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.
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