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, March 31, 2014
Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys a book review written by Jim Romahn, titled "Shadow world exposed". An unsolved breakin occurred at the FBI offices in Media, Pa in March 1971. Nine activists uncovered documentary evidence of the corruption and wrongdoing that the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover had been involved in for decades. Both the Hoover era and the Joe McCarthy saga in the 1950's indelibly marked the U.S. government. No longer could Americans or anyone else for that matter smugly suggest that democratic governments were inherently morally superior to their alternatives. In fact if I've learned anything it is that all governments are inherently amoral and corrupt. It's not even so much a matter of degree in some instances.
Hoover illegally spied upon honest American citizens. He diverted police resources to acquiring ""dirt" on anybody he did not like or who he wanted to blackmail.". Today in the U.S. we have the NSA (National Security Agency) involved in domestic spying on American citizens. These are immoral, arrogant people again abusing their authority whether or not for the illegal and amoral purposes of Hoover. Once again the biggest threat to honest citizens is their own governments.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Unpaid internships under scrutiny". Apparently unpaid internships at two of the Country's best known magazines violate provincial labour laws. Wow who would have thunk that working for free was illegal. Who would have known that profitable leading companies in their field would take advantage of tight labour markets. Who would have thought that our Ministry of Labour would do anything about labour laws being violated?
Our Ministry of Labour, similar to our Ministry of Environment prefer to take on the little guys not the big ones. In the grand scheme of things I wonder exactly how big these two magazines really are. Walrus and Toronto life are crying foul because apparently they've had access to this free labour for years. Imagine that, from now on they have to pay at least minimum wage to have people work for them 35 hours per week. Maybe they can make up for it by charging interns $50 per cup of coffee to get their free labour back.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Regional government has the legal responsibility to provide potable water to the municipalities here in Waterloo Region. Unfortunately there is potable water and then there is potable water. The Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act of 2002 was necessitated by the massive screwup of governments at multiple levels in Walkerton, Ontario. Unfortunately whether due to intentional loopholes, loose language or simply no one enforcing it; various government bodies have learned to stickhandle around it. The Annual Drinking Water Quality Reports issued by the Region are almost hopeless. They are lacking in basic information plus they are riddled with acronyms and short forms making it nearly impossible for average citizens to read and understand them. The fact that they are on-line and hence available means little when they are so extremely user unfriendly.
Meanwhile go to your local Council as I did Tuesday evening only to hear the Mayor agree to Council's proposed action of sending my written Delegation to the Region and have Woolwich's head of Engineering contact the Region for information. Totally unsatisfactory. Woolwich Township have been contacted again by myself via two Councillors. Forever the optimist I will shortly see whether either one of them will step up to the plate and take immediate action to ensure safe drinking water for the scenic village of West Montrose. Their source water has bacteria in it including E.Coli. This is dangerous and results in ongoing disinfection by chlorine and chloramines. In turn these chemicals produce toxic by-products of disinfection.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Oh my but this has to be just about the strongest condemnation of elected politicians I've ever read. Geoffrey Stevens in last Monday's Waterloo Region Record lays bare the pettiness of politicians at the provincial level and probably all the way up and down the political spectrum. His Opinion piece is titled "Sulky children ushered premier out". According to Mr. Stevens, Alison Redford has learned the hard way that stupidity abounds and mass stupidity can be suicidal for a party in power. This behaviour is even more blatant than the Conservatives turning on Diefenbacher or the liberals back stabbing Stephane Dion and Michael Ignautius.
Alison Redford was not only the Premier of Alberta but she won a majority in the Legislature. Yet her MLA's were restless and unhappy. The caucus had not supported her when she won the leadership of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party and they were so stupid they turned on her at thr first opportunity after she won the provincial election. Usually a winning politician can keep the restless in line. Apparently in Alberta pettiness and stupidity go hand in hand. Thank you Geof Stevens for exposing the character of unfortunately the majority of people in politics.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
This article is in today's Waterloo Region Record and is titled "Trio of officers broke "sacred trust"". These officers misconduct has been publicized repeatedly in the Record and and while thoughtless, immature and more nevertheless I expect there are police forces throughout the continent who only wish that the worst behaviour of their own members did not surpass that of these three officers. Corruption, graft, payoffs, bribery and physical violence have all been documented police behaviour elsewhere over the decades. None of it is acceptable and indeed criminal charges and convictions have flowed as a result.
All that being said I posted here back on February 10/14 about a Community Editorial Board member who wrote a very eloquent article suggesting that after apologies and regional police discipline that none of these three officers were beyond redemption. She felt that as serious as their conduct was, it was not beyond forgiveness. She felt that all three could still contribute as police officers despite their personal failures. I agreed with her then and yes I also agree with today's statement "...that the officers had severely tainted the reputation of the service by their behaviour and lost the trust of the community.". Trust can be regained however under the right circumstances. I also have to wonder how much worse behaviour has occurred by regional police officers that while caught, was not public knowledge. Is there an element here of hypocrisy by senior management? Are there any elements of favourtism involved? Have other more popular and sociable officers behaved equally badly and only gotten a slap on the wrist? These three officers have appropriately been publicly chastised, disparaged and looked down upon. Is firing them for their good, the public's good or for the public relations benefit to senior management? This is a tough one.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Today I received an e-mail from the Society for Quality Education (SQE). They have been involved in the school "wars" literally for decades and are an articulate critic of our education system. The particular report I wish to comment on was written by Malkin Dare and is titled "School Boards: An expensive Anachronism". Her report is a summary of a forensic audit done by auditors Ernst and Young on the Toronto District School Board. This report was commissioned by the Ontario government and is included in full by Malkin Dare. The results are disturbing as Ernst and Young catalogued financial anomalies, conflicts of interest and also most interestingly an "atmosphere of fear" was described by some management, staff and Trustees. I guess as I've long suspected these school anti-bullying campaigns are for the students not the School Board themselves. According to Ernst and Young "Pressure is sometimes put on staff not to comply with set policies and some employees fear their employment may be terminated if they refuse to do as requested. We found examples of this type of pressure.'. For me this speaks volumes about these empires populated by little human beings lacking transparency, accountability and basic decency.
Friday, March 21, 2014
O.K. O.K. I admit a little tad of bias here. I love Luisa's well informed opinions on both teachers and our local school boards. At the same time I think she's dead wrong about supporting the LRT. There you go! Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys Luisa's Opinion piece titled "For teachers, an advanced degree should be its own reward". Her article speaks to a number of issues including indirectly credentialism. Do advanced degrees for example make better teachers? Luisa's last paragraph mentions the profession of journalism. "But we're judged by the quality of our work, not by the accumulation of framed diplomas on the walls of our homes.". Both my children have framed diplomas and degrees but neither are better farmers, plumbers or carpenters or most importantly future parents because of them.
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record has an Opinion piece titled "There is still one way to stop the LRT". It basically advises the citizens of Waterloo Region that their last kick at the LRT can is via turfing as many as possible of the regional councillors who voted for it in this fall's municipal elections. . This article is also a lesson in democracy. Citizens can and do have the right to reverse decisions that are allegedly cast in stone. Yes if you're going to cancel contracts etc. there will be financial penalties but if you believe it's the wrong deal at the wrong time then so be it. Currently Waterloo and Cambridge do not support LRT. The number of Kitchener Councillors seems to have carried the day along with some rural Townships Councillors. If enough people pay attention this could be a real dandy municipal election including greater voter turnout. Wouldn't that be nice?
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following front page story "Region clear to award LRT contract". The first rule in avoiding accountability and transparency is to change the argument. That was sucessfully done as the Judge focused on the issue of "standing" for the person who had requested an injunction delaying the awarding of the $1.9 billion contract. The Judge suggested that Jay Aissa lacked standing in the court to even ask for a remedy to stop or slow the Region from proceeding. Apparently being a citizen in good standing doesn't quite cut it for the courts. That's certainly no surprise. The Region is run by career politicians who know who has the power and the money locally. This is exactly what democracy has devolved into and it's shameful. Speaking up for the public interest is fast becoming expensive, dangerous and wholly without appreciation.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
It's never made an iota of sense to me why or how the Region expected the City of Cambridge to pay towards a Light Rail Transit service that they weren't getting. I guess I finally just assumed that the appropriate number of Cambridge regional councillors would be bought off with votes and support on other issues close to their hearts. Well it's not looking so good. Cambridge mayor Doug Craig is making a stink albeit literally years after the fact. Just in time however for the next municipal election. Nah that couldn't be it, could it? Today's Waterloo Region Record has a large opinion piece by Mayor Craig in which he expresses his dismay at the behaviour of regional councillors. The title is "Cambridge's position on light rail about fairness". Mayor Craig's description includes "...unfair, inequitable and blastantly discriminatory...". Fair enough I can agree with that. In other words it's business as usual at the Region. God Bless regional government.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Light rail transit opponents have gone to the Ontario Superior Court in a bid to stop a Regional Council vote scheduled for this Wednesday. A Mr. Jay Aissa is seeking an injunction to postpone the vote . With a municipal election this fall LRT could have been a major election issue. The attempt to award the $1.9 billion contract to Grand Linq consortium on Wednesday would diminish that possibility.
Going to court certainly indicates a willingness to put one's money where one's mouth is. Whether or not the courts will be sympathetic, nuetral or unbiased is another thing altogether. Judges are appointed and guess who does the appointing? You've got it. The answer is politicians and they aren't so likely to appoint anybody to anything solely and strictly based upon competence, ethics and morals when for them a friend or political sympathizer is so much more important. Even Regional Chair Ken Seiling feels that a decision for or against a delay is up in the air. "Anything can happen, anything's possible, Seiling said.". The Waterloo Region record's story on page one is titled "Court ruling could stall LRT".
Friday, March 14, 2014
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Hydro One CEO must go, Tories, NDP say". After reading the story it certainly seems that Hydro One don't have a clue in their Accounts Receivable department. The sheer number of complaints to M.P.P.'s constituenecy offices as well as to the Ombudsman are staggering. They are in the thousands. Furthermore the Ombudsman stated that his investigators "got the runaround" and experienced "stonewalling" from Hydro One. This particularily does not speak well to their corporate culture. I guess my first question is whether changing one individual will fix what obviously is a billing mess at Hydro One. On the other hand it just might wake up a few sleepy heads in the organization who aren't paying sufficient attention.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record on the front page has this story "Nosebleed led to man's death: court". Apparently this gentleman and his friend, while in a drunken stupor, got into a fight. The friend threw a wineglass which upon impact caused a nosebleed. A trip to hospital followed by nearly two days in hospital and the man was dead to multiple organ failures caused by blood loss. The cause of death was "blunt force trauma to the nose". According to the Crown Attorney "It caused bleeding that they could just never get under control.'.
Who beside me isn't buying this as the full story? Who besides me wonders how in the 21st century anyone bleeds to death after two days in a hospital particularily from external bleeding. I've heard of blood vessels in the nose requiring cauterization to stop bleeding. Was this done? I am also aware of human error in hospitals. A person has a heart attack and they go to hospital. Relatively routine surgery is required and the patient is given blood thinners to help the blood get by a blockage until it can be removed. Too late they determine the patient was already on blood thinners and they die unnecessarily from blood loss during surgery. This front page story requires significantly deeper research and investigation.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Monday's Waterloo Region Record carried a story by Geoffrey Stevens titled "Senate scandal is far from over". In it Mr. Stevens suggests that once again it's not so much the size of the thievery it's more the size of the coverup that matters. Geof Stevens suggests that there are three reasons the Senate affair matters. Firstly the coverup itself was poorly done and there are many unanswered questions as to why bother. Secondly the scandal, similar to the Mulroney era Airbus scandal, reaches into the highest office in the land. Thirdly with so many internal, external and police investigations now underway this matter will continue to be news for a long time. If there is a moral to all this it is that high ranking authority figures (eg. Prime Ministers) should back off and let the chips fall where they may.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Last Friday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled "Teachers, count your blessings". We should not forget that Luisa has many, many years of experience as she covered the Education beat for the Record for a very long time. She has attended countless School Board meetings, talked to teachers and talked to parents at length during her career. Apparently Nancy Hutcheson, a local vice-president of the elementary Teachers' Federation sent the Record am letter criticizing the unpaid day off work mandated by the province in order to save money. Luisa refutes her comments and advises us and teachers as to exactly how fortunate they are compared to the vast majority of workers in this province. This includes both wages and job security that equally educated and trained citizens can only dream about.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Protesters were out in downtown Guelph last Saturday in regards to the proposed federal Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23). Apparently if you're a Harper Conservative you think that shifting powers away from the Chief Electorals Officer as well as raising the limits on both political donations as well as on campaign spending is a benefit to democracy. The protesters as well as opposition MPs believe the typically poorly named legislation is more of a tool to help the Conservatives re-election chances. The title of the article in today's Waterloo Region Record is "Voter "fraud" still not addressed" as this Bill also ignores the Robocalls scandal and others.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Ombudsman powers expanded by province". The so called MUSH sector has been unfortunately exempt from the Ombudsman's oversight forever. MUSH stands for Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals. Well the barely governing Liberals in a stroke of genius have proposed legislation to bring municipalities, universities and schools under the Ombudsman's investigative umbrella. Further they have proposed a new patient ombudsman for hospitals, lomh term care homes and community care access centres. Unfortunately it also appears that Childrens' Aid Societies are still exempt from the Ombudsman's oversight.
This is a political stroke of genius because what parrty really wants to anger the public by defeating the minority Liberals with this overdue progressive legislation in the works?
Thursday, March 6, 2014
A month ago (Feb. 7/14) I posted a piece on the Waterloo Region Police Service and their stun gun acquisiton program. While I am all in favour of less lethal methods of police controlling suspects than shooting them; nevertheless these weapons are problematic. Renaming them by the way to "conducted energy weapons" simply diminishes their lethality to the public. My concern is that rather than taking the time and means in non emergency situations to talk a suspect into compliance, they will simply "shoot first and ask questions later". Our Regional Police unfortunately are not alone in individual officers deciding that because they aren't getting enough respect from either suspects or passersby that they have the right as officers to force compliance or cooperation when they do not have any legal grounds for so doing. In this country if you are accosted by a police officer either in private or public who demands either your name or identification, you have the legal right not to answer and not to provide ID. One exception is when in care and control of an automobile. Then the officer unfortunately can legally insist upon identification.
Therefore how many officers when approaching citizens for information and being rebuffed (disrespected in their eyes) are going to do something stupid and zap the "offender"? How many officers are being taught more than the mechanics of the use of those weapons. They like guns should only be used to protect the life of a police officer or the life of a citizen. Calling them a compliance tool is reprehensible. Compliance to an overexaggerated authority via force is no more than assault. Today's Record story is titled "Police want to step up stun-gun training".
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
What a country. Minimum wage laws be damned. Working conditions, seniority, benefits and simple human respect aren't necessary. As far as the recent article in the Waterloo Region Record that stated that the federal Labour Department would protect interns; that doesn't even rate as drivel or bullshit. The vast majority of our workplaces are under provincial labour legislation which even if it applies; enforcement is nearly non-existent. This is Canada afterall; the home of more ignored and unenforced legislation than anywhere in the world.
The Record's article dated March 3/14 is titled "Backlash against unpaid internships growing in Canada". Our governments at all levels must love the idea of internships. They provide locations for the unemployed to go. Their "training" costs for the broke and in-debt unemployed are zero. They help reduce unemployment statistics which are a lie anyways. They are a costless partial solution to an increasingly broken economy. Some of the country's biggest and wealthiest corporations have no shame in abusing vulnerable young people. They justify their ongoing theft of labour with right wing Ezra Levant style drivel about "unskilled" Canadians gaining valuable experience. This is what our education and political system have turned this country into. And we look around the world and wonder why human beings are revolting against systems set up to benefit the few at the expense of the many. Canada your turn is coming.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
According to today's Waterloo Region Record and Geoffrey Steven's article tiled "The truth is, the Tories are worried"; they indeed are. Mr. Stevens suggests that recent petty partisanship by Stephen Harper simply reflects his concerns that Conservative popularity is on the wane across Canada. That this could be so is by all likelihood directly a result of watching the Conservatives in power for the last eight years. Even the faithful eventually get tired of bush league partisan behaviour. Mr. Steven's mentions opposition members being barred from the Conservative mission to the Ukraine and preventing former Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cottler from attending an Israeli charity event. Issues such as the Senate scandal and the misnamed "Fair Elections Act" are giving the Tories fits. Justin Trudeau attack ads aren't working and the Conservatives are losing in the polls both for preferred party leaders and on economic issues. The final straw may be the poll from the Manning Centre in Ottawa. It seems that fewer and fewer Canadians are identifying themselves as being Conservative. All of this does not bode well for Tory aspirations in next year's federal election.
Monday, March 3, 2014
This time the Guelph Police have stepped up to take the heat off the Waterloo Regional Police who seem to be under almost constant attack with misbehaviours and improprieties galore. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Guelph business owners sue police". The allegations essentially seem to be that Guelph Police were hell bent on destroying a small business owned by a couple of foreign ancestry located on Macdonell St. The owners have sued Guelph Police for "...alleged negligence, malicious breach of duty, trespass, conversion, nuisance, conspiracy, assault and intimidation.'. Guelph Police in response have takern the usual defensive route of claiming that they can't comment because it's before the courts. The defendants' lawyer is Davin Charney of Kitchener who has sucessfully taken Waterloo Regional Police to small claims court over abuses of authority on their part. As is unfortunate in many of these civil suits against police; there will probably be an out of court settlement in which taxpayers dollars will cover misbehaviour on the part of the Police, along with a confidentiality clause preventing the Plaintiffs from going public with the settlement. This is the huge injustice to the public, as police misconduct when it occurs, should be publicized as well as how much that misconduct costs the taxpaying public.