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, May 30, 2016
Today's Waterlooo Region Record carrys this story titled "Ontario vows improve care in foster homes, youth jails". The sub-title is "Scathing report by expert panel slams government". This improved care also includes children in foster homes and oversight of the myriad of Children's Aid Societies and other for profit and non profit service providers. The report was written by authors from Ryerson Unieversity, McGill University and former deputy minister Deborah Newman.
The Ontario government was slammed for their hands off, eyes closed, ears covered supervision of the entire system. There were multiple abuses and negligent behaviour publicized over the years with little positive intervention by the governments of the day. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services Minister Tracy Charles would not commit to the first of 33 recommendations made namely that a Quality of Residential Care Branch be created within her ministry "to provide governance, oversight and accountability for all child protection services". Hard to believe that such an important ministry to the day to day life of both parents and children could have suffered at best such benign neglect.
Saturday, May 28, 2016
The Waterloo Region Record on May 17/16 carried the following story "Appeal Court will hear case of the Guelph robocalls scandal". The convicted person, Michael Sona, is attempting to have the nine month jail sentence reduced. The Crown of course are trying to have it extended. Mr. Sona was 22 years old at the time of the offense and is now 26. His lawyer feels that the principles of deterrence and denunciation do not require nine months in jail. I tend to agree for a first offence. That said any second conviction then all bets are off.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Today's Waterloo Region Record carried this following story today titled "Drug conviction quashed because officers lied". The crime was a marijuana related one albeit definitely considerably more than a teenager caught smoking a joint. A 43 year old woman was convicted of possession for the purpose of trafficking. However the police officers involved violated the woman's rights three times including forcing her car to stop with an unmarked police car and then while wearing a balaclava over his face the officer ordered her at gunpoint out of her car. There was also a five hour delay in allowing her to call her lawyer. Finally both police officers lied in court, under oath, claiming that it was a routine stop and no firearms were involved.
The Appeal Court stated "This is one of those cases in which the court's need to disaasociate itself from police's conduct is greater than society's interest in prosecuting (the accused).". The conviction was quashed because of both Charter breaches as well as the officers lying under oath. There was no word in the story as to the liklihood of perjury charges against the officers.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
There was an article/Letter To The Editor in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "Speed kills, so please slow down". I beg to differ. It isn't speed that kills, primarily it's stupidity, mental laziness and inattentiveness. A two car head-on collision at a speed limit of 80 km per hour is just as fatal as a two car head-on collision at 95 km. per hour. Dead is dead. The fifteen km per hour excess speed above the limit does reduce the drivers reaction times slightly. In the case described the author states that she had a precious few seconds to swerve onto the shoulder of the road and get out of the way. Good for her in that clearly she was paying attention.
Her assertion that the oncoming driver's speed was the cause of the near collision is a generalization at best. Was he sober or drunk? Was he talking to his passenger when he pulled out to pass? Was there all of one car going slowly in front of him or was there a lineup of eight cars all going slowly and bunched together? Were there two slow cars with numerous car lengths of empty space between them (eg. ten car lengths or more) until he pulled out to pass and then the immediate car in front of him stepped on the gas to close the gap between himself and the next car?
It is possible, perhaps likely, that the oncoming car in her lane was 100% at fault. Possibly he had been speeding constantly for the past hour and simply pulled out without first carefully and attentively observing both oncoming traffic plus the number of vehicles immediately in front of him. Or in the alternative there might have been a three car line up due to the first car driving below the speed limit while under perfect road and weather conditions. Then the next two cars decided not to pass him regardless of an empty oncoming lane. Did he pull out to pass without any observable oncoming traffic only to have one or more of the three cars ahead of him take umbrage at his nerve in passing and intentionally and aggressively block his safe return to the right lane after passing either the first car or the first two cars?
Blaming speeding out of hand fails to recognize all the dynamics that may have been going on.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
The May 5, 2016 Waterloo Region Record carried this story titled "Trustee "embarassed" that high schools fall short by 269 diplomas". While I say kudos to Mr. Ramsay regarding his embarassment that the Waterloo Region District School Board seem incapable of performing their core duties, let us not also forget that Mr. Ramsay is a longtime school trustee. He knows the reasons that the WRDSB are not sucessfully educating and graduating a larger percentage of their students. That said his comments about it being "unacceptable" are true as well as his frustration that the Board are "...unable to explain why our students are not keeping pace with other students across Ontario". Keep this in mind however that explanations are not necessarily solutions. Explanations are also sometimes just a little too close to excuses. Let's see the Board determine the reason why and then act on it appropriately in the best interests of the students. This of course is always difficult when students come a distant third to teachers' unions and Board staff in the hierarchy.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Ontario considers promoting safe texting zones". I'm kind of shocked at this article. Basically a private member of the Ontario legislature is promoting a Bill that would have the provincial Transport Ministry post signs on provincial highways advising drivers to hold off on their texting until the next upcoming rest stops or exits. I'm appalled doubly that members of our legislature seem to believe that Ontario drivers are that stupid in the first place and secondly that they might be right. Good Lord if we have to go so far as to post signs to get drivers to postpone their texting and receiving of messages until they are stopped then I think we have passed the point of no return. If car drivers are so suicidal and homicidal that they need to be babysat and reminded not to drive and text then I think as a species we are at long last on our way out. Human beings certainly have learned how to kill each other in great numbers and for ridiculous reasons but this latest warning suggestion is over the top.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Funny how the Dishonourable Robert Reliiy was able to make his decision allegedly based upon the "balance of probability" in favour of a teacher who sued parents two decades ago. I would be curious to know if he was appointed to the bench by the federal government or by the provincial government ie. Ontario. If he was a provincial appointee then clearly he could hardly be called any more unbiased than those who appointed him. Afterall what exactly is the credibility of one appointed by the incredible, dishonest or corrupt?
The Waterloo Region Record have their own Editorial titled "Liberals, teachers' unions too cosy". It is a damning indictment of two groups who's own self-interest is paramount while both hypocritically espousing the public's interest. The taxpayer handouts to the teachers' unions are shameful and should be illegal. The teachers' unions donations right back to the provincial Liberals smell like kickbacks. The record are right in that the two groups can be friends but they should not be bed partners.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Back on May 11/16 the Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Too many inmates sent to isolation: ombudsman". Even the United Nations have recommended abolishing any segregation longer than fifteen days with no inmates in isolation for more than 60 days in a year. Thus it would seem reasonable that enlightened Ontario would reflect those humanitarian principles. To date not so much. Keep in mind that this is the same province who were responsible for the death of Ashley Smith in Kitchener primarily due to her unlimited time in segregation combined with some mental health issue that were only exacerbated by being in isolation on an ongoing basis. Her alleged "crimes" were primarily in house rule breaking not on the street crimes for which she had received a trial and due process. Instituional charges were one of the sticks with which correctional service employees exercised their authority and control over inmates.
Friday, May 20, 2016
Worse yet is education or the lack therof simply an excuse for governments who neither can nor want to maintain full employment? Is it a simple way to blame the victim when there is "unacceptable" unemployment, along the lines of "Oh if we had more better educated young people then their unemployment rates wouldn't be so high." Last Tuesday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Sandals untroubled by weak test scores, graduation rate".
Education Minister Liz Sandals seems capable of ignoring Waterloo Region's bottom third graduation rates in Ontario as well as our elementary students being in the bottom half for English and Math across the province. Furthermore she appears to justify this by suggesting that the University of Waterloo's excellent reputation somehow negates the prior issues. Talk about comparing apples to oranges.
The reality is that far more young people are going farther in school than ever before. When I entered and departed university we would be lucky to have two Grade 13 classes with a half a dozen Grade 9 classes. Nowadays a degree in something is becoming the norm to the point that employers are all about credentialism in order to weed out applicants. An office job requiring brains, common sense and hard work does not require a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
The polite term is "distracted driving". My term is and has been literally for decades "HUA" which stands for Head Up Ass. Today's Waterloo Region Record Editorial is titled "We are all distracted drivers". First off that's primarily bullshit. Not much more than 55-60% of us are routinely not paying attention when we drive. If it was anymore then none of us would still be surviving after decades of driving. Secondly it's crap that suddenly now distracted driving has surmounted drunken driving as the leading cause of death on our highways. It's always been the leader but police officers etc. simply haven't marked it down on accident reports as such. It is simply so much easier now if you find a turned on cellphone at the scene of a fatal accident. There are probably the usual number of fatal accidents from drivers talking to passengers, gawking at the scenery or other accidents or simply day dreaming. The evidence of the old standby HUA driving is simply not available hence for decades police would suggest speeding among other red herrings.
Monday, May 16, 2016
Generally I would characterize public reaction to the sex assault charges against Jian Ghomeshi being withdrawn in favour of a peace bond, as favourable. Along with the peace bond was a verbal and written apology of actually quite significant proportions and admissions. The May 11/16 Waterloo Region Record carrys the story titled "Ghomeshi's lawyer behind "peace bond" solution". Mr. Ghomeshi's apology certainly sounds sincere but the discription of his behaviour was quite outrageous and clearly demeaning for the woman on the receiving end of his rude in the workplace behaviour.
Clearly this is but one more case of a lack of democracy and justice in the workplace. If the CBC are not unionized they should be. If they are and the union representing all employees allowed or enabled Mr. Ghomeshi's behavior, just like CBC management did, then they should all be sacked. I've seen pretty outrageous double standards in the workplace during my decades there; whereby certain "favourites" got away figuratively with murder while the rest of us got sacked or hung out to dry for less flagrant and offensive behaviour.
Monday, May 9, 2016
Back in 1990-91 it was a pitched battle trying to get the Ontario M.O.E. to seriously pay attention and investigate Varnicolor Chemical. They lied, deceived and misled on a routine basis. After being caught multiple times feeding the media falsehoods it became clear to everyone that they simply could not be trusted to be honest and forthcoming. Once that was established and they were on the defensive we had Varnicolor on the ropes. Whatw as also rweadily apparent was that both the company and regulator (M.O.E.) were reading from the same playbook as well as hiding behind each other's expertise and rapidly dwindling credibility.
After Varnicolor shut down and the owner went to jail a new group became involved in watching their operations. Richard and I moved on to the Uniroyal file. That said we regularily asked for updates on the Varnicolor file and routinely received nothing from the M.O.E. Even years and a decade or two later the M.O.E. were constantly tightlipped about the site. The most egregious failure of the M.O.E. to keep the public involved was in regards to soil excavation at the back of the Elmira Theatre Company and at Motivair on First St. Both these properties shared a property line with Varnicolor and of course solvents and pollution has no respect for property lines somewhat similar to Chemtura and their eastern farm neighbour.
Now the owners of this site (Elmira Pump) are interested in redeveloping the site. We shall have to see what the data tells us as far as contamination and other factors.
Friday, May 6, 2016
Back on April 28/16 the Waterloo Region Record published their Editorial titled "Code shouldn't muzzle council". In my opinion Cambridge Council were trying something similar to the stunt that Woolwich Council tried a very short while ago. Woolwich tried to stifle and ban all Delegations to Council dealing with Chemtura Canada. They got no where fast thanks in large part to an alert citizenry and media. Cambridge Council are attempting to control their own few independent councillors and prevent them from going off scriptor from departing from the majority's playbook. This is all unacceptable in a democracy but many of our municipal politicians seem to think that anything you can lie, bluff or bullshit and get away with is O.K.. News flash it is not and lessens both society and democracy each and every time they get away with it.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
I've got to admit that I'm more than a little gobsmacked by this article in today's Waterloo Region Record. The title is "Officer criticizes detectives for improper investigation at police board meeting". Constable Kelly Donovan spoke as a Delegate at the Waterloo Regional Police Board meeting yesterday. She strongly criticized police detectives for their investigation into Sgt. Brad Finucan as well as their investigation of Const. Jeremy Snyder. In the case of Const. Snyder he was charged with sexual assault and was then acquitted. Sgt. Finucan pled guilty to harassment and illegal gun possession and was however given an absolute discharge.
This is definitely not the usual method of business regarding the Waterloo Regional Police. I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with informing the public about police matters but I certainly hope that Const. Donovan is accurate in her assessment. That in and of itself probably won't guarantee her career isn't sidetracked but at least it would give her some satisfaction as to telling it like it is. It will be very interesting to see how this turns out especially for Const. Donovan. Standing up publicly in uniform presumably and telling off Regional Police detectives in front of the Chief is pretty ballsy. I must say that considering the apparent seriousness of the charges I was surprised at the gentle outcome by the courts. Perhaps Const. Donovan is on to something here.
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
The Editorial written by the Waterloo Region Record in today's newspaper is titled "Toxic time bomb must be defused". It gives the decades long litany of inaction and obfuscation by the authorities in regards to the toxic mess still affecting humans and other lifeforms in Elmira and downstream.
The Editorial rightly points out that it is way past time for the federal government to step up and do their duty. They were involved when an American company situated in Elmira Ontario decided to take environmental shortcuts in their pursuit of greater profits while producing 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T and Agent Orange. Not to mention of course DDT which the federal government had alleged was never made in Canada. Nice try with that one.
Will this sudden interest by local media in Woolwich Township's longest running scandal actually result in real improvements or will this be another flash in the pan as we've seen for decades? Will our local, securely in bed with Chemtyra Canada politicians decide it's finally time to get serious with the company? Will our provincial Ministry of the Environment finally get serious with Chemtura. Their latest nonsense from Terri Buhlman claiming that there is negligible risk in the Canagagigue Creek is outrageous while they are still planning to do a Risk Assessment. Why bother if they are going to give the conclusions before the Assessment is even done?
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The fact is that money and influence pollutes all politics everywhere not remotely just Canadian politics. The Waterloo Region Record April 9/16 edition carryied this story titled "Let's stop big money from polluting Canadian politics". The author is Duff Conacher, the co-founder of Democracy Watch. Over the last several years I have read and appreciated many of his articles. That said I must admit that I had real problems fully understanding his financial comments in this article. The gist certainly is that there are too many ways both legitimately and otherwise for monied individuals to donate that money to their favourite parties or candidates in the hope of buying even more influence.
Numerous suggestions are made regarding prohibiting unions and corporations from donating as well as from putting individual limits on the size of donations. Federal law is touted by some whereas the author strongly prefers the Quebec model. He also believes that ethics and election watchdogs should be doing regular audits including of politicans' bank accounts. All I can say is that the municipal elections act here in Ontario is far worse than a joke. Even when stupid politicians contravene it and are caught there are no consequences. That is said from first hand experience here in Woolwich Township, Ontario.
Monday, May 2, 2016
Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following story titled ""Corporate welfare" cited". Between 2004 and May 31, 2015 Ontario gave $2.36 Billion to corporations in Ontario. Of these 80% were "invited to apply" for the money by the government. Furthermore the respective provincial ministries doling out the funds didn't even return to the companies to determine if the jobs were created were retained. In other words zero accountability.
It ws the Auditor general, Bonnie Lysyk, who brought these expenses to the attention of the Ontario legislature. Both the NDP and the Progressive Conservatives have been asking unsucessfully in the legislature for some time as to the names and dollar amounts of the various recipients of government largesse.