember the Sponsership scandal (Liberal), the Airbus scandal (P.C.) and most recently the Senate expense scandal our federal politicians of all stripes want to run for cover. They want to muzzle and silence any honest employees they have from speaking out on future scandals. This is the reverse of transparency and accountability and exactly why citizens are becoming more disengaged from politics all the time.
Friday, December 13, 2013
An alternate title might be "Still Rotten At The Top". E-Health, Ornge, RCMP, Correctional Services Canada, the Senate; the list goes on and on. "...many of OPG's senior executives earned more than most deputy ministers". The "top five executives are eligible for pensions ranging from $180,000 to $760,000 a year.". Since 2005 staff have been cut by 8.5% whereas the"...highly paid executive and senior management group" has been increased by 60%. The revelations from Ontario's auditor general just keep on coming. This is the Canadian style of corruption. Nobody goes to jail apparently when you are only stealing fromtaxpayers. Wednesday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Power rates hiked by high salaries"..
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Exposing the truth behind Canada's hidden tale of shame". Canada is being sued by the Beaverhouse First Nation for cultural genocide. Between 1955 and 1985 thousands of native Canadian children were forcibly taken from their homes by child welfare authorities under the guise of "child protection". These children were adopted out to white families and never told about their biological parents who did not give them up voluntarily. Carol Goar's story in today's paper is horrific and shines a clear light on politicians and bureacrats who are unaccountable and of low ethics. This also appears to dim Prime Minister Harper's apology to native Canadians for the abuses of the residential school system while he and his government continued to conceal what is now known as the "60's Scoop".
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
So let me get this straight. Here in Canada our federal government wants to get tough on crime. They want to incarcerate more and more of our allegedly naughty citizens. Meanwhile however in their search for the almighty dollar, plus political points for a better balance of payments through greater exports; the Canadian government continues to approve exports of lethal weaponry to third world regiemes. These include Bahrain, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Mexico and Egypt. Afterall the Egyptian armed forces must surely by now be running out of ammunition that they've been using to shoot Islamic supporters of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood. I guess over there if you don't like your new government, instead of throwing the bums out at the next election; your armed forces undertake a coup and then shoot the protesters afterwards. I am just so proud that our ever vigilant and discerning Canadian government are staying on top of who are the good guys versus the bad guys. Last Monday's Waterloo Region record carrys the story "Canadian-made weapons exports swell".
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Well it's about time. Rogue cops with bad attitudes get away with murder and mayhem but not this time. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Officer convicted of G20 assault sentenced to 45 days in jail". I am of the strong belief that this sentence by a judge will save lives. Police officers have to learn that there are consequences for them as well when they are out of control. This one jail sentence may actually restore some confidence in both our police and our judicial system. It's been far too long in coming.
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record shares this story with us "Mom urges new law for kids with asthma in schools". Unbelievable that a law is required for something as obvious as this. Hence the title above. Why does the provincial government have to pass a law. Simply tell schools under your jurisdiction to keep their effing hands off of children's meds unless their is agreement by the parents that the child is unable or unwilling to responsibly handle them. Keeping a spare/emergency puffer with the school principal might be a good idea but immediate access is what they are all about. Nip an asthma attack in the bud before the breathing passages have swollen shut. Are our school officials merely stupid or do they view this as some sort of authority over parents that they need to maintain?
Monday, December 9, 2013
The Waterloo Region Record on December 5/13 carried this Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled "Educrats must admit defeat, return to math basics". Good luck with our school boards admitting to anything. Even with egregious cases of school board mistake or misadventure there is always an excuse.
Math basics include things like multiplication tables and spelling tests. Memorization was frowned upon by the educrats. It was stifling and got in the way of creative thinking. Such B/S. Creative thinking is a good idea once you've hardwired the basics into your brain. Both Ontario and international standards are not being met by our students. This province has thrown tons of money at teachers, their unions and the school boards. As Luisa D'Amato states it's a "...profound betrayal of students". Long ago it should have been obvious to everybody that our school boards were looking out for themselves and their educational partners ie. teachers unions first and students and good education a very far second. We are reaping what politicians and school boards have allowed to happen. Shame on them. When will our citizens and god help us our governments learn to look for unbiased by self interest, advice? When will they quit accepting at face value input from vested interests?
Friday, December 6, 2013
The murder of a five year old child is horrific under any circumstances but this case is beyond unbelieveable. The grandmother and her partner were convicted of second degree murder in the neglect and starvation death of Jeffrey Baldwin, in 2002. Here is what I did not know until I read yesterday's Waterloo Region Record. The Catholic Children's Aid Society had removed the four siblings from their parents and given custody to the grandmother and her partner. It gets worse. That pair had prior convictions for child abuse! Allegedly the Children's Aid Society discovered that tidbit in their files after the boy's death. Good God! Didn't the courts also have to be involved in granting custody as well? Society is paying taxes through the nose and for what? Our most vulnerable citizens (children) are left to starve to death. Readers will be glad to know that long after it's too late the boy's guardians have been sent to jail for life. The title of the Record article is "Woman who starved grandson to death denies responsibility".
Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Waterloo Region Record carried this story on November 29/13 titled " Asley Smith "tortured" in prison, mother convinced". The jury are trying to determine the cause of death ie. accident, suicide, homicide or undetermined. Many factors need to be considered including how a teenager put in prison only for a few weeks for throwing crab apples at a postal worker could have her sentence ballon to six years via "institutional" charges. This is ridiculous and outrageous and Correctional Services Canada (CSC) should be put through the wringer for that abomination alone.
Then to later suggest that it wasn't their fault that Ashley died in their care possibly because she was mentally ill and suicidal is cowardice. Who heaped coals upon her fragile mental state? Who couldn't do anything but put her in solitary confinement for months at a time all the while adding to her sentence for acting out? For the love of God you assholes, she was in there for throwing apples. Six years and adding!
Meanwhile the Warden denies multiple witnesses testimony that she ordered guards upon pain of criminal charges to stay out of Ashley's cell if she was still breathing. As if the warden was a doctor who had real knowledge of the likely permanent effects of choking unto unconsciousness. Stupidity piled on top of stupidity. That is the "perfect storm" that Nancy Noble a spokesperson for the CSC talked about. Criminal negligence or manslaughter charges need to be laid upon the CSC. That might get their attention and change their attitudes about being responsible for the health, safety and lives of human beings in their custody.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Police board aims for transparency". All of this is taking place in the aftermath of Board vice-chair Kim Denouden being temporarily suspended during an investigation by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission. OCPC eventually decided not to hold a public hearing on the matter. The matter involved a verbal communication between Kim Denouden and an on duty police officer at police headquarters. Many of us would like to know what you have to say to a policeman that rates an investigation by OCPC. Personally I still think it was about as serious as suggesting that he was an overpaid, underworked, doughnut eating individual.
The only way the public ever found out about her alleged behaviour was by someone blowing the whistle anonymously. If there was more to it than my speculative comment in the preceding paragraph then we the public have a right to know. Currently our police board is generally a useless old boys club that appoints unqualified individuals who do little or nothing. There certainly isn't any real civilain oversight of our Regional Police which is plain wrong and all the scandals, alleged assaults, drug useage, posting of inappropriate photos and other behaviours are partly a result of that lack of transparency and accountability.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Employment insurance system needs a saviour". Apparently the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is made up of entitled, well off, employment guaranteed, jackasses. That's my first impression when I read that they don't wish to reform UI (unemployment insurance- the old name); they'd rather throw the baby out with the bathwater. They wan't to scrap the program entirely. Gee this makes perfect sense in the utopia we've been long promised but which has never occurred in this country. Way back in the 80's the Financial Post and a myriad of other papers were talking about "labour shortages" in Canada. That is and always has been absolute horseshit promulgated to put pressure on our federal government to keep bringing in cheap labour whether seasonal or via mass immigration we can't absorb and fully employ. It's all about intentionally keeping a pool of unemployed labour in order to keep wages down and unions out. It's advice and eventual policies like this that will split Canada further into two halves; the haves who make the rules and the have nots who suffer by them.
Monday, December 2, 2013
This is not a nice posting/story. The source is the November 30/13 New York Times. The title is "Danger Lurks In a Child's Chair". The on-line title seems to refer to "Mickey Mouse's Chair". It appears as if the marketing boys for the chemical industry figured out a way to legally force clothing and furniture manufacturers to include their chemicals in their products. Their will also be a HBO documentary titled Toxic Hot seat" dealing with the forced inclusion of flame retardant chemicals into childrens' furniture. According to experts the chemical retardants provide a very small delay but then in fact their burning causes toxic fumes. "You get the worst of both possible worlds".
The other issue with these chemicals is that are released even without a fire occurring. "Retardants are released as dust from the foam and accumulate on the floor. The greatest risk is probably to pregnant women and to small children, who are also more likely to be on the floor.". At one time these same chemicals were being added to childrens' pajamas. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors and evidence links them to cancer, reproductive problems and other health issues. All this in the name of corporate profit. Or as chemical industry apologists like to quote "Living better with chemistry".
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Dead officer's mother seeks access to files". The mother of fallen police officer Jennifer Kovach of Guelph is trying to get more information from the investigation done by the Guelph Police Service. Officer Kovach died in a car accident last winter while responding to an emergency call fo help. She lost control of her vehicle and slid into an oncoming bus.
Her mother Gloria Kovach has been advised by the Guelph Police Service that there will be a $2,500 fee to provide further documentation for her. I wonder in what universe, even a politician would refer to this as Freedom of Informatuion. I have long known that FOI is a bit of a sham but these attempts by governments or government bodies to pretend to be recouping costs are worse than just saying no. Shame on the original writers of the FOI legislation and shame on the bureaucrats who hide behind the loopholes.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
First of all a ridiculously low speed limit on a an expressway which has been at 90 km/hour for the last fourty years. The Conestoga Parkway in Kitchener-Waterloo has been at 70 km/h for many months ostensibly because of construction. This construction doesn't exist on weekends and even during the week there are concrete barriers between the workers and the TWO lanes of through traffic.
Add to this an O.P.P. officer who likes to play games including artificially impeding traffic and charging and tailgating drivers while in an unmarked car without his flashing lights on. Meanwhile the Region of Waterloo are raking in fines which have little or nothing to do with driving safety. A pox on the lot of them.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Cell death a homicide, jury told". Julian Roy the lawyer for the Smith family believes it was and is asking the jury to so rule. The ramifications of that are huge and indeed might be the only way to actually get substantive change within the Correctional Services Canada (CSC). Mr. Roy referred to the order not to enter Ashley Smith's cell until she stopped breathing as an "obscenity". Lawyer Howard Rubel representing the jail guards referred to the do not enter order as "illegal". While he claims that it was not obeyed by the guards nevertheless the ominous threats of criminal charges against guards if they failed to comply, most certainly must have affected their decision making and timing in entering the cell to remove ligatures.
The Warden Cindy Berry brought in a regional manager to advise guards that if Ashley Smith died it would be ruled "death by misadventure". Julian Roy's response to that is excellent namely "If you have decided it's an accident before somebody dies, it's not an accident". Management initially tried to scapegoat the very guards who resisted management's obscene and illegal orders. The buck has landed on the Warden's desk with a thud. Besides the regional manager and their disgusting comment does the do not enter orders go any higher up the CSC chain of command? That information I would like to have heard more about.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Well now Saturday's Waterloo Region Record has even more bad news for the Conservatives. The title is "Harper dodges questions, but Tory senators back audit study". According to this story the Prime Minister's Office went even past reaching out to Senate Conservatives to scuttle the audit of Mike Duffy's expenses. Apparently they went right to Deloitte (the auditors) to try and get confirmation that the audit would end once Duffy paid his expenses. A Conservative Senator approached a personal contact at Deloitte to try and get said assurances. They were unsucessful in then getting the specific Deloitte auditor to make any such commitment. Pretty clearly there are Canadian Senators whose partisanship far outreaches their loyalty to the Canadian public.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has the following story "Rattled senators troubled by court filings". The RCMP have produced an 80 page document which among other things suggests that Mike Duffy and Nigel Wright committed fraud, bribery and breach of trust with their secret deal to repay Mike Duffy's expenses. Personally I don't quite understand what the RCMP are doing here. If that's what they think and have evidence to back it up then why haven't criminal charges been laid? Are the Mounties playing politics here? Let's face it, they surely haven't gotten through the last decade plus unscathed. Their reputation has gone from good to horrible with issues such as multiple sexual harassment suits and the tasering death of a Polish immigrant a few years ago in a Canadian airport.
Our Prime Minister is still claiming he knew nothing about the deal to bail out Senator Mike Duffy. The Senators themselves are in shock over the meddling in their internal affairs by the Prime Minister's Office. Apparently the PMO did their best to quash an independent audit comissioned by the Senate as well as try to manipulate a Senate committee and its'report into Mike Duffy's contested living expenses. So much for an independent body of sober second thought.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Well this scandal is definitely going places. From a relatively minor in the scheme of things, Senate expenses scandal; we now have the Mounties suggesting criminal offenses. Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "RCMP alleges greater role of PMO in Senate scandal". To my mind once again it's all about high government officials taking extraordinary steps to shut down or at least tone down a relatively mundane abuse of expenses. Yes it was taxpayers money involved but good Lord our governments are more used to wasting billions of dollars rather than mere thousands as is alleged with Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy. I'm not even clear as to how much of Mike Duffy's $90,000 was paid by taxpayers or whether it was Conservative Party funds presumably donated by the faithful.
What is clear is that there has been all kinds of meddling and interference in the Senate by the Prime Minister's Office. What is also clear is that the Conservative government have overeacted to a minor expense scandal and sucessfully turned it into a criminal investigation of themselves.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
They are everywhere! Anyplace that human beings decide to organize a venture of any kind, the potential for disorganization and chaos exists. Municipalities, school boards, government ministries and agencies and private corporations are susceptible. Recently here in Ontario we've had Ornge air ambulance, e-health, and the City of Toronto. This next one is a doozy. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "U.K. considers law to jail medical staff for "negligence". Apparently at the Stafford Hospital in England "...hundreds of patients died unecessarily from 2005 to 2009.". That frankly is an incredible claim however investigaters found appalling conditions which they documented. For me it just confirms what I've long known. Any and all human organizations require transparency and accountability. Without it chaos and dysfunction will eventually reign.
Monday, November 18, 2013
First off despite my personally being left wing and Rob Ford more right wing; neverthelss like many others I found him initially to be a breath of fresh air. Essentially among other things he has no filter whatsoever over his mouth. This is O.K. amongst a small group of very well known and select friends. In public it is the kiss of death which Mayor Ford is now learning the hard way.
His appearance , personality and plain spokeness are anti elite. He is not a sanitized, coiffeured, manicured speaker of motherhood amd apple pie platitudes. He tells it like he feels it. This I believe is why he's had so much support for a long time. BUT.... I kind of think he's pretty much beyond saving now. His admissions of wrong doing and bad choices are really quite unique. He drinks and has done drugs. This most probably is not even remotely unique amongst politicians. His admissions to it are however. While very few of us can spell or pronounce the medical term for oral sex with a female; he blithley uses the everyday, street vernacular for said sexual act. In public! While facing the microphones! As I said earlier, he has no filter. Maybe all of us are the hypocrites. Maybe he's just a straight shooter who tells it like it is. The problem is that he's ahead of his time. Society have been trained to talk softly and give no offense. We've been trained to guard each and every word exiting from our lips. For politicians it's even worse.
Rob Ford is blunt to a fault and he's made some very bad choices. He's a human being however and I have no knowledge that he's not basically a good human being. I wish him luck even though I don't agree with his politics. Mr. Ford has actually done Canadians a bit of a service here. His public behaviour should remind us that all public figures have feet of clay. Politicians, rock stars and athletes all screw up royally sometimes. Rob Ford has just managed to do it repeatedly in a very short period of time.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Today's Woolwich Observer has this Editorial by Steve Kannon "The shame of police probes into highest offices". Steve is referring to police probes into the Prime Minister's office regarding the Senate scandal, the Premier's office regarding the gas plant scandal aka seat saver program and now an investigation into the Toronto Mayor's office regarding drug use or purchases. Steve also points out that our next door neighbour Quebec and in particular the City of Montreal have been under investigation for the last couple of years.
Clearly Canada does not have to take a back seat to anyone when it comes to improper, inappropriate and even illegal activities. We can be proud that no longer do we have to live up to our former squeaky clean images. There really is a silver lining in all this mud slinging. No longer can our governments automatically assume the moral high ground. In fact I would like to believe that from this point onwards they should be on the defensive. Instead of trumpeting their points of view as if they are being handed down from on high like Greek gods; instead they should be meekly offerring up positions and opinions as if they were coming from an unemployed, itinerant felon recently released from jail. In fact in a few years time, if we are lucky, there will more politicians in jail and fewer on the streets, council chambers, legislatures and House of Commons. May I live so long.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
I would love to see the statistics on driving tickets handed out. Especially on the breakdown as in improper lane changes, not signaling turns, slow driving, impeding traffic, failure to yield the right of way and of course old reliable speeding. It's my educated guess that non speeding tickets primarily get handed out after an accident has occurred. Speeding tickets on the other hand are non seasonal and good to go literally anywhere. I'd also like to know the revenue generated by different tickets and again am confident that speeding is the leader by a country mile. I'd go so far as to suggest that speeding revenues far outstrip all others combined. Keep in mind there are a few humdinger fines of $1000 and up when impaired driving for example is involved.
Then I'd even like to see a breakdown of speeding tickets as by radar versus police car speedometer. Also of interest would be unmarked versus marked car statistics. All of this is to say the following. Approximately three decades before the term "distracted driving" became popular, yours truly was using the term HUA to describe the major cause of accidents. HUA stands for head up ass and I believe it far outranks drinking, speeding, road rage and immaturity all added together as to the biggest cause of car accidents. Problem is it's so much easier to point a radar gun and ticket someone then to try and prove HUA even in the most egregious of accidents.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Well Ontario's highest court has quite frankly ruled that the federal Conservative government's tough on crime legislation is ridiculous. The Ontario Court of Appeal this week struck down two planks in the Tories alleged law and order agenda. Their law would have sent to prison for three years an idividual with no prior record caught with a loaded gun on their person, reason unknown, as well as a homeowner who left a restricted gun (handgun) and ammunition locked in their cottage when the registered firearm was supposed to be locked in his primary residence.
As bad as that last example, the Leroy Smickle one was a dandy. Leroy was visiting his cousin's apartment and found a loaded handgun. His cousin was out so Leroy, dressed in his boxers, decided to show off on facebook ? with the firearm in hand. Keep in mind it's not Leroy's gun, he has no criminal intent and there is no victim, other than Leroy. The cops burst into his cousin's apartment while he's busy parading around with the gun in front of the computer, while in his boxers. You guessed it they wanted to give Leroy three years in jail for essentially nothing more than stupid, immature behaviour. The Ontario Court of Appeal disagreed as well they should. What kind of a stupid country are we turning into when police and politicians are apparently so desperate to put more citizens in jail?
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
It's been a while since I poked fun at the GRCA by calling them the Grand River Construction Authority. They have made some impressively boneheaded decisions over the years although one of my favourites was their approving the construction of a solvent tank farm for Varnicolor Chemical, on the floodplain of the Canagagigue Creek (Lot 91), AFTER Varnicolor was a national pollution story courtesy of yours truly. Anyhow in today's Waterloo Region Record we have this story titled "GRCA slices $15K from honorarium paid to chair".
Apparently Jane Mitchell's pay as Chair was $15,000 higher than other conservation authoritys around the province. This stems from a report done by the Record last spring which indicated that local municipal councillors made at least $160,000 in 2012 serving on utility, police and conservation authority boards. Not bad for part time, part time work now is it? Further increments at the GRCA include $82 per committee meetings and $136 for every committee of the whole or general meetings. This is on top of their Honourariums. Oh and also 48 cents per kilometre mileage payments. All of this is bad enough for the taxpayers but the truly scary aspect is that these "volunteer" positions (HA!) are filled by either Councillors, past Councillors or their friends. So called "citizen appointments" are rarely if ever based upon merit. They are based upon who you know and how supportive of the status quo politically you have been. In other words real activists need not apply.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this Opinion piece by Geoffrey Stevens titled "Senate issue punted to highest court". Essentially the federal Conservative government are asking the Supreme Court to make decisions in regards to potential Senate reform. This federal "reference" is inviting the Court to choose from outright abolition to a myriad of lesser reforms. Interestingly none of these suggested reforms deals with the thorny issue of Senators' residency rules. It would appear that Mr. Stevens believes that the Court's involvement will not lessen the pressure on the Conservatives in the House of Commons.
As I understand the British North America Act (BNA) all the Supreme Court can do is advise as to what is constitutionally possible and how to go about it. They cannot actually do the deed on their own. If nothing else it should clarify whether Senate reform is possible and if so at what cost politically and time wise . What seemed like a good idea in 1867 has been subverted by weaker, less honest individuals over the last few decades. Hopefully the baby does not need to be thrown out with the bathwater.
Friday, November 8, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has a story titled "Endangered species at greater risk, watchdog says". The watchdog is the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Gord Miller. The Ontario government made changes last July to the 2007 Endangered Species Act. Ministry of Natural Resources permits had been required prior to various construction or development activities. Those requirements have been softened. "According to Miller, full protection of the Endangered Species Act no longer applies to activities like forestry operations, aggregate pits, quarries, hydroelectric dams and infrastructure construction.'.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Carol Goar has an article in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "Influx of low-cost foreign labour still swelling". Employers want low wage, non-union workplaces. So obviously does our federal Conservative government. May every Canadian citizen on unemployment insurance or welfare please not vote for those assholes EVER! Jobs are scarce, labour is plentiful but that's not good enough for our business class. No they have to have a federal government allowing them to bring in low cost foreign temporary workers to correct the totally non-existent labour shortages. Farms, restaurants, retirement homes, retail operations and small businesses all require help. These workers may be paying for schooling or paying for rent, mortgages and or simply putting food on the table. Only partisan, right wing nutjobs would be swelling an already bloated workforce by allowing these jobs to go to non citizens. Shame on Harper and his cronies at all levels.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin has stated that it is time for the provincial Community Safety Ministry to act. Far too many victims of mental health issues are dying unnecessarily at the hands of our police. Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Police need de-escalation rules: ombud". Currently depending which municipal jurisdiction police are in; the response to peculiar, threatening or even bizarre behaviour can range from conflict de-escalation methods to potentially fatal tasering right up to absolutely fatal shooting with a firearm. The Ombudsman with input from both police professionals and the provincial government wants to make a protocol that is uniform across the province. This protocol while stressing both police and citizen safety, cannot as has been shown recently, permit the automatic use of lethal force on disturbed persons. Clearly the Sammy Yatin case in Toronto last summer is the final straw in a long series of inappropriate and lethal police confrontations.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
O.K. first off here is my bias. I can't stand Harper, Conservatives, corporations or other professional bullshit artists. That being said you can understand my basic enjoyment of watching the ongoing unfolding Senate scandal. It's just too delicious for words. Conservative Senators look like they are dancing to Harper's tune. Their so called independence seems to have disappeared with the exception of five who would not support ending the debate over the fate of Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau. Quite frankly Wallin and Duffy have gotten the lion's share of the bad press. Kicking them out of the Senate for up to two years is indeed horrific. To date it appears as if Wallin's expenses are the most egregious although even so there seems to be legitimate comments that Senate expense rules are murky to say the least. All in all it's a great time to be either a Liberal or NDP.
So I admit from a partisan standpoint I've loved the show. Here's the problem for me. My first two years of University I had a double major namely Economics and Political Science. I dropped the PoliSci after the second year but did learn a thing or two about the Canadian Senate. Things like a lifetime appointment into a body of sober second thought. A body that was supposed to be less partisan than the House of Commons. Where and when did it go all so wrong? Wrong it has gone with the appointments, both Liberal and Conservative, of failed party candidates, party bagmen, public personalities, athletes and on and on. Nevertheless I shudder at the Senate suspending one or three of their own. The debate and discussion should not have been ended with such unseemly haste. Perhaps waiting for more outside input, Gosh help us even that from the Mounties, should have been waited for. There is a bad precedent being set here and it certainly appears as if the government of the day (Conservative) are running the Senate show. Regardless of party numbers in the upper body (Senate); the governing party should not be giving the orders and the Senators should not be obeying them.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Like two peas in a pod, Occidental Petroleum Corp. and the state environmental agency claim that the Love Canal wastes are contained. They claim that the groundwater is routinely monitored and that nothing is leaking. Maybe that's true and maybe not. What is true is that the authorities are flying by the seat of their pants. Science and engineering do not and never have had full knowledge of the full range of chemicals released nor do they even begin to test for all of them. If you test for twenty of them and everything is good you can't categorically say that something else isn't present whether in the groundwater or the soil. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "New Love Canal lawsuits emerge".
New health issues are arising from residents who were drawn back by below market prices on homes. These issues may be from direct or indirect contact with chemicals dumped by Hooker Chemical decades ago. The indirect contact could even be similar to the Bishop St. disaster in Cambridge, Ontario where vapour intrusion from Trichloroethylene contaminated groundwater caused illnesses and deaths. Regardless the politicians, government agencies, polluting companies and their consultants all closed ranks decades ago in Love Canal and proclaimed everything fixed. In a pig's eye it's fixed. Perhaps it's fixed the same way as Elmira is fixed after NDMA and oh so much more got into our groundwater. Funny thing it's the same consultants who developed pump & treat (hydraulic containment) at the Love Canal who were hired by Uniroyal/Chemtura to do an equally inadequate job here in Elmira. Go figure.
Friday, November 1, 2013
The Township of Woolwich have a Code of Conduct. Unfortunately it dosen't seem to apply to everybody. Mayor Cowan has many times publicly insulted Councillor Poffenroth for seemingly innocuous reasons. As a citizen spectator in the audience I've been shocked by the Mayor's rude and derogatory comments directed at Councillor Poffenroth. This same Mayor went apeshit on the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) a year and a half ago. Apparently they weren't all jumping to his commands fast enough and he incorrectly thought that as Chair (at the time) that he was somehow the boss of these citizen volunteers. He threatened to fire all of them and I guess in no uncertain terms they bluntly told him where to go. Mayor Cowan was so outraged that he sent a private e-mail to one of the CPAC members in which he the Mayor continued his rude rant. The hypocrisy with this is that yours truly seems to be under the gun from another Woolwich Councillor over a rude e-mail that I inadvertently sent to an M.O.E. employee.
Getting back to the Mayor he has also gotten into it verbally and publicly with another CPAC member. The Mayor as Chair gave the impression of being dismissive, sexist and paternalistic towards this female CPAC member. She called him on it both times and essentially put him in his place. By the second time he had learned his lesson and kept his cheap comments to himself from that point on.
This other Woolwich Councillor earlier mentioned is none other than Mark Bauman. Again he behaves as if the Code of Conduct doesn't apply to Woolwich Council and their friends. One of those friends would be Dwight Este of Chemtura who was permitted to make a personal attack upon the CPAC Chair, Dan Holt, last December. This attack had to do with the *Responsible Care reverification that Chemtura were undergoing at the time. Not only did Woolwich Council not stop the personal attack nor request/demand an apology afterwards; but in fact Mark Bauman spoke up and supported Dwight Este's position that Dan had allegedly broken confidentiality and been untruthful. In fact Dan had done neither.
As the title of this posting states: Hypocrisy Rules
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Yesterday a dump truck dropped one load of dirt, topsoil, mud and gravel, all combined, outside my house along Church St. in Elmira, Ontario. The day before there were four dumptruck loads of gravel dropped along the street directly outside my house. Immediately prior to a large frontend loader pushing them into the empty ditch running between the sidewalk and the road; a pump amd hoses were hooked up and the end of the hose put down into the waterfilled ditch. This waterfilled ditch had been like that for many weeks.
Months ago an excavater had meticulously removed the grass and weeds in the ditch and made it even deeper. This was a very large drainage ditch which has been present for at least the last decade plus that we have been here. There had been pipes availble through which storm water could gravity flow from west to east where they discharged into a small creek which then flowed southwards to a stormwater pond located on Park St.. Immediately upon excavating our ditch the storm water pipes were obviously blocked. We had one immense rain possibly in late August which overnite filled this ditch up with muddy, dirty water. On the Monday morning the pump and hoses appeared and I estimate there was a good four feet or more of water pumped out, down along Carriage Hill Drive and into the storm sewers. Until Tuesday of this week that first pumping of the water out of the ditch was the last. Essentially we've had a muddy pool of water beside our home for many weeks. Thankyou very much Region of Waterloo and Network; the apparent name of the construction company allegedly doing the work along Church St..
Here is the kicker on the whole thing. We have been advised that the road and ditch are being rebuilt. This is to remove above ground natural stormwater ditches and replace them with underground storm sewers. The problem, among many, is this. They dug out the ditch in order to install concrete storm sewers. They filled it in again. What they haven't done is installed the storm sewers. Are these idjits closing up these water filled ditches for the winter and going to do the same absolute bullshit again next spring? Where the hell is the supervision? Where the hell is the oversight? This is obviously taxpayers money involved thankyou very much. You've inconvenienced me for many months and you assholes think you're going to do it all over again?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
After my first reading of yesterday's Waterloo Region Record article titled "Pathologists now work in the light"; my first impression was that this was a puff piece extolling the virtues of a so called new day regarding forensic pathology in Ontario. Upon rereading, while still skeptical about the metaphors around working in the light; I have seen a pretty honest assessment of how bad things were a few short years ago. We all remember Dr. Charles Smith and his talents and abilities for finding criminal causes for childrens' deaths when none existed. Whether shaken baby syndrome or head injuries caused by falls he seemed to magically be able to support the Crown's case of foul play. One of his most egregiously wrong conclusions involved an uncle who had allegedly raped and strangled his young niece. It turned out that she had died of natural causes but does anyone think that a family going through that horror will ever forgive or forget words and actions towards the wrongly accused? It's strange but I believe I have a recollection of a few scandals with Ontario's Institute of/Department of ??? Forensic Sciences from a couple of decades earlier. Again my recollection is that this supposedly nuetral, scientific body was simply being used as a backup to the Crown when they had a weak case. Clearly as indicated in the Record's article that while science should be paramount; nevertheless human systems of accountability and peer review are absolutely necessary as well. Psuedo science is actually worse than no science when it is practised for a predetermined outcome.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record advises us that "Firm cited nine times for violations before accident". The firm involved is Maison Canada and Nick Lalonde fell to his death on their site in Waterloo on October 11/13. These nine Orders were issued in two batches namely in January and July 2013. To date I have not seen the details of these nine Orders but it certainly gives the impression of an unsafe work site, at first blush.
According to the Record "Dozens (Orders) have been issued since the incident.". I have spent twenty plus years watching the Ontario Ministry of the Environment play games with polluters including Control Orders, Certificates of Approvals and other instruments that were as much smoke and mirrors as actual documents in the public interest. While my experience with the Ontario Ministry of labour is less, it is far from non-existent. I've seen them change rules in mid stream for the benefit of companies and I've seen them issue Orders for financial compensation to fired employees that were sucessfully ignored.
This folks is why unions came into being. One of the Orders after the accident was for the company to establish a joint Health & Safety Committee. Why wasn't this done long ago? This is supposed to be standard practice and it does save lives. This province has a shameful track record when it comes to job related deaths and injuries. A large part of that is due to an intentionally impotent Ontario Ministry of Labour. Politicians craft legislation that gives the appearance of protecting workers while in reality it is toothless and spineless.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
If they aren't systematically breaking down environmental protections then they are doing the same with labour laws. Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Union calls on Ottawa to withdraw labour law changes". Sneaking them in once again via the Omnibus Bill method the Tories are redefining the word "danger" to only mean imminent risks. They are removing long term health risks as well as less than lethal risks. This Bill referred to as C-4 will allow unscrupulous employers to backtrack on health and safety issues affecting toxic chemicals and substances which take years to decades to cause either cancers or re[productive damage to human beings.
In a nutshell this is why corporations and the very wealthy back Conseervatives. They are the party to count on to turn the clock back on humanitarian as well as health related issues. It's all about the bottom line and if that means sacrificing workers then apparently so be it.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Correctional Services Canada top brass need to spend some time behind bars, preferably in isolation, for a long time. On October 16/13 the Waterloo Region Record published this story "Ashley Smith looked "hopeless" from lengthy isolation". Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Socities stated that Correctional Services Canada's treatment of Ashley Smith was illegal. This was in reference to restarting the clock each time Ashley Smith was transferred and put back into isolation. She also stated that "a UN rapporteur wants solitary confinement capped at 15 days for adults-zero days for young people or the mentally ill- or be considered torture.". Yours truly once spent close to twenty hours in an isolation cell. It wasn't pleasant and when I was sent into the "bull pen" with all the young bad actors awaiting court appearances it was a relief. The purpose of putting me in isolation was strictly intimidation by police brass and their buddies at the top of the education food chain. Shame on the pack of gutless, yellow wonders.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Advocate carrys this story "Verdun avoids jail sentence". Well this is good news it is very thin good news. There is a 90 day house arrest plus 18 months probation and 200 hours of community service. Justice Goldstein stated that "jail should be the last resort in cases like this". He also stated that "Verdun didn't break a court order for personal gain, but rather because he felt it was his moral obligation.".
Having personal experience with Libel laws and our judicial system I have absolutely zero confidence in the "system". I do however have incredible confidence in extremely wealthy individuals being able to buy justice in this country. I did not attend the original Libel trial nor this contempt of court charge leading to yesterday's sentencing. I have however seen Bob Verdun in action here in Elmira and have considerable respect for his integrity and making accurate conclusions from the evidence available. Bob showed little tolerance for either corporate executives of Uniroyal and even less for bureaucrats from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Bob was right on both counts.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Verdun may get jail in sentencing". This particular tribulation for Mr. Verdun arises from his speaking to his federal Member of Parliament, one Stephen Woodsworth. Mr. Woodsworth apparently replied to Mr. Verdun but e-mailed his response inadvertently to Mr. Bob Astley. Mr. Astley then the proud owner of a court injunction prohibiting Mr. Verdun from any further (public ?) comments jumped on this opportunity to have Bob Verdun charged with criminal contempt of court. Apparently in Canada the free, communicating with your Member of Parliament on an personal troubling issue can actually be prohibited by a Judge. The fact that an M.P. could certainly be construed as an appropriate authority in which to privately take your concerns has no effect or bearing when a court wishes to jealously guard their authority and jurisdiction.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Full-day kindergarten benefits short-lived: study". Huh! Doesn't that title kind of make you want to ask the obvious question namely what rationale or what professional studies were done prior to implementing full-day kindergarten, to justify the expense to taxpayers? Were there not other jurisdictions around the world (or in Canada) who had done such a thing first, that Ontarian educaters could have studied and learned from? This study done by the University of Manitoba is pretty clear that any educational advantages to students wear off quickly and in the long run do not increase academic standing or knowledge. Not too surprisingly the results comparing kids in Grade 1 did show improvements in those students who had attended all day kindergarten.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Ministry permits some work at site of construction death". Apparently yesterday's five Stop Work Orders have been turned into Proceed with Care Orders??? I guess 17 Work Orders including the five Stop Work Orders were considered a tad too radical in this province. Quite frankly I was surprised when the Ministry of Labour got aggressive in the first place. If either smaller contractors or non union ones had any fear of the Ministry of Labour, I exspect there would be a lot more voluntary compliance in the first place. What is also distressing is the Ministry's spokeperson is talking about the investigation taking up to a year. Please.... give me a break. This isn't a complicated financial scheme involving hundreds of transactions or hundreds of witnesses. Yes a thorough, honest investigation should be done but taking a year to do it is nonsense. Similar to the Ashley Smith inquest five years after the fact; it simply gives witnesses the opportunity to say "I don't remember.".
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record advises us that keeping Ashley Smith in segregation/isolation for extended periods of time was flat out illegal. The title of the article is "Smith's long isolation was unlawful". For me that begs the question why haven't charges been laid against the Correctional Services of Canada? Clearly her long term isolation exacerbated her mental health issues. Until or unless that happens there will never be justice for what the system did to her.
Keep in mind that her initial sentence of one month fot throwing crab apples at a postal worker was increased to six years from in custody incidents. She was literally serving years in isolation for the most minor of incidents. That our prison system are so self important and so focused on their own internal rules and control of inmates is ridiculous. Who the hell wouldn't be uncooperative and disrespectful under those circumstances? In hindsight maybe it was CSC who had and have mental issues. Clearly they really couldn't have handled Ashley Smith much worse than they did.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has this front page story titled "Construction site shutdown a relief to fall victim's mom". Similar to the Ministry of the Environment, The Ministry of Labour are hell on wheels after the fact for small businesses. I think of all the years I worked on construction (non-union) and never, ever saw a Ministry of Labour inspector. Anyhow a total of 17 work orders were laid on the construction site, including five stop work orders, after the fatality.
At the OMB hearing last week in Elmira dealing with the proposed Hunder gravel pit in Conestoga; we were informed that the average active gravel pit in Ontario will see a Ministry of Natural Resources inspector about once every five years. Again after fourty years working in construction and industry I rarely if ever saw a Ministry of Labour inspector. Ministry of Environment inspectors would come in, by appointment only, twenty years ago, at a licensed hazardous waste disposal site that I worked at in Elmira. Clearly Ontario are great at writing legislation and hopeless at enforcing it. In the case of this most recent fatality, when the smoke clears, let's see if the construction company were flagrantly in violation of safety standards or is the Ministry of Labour simply putting on a show here.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Just recently we had two people die here in Woolwich Township due to agricultural accidents. While farming and tractor rollovers are near the top of the list; not far behind is construction work. Talk about a well known prescsription for disaster. A new on the job, twenty-three year old employee; working at height. He was hit by cinder blocks while working near the edge of the roof. The impact knocked him over the edge and the fall killed him. Meanwhile the President of the company is bemoaning what he feels was the lack of a harness and an unconnected safety line. Either one would have been fatal after the worker fell.
This is where the Ministry of Labour are supposed to get tough. A new on the job, young employee needs close supervision when working in a dangerous area. It is the company's absolute responsibility to ensure that ALL safety standards are being met. Whether safety harnesses or even prohibiting cranes from moving materials when workers are nearby; there was a fatal error or errors made. The result is an unecessary, untimely death. When will workers actually be safe on the job in Ontario?
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the story "Worker who died in Waterloo fall had been at site for less than a week".
Friday, October 11, 2013
Last May 17/13 the Woolwich Observer published an article by the Editor Steve Kannon titled "They bank on us forgetting that the system does not serve us". Steve details the financial meltdown in 2008, the minor reforms that followed and how banks and financial elites are already attempting to subvert them. Steve also describes so called "trickle down" economics whereby supposedly what's good for the wealthiest classes is good for us all. My personal belief is that the wealthiest simply are pissing on the communal cornflakes and that is what trickles down to the rest of us. Finally Steve also details the right wing Harper Conservatives stance of lowering corporate taxes and transferring the burden to the middle class. Funny thing is that this continuing lower burden on corporations has not been paid back to Canadians via increased investment or other dividends. In fact all I've seen are cuts in social programs including unemployment insurance and even our old age security has been moved to age 68. Mass immigration and a larger population were supposed to make payment of our social programs easier. Instead it's just more taxes, more screwing of the lower and middle classes and less benefits for those who truly need them. Welcome to the Canada that our parents and grandparents fought for during two world wars. We won the wars against external enemies only to lose to internal financial enemies.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Last evening I heard Maude Barlow speak live for the first time. She is indeed an excellent speaker and her message was all about the politics and economics of water. I bought a copy of her latest book titled Blue Future. She spoke in Guelph, Ontario at a Church called Hope House. She mentioned two recent sucesses for both local citizens and the Council of Canadians namely the Stop 41 Landfill and the just accomplished backing down of Nestle Canada in Hillsburgh, Ontario. Nestle had been stickhandling sucessfully with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to avoid water taking restrictions during droughts. Both the Wellington Water Watchers and the Council of Canadians stepped up and appealed another private deal between industry and the M.O.E.. The Environmental Review Tribunal agreed that it wasn't a deal in the public interest hence Nestle now have to cut back on their groundwater extraction during droughts and dry spells.
Maude also discussed the attempted privatization of water by corporations around the world. Fortunately with much hard work the United Nations have declared water a basic human right. Canada to its' shame did not support this endeavour. Maude had many harsh words for the current Canadian government led by Stephen Harper and suggested that Canada's aboriginal peoples will benefit from this U.N. declaration.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Public trust, my butkus! Is there any doubt that the government in power views public money as their money? The Auditor general now advises us that the cost of last minute cancellations of two gas plants is between $950 million and a billion dollars. I guess parenthood and politics are the two professions that require zero qualifications. For politicians even the ability to count isn't a requirement.
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Cancellation of two gas plants will cost at least $950 million". To add insult to injury it also appears that the Premier's office royally screwed up the negotiations with TransCanada Energy to determine the appropriate financial penalties. All in all the cost to taxpayers is now closer to $200 million per Liberal seat saved in the last provincial election. To my mind this goes beyond ethics, politics or even dirty tricks. This is a criminal breach of the public trust. Wouldn't that clean out some of the political wannabees if they were actually held civilly and criminally liable for their misdeeds?
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Cost of two gas plant cancellations to be even higher in auditor's report". Apparently the Liberal government had been estimating $190 million costs for cancelling and moving the Mississauga gas plant. The provincial auditor increased that estimate to $275 million. The new provincial auditor is about to release his estimate for the moving of the Oakville plant. The Liberal government initially suggested $40 million but the Ontario Power Authority forcast $310 million. These total costs of $275 & $310 million are expected to go even higher than their current total of $585 million.
The Liberals held all five seats around the two cancelled energy projects for a just over $100 million of taxpayers money per seat. And who says that democracy can't be bought? I only hope that the next provincial election occurs before the electorate forget this travesty of democracy.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Politics is the art of subverting the laws your predecessors enacted. Furthermore politics is the art of acting immorally and unethically while stickhandling around the laws and telling the public it's for their own good. To be a top notch politician requires a healthy disrespect for the public who serve you. This is the reality. Citizens and residents are here to be sheared, with the able assistance of politicians at all levels. Yes every now and again they go to far and get caught but the general public have short enough memories to make it worthwhile to get right back up on the horse and start screwing them again.
Back on September 9/13 Carol Goar wrote an article in the Waterloo Region Record titled "Costly bail system is clogging our courts". She presented a recent report by the John Howard Society which indicated that the bail sytem in Ontario has been badly abused for decades and is getting worse. They use the term "presumptive detention" which basically means if you're charged even with a non-violent crime you are going to jail BEFORE you've ever been convicted of anything.
So who is benefiting from the subversion of our judicial system's original bail conditions and requirements. Well like everything else just follow the money. If violent crime is steadily declining then why aren't budgets for courts, jails, police and the administration of justice doing the same? The answer is busywork. Just like office work which can multiply to fill the time required; this is what has happened with our judicial systems. Fewer criminals then just make the most with the ones you've got. Multiply the court appearances and make sure that more non-violent crimes result in greater incarceration time prior to trial. Make bail harder and harder to get, except of course for the wealthy and influential. This is what our judicial system has descended into. Shear the sheep and keep the taxpayers money flowing where it's being abused by those in charge.
Friday, October 4, 2013
This morning I heard the comment that there are thirteen Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) inspectors for over 5,000 gravel pits in Ontario. Similarily a few weeks back evidence was entered at the Hunder Pit (Conestogo) Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Hearing in Elmira, Ontario that gravel pits in Ontario get inspected once every five years. This complete lack of enforcement and monitoring of the rules is similar to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE). Perhaps our governments would be wiser to stop with new rules and regulations and attempt to enforce the ones they've already got. Another prime example would be our provincial Ministry of Transport. Lots of rules regarding driving and negligible enforcement accept for the moneymaking speeding laws. Similarily drunk driving rules are being enforced although it took citizen lobbying to get even that accomplished.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled "Warden's denials of responsibility in Ashley Smith's death inexcusable". I have to agree with Luisa. At the same time I fully expect that the warden in order to regain her job at CSC was advised that she needed to "take one for the team" if and when the matter ever went to an inquest. That may explain her stickhandling and convenient memory lapses while being questioned. Regardless shame on both the warden and Correctional Services Canada. Bureaucratic bungling, refusals to listen to subordinates and a lack of common sense resulted in Ashley Smith's death.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Inquest hears denials from warden". Middle managers, a senior manager and at least one guard have testified that they raised their concerns about delaying removing ligatures from Ashley Smith's neck directly with warden Cindy Berry. The warden however categorically denies knowing or ordering guards to stay out of Ms. Smith's cell while she was choking.
Well the blame is now currently sitting right at the top of the Grand Valley Institution for Women. What is interesting is that the warden was fired by Correctional Services Canada only to be rehired less than two years later as a result of a mediated settltment. Will the CSC come under scrutiny in this case? The inquest has been advised that they were intimately involved in the details of Ashley Smith's "management plan" and that they were very interested in use of force reports emanating from the removal of ligatures from her neck.
Is this simply a milder version of top down directives causing subordinates to commit either stupid or horrific acts? I am of course referring to Nazi germany's genocide during the second world war. Orders from the Nazi hierarchy to commit mass murder were followed all the way down the chain of command right to the gas chambers. Some human beings are easily manipulated and if the order comes from above, no matter how stupid or repugnant, it is followed to the letter. And Ashley Smith unecessarily died as a result.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
So far we've had a senior manager (Joanna Pauline) blame the warden for the directives not to enter Ashley Smith's cell until the eleventh hour. Meanwhile the Warden is calling Ms. Pauline incompetent and suggesting that the management plan for Ashley Smith went to both regional and national Correctional Services Canada headquarters. Today's Waterloo Region Record has the story "Warden says she sought transfer for Ashley Smith".
The facts seem clear that guards were being disciplined for doing the right thing by removing ligatures until the day, under mounting pressure, that they didn't remove them in time. At that point they were thrown under the bus and now senior management are scrambling to cover their asses. Meanwhile CSC are also hardly standing up to accept any blame either. What a pack of useless tits and toadies overall. This is precisely what comes of promoting yes men and women rather than those with a moral compass and common sense.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Well this time it isn't a Waterloo Regional Police Services officer. This one worked for the Guelph Police Service. Last Friday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Disgraced officer to resign in 7 months". Constable Panylo according to his lawyer was a drug addict as in "Addiction got a hold of him.". The article mentioned that the officer stole and consumed a quantity of methadone that had been seized during a raid. Wow! My understanding has always been that methadone was a safer replacement for heroin. If this officer was on heroin then how did he last any length of time as a police officer? Or can methadone be substituted for other addictive drugs?
Regardless drug addiction is far worse than alcohol addiction and as far as most are concerned is 1000 times worse than somebody using marijuana recreationally. Clearly this officer was in big personal trouble and desperately needed to get sorted out. As far as the seven months of paid suspension his lawyer suggested that "He has a family to support. We can't just kick him out on the street.". Well I'd suggest that Constable Panylo is awfully lucky. The rest of us get turfed at will, without cause and if were lucky the monies oweing us through wages, overtime and summer holidays.
Friday, September 27, 2013
One of the definitions of corruption is "riddled with errors". Therefore calling an institution corrupt could refer to criminal matters such as "on the take", or taking bribes or in this case simply corrupt as in rotten or as in riddled with errors. It is beginning to become obvious that the brain trusts at the top of organizations aren't there because they are smarter than their colleagues or more knowledgeable. They are there because they have convinced their superiors that they are "company men or women". They will follow orders even immoral and possibly illegal ones if necessary. They are not rats, snitches or whistleblowers; no matter what. As these people ascend the corporate or government ladder they make sure that the people coming up below them share their organizational view. Their raises and promotions rely on blind loyalty and obedience. Upon this alter right and wrong loses its' importance. Keep in mind that despite so called progressive attitudes you can only sacrifice human beings rights and dignity by viewing them as less than human. How else do you rationalize an inmate strangling themself to the point of turning purple as merely "acting out"?
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Policy trumped "human decency" in Ashley Smith's treatment: guards' lawyer". Joanna Pauline tried to defend the management plan for Ashley Smith. This so called plan endorsed by both the warden and allegedly Correctional Services Canada basically said to ignore a strangling inmate until point of death (non breathing). Ms. Pauline under pressure from her warden and CSC claims she did not know that her memos critical of guards would lead to Ashley Smith's death. She also was accused of throwing guards under the bus by the Smith family lawyer, after Ashley's death. All in all it is a damning indictment of theoretical decision making at the top causing havoc and tragedy at ground level.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Deputy blames warden at Smith inquiry". The "deputy" is Joanna Pauline and the warden is Cindy Berry. Joanna Pauline claims that she sent memos to middle managers at the direction of the warden (Cindy Berry) advising that guards not go in and remove ligatures from Ashley Smith's neck. Allegedly this was because Ms. Smith wasn't in medical distress although with earlier testimony that her face was repeatedly turning purple; that seems very bizarre. Pauline also claims that she never gave direct orders to guards to stay out of Smith's cell unless she had stopped breathing. Boy talk about mincing words and stickhandling. Pauline also said that "...she believed the number of incidents in which guards used force on the inmate (ie. remove ligatures) were considered a "performance measure" for the prison's management.". Again Pauline blamed the warden Cindy Berry for changes in guards' reports for the purpose of not alarming national headquarters of the Correctional Services of Canada (CSC).
It seems clear to me the level of stupidity and negligence that led to this unecessary tragedy only increased the farther up the ladder of command. The people at the top were in fantasy land squeezed by their even dumber superiors who knew even less. Nobody at the top seemed willing to acknowledge the real problems at the bottom rung.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record has their own Editorial titled "Another view: Tougher discipline for bad teachers". The Record basically asks why it has taken this long for a proper disciplinary system and standards for Ontario's teachers to be in place. They also point out that the catalyst wasn't so much the long time disgrace of very bad teachers not being disciplined as it was the Toronto Star's coverage of the Ontario College of teachers "...decisions and practices in disciplinary matters.". Then the College hired retired judge Patrick Lesage to review their policies and procedures. More still needs to be done and as the Record says "Sexually dangerous teachers need to be prevented from teaching in the province. And ones found guilty of other forms of professional misconduct need to be more suitably and publicly disciplined as well.". Hallelujah! As I said earlier; decades overdue. Shame on the politicians, unions and the school boards who found it more convenient to look the other way and let students and parents suffer.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Deputy warden Nicki Smith was testifying at the Ashley Smith inquest that she had no recollection of orders for guards to stay out of Ashley Smith's cell as long as she was still breathing. Hunhh" That's a direct contradiction of numerous guards who have testified to date. Also where did this particular Deputy warden come from. The names I recall were a Joanna Pauline and a Cindy Berry as the senior folk on site.
Neverthelss today's Waterloo Region Record has the following story "Deputy warden tells inquest she left Ashley Smith to staff". The Smith family lawyer, Julian Roy was not impressed with the memory lapses "...noting the witness had said she couldn't remember something more than 80 times during her testimony.". Perhaps the forgetfulness was a convenience or perhaps this is precisely why these inquests should not wait five years before getting underway. She was able to recall that she was not alarmed that Ashley Smith was turning purple while the guards stood and watched. She also offerred the insight that more mental health training for staff and a mental health facility for inmates was a good idea.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record has this Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled "trustees see the mouse, not the elephant in the room". If only that were the problem. I suggest that the separate Board trustees know perfectly well what the problem is. It's the very same problem with the public school board. Basically the tails are wagging the dog. Overpaid, stuffed shirts and pompous asses working in a sheltered workshop environment with their focus on self agrandizement, personal status and financial rewards are in control. This includes senior board staff and senior union management. What a fiasco they've made of our school system all the time spending more and more taxpayers dollars while defending their empires. Luisa appropriately gives them hell for ignoring plummeting math scores while beating up on a progressive trustee who made a minor mistake. Luisa is right; they are bullies and stupid ones at that. I used to think the separate board had some honour and some ethics. Turns out they aren't that different from the public board.
Friday, September 20, 2013
Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record has an Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled ""Bad apples" at regional police have got to go". Oh my but there behaviour was nasty. We aren't talking about police brutality or corruption. We are talking about rude, nasty behaviour that is completely uncalled for. Luisa D'Amato describes the specifics in her article and they are pretty bad. They do not exemplify even the minimum behaviour we deserve from our police officers. These officers behaviour has been the subject of a number of Record articles and for good reason. Luisa feels that all these officers need to be dismissed. While she's probably right I would like to know if there are any redeeming facts or characteristics that would justify salvaging their careers which look pretty bleak at the moment.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has the following story "Ontario government to crack down on teacher misconduct". The first example given is this: "Teachers convicted of sexual abuse or child pornography won't be allowed back in the classroom for at least five years under new legislation...". Wow that's quite a crackdown. Silly me for thinking that currently a teacher convicted of abuses against children would NEVER be back in the classroom. These Liberals certainly have strange ideas of discipline.
As I already knew the College of Teachers was one more joke of so called accountability. Sure they occasionally disciplined bad teachers mildly but they didn't publish their names or anything else to properly stigmatize their behaviour. Hence they went right back to teaching with a mild wrist slap. Both the Toronto Star and the Lesage Commission further publicized the joke of teacher discipline in Ontario.
Now the Liberal government are reacting with so called tough legislation. It will only be tough enough to eliminate a few bad apples but the Libs don't want real deterrence because the Teachers Union would swing teachers votes to the NDP. There was a time I believed in unions. The teachers Unions seem to have cured me of that.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The following is but one more example of government misconduct and corruption. Our Ontario provincial government have just settled a class action lawsuit with 3,700 plaintiffs for $35 Million dollars. Today's Waterloo Region Record carry the story "Settlement reached over alleged abuse at provincial institutions". There was another story a day or two ago which I have a link to. I couldn't seem to get a link to today's story.
The Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia operated for 133 years until finally shut down in 2009. The Plaintiffs alleged almost daily abuse and humiliation while they were residents of the institution. The suit covered those institutionalized between 1945 and 2009. Think of the decades of complaints that went unresponded to. Think of the province doing their own investigation and then doing nothing for the former residents until they had their asses hauled into court. Clearly morals and ethics are not to be found in governments. I assume they just hoped that the former residents, as marginalized individuals, would just go quietly to their graves and not cause trouble for the government. Why are the responsible parties over the last decades not facing criminal charges? What kind of a society have we become to allow governments to abuse citizens by the thousands and then buy their way out of trouble with taxpayers' money? Shame on all of us!
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I received a tutorial yesterday in regards to the Municipal Conflict Of Interest Act (MCIA). My overall impression is that it is almost expected that during a municipal councillor's four year term that at some point a financial/pecuniary conflict of interest will occur. Essentially the councillor declares the conflict and avoids either debating or voting on the issue that he has a conflict with. End of story and no big deal.
However when you are dealing with for example a committee of council I believe that things become much murkier. An environmental committee of council may be in a confrontational mode with a local polluter. Examples abound such as Safety-Kleen in Breslau, Ontario; Northstar Aerospace in Cambridge, Ontario; Chemtura in Elmira, Ontario; Ciba-Geigy (Novartis) again in Cambridge. Here you have a committee (of council) essentially focused on cleaning up groundwater and or cleaning up the local polluter's site. All these industries mentioned have hired consultants and unsurprisingly their consultants have no problem minimizing problems and especially minimizing (financially) the solutions.
Now under these circumstances how would John Q. Public react to the news that a committee member charged with the responsibility of representing the public interest; also had a personal financial interest with the polluter? This personal financial interest could be as minor as a small contract for renovations to a building on site or as significant as assisting with an on-site cleanup of a contaminated area. Either way I see a potential conflict between the member's public interest and their private interest.
This particular conflict of interest relates to optics and perception. Once your environmental committee has tacitly approved (with the strong urging of the municipality) the principle of members having business dealings with the polluter that they are supposedly confronting, being O.K.; the door to abuse is wide open. What prevents an unscrupulous polluting industry from "rewarding" committee members less confrontational and more cooperative behaviour with lucrative contracts? Essentially nothing. In my opinion the committee should have absolutely prohibited any such financial dealings/contracts. In the future if a member wishes to do business with the polluting company fine; but step down from your position on the environmental committee.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Last Tuesday's Waterloo Region Record had a Letter to the Editor titled "Police should only shoot as a last resort". This is a very practical and common sense position . Particularily so when firing a gun within a urban area with homes, pedestrians and children nearby. The police officer involved fired several shots at the windshield of a car moving towards him. The car did not stop and most likely the bullets all richocheted widely. The writer of the letter to the Editor suggests that "...those investigating this incident to drive down Sheldon Ave. and look at the surrounding homes, with all the toys on the lawns, and just see how shots fired there were not only dangerous but just plain stupid over a shoplifting.". Sheldon Ave. is just south and east of the intersection of Weber and Ottawa St. in Kitchener, Ontario.
Friday, September 13, 2013
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record has the following story "Lac-Magantic train cargo as flammable as gasoline, but not identified properly". So isn't that a surprise that government oversight is lacking while industry self-regulation is MIA (missing in action). Not. Investigaters are trying to determine the motive for the intentional misgrading of the oil. It could be a commercial reason or perhaps an operating one. Regardless the oil was graded properly for it's road transportation and then downgraded for rail transport. The oil in the train came from the Bakken Shale formation of North Dakota. One of the questions facing investigaters is whether the Class 111 tank cars were adequate for the crude oil in reality versus it's downgraded staus. To date investigaters are not stating if the downgraded oil may have contributed to the disaster. What is slowly becoming apparent as with other disasters is that rarely is it a failure of a single component that causes a human disaster. It's usually a perfect storm of errors and or emissions.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Again this is a repeat of a scandal involving local police that has previously made the news. The story was in yesterday's Waterloo Region Record and was titled "Officers mocked mentally ill, injured". The scandal isn't about police brutality or corruption; it's about stupidity, juvenile behaviour and just plain bad decision making in hiring these individuals to be cops in the first place. When I was a young man the criteria were male, tall, white and a public school education. High school was O.K. as long as you weren't too obvious about it. Just what exactly are the criteria nowadays? High school, a two year Police Foundations college course and good interviews possibly. If there are any phschological tests done then how these apes passed them is incomprehensible. To read about breech of trust, breech of confidentiality and really bad taste then read the link to the Record story.
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Officer who smoked pot fights for job". The officer's lawyer is attacking police management for using a different standard in discipling Officer Borda compared to several other officers also involved in off duty marijuana use. Officer Borda's lawyer noted "...that Justice K.E. McGowan said during Borda's sentencing that she found it "extraordinary" to see someone charged with trafficking for providing just one joint- something she hadn't seen in thirty years.". Apparently Jeremy Borda was the only Officer charged criminally while the others are or have faced Police Act charges only.
This case involving six Cambridge officers has been in the media off and on over at least the last couple of years. Because of multiple news stories there could be the impression given that there have been more officers involved in marijuana use than there has been. While I find this behaviour offensive for police officers who are supposed to be paragons of virtue nevertheless it should be kept in perspective. Thank God these aren't cases of drug ripoffs, evidence disappearing while in custody, bribes, shootings, assaults or far more serious offences by police officers. I am torn as to the appropriate penalties and discipline.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Wardens could hold the key in Ashley Smith case". Deputy Warden Joanna Pauline and Cindy Berry the acting Warden are expected to testify in the coming weeks. The acting Warden had been fired shortly after Smith's death because Correctional Services Canada claimed that her subordinates had misinterpreted or misunderstood her concerns and that she Cindy Berry had failed to clarify her position with them. Frankly to me that sounds like a ton of hooey and bureaucratese coming from CSC. Many have testified that the guards were most emphatically told to stay out of Ashley Smith's cell until she stopped breathing. They followed orders after repeated pressure and prompting and the result was one dead young inmate. There are also suggestions that senior management at the Grand Valley Institution were also on pins and needles and trying not to attract attention from head office CSC due to ongoing use of force reports in regards to removing ligatures from Ashley Smith's neck. What has become clearer over time is that the ridiculous behaviour of the guards was very much directly ordered from above. Exactly how far above we have yet to learn.