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, June 30, 2014
Last Saturday'S Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "High number of disciplined RCMP a sign of wider policing problem". The Professional Integrity Officer for the Mounties has released a new report indicating that a record 104 new formal discipline cases were brought forward in 2012-2013. "...the higher numbers are likely the result of a new effort by RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson - armed with a stronger government mandate- to crack down on problem officers.". A criminologist Prof. Darryl Davies has suggested the root of the problem infecting police across Canada is "...inadequate training, lack of accountability, and a culture of impunity among officers protected by powerful, "militant" unions.". Two solutions proposed are "A more rigorous approach is needed to restore faith in the RCMP and in police in general..." and "...deprogramming of a subculture in which officers place loyalty to one another above public duty.".
Friday, June 27, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Hydro One billing "hopeless": Marin". To date there have been over 8,000 complaints by Ontario residents concerning their nonsensical and out of control Hydro bills. The Ombudsman Andre Marin has been investigating and he does not mince words regarding Hydro One's idiotic billing practices. What is ironic is that I have just read an Editorial in the Woolwich Observer written by Steve Kannon titled "Without electoral reform expect more of the same poor quality". Steve draws upon the expertise of Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch. This group have some solid suggestions for reengaging Ontario's electorate but it will require significant electoral reform. I would suggest that these two stories are intrinsically linked. How else can you explain the abject failure of a government Crown Corporation being so widely known yet the longtime government in charge just receiving a majority government from the electorate. Steve Kannon's article goes a long way to explaining that. the bottom line is that the government of the day does not need to be responsive or accountable and still get reelected thanks to the first past the post system. In essence less than 20% of the eligible voters wanted a Liberal government badly enough to go out and vote for them.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
When are people going to understand exactly how pathetic the federal Conservative Party really is? Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Citizenship law faces legal challenges". The story deals with the Tories wish to be able to revoke Canadian citizenship for dual nationals convicted of espionage, treason or terrorism. There are other grounds for which our super Canucks in power feel that they should be able to kick people out of the country, above and beyond whatever punishment our courts might to decide to impose upon criminal conviction. Groups in Canada have suggested that this law would create two classes of citizenship and indeed they are correct. The best quote of the article is from Opposition leader Tom Mulcair namely "The Conservatives are at war with a court system that keeps turning back their bizarre legislation that fails to respect Canadians' rights". Well said.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this opinion piece by Thomas Walkom titled "Foreign worker reforms don't solve problem". He states that the two main problems still haven't been addressed namely that this program creates two different classes of newcomers. One has a shot at Canadian citizenship and the other does not. The other major problem is that it simply allows Canadian employers to avoid paying higher wages when what they are offerring is ridiculously low. As Thomas Walkom states the real unemployment rate in Canada is much higher than the Stats Canada artificially dampened figures would suggest. hence there are lots of Canadians ready and willing to work at low-skilled jobs. The problem arises when the working conditions and wages are both extremely low. "The market solution would be to offer higher wages and better conditions in the hope of attracting workers.". The recently announced reforms are full of loopholes and exceptions. Still even after an outcry the Conservatives need to deceive as they sell Canadian workers down the river.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
In this case however the female sales executive discriminated against spoke up. She was fired; afterall what kind of a team player doesn't go along with the program as outlined clearly by her male bosses. There were a few minor mitigating circumstances but they were pretty inconsequential in relation to the whole very bad idea. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Firm's men-only ski day ruled discriminatory to female sales executive". Hard to believe that with a title like that (ie. men-only ski day) that anyone would take offense but there it is. I would humblu suggest that this made the news not because it's unusual behaviour in business or industry but rather that the discriminated individual stood up for themselves, said to hell with the consequences and went to the Human rights commission. There are lots of other idiot employers out there to do exactly the same thing next year although rest assurred they will rationalize it to themselves and others, somehow.
Monday, June 23, 2014
It happens every day on the roads and it's nothing but luck that more people don't die as a result. Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Driver who stopped for ducklings found guilty". This incident occurred in Quebec close to where my sister lived decades ago. Inexperience, immaturity and just plain stupidity caught up to this young woman who didn't have the common sense not to stop in the fast lane of a multilane highway to try and save some ducklings who had wandered onto the roadway. Accounts differ as to whether she had her fourway flashers on but it really makes no difference. Other stupid drivers think that four way flashers are just dandy. Well they are for literally the first car immediately behind. But when that car veers off into another lane the next car is way too close to have time to avoid crashing into the rearend while driving at highway speeds. The possible penalties include fourteen years for dangerous driving causing death or even a life sentence for criminal negligence. These penalties quite frankly are almost as stupid as the driver herself. They won't make her any smarter or bring back the two people she killed. A more legitimate penalty would be a lifetime driving ban. That would denounce her negligence and stupidity and make the driving public safer. It's just a shame that more drivers can't be removed permanently from our roads before they kill someone.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Wow talk about the thin edge of the wedge. I understand that I've misunderstood the situation here in Ontario around having a searate system for Catholic students. Last Tuesday in the Waterloo Region Record, Luisa D'Amato wrote an Opinion piece titled "A shared school for public and Catholic students is long overdue". Luisa states that " although Catholic education is constitutionally guaranteed, it has evolved into an indefensible situation in multicultural Ontario.". Apparently parents have come up with an idea to avoid their students being scattered to St. Clements, New Hamburg and Waterloo if the St. Agatha separate school closes. They would like to see a new school in fast growing Baden be opened that could be shared between the two Boards. It has been done sucessfully in other Ontario communities so why not here?
Thursday, June 19, 2014
The only other time in my life I heard that above epithet was at the Willowdale Fitness Institute Toronto and it was in reference to tennis players eating their young. While obviously a gross (grotesque) exaggeration nevertheless like most good jokes it requires at least a little bit of truth in it. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Hudak stepping down early following revolt".
O.K. so maybe this is one of the few times I'm going to say something complimentary about a Conservative. Yes maybe it's because I feel badly about someone who's down getting kicked by his own friends and colleagues. In the past I have understood and supported the Conservatives believing that Teachers and their unions need a serious reality check. Other than education however I've precious little common ground with Tories. This I will say about Tim Hudak. No good deed goes unpunished and his good deed was in telling the truth while in the midst of a pack of liars. I too misunderstood his early comment about reducing public servants by 100,000 bodies. Only later did I hear key words such as attrition. Also later on I read a number claiming that Ontario has either 1.1 or 1.2 Million public servants! Holy crap If Tim had used a slightly different chronology to get his message out he might well be the new premier of Ontario. 100,000 less of over a million public servants probably makes sense. I'm just waiting now for the Liberals and their majority to stop hiring civil servants and let their numbers dwindle via attrition. I wonder if they have the required chutzpah to brag about cutting the deficit via fewer civil servants in the next provincial election. My guess is yes they do.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this opinion piece by Byron Weber-Becker "Election results underscore the need for proportional representation". "On the provincial level, 38.6 per cent of voters voted Liberal, but the party received 54 per cent of the seats and therefore 100 per cent of the power.". Apparently this situation is sometimes referred to as a "false majority". I had not heard that term before but boy do I like it. The Greens received 5% of the votes cast and exactly 0% of the seats in the house. The only winner (and least deserving) were the Liberals. While I don't know all the specifics around proportional representation it certainly sounds as if it's an idea whose time has come. Why do the bulk of citizens (62%) literally get zero say in the affairs of the province? This isn't even close to a democracy and the sooner this system is replaced the better.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
For me various protests by K-W's own Julian Ichim highlight numerous issues that otherwise generally are swept under the carpet. Things like homelessness, unemployment, mental illness and police misconduct especially towards the aforementioned groups wouldn't even be on the public's or media's radar but for Julian and others. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Protesters set up "tent city" in Victoria Park". Their message is that government subsidization of condos and "gentrification" is improper and inappropriate or as Julian states "...public resources are being wasted for the rich.'. At the tent city in Victoria Park workshops will be held this week including "know your rights" seminars on interaction with the police. They are also setting up in Victoria Park to protest the fact that homeless people are regularily forced out of the park by police at night.
Monday, June 16, 2014
The bad news is in the above title. The good news is that only 38% of the 52% of Ontarians who voted; voted for the Liberals. This works out to a grand total of (52x.38) or 20% of eligible voters in the province of Ontario voted for the lying, corrupt buggers. I find this somewhat reassuring in that clearly a majority of the eligible voters are not stupid. That being said next time around we need more of those who are either uninformed, too busy or too jaded with politics and politicians in general; to come out and vote for change. If a system/government are working and suceeding then fine, reelect them. Otherwise throw the buggers out and give someone else a chance to do better. This really isn't rocket science folks.
A week ago here I suggested that if you have two bad choices then we do indeed have more than a two party system here in Ontario. Not enough of you voted either NDP or Green. Twenty-one seats for the NDP and zero for the Greens. Come on seriously. Do you really think that the Liberals and Conservatives have either a monopoly on common sense or for that matter corruption? I think not. It's way past time to try out the alternatives. Please don't tell me that the NDP had their chance back in the early 90's under Bob Rae. Compared to either the Liberals or Conservatives the NDP were bush league in levels of either deficits or corruption. For the next provincial election if Wynne and the Liberals haven't gotten their ethics and deficit in order then how about a Green/NDP government? Worst things could even happen than a minority Conservative government requiring support from the NDP and Greens. I live for the day.
Friday, June 13, 2014
I can't quite figure out what happened here. These robocalls were supposed to involve thousands of electors in dozens of ridings yet we seem to have a grand total of one defendant in one riding namely Guelph. Has no one else been charged anywhere in Canada? Is this all there is?
A lawyer for the Conservative Party of Canada, Arthur Hamilton, seems to have been key in shepherding the case against Michael Sona. Ken Morgan the campaign manager for Marty Burke conveniently has been in Kuwait since 2012 and has refused to speak with investigaters. Meanwhile Andrew Prescott received immunity to testify against Michael Sona. Two other office staffers also testified about Michael Sona telling them about the robocalls plan. This information and more was in the June 7/14 Waterloo Region Record with the headline "Robocalls trial: Four key people, just two words".
Thursday, June 12, 2014
A weird and utterly hopeless thought just crossed my mind. If the Tories (Conservatives) or anybody else long on sin and short on compassion don't like prostitution then why not figure out professional prostitutes' earnings for the last five years and then pay them an equal amount (annually) to enter the legitimate job market? I mean seriously, if for example any of the million new jobs being touted by Tory Tim Hudak come about here in Ontario then why not reserve a few thousand for our "working" girls? Surely legitimate work wouldn't have any worse job conditions including nights and weekend work. How about clients with deformities, disabilities, bad breath, lack of hygiene up to and including infectious diseases. I mean is it possible that our federal Conservatives think prostitutes enjoy having sex with total strangers, jerks, perverts or even straight johns with or without a missus at home? My guess is that a guaranteed income not to have sex for hire would immediately deplete the ranks dramatically.
On June 7/14 the Waterloo Region Record carried a story titled "Prostitution bill a political ploy that misses mark". It was written by Tim Harper and he clearly is no fan of this proposed legislation. He believes that this legislation will drive prostitution out of relatively safe homes and back into the streets. Mr. Tim Harper believes that this legislation is solely a political attempt by the Tories to appeal to their base and intentionally ignores the very issue that the Supreme Court raised in their ruling demanding new legislation from the federal government. The Supreme Court were not amused by the feds last kick at the can which severely endangered the health and safety of professional sex workers. These conditions while appealing to many are almost guaranteed to put the sex workers in the line of fire. the tories don't care as long as they get credit and more importantly votes in the 2015 federal election. The games have begun.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
While that's a tempting figure apparently far too many entrenched interests really aren't interested in those particular savings. Pity. Decades ago having taken political science at University (& economics) I thought that the British North America Act was written in stone including guaranteeing a separate school system for Catholics. At the time Canada (Upper & Lower) was basically made up of French catholics and English protestants. Well obviously things have changed rather dramatically in the interval including the fairness of publicly funding one particular religion but not others. Ted Martin the Chair of the public board has indicated that "...the United Nations human rights commission has said it's discriminatory." Fair enough; it wasn't but now it is. A new arrangement is overdue. Also the idea of saving money would be a blessed relief to also long overburdened taxpayers. Sales taxes whereby governments suck up consumers allegedly aftertax income are nothing but a disincentive to purchasing both necessities and luxuries. They also are an unfortunate positive incentive to governments to keep on wasting our money as long as the spigot keeps on flowing. Unless we as a society are happy with how much of our taxes are going to simply service our massive debt year after year, then we have to find savings and our education system is long overdue for a major overhaul. On June 9/14 the Waterloo Region Record carried this article "Board chair wants one system".
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record advises us that our two local school boards are approaching the $1 Billion mark PER YEAR. That is ridiculous especially when our high school grads are going out into the world less prepared than ever. Grant you it's not all of them but enough that universities are routinely having to give first year students refresher courses in both english and math. The article in today's paper is titled "School spending nears $1B".
Keep in mind this is nearly $1B just for Waterloo Region elementary and high schools. Of course having two separate systems costs money as well but to date nobody has seriously suggested changing that. The public board is spending $727 million while the separate board are spending $247 million for a total of $974 million. This is to educate a total combined enrollment of 82,000 students. If one does the math it costs almost $12,000 per year per student. Does anybody seriously think we can continue having smaller class sizes or full time kindergarten and or pre kindergarten? What needs to be done is a wholesale housecleaning of the overpaid, vested interests who have been milking our educational system for decades. Teachers' salaries are the tip of the iceburg. Consultants, bureaucrats and administraters making six figures a year and more need to be downsized. A Liberal government who have used taxpayers money to bloat a system which was overfunded at $350 million in the late 90's (Waterloo Region District School Board) and is now at $727 million is no longer sustainable.
I'm not a Conservative supporter due to their labour and environmental positions but I can't fault their math or their claims of bloat and waste in our educational system.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Fear could trump loathing at polls". Political writer Geoffrey Stevens succinctly points out the weaknesses of the Liberals and the Conservatives. The Conservatives are feared by wage earners, teachers, unions and civil servants. The Liberals are loathed and appropriately so for wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on Ornge Ambulance, e-health records and the gas plant scandals. Yes the Liberals do not deserve a vote of confidence from the electorate. They frittered and possibly illegally bought themselves a couple of seats in the Ontario legislature courtesy of taxpayers picking up the tab for the last minute cancelled gas plants.
Here's where the stupidity comes in. Here in Ontario we are not stuck with only two poor choices. If you are indeed afraid of the Tories and disgusted by the Liberals incompetence/corruption then bloody well vote for someone else! It really is that simple. Stop listening to this crap about strategic voting and you and your neighbours, relatives and co-workers turn this into a two way race. That is a two way race between the two parties whose hands are not dirty or whose longterm goal is not reducing middle class wages while lowering corporate taxes. Our personal taxes are the highest in the world and our corporate taxes among the lowest already. Vote either NDP or Green but get out and vote. What an appropriate slap in the face of the business as usual parties.
If enough people vote other than Liberal or Conservative then we could actually have a legislature where four parties have significant representation. Cooperation and comprimise might rule the day versus the worst case scenario of either a Liberal or Conservative majority. I could happily live with four parties each having between 25 and 30 seats in the Ontario legislature.
Friday, June 6, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record is carrying another story on the trial of Michael Sona. He is accused of making misleading and deceptive phone calls for the purpose of intentionally preventing voters from being able to cast their ballots. To date there have been four witnesses testify that he had bragged after the fact about his participation in a robocalls scheme which sent known Liberal voters in Guelph, Ontario to the wrong voting location. His lawyer has suggested that his client will not be introducing witnesses on his own behalf. While the decision has not yet been made it is difficult at this point to believe that he will be acquitted. I guess for myself there are still a couple of questions namely what was a then 22 year old doing being in charge of and responsible for so much of the goings on in a federal election campaign. Also I'd like to really know if he had help in his scheme which would seem likely again considering his tender age. Finally this is all about robocalls and misdirecting voters in Guelph. Have any other individuals or groups been charged anywhere else in regards to the last federal election and misdirecting voters?
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Military vets want "duty of care" acknowledged". The last paragraph in this story sums it up well. "The government is quick to summon them for service and call them heroes, but leaves them mired in a bureaucratic swamp when it comes time for compensation, MacLead said. "If you can't afford the wounded," he said, "you can't afford the war.".".
Our Tory federal government are liars and hypocrites. They are backpeddling on promises made to returning miltary veterans since the First World War. It's bad enough that these gutless wonders send proxies in their place to shed their blood, often for no more than to give the Canadian government status and prestige either on the world stage or worse yet in support of U.S. foreign policy. Then to deny by backdoor bureaucratic hoops and loops, benefits that our veterans require is scurrilous. Shame on Prime Minister Harper and Peter McKay and our federal government overall. Their self serving frugality apparently knows no bounds nor ethics.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Luisa D'Amato has an Opinion piece in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "Wynne put on the defensive in lively leaders' debate". Apparently it took no time at all for both opposition parties (NDP & Conservative) to jump all over Kathleen Wynne for her and her partie's gas plant scandal. It was otherwise known as the "seat saver" program in the legislature and for short term gains the Liberals are paying now. Between this scandal, the e-health financial debacle and Ornge Ambulance failures and costs the Liberals have earned the right to come in dead last in the upcoming election. The Liberals loss however does not need come at the expense of having Tim Hudak and the Tories back in power. Granted his brag of reducing the public sector by 100,000 bodies and of allegedly creating 1,000,000 jobs is recent hot air; nevertheless that combined with more corporate tax cuts is typical Tory agenda territory. Also recently he was all about dropping the Rand formula, the decades old comprimise that has sucessfully brought labour peace and civility to unionized labour negotiations. Both provincial and federal Conservative hidden agendas are all about reducing wages and the middle class. Reducing corporate profits or magnificent salaries well past the "sunshine list" bottom end ($100,000) are not part of Conservative austerity.
For me this election is relatively easy. God no to more of either the Liberals or the Conservatives. They've monopolized political power forever both federally and provincially and both equally share the blame for stagnant wages, high unemployment and home costs still rising in the middle of a recession. A pox on both their houses.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Back on May 14/14 Martin Regg Cohn in the Waterloo Region Record had an interesting take on the NDP election strategy. His opinion piece was titled "Public servants can thank the NDP for Tories' hard line". Mr. Cohn advises that there were two differing positions within the union movement regarding whether Andrea Horwath should have supported the Liberal budget or not. Pragmatically speaking it was as far left a budget as the Liberals had unleashed in a very long time. On the downside the longer the third party in the house props up a minority government, the more blame for the government's failures can accrue to the enabling third party. Therefore being responsible for the election is a mixed bag and subject to varying opinions.
The bottom line as to who best could forsee the publics' reaction to all this will not be known until election day is over. Hudak and the Conservatives see the possibility of kicking out an old scandal ridden government while the Liberals have jumped all over Hudak's plan to terminate 100,000 public servants jobs in the middle of a recession. The Liberals (and NDP) are also jumping all over Hudak's supposed million jobs creation plan. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The NDP haven't had such an opportunity in over two decades. Let's see what the voters think.
Monday, June 2, 2014
This past Saturday's Woolwich Observer has an Editorial by Steve Kannon regarding the latest news on red light cameras in Waterloo Region. Steve pulls no punches with his apparent contempt for regional officials who have no compunctions against lying to their employers (yes that's us). According to Steve "Trust us, it's about safety. That's the party line, but there are a growing number of studies showing that the cameras actually increase the number of accidents at intersections, particularily rearenders. That's especially true in jurisdictions where private companies are involved in the ploy, with U.S. reports of signal timing favouring quicker sequencing of yellow-to-red changes, the better to boost profits.".
That is contemptible but oh so typical of our elected and unelected officials. The title of Steve's Editorial is "Red light cams are about cash, not your safety".