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.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Luisa D'Amato's Opinion column of last Friday (Oct.24/14) carrys this article "Trustees are essentially toothless, but choose them wisely all the same". Luisa rightly points out that about fifteen years ago our local School Boards lost the power to levy taxes as it was taken over by the province. While Luisa states that this was to ensure equality of education dollars spent throughout the province per child I believe there was more to it than that. I believe that the province rightly understood that School Boards were abusing their taxing privelege and routinely spending money unwisely as they could always go directly back to the taxpayer well. The fact that the province is now , as Luisa states, ""...telling them exactly how to do everything." may also be due to a relatively understated lack of confidence in the School Boards. Finally Luisa also points out that "...trustees put themselves into a hands-off relationship that gave most day-to-day decision making power to school board administrators.". So what's left for the trustees? Very little although many are still fond of being cheerleaders for the school board bureaucracy. Unsurprisingly, historically retired teachers have enjoyed being trustees where they can give back; not to the students but to their teacher union collegues. Such a system is why Ontario students are doing poorly in comparison and why the province has slowly been taking authority and responsibilty away from them. May it continue until the system is seriously reformed.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Well the electorate have spoken. Loudly, clearly, rightly and wrongly they have spoken. In Cambridge Donna Reid and Pam Wolfe were reelected. Good grief. Maybe the electorate don't have full knowledge of Donna but they sure should have figured out the hard drinking Pam who allegedly can be impaired (> .08) with only a couple of glasses of wine. I attended her trial in Cambridge and the lies were fast and furious hence her conviction on some of the charges. Look at Ken Seiling. A 29 year incumbent and he was running scared from Jay Aissa for a while. Lots of heavy duty spending plus at least for once he did get pushed prior to the polls. Well the electorate have spoken and I await five years down the road as the regional bills keep on mounting.
Then we have Woolwich Township. Right up to the last issue of the Woolwich Observer they were slamming Mayor Todd Cowan. The last issue even had a political cartoon of him as a huge pig at the trough. Subtle it was not. Yes he deserved to lose and not only did he come in last of four candidates for Mayor but his biggest public detractor via an ownership position in the Woolwich Observer, Pat Merlihan, won a councillor's seat in Ward One. Past Council experience did not help Ruby Weber or Al Poffenroth. It did surprisingly help Murray Martin who was turfed last time out by newcomer Bonnie Bryant. She was strongly against the proliferation of gravel pits and Murray was not clear in his position. He's back and she's gone although she had attempted to wrest the mayor's chair from Todd Cowan. Lynne Hare also lost in Ward three which surprised me. She had been a strong and forceful advocate as well against poorly sited proposed gravel pits. Sandy Shantz is the new mayor and she is both well known and well liked in Elmira and area.
So do the electorate know what they are doing? The answer is yes and no. Examples abound. They made good choices and they made lousy choices. It's a crapshoot unless as with Mayor Cowan you are determined to prove that you are an ass. And yet look at Toronto. Rob Ford is back on Council. Perhaps Todd just didn't try hard enough to be an ass.
Monday, October 27, 2014
There is a very good reason why Robert Badgerow is the first person in Canada to be put on trial for the fourth time for murder. This is not a charge nor a crime that should allow do overs of this magnitude. It is a serious enough handicap to be charged by the Crown with all its' resources and have to defend yourself using your private resources. In Mr. Badgerow's case he was initially convicted and spent eleven years behind bars before being released on appeal. Two further trials ended in hung juries hence acquitting him. Then the murder charge was stayed in 2012 as there wasn't any new evidence and a judge ruled he had been through enough. Apparently not as the Supreme Court has dismissed his request to appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal decision that he be retried yet again.
I have absolutely no idea as to whether Mr. Badgerow is an innocent man or a murderer. What I do know is that he has spent eleven years in jail, been exonerated and then recharged yet again. I also know that this case is making our judicial system look ridiculous and petty. Just because somebody, somewhere figures they've got their guy is not a reason to keep him in perpetual legal limbo for the rest of his life. Four times on trial is two or three times too many. Anybody ever hear of tie to the runner? If you can't keep this guy convicted then move on. He's already served eleven years in jail and you can't prove that he's guilty of anything. Let him go and get your shit together next time. The Waterloo Region Record article is titled "Hamilton man first to be tried four times for the same killing".
Friday, October 24, 2014
This week's Woolwich Observer has another shocking but nevertheless incisive Editorial by Steve Kannon titled "The game less rigged, local elections offer a real chance at democracy". Steve gives facts and data to support his thesis that Canadian democracy is essentially lost to a few players who have sucessfully seized control of both power and money in Canada. He refers to elections here as "...so much window-dressing, with real power resting firmly in the hands of the few...". Furthermore Steve refers to journalist Chris Hedges who has stated "...we now live in a corporate dictatorship, the result of a decades-long erosion of the progress made in the post-war years. ". "The corporate elite, through a puppet political class and compliant intellectuals, pundits and press, still employs the language of a capitolist democracy. But what has arisen is a new kind of control, inverted totalitarianism,".
While Steve believes that municipal elections are less rigged he still gives a few local examples of municipal/regional corruption. This includes a sense of entitlement as expressed by the expense claims of Woolwich Mayor Todd Cowan as well as the Waterloo Regional Councillors "...who said one thing in the last election, then voted to support the white elephant that is light rail transit...". The long reality is that decisions are not and have not been made in the best interests of the majority of Canadian citizens for a very long time.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Peter Shawn Taylor in today's Waterloo Region Record has hit the nail on the head. His Opinion piece is titled "The referendum we've been waiting for is finally here". Mr. Taylor goes through the sordid manipulation and obfuscation that has come from our Regional Council since 2009 regarding Light Rail Transit. Regional councillors spoke one way and then voted another once safely ensconced in their Regional seats after the 2010 election. It's payback time for those who misrepresented their constituents and that includes yet once again our own Todd Cowan here in Woolwich Township. Mr. Taylor advises that seven regional councillors claimed to be against LRT when they were running for office in 2010 only to have switched their vote afterwards. Besides turfing your local reps the biggest event would be finally the ouster of forever Regional Chair Ken Seiling. He's from Elmira and frankly I'd love to see him put out to pasture. His behind the scenes deceit on Elmira issues has not sat well with me for years. Indeed Jay Aissa seems to be the one possible candidate to do it and it's unfortunate that there are so many other candidates to split the anti Ken/anti LRT vote.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Oscar Pistorious has been sentenced to five years in prison for "culpable homicide" in the death of Reeva Steenkamp. While in his case there never was any doubt that he was the shooter; O.J. Simpson's lawyers sucessfully (with the jury at least) raised some doubt as to whether he did the deed or not. Eventually Pistorious was convicted of "culpable homicide" and sentenced yesterday. There are those who felt from the beginning that it was out and out murder but Pistorious and his lawyers argued sucessfully that it was a combination of fear, adrenaline and or stupidity that caused him to fire 9 mm bullets through his bathroom door killing his girlfriend. If he got away with murder then shame on him. If it was exactly what he was convicted for then his disregard for whomever was on the other side of the bathroom door has appropriately earned him a five year sentence. I suspect that here in Canada or in the U.S. he would have been looking at closer to fifteen to twenty years in jail for his crime. In that sense (legal one) he has gotten off lucky. If he didn't mean to shoot his girlfriend then he has a lifetime of guilt and remorse ahead of him for his errors.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The Waterloo Region Record carried the following story on September 19, 2014 titled "Nuke site opponents protest secret meetings". I'm posting this story now in part due to my posting of last Friday regarding the matter of pills to combat radioactive exposure near Ontario nuclear sites. Is it any wonder that activists would appropriately be up in arms regarding their elected representatives breaking the Municipal Act by avoiding public meetings only? The results of an investigation seem to be quite clear that a number of local Mayors were indeed meeting in secret with nuclear waste representatives over an extended period of time. This hardly allows for transparent and open democratic methods for citizens to become informed and to be able to cogently debate or criticize the issues. Secret meetings tend to be for the purpose of settling privately issues that absolutely effect the public interest. Worse yet it is also apparent that no one in authority at the provincial level seems willing to take ownership of the serious issue and ensure that it is not repeated. Basically everyone is treating it as a "my bad" situation which is not good enough for such a serious breech.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Back on September 2, 2014 the Woolwich Observer published their Editorial titled "You must think like a bureaucrat to justify $25,000". This Editorial lambasted Woolwich Council plus senior bureaucrats who made the decision to spens $25,000 while chasing $3,200 double expensed by Mayor Todd Cowan. Also keep in mind that as of that date Mayor Cowan had already returned approximately $2,700 of his alleged "ill gotten gains". Steve Kannon of the Observer describes Council's decision to spend the $25,000 as nothing more than CYA or Cover Your A.. . As Steve states it "...was an easy misdeed to identify..." yet both councillors and senior staff wanted a third party to do the dirty work for them all expensed to Woolwich residents. Further Steve writes "This is just the latest example of both groups living inside the same bureaucratic bubble, the one where even the most crass and self-serving ideas make perfect sense inside but not at all to everybody else.". I suspect that Steve is essentially correct but I also suspect that this is the norm for the vast majority of Councillors and staff municipally. Yes relying on experience is not inherently wrong however it is the Councillors who were elected not the staff and perhaps this occasionally becomes lost on one or both parties.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Are you kidding me? am I kidding you? Is this for real? It must be April 1. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Nuke plant neighbours will get pills". The eye popping news is that this has been ordered by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. It seems that the Ontario authorities have been dragging their feet in getting these pills available to nearby residents of nuclear facilities in Pickering, Darlington and the Bruce nuclear stations. Doesn't this make you want to buy a home anywhere near any of these facilities? tell me this . When these facilities were originally being sited did our authorities tell anybody that they would end up having to carry KI (potassium iodide) pills "just in case". I suspect not.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record tells me exactly what I've learned over the past twenty-five years. The title is "Greed, dishonesty, apathy...and disaster". A judicial inquiry has determined that "...the real story behind the collapse is one of human, not material failures...". Commissioner Paul Belanger delivered his report yesterday and it is a scathing indictment of authority at all levels. From various engineers who "...were more concerned with pandering to clients than with protecting the public..." to "...the mall's various owners hid the problems, then tried to sell their way out of them when patchwork fixes didn't work.". There were also wilfully blind municipal officials including the Mayor, council and building inspectors. "They failed to enforce, or were ignorant of, their own bylaws" and "their approach was one of "non-interference" aimed at safeguarding the mall as a social and economic hub that provided significant tax revenues."
I see this kind of similar crap right here in Elmira, Ontario literally every day of the week. So called professional engineers prostitute themselves to make their polluting client look good and overall the municipal councils of the last twenty-five years have been in bed with the polluter not the public. That said our current council have dramatically stepped up but they are notable for their dissimilarity to previous councils.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Well this is actually kind of precious. Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this article by a Wayne Erdman who appears to have been a career educater and teacher of mathematics. The title of the article is "There are many reasons for poor math results". Interesting but especially so as two of those reasons leap out to me as being institutionalized and bureaucratic reasons. Firstly "The vast majority of elementary teachers have liberal arts degrees, with very few, if any, math specialists on a school's staff.". Gee you'd almost think that many teachers aren't so much the best and brightest as much as they are the weakest and or laziest. Secondly "...Grade 9 applied math is assigned to non-specialist teachers for various reasons, such as to save the young phys-ed teacher's job...". Ahh are we now getting into union contract language? Contract language of course negotiated and agreed to by the School Boards. You'd almost think that the welfare of their students really isn't their first priority. Or maybe it's their first priority after School Board staff, teachers and other unionized staff. What a system. And yet we wonder why some of our kids finish high school and even university with mediocre at best, english or math skills.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Many people don't want to admit that all kinds of abuses of both adults and children have occurred in Canada. Whether native children forcibly put into residential schools or in this case coloured children put into a home in Nova Scotia. There have also been instances of child abuse for mentally handicapped younsters in various institutions across Canada. The Waterloo Region Record carrys this story on October 11, 2014 titled "Premier apologizes for abuse at Home for Coloured Children". While this apology certainly seems both appropriate and grossly overdue one must still ask: Why did it take so long? The answer is usually a lack of both honesty and courage at the political level. A sufficient ie. grotesquely long length of time must pass in order for the guilty parties to be safely dead and buried. Yes it is disgusting but keep in mind this is institutionalized abuse we are talking about. That means at a certain political level there was oversight and most likely full knowledge of what was going on. Those in power and authority may throw lower level employees under the bus but they always want to pretend that governments do no harm. Horse manure. Governments of all stripes and kinds around the world are the biggest abusers of our fellow citizens up to and including murdering them. There hasn't been any kind of significant genocide anywhere in the world without full government complicity as a prerequisite.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Tomorrow night at Woolwich Township Council (7 pm.) the public will get an insight into the longstanding corruption rampant within the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (& Climate Change). It is in my opinion corruption of the kind endorsed indeed demanded by our provincial government. While the M.O.E. has a mandate to protect both human beings and the environment from pollution this is impossible when they are tightly controlled via the government of the day through the cabinet and ministerial system. The Minister of the Environment is a member of the governing party's cabinet first and foremost. He takes his orders both from them as a whole and from the Premier. His M.O.E. mandate and responsibilities and duties come a far second to his political responsilities ie. to the party and premier.
Tomorrow evening the Chair of the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (Dr. Dan Holt) will be a Delegate at Woolwich Council in Elmira, Ontario. Elmira is the location of the infamous Uniroyal Chemical shutdown of the municipal drinking wells in 1989 due to toxic contamination of the groundwater. As a Delegate tomorrow Dr. Holt will be advising Council of the ongoing failure of the M.O.E. to do their duty and protect citizens as well as the environment. He will be asking for Council's support and endorsement of a Resolution requiring the M.O.E. to step up and do their duty regarding longterm releases of Dioxins and DDT into the natural environment, specifically the sediments and floodplain soils of the Canagagigue Creek. For the past two decades both Chemtura and the M.O.E. have been hiding behind CPAC and claiming support for most of their initiatives, occasional action and gross inaction. No longer can they sell the municipally appointed citizen representatives as supporting their misrepresentations and pretend cleanup of the Uniroyal/Chemtura site.
It is my understanding that besides local newspaper coverage (Elmira Independent & Woolwich Observer) that Rogers Cable TV (#20)will also be present and they usually air at either 9 or 10 pm. the same evening.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Well apparently it does in Canada. The Fraser Institute have done yet another study on rising police costs for Canadian municipalities and apparently both budgets and numbers of officers on burgeoning police forces do not reflect the dramatically falling crime rates in Canada. The Waterloo Region Record on September 24/14 carried this article "Crime rates fall in Canada but police costs rise". Surprisingly to me at least this report claims that Waterloo Regional Police are actually financially one of the better managed forces in canada. Well, well. Overall even ignoring falling crime rates the number of police officers per 100,000 population has been rising. This is seen by financial analysts and municipal politicians alike as simply unsustainable. The big problem is and always has been a lack of backbone by local politicians. Afterall who wants to go into an election being branded as soft on crime. Of course an uninformed public also feeds into those myths and sterotypes.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
A few days back the Waterloo Region Record advised us that yet another teacher is up on criminal charges due to alleged sexual activity with one of his students. Now I had at first thought that we were talking a high school student and I was going to raise the elephant in the room and that is whether or not for example a sixteen year old to eighteen year old is either too young for sex or whether they've already been sexually active prior to the teacher coming along. The problem with that elephant is upon rereading the newspaper article I'm getting the strong impression we aren't talking secondary but in fact elementary school. Oh my but that just took things way out of the realm of "oops my bad". The age of consent is raised when it involves a person in a position of authority over a young person plus there decidely aren't many parents who send their high school kids to school and would stand for a teacher getting intimately involved with them. Once we are talking junior high I believe we are way beyond breech of trust and basically into statutory rape regardless of consent, simply based upon the age of the child/student.
So now we have a different elephant in the room. This teacher (allegedly) is damaging the reputations of all the good teachers out there. This teacher deserves initial union protection but at some point if proven guilty needs to be dropped like a hot potatoe. The elephant when minors are concerned is this. Are pedophiles with university degrees targeting children through their career choice? Does teachers' college adequately screen for either prior convictions or even serious allegations involving minors? Theoretically since the Ron Archer scandal our school board (WRDSB) are obligated from the teacher level to senior Board staff to immediately report any suspicions whatsoever. That was a long overdue change. Now perhaps more care and accountability is required even before a teacher enters the classroom.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
The Waterloo Region Record carrys the following article "Ontario's financial woes create an opportunity for education reform". Essentially British Columbia are way ahead of Ontario in both the quality and sucess of their school education systems and also in the cost. Issues such as Catholic funding, JK and independent schools are handled totally differently and apparently better in B.C.. There they have decided that both the School Boards and Unions serve the people and not the other way around. Calculations have been done regarding the costs differences and hence savings available for Ontario. considering Ontario's current extremely high debt this whole idea of reform seems to be a no brainer. Now lets get past the entrenched interests.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
It's really been a tough decade for Canada's finest. Basically it's been one disaster and crisis after another. This latest one is described in a story in the Waterloo Region Record titled "Brain-damaged man says Mountie who assaulted him was on steroids". The prpblem for the Mounties seems to be twofold. firstly there was a running videotape of the assault and secondly the victim's wife has a copy of it. It is described as "brutal" and the results are a permanently brain damaged individual who can no longer take care of himself. Once again power and authority needs constant accountability and supervision.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Widow's suit against Khadr nearing $134M?". Is this completely nuts and off the wall or what? Since when can the spouse of a soldier sue civilly for damages incurred in a war situation? Since when can another soldier wounded in Afganistan sue anybody for injuries he received? These are acts of war including these self same soldiers' killing other soldiers and most probably civilians collaterally. Are any of their allegedly legal maimings and murder victims able to sue them? clearly not.
Then we have the ludicrous sum of $134 million. Khadr was 15 years old when he allegedly, after being wounded multiple times, threw a grenade. The fact is that he was the only person still alive inside the building for which he has now spent twelve years and counting in jail for. Gee I wonder if his "savings" over the last twelve years would even pay the interest on $134 dollars much less $134 million. If an injured soldier or their spouse want to sue anyone then sue their government for putting them in harm's way. Or sue the government if you were drafted. If on the other hand you volunteered for a combat role and got injured then once again sue your government if they fail to provide you with the necessities of life. As far as suing a twelve year incarcerated fifteen year old I disrespectfully suggest everybody go fuch themselves.
Friday, October 3, 2014
I first met Todd approximately fourteen years ago. He and his wife held a luncheon at their home for Dalton McGuinty then Opposition Leader and members of APT Environment including myself. I was advised that Todd was involved with the provincial Liberals and that's all I knew. The next time I saw or heard of Todd probably was months prior to the October 2010 municipal election. He came over and we talked about the Elmira aquifers, CPAC and Chemtura. Todd advised me that he had already had talks with two experts in the field namely Ron Campbell and a David Marks hydrogeologist. At this time Todd cheerfully lied to me stating that he had those two in full agreement to join the new CPAC after he won the election. I too agreed to join.
Well Todd was telling the truth in regards to his wish to clean house at CPAC. He felt that two citizens on the committee had been co-opted as did I and others. These two had led CPAC astray including giving several concessions to Chemtura over the years regarding monitoring requirements and much more. That said, for some still unknown reason which may have simply been no more than distraction everything seemed to get delayed. This even included the two potential members Todd had lied to me about, not having submitted their Applications by January 2011. Council then advised the public that the deadline was being extended. This of course finally tipped off the old CPAC that despite all their Applications having been in for months, they weren't getting back on. As a result they all withdrew their Applications at that late date falsely claiming issues around Terms of Reference. Anything but them having to admit that they weren't wanted.
Todd's behaviour turned bizarre and stupid as did Councillor Herteis's. She was the nominal Chair of CPAC yet with Todd's O.K. absolutely refused to set a date for the first public or otherwise CPAC meeting. It was now six months after the October 2010 election. Finally a private meeting was convened and Councillor Herteis had the biggest chip possible on her shoulders. She left the meeting early, resigned as CPAC Chair and apparently threatened to resign as a Woolwich Councillor. I posted the next morning on the Elmira Advocate regarding my displeasure with the rude behaviour of Mayor Cowan as well as Councillor Herteis.
Todd had already been under pressure from the Ministry of the Environment (Bill Bardswick) and most probably Chemtura as well to keep me off of CPAC. This was his opportunity as well because Councillor Herteis also focused on me despite Dr. Dan Holt, Lynne Hare and Ron Campbell at the minimum pushing her to get the show on the road. Since that time Todd's lying has been up and down with notable occurrences at the GRCA in August 2013 and in a self published book from a former K-W Record reporter.
So in a nutshell do I think he's a thief? Did he intentionally double expense Woolwich Township etc.? I don't know although I do know he has been in desperate financial straights due to two ex-wives and four children. I also know that he is a compulsive liar perhaps even a patholgical liar. If I had the definition of a pathological liar in front of me I could comment on that more precisely. I'm still at a loss as to which if any of the above words in the title best describe his motives, if any.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this commentary by Peter Shawn Taylor titled "Politicians to the electorate: Shut up and vote". Mr. Taylor gives a number of examples of politicians at various levels who have sucessfully stalled and delayed debate on serious issues until after the inconvenience of an election has passed. This goes for Regional government (LRT), federal government and specifically upcoming Trustee elections. The issue of changing the rules around citizen Delegations to the Board has been around for almost three years yet once again it won't be finalized until after the election at the end of this month. Some of these proposed new rules are frankly stupid, draconian and clearly to prevent public embarassment to the Board. For those reasons alone they should be an election issue for Trustees but so far haven't been. Once again Cindy Watson (Cambridge) is one of the few trustees with an honest and intelligent head on her shoulders.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following headline on their Editorial page "Not as smart as we thought". As the Record states "Our publicly funded school boards, it turns out, do a wonderful job of turning poor students into average students". Furthermore "Test resulys combined for the Catholic and public boards clearly show that the region's elementary schoolchildren lag far behind the provincial average for testing in reading, writing and mathematics. Even worse the gap between the local kids and their provincial peers is growing.".
As per a good friend of mine "...nothing will improve until this community admits a problem." I can just hear the pablum and puffery at the Waterloo Region District School Board namely "This isn't a problem it's an opportunity.". Back in 1997 I ran for school trustee granted only partially because I was appalled at the quality of a number of teachers in the elementary system. I remember being appalled at a note written by a public school teacher. It was barely at a Grade 8 level of English yet this teacher was teaching exactly that subject to younger grades. Well I didn't get in and the electorate instead got a lovely lady who just wanted to get along with everybody. I repeat a wonderful person but not what was needed at the school board.