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.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Well last night due to the severe weather in Elmira, Ontario we were spared another round of the Ministry of the Environment's incompetence/corruption. Our monthly Chemtura Public Advisory Committee meeting was cancelled. That being said I had a visit from a citizen from the Orillia area who has major concerns with a lack of Dioxin cleanup on the site of the former Thane aluminum smelter in Orillia. On-line is a story I believe from the Georgina Advocate titled "Georgina seeks province's help with Thane smelter cleanup". Quite clearly my guest last evening who had come down to attend the CPAC meeting is not remotely alone with his concerns. It is alleged that the Ontario Ministry of the Environment have abandoned both the citizens and the cleanup with a number of their usual excuses.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Daring break-in follows alleged murder-robbery". According to this story four individuals were caught and charged with breaking into the apartment in Kitchener of the two robbery suspects who were wounded on Tuesday near Baden. The alleged motive was an attempt to remove evidence from the apartment that could be used against the robbery suspects. The method of entry was via going through the floor of the apartment from another apartment below. This affair is getting curiouser by the minute. The question I have is are these people completely off their rockers or is there a hell of a lot more going on than meets the eye? Drugs, money what the heck is going on?
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record had two stories regarding our local Waterloo Regional Police (WRPS). The good news for them is that an officer suspended since September 2012 on full pay is back to work. He was acquitted of a rape charge recently and the judge was pretty emphatic in his acquittal. The second article concerns the murder charge against a Baden man who allegedly turned the tables on three armed assailants who broke into his and his father's home in Baden. Still to date there is no explanation as to why the 26 year old son of the homeowner is charged with murder in this case which police have so far agreed was a violent, armed home invasion. Even in the worst circumstances whereby the defendant may possibly not be a choirboy; something is still amiss. Regional Police and the Crown need to quickly advise the public exactly why a citizen apparently does not have the right to use force to repel a violent home invasion. The story in the record is titled "Suspects in Wilmot robbery, murder still in jail".
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Police responded to report of gunshots". O.K. I'm having some difficulty with the scenario as presented in the Record. The defendant charged with murder is the son of the homeowner and lives there with his father. A police spokesperson described " ...the incident as a break-and-enter with violence.". The two surviving home invaders have been charged with "...the attempted robbery of Rodney Lamka with a firearm.". The murder defendant's lawyer concurs by stating "I believe the police are operating on the belief it was a home invasion in which the victims turned the tables.". The opening paragraph refers to "...an apparent home invasion with a handgun went awry...".
So since when does a citizen not have the right to defend themselves, their family and their home with force? The three home invaders had a handgun. One of them ended up dead and the other two injured. Geez tough life isn't it guys when you can be injured or killed while breaking into someone's home. This case has an odour to it. Apparently the shooter, that is the son of the homeowner, is "known" to police. Well does that mean allegedly prior convicted citizens lose their rights of self defence? Are the Waterloo Regional Police being extra cautious and thorough or are they simply discriminating via murder charges and incarceration against a citizen who's made past mistakes? Stay tuned as I hope this case is clarified soon.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story by Gus Van Harten "Do we need so many lawyers in Canada?" My response is that the more important question is "Why do we need so many lawyers in Canada?". Afterall this is still mostly a democracy sort of. Issues such as electoral fraud both at the municipal level (Cambridge Ontario) and the federal level are with us. Lack of accountability with our institutions is rampant. Police abuses continue albeit mostly in Toronto but also occasionally locally. Rules, regulations and unecessary laws proliferate at all government levels. Yes we need more lawyers however not to provide them with above average incomes as currently is; but to provide citizens with the protection of laws from infringement of our liberties often by government and its' bureaucracies.
Mr. Van Harten is a law professor at Osgoode Hall and his concerns are whether more lawyers via opening up both law schools and articling practices will simply increase litigation and lower the current quality of lawyers. His concerns are legitimate given the U.S. model. At the same time more lawyers might actually lessen the monopoly and lower prices for hard pressed citizens. Right now taking out another mortgage on your house is just about the only way to "afford" legal representation. There are many reforms which would improve justice in Canada for Canadians. The problem of course is that the system currently serves lawyers, judges, administators and politicians just fine. They have no incentive to fix that which isn't hurting their vested interests.
Friday, February 21, 2014
This time it's from the editor of the Woolwich Observer in the Saturday February 22/14 edition. Steve Kannon's editorial is titled "Defense of math curriculum doesn't add up". Apparently the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released another report this week which continues to show that Ontario students are having math problems. Reading and writing apparently are on track whereas in math, the numbers just don't add up.
Steve debunks the latest edubabble which uses terms such as "self-actualized", "inquiry based" and "self discovery". It seems to me that our big shots at many local school boards are nothing but frauds. According to Steve "Because math is a cumulative skill, with concepts building on each other, a poor foundation means trouble as a child is moved along through the system without understanding of the basics, which happens far too often.". Steve adds "The Ontario government has finally acknowledged there are problems, including with the fact that many teachers have little if any grounding in mathematics, even those who teach the subject."
To those of us who have observed our own local education shortcomings for many years none of this is any surprise. School Boards and the teachers' unions have long ago abandoned any pretense of being powerful lobbies for the chidrens' benefit. They are in it for themselves and the self serving results are plain to see. Our childrens' education has been shortchanged while these hypocrites have helped themselves to bigger and bigger pieces of the financial pie. Parents and taxpayers have subsidized this decline in quality while naively believing that our provincial government was steering the boat. All they have done is enabled this disgusting antisocial behaviour while belatedly raising the quality alarm.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this article by Thomas Walkom "Tories cut costs on backs of endangered species". The gist of Mr. Walkom's article is that while the federal Tories (Conservatives) are reducing government spending, which is not necessarily per se a bad thing; the problem is their secrecy and lack of transparency. Just recently the Federal Court has found against them in a lawsuit launched by environmental groups including Ecojustice dealing with endangered species. Put bluntly the federal government intentionally and blatently broke their own laws by not making plans to assist endangered species make a comeback.
There are other examples of federal government cutbacks affecting the health and safety of Canadians. The obvious one would be in regards to the tainted food scandal at Alberta's XL Foods. Perhaps issues dealing with rail safety in Canada might also be on this list. As far as whether the Tories are improving things generally or not with their fiscal probity is difficult to say. As Mr. Walkom states: "We'd have a better idea if the government told us what exactly it was up to. We might feel more secure if it didn't break the law.". Indeed!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
A working group including the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs as well as emergency response contractors have sent a report to Transport Minister Lisa Raitt last month. The report makes it very clear that "...local first responders aren't equipped to deal with major flammable liquid fires and that Transport Canada does not have the resources to "...approve, inspect and maintain current emergency response plans, let alone enough funding for a recommended expansion of the program.'. Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Rail safety report gets "urgent" read".
Furthermore there are apparently no inventories of equipment necessary for fighting oil fires of the magnitude that ocurred in Lac Megantic last summer and data does not exist to advise what quantities of dangerous goods, by what means and over which transportation corridors are being shipped in Canada. Overall it once again makes it clear that last summer's disaster was not an anomoly but in fact was the expected outcome of negligence and oversight by our federal government.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
There are two not so recent articles in the Waterloo Region Record dealing with tobacco companies. The first is in November 2012 and is titled "Tobacco companies want top Ontario Court to throw out $50B lawsuit" and the second is dated May 31. 2013 and titled "Court won't drop $50B tobacco suit". My comments are primarily from the more recent article although I couldn't get a link to it. The tobacco companies claim that Ontario's lawsuit is based upon a false theory "...that the companies conspired in the 1950's to withold information from Ontario smokers about the harmful and addictive ingredients in cigarettes.". In return the Ontario government says smoking is "the leading cause of premature deaths and illnesses in the province and costs the health-care system $1.6 billion a year.'. Also of interest is that every province except Nova Scotia has filed similar suits. In the U.S. out of court settlements between big tobacco and governments (state?) have cost tobacco over $200 billion.
All of this tells me that our government control of free enterprise is a joke. With such an obviously harmful, damaging product with little or no redeeming qualities why has this taken so long? Is the answer that both business and government were together making way too much money for way too long while individuals died and sufferred needlessly? May both parties rot in hell for what they have and haven't done.
Monday, February 17, 2014
The Waterloo Region Record has two recent stories regarding last summer's horrific railroad explosion in Lac-Megantic. The first (Feb. 12/14) is titled "Ottawa lifting financial cap on Lac-Megantic cleanup" and the second from last Friday is titled "Lac-Megantic victims suing Ottawa". What I find so interesting in the second story is the late in the day information that the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) has the worst safety record in North America. Of course this wasn't news to Transport Canada who did not sufficently sanction them for repeated violations including train drivers failing to apply a sufficient number of brakes. Ottawa's Transportation Safety Board found the MMA had been involved in 129 accidents in Canada since 2003. I guess as with many manmade disasters the surprise wasn't the disaster itself so much as the length of time it took to occur. It sure makes me realize that money talks, government protects it and the rest of us are mere cannon fodder.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Back in the 70's the above phrase was coined by then leader of the federal NDP, David Lewis. Since then little has changed. Today's Woolwich Observer has an article by Editor Steve Kannon titled "Chrysler's latest gambit a sign of what's wrong with corporate welfare". "In a report chronicling Industry Canada's contribution to the corporate welfare rolls between 1961 and 2012, the fraser Institute's mark Milke, asserts Canadians don't see a return on billions they've "invested" in subsidies.".
Steve advises us that the corporate welfare bill is approximately $16 billion per year or double the cost of social welfare costs. Chrysler are back at the trough and Steve suggests that neither the federal Conservatives nor the provincial liberals can afford to lose votes for example in Windsor by not heeding Chrysler's call. Interestingly the three biggest employers in canada have never taken a dime in government corporate handouts. That would be Onex Corp., George Weston and Loblaws.
What really burns is the history of these corporate welfare bums. It includes unpaid loans, bankruptcies, undelivered jobs and shuttered factories despite promises otherwise. Or as Steve says "But as long as politicians are allowed to control the money, they'll keep on wasting it to benefit only themselves and a few well-heeled friends.".
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The Waterloo Region Record on February 3/14 published this article by Geoffrey Stevens namely "Senate reform now in Harper's hands". Mr. Stevens understands that the prime Minister requires "...most or all of the provinces to come on side.". As that is highly unlikely than lesser goals relating to Senate reform should be considered. Those goals would be choosing Senators who are distinguished Canadians rather than party loyalists. A non political body is required for the selection of same. All of this will require the Conservative Prime Minister's support which Mr. Stevens is skeptical of. Indeed he states "Deep down, the Conservatives want to keep the senate just the way it is- as a cesspool of party patronage."
Monday, February 10, 2014
COMMUNITY EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER BELIEVES THREE WATERLOO REGIONAL POLICE OFFICERS SHOULD NOT BE FIRED
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys an opinion piece by Joyce Hodge, a Community Editorial Board member. The title is "Officers who admitted misconduct can still be redeemed". Ms. Hodge is not remotely excusing their conduct. She fully understands the pain those three officers caused innocent and vulnerable citizens. She does however put their misconduct into perspective. This includes the fact that far too many people have "...electronically berated, belittled or bullied someone else..". I don't believe that I can do justice to her understanding or to her arguments. Therefore I can only advise readers to clink on the link I have provided in order to read her thoughts on the matter. I've been having difficulty deciding what is appropriate but after reading her words I have to agree with them.
Friday, February 7, 2014
I love the incongruity of it. Today's Waterloo Region Record has two articles about our police force. The one is titled "Police complaints rise" and the other is "Regional police board developing stun gun policy". Apparently according to the first article there were 38 complaints from the public last year regarding police behaviour. Eight of those are currently under investigation. Police Chief Torigan feels that 38 complaints are rather a small number and states "We can walk with our heads high.". Really? I'd kind of like to get a look at those complaints. Also I think it's fair to point out that those are only the complaints that formally were presented to the Regional Police. How many others ended up in lawyers taking the Regional Police to court along the lines of local lawyer Davin Charney. He has an excellent record when it comes to slapping the wrists of our local police when they get too enthusiastic in their duties.
The incongruity of course has to due with the second article following the first. Gee maybe the Regional Police will have an officer on duty with his new stun gun when a citizen comes in to complain. I definitely believe that that would immediately lessen public complaints going to the regional Police. On a more serious note I hope those officers who are trained for stun guns will be advised of everything that went wrong with Robert Dzeranski, the polish immigrant who was murdered by the RCMP at the Vancouver Airport. Our Mounties thought that multiple assaults with their stun guns was just a dandy way to improve communications with a non English speaking immigrant.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
I've been avoiding comment on this story because quite frankly it is so nasty, brutish and horrific. I am putting a link to today's on-line Waterloo Region Record story. I expect it will be in tomorrow's Record. Today's Record has this story which I couldn't find on-line namely "Inquest: Baldwin's guardian "soulless"". This is a quote from today's Record "It was only after Jeffrey's death that the Catholic Children's Aid Society discovered in its own files that both Bottineau and her husband, Norman Kidman, had previous convictions for child abuse.".
I'm shocked by the incompetence. I'm shocked by the neglect of duty by at least one or more Children's Aid employees. I'm shocked that a supposedly religiously affiliated (Catholic) child protection agency could be so irresponsible. More terrifying is that this is most likely not the first or last time a Children's Aid Society has given custody to someone so horribly wrong for the responsibility. A few decades back in Kitchener I was made aware of the local Children's Aid taking children out of a home and putting them in the home of an alleged child abuser. Occasionally on the Wordpress Blog of Julian Ichim there are references to Children's Aid in Kitchener overstepping their authority and seizing children. Bill 42 passed second reading in the provincial legislature last April and it is intended to make these agencies far more accountable. The death toll of children demands it.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Wow! The Mounties supposedly always get their man. While untrue nevertheless they've started with their sights on Mac Harb and Patrick Brazeau former Canadian Senators in good standing. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "RCMP charge Brazeau, Harb in Senate probe". What I still find interesting is how the so called independent audit of Brazeau and Harb claimed that it could not be determined if they had broken Senate expense rules. Notwithstanding that the Senate's internal economy committee then declared that the rules were unambiguous and demanded the expenses be repaid.
Meanwhile to date there has been no further announcements in regards to Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin who are also in hot water over disputed Senate expense claims. They both have paid money back but that doesn't seem to have helped Mac Harb avoid criminal charges. Only time will tell with Wallin and Duffy. Meanwhile calls for reform of our Senate can only be given additional weight with this latest development.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Yesterday's Waterloo Region record carrys an article by Paula Crooks of the Community Editorial Board titled "Students ill-served by the latest fads in education". Paula suggests that fads starting in the 60's included open area concept "learning rooms", progressed to whole language versus phonics english teaching and the latest is now learning math "by discovery" rather than by rote or memorization of the basics. All of these fads produced by education bureaucrats are short on scientific proof and long on edubabble. She suggest that education bureaucrats or educrats are simply "overzealous". It is my opinion, not Paula's, that they are overzealous to justify their six figure salaries considering that they deliver exactly zero into the classroom settings. That's for the real teachers to do although the educrats can be confident that between union discipline and union/board sweetheart deals there will be little open revolt no matter how ridiculous the new wave theorys of the day are.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Does anybody else see a problem here? Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Police using rifles more in region". The story goes on to advise that police officers pointed their rifles at citizens 48 times in 2013 versus only 5 times in 2012. What is less clear is the total number of times in 2012 that firearms of any kind such as pistols or shotguns were used. Also in this story we are advised that "impact " weapons were used 14 times in 2013 and only 7 times in 2012. Impact weapons would include batons as well as some kind of a weapon which fires a pellet (an Arwen???).
Carbines and rifles for use on civilians. Really? I can understand them being used to put down a rampaging bull or perhaps a moose or deer that was injured etc.. The thing is Waterloo Region thankfully is not Jane & Finch in Toronto nor does it have the violent criminal history of Montreal. When seriously were the Waterloo Regional Police outgunned by anyone? Should two or three officers per shift have rifle and or shotgun training? Most likely yes but arming everyday police officers with more lethal weapons will be the cause of more civilians dieing at the hands of police officers. This article feels so much like our police thinking they are cowboys in the wild west. Will someone at the top please give their heads a shake before we have any more unnecessary tragedies involving citiens and police.
Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story by Jeff Outhit "Rail transit comes at a high cost". Jeff advises us that the proposed rail transit is already crowding out other regional government priorities. The three examples he gives are 1) Roads are being allowed to decay 2) Welfare benefits have been effectively cut and 3) The region's funding plan for LRT has been upset via a $1 million decrease prior to the October 2014 election, in planned annual transit increases. According to Jeff "Politicians may assure you rail transit is affordable. Three budget decisions say otherwise.".