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, August 29, 2016
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following story titled : "Ontario's Naqvi wants to modernize justice system". Well there may be nothing wrong with a certain amount of modernization I would suggest that his opinion regarding making the system motre effective and user friendly is far more important than "modernization" and not necessarily the same thing at all.
Apparently the judicial system is stuck in a paper mode and simply not up to par with other government services when it comes to getting things done on-line. Personally while I believe in face to face applications, giving of assistance and direction; my experience is that the system does not respect any attempts by non-lawyers or non-professionals. Even phone conversations can be very helpful based upon the following considerations. Firstly are there enough operators available to answer phones promptly and secondly do they speak English versus legalese? Getting assistance from someone who is only capable of speaking in legal terms is unhelpful as is someone who is either ill informed or uninterested in actually helping you.
Our legal system is slow, cumbersome, ridiculously expensive, non transparent, self absorbed and user unfriendly to the extreme. It focuses on making judges and lawyers happy campers and seems to take offence with those who do not or cannot avail themselves of professional assistance.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Next Wednesday August 31/16 at 9 am. in the Provincial Courthouse, Courtroom 101 at 77 Queen St. Kitchener we will see how our judicial system (Crown) decide to handle this second set of charges against a municipal councillor. Similar to Sandy Shantz, in this case Councillor Scott Hahn, there is little doubt as to numerous violations of the MEA (Elections Act). These have been admitted to and as well there has been a second set of Financial Statements produced by Councillor Hahn. This second set somewhat similar to Sandy Shantz is dramatically different than the first set.
There are however some major differences. Sandy Shantz was both the mayor as well as a regional councillor. In other words a much bigger fish than Scott. Also Scott Hahn has had a $12,000 Forensic Audit done by Froese Forensic Partners and paid for by Woolwich Township. In Scott's case unlike Sandy's MECAC (Municipal Elections Compliance Audit Committee) fulfilled their duty and responsibility and properly ordered a Forensic Audit be done on Scott's election campaign financials.
Scott's Forensic Audit unearthed some disturbing information. One aspect that caught my attention was the Auditors' stating that they did not know if Scott Hahn believed or even ought to believe the story told by his parents and sister regarding their allegedly, improperly paying $1800 cash to Trimach Inc. as reimbursement for Scott's campaign signs. The proveable contraventions of the MEA are numerous and if the Crown decide to pursue this case it is conceivable that more significant charges could be laid. Time will tell.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Today's Woolwich Observer has an article by Steve Kannon (Editor) titled "Protecting the resource itself is fine, but fight bottled water by not buying it". In his article we are advised that Nestle is one of the most hated multinationals on the planet. I did not know that. Steve also advises us that government (Ontario) policy is decidedly corporate friendly. That I did know. Steve further advses that the fees charged by the province at $3.71 per million litres are ridiculous and he is certainly correct.
Steve goes further and advises that in his opinion the Region of Waterloo's tap water "varies in taste, typically less-than-stellar". I agree with him although few in the Region would actually say so out loud and in public. Steve also suggests that the taste, smell and appearance of our tap water is due to miniscule amounts of chemicals in our water. I would suggest that while that is true it is also the chemicals used by the Region to "treat" our water. They, including chlorine, do not help the taste etc.. Steve's last point is that previous "safe" levels of contaminants have sometimes over time been shown not to be "safe" afterall. This is an excellent argument for lowering to zero many chemicals in our drinking water. If it can't be done then get a different, better raw water source.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story titled "Mom sues region, CAS over hair tests". It is unfortunate in our society that this is the only means of redress if such a thing even exists under the circumstances. The now discredited Motherisk Laboratory was responsible for children being involuntarily taken (stolen) from their parents allegedly because their mother was on drugs. It has since been determined that the protocols and processes used by Motherisk simply were "inadequate and unreliable".
These stolen children were then given to the Children's Aid Society who had them adopted. The children could not even have visits with their parents. Aboriginal Canadians had their children stolen (60's scoop & residential schools) and now we find that government once again acted as protectors and insulaters for criminal activity. Hiding behind the law for immoral, unethical and illegal behaviour does not make it legal despite the decisions of those assholes who purport to be acting in the public interest. Kudos to this woman and all others involved in the class action lawsuits. It is unfortunate that jail time is not on the agenda for the decision makers who so glibly hide behind junk science and government in order to have their way.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys a story and photo titled "Sixties Scoop aboriginals getting court day, but seven-year case drags on". The photo shows Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennet suggesting that she would rather see the case discussed at the table rather than in the courts. Well of course she would. The taxpayers pay for all the government's expenses and there is no downside for the government to talk, talk, talk. That's exactly what they do best when they don't want to do anything else. I find it difficult to believe that the government didn't have literally decades to settle this dispute solely caused by themselves with their taking of Indian children and putting them into foster homes of non aboriginals. Apparently even more important in the lawsuit is the allegation that the government did not consult with Indian bands nor did they maintain oversight of the children's welfare. As recently as last week five aboriginal leaders wrote Ptime Minister Trudeau asking him to admit to the "immense wrong" done to the aboriginal children. This lawsuit was only necesary because the government of Canada played God in the first place and then dragged their feet in any attempts to right these wrongs.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Mayor removes himself from task force". It seems that stacking the Task Force looking into alternative locations for the proposed multiplex rec centre wasn't quite enough for Mayor Craig. He also put himself belatedly onto the Task Force in contravention of the City's Procedural By-Laws. He was called out on that and has thus resigned all the while bemoaning the alleged "negativity" around the project. It would seem that once again we have an example of either "independent" citizen committees or task Forces under the municipal thumb really aren't remotely "independent". Been there, done that and seen that up here in Woolwich Township. Woolwich Council simply get rid of citizens who express positions that aren't in line with those of hopelessly pro industry and ill informed councillors.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
School Boards used to be part time. Trustees were volunteers. Teachers were paid minimum wages. Schools were wooden one story structures with wood burning fireplaces. And guess what students managed to learn to read and write and do basic mathematics. Some even excelled and a few lucky ones went on to university.
Today we are still having similar student outcomes although many more go to university if for no other reason to keep them out of the workforce for a few more years. In 2015 Waterloo Region public and Catholic School Borads spent $994 million dollars. This current year according to the June 17, 2016 Waterloo Region Record article titled "Local education spending climbs past $1 billion", our two local boards will spend a little over a billion dollars.
Politics, teachers unions, empire building, costs of schools, full time administrators, maintenance costs, inflation and everything else remotely possible has added to this burgeoning growth industry. Health and education costs are out of control. Taxpayers wages are sliding backwards while our expenses keep rising. Funny how some few people continue to do well at the expense of all the rest of us.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
The evidence is mounting that firstly the entire scenario around the November 1989 "water crisis" in Elmira was staged. Secondly the evidence continues to mount that the alleged "cleanup" after the fact of the Elmira Aquifers has been a sham from the getgo. Thirdly the first reason for the need for some form of inquiry is that the authorities from municipal, regional and provincial had the knowledge decades prior to 1989 that the Elmira Aquifers were comprimised by Uniroyal chemicals in the drinking water.
What this means is that it appears that government officials had abundant knowledge that Uniroyal had polluted the Elmira Aquifers as early as the 1950s and 60s and yet allowed Elmira citizens to keep on drinking their tap water with no more treatment than basic chlorine for bacterial removal.
Between new wells, on-site source removal and pumping wells drilled in preparation for a pump and treat system, Uniroyal and the Ontario M.O.E. were all set to go by the late 1980s. All they needed was some sort of "provocation" to allow them to initiate a new water supply (via pipeline) and begin their on-site pump & treat system. The "discovery" of NDMA in the south wellfield was just the ticket.
This is far too serious not to be independently examined. Here in Elmira (Woolwich Township) we have a history of local politicians protecting major polluters and that doesn't just mean Uniroyal/Chemtura. If indeed as suspected the various levels of government had knowledge of the contamination in Elmira's drinking water either years or decades earlier then it must be exposed to prevent it from happening again here or anywhere else in Ontario.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Obviously there isn't a government at any level in Canada prepared to pass legislation that actually would make lying a criminal offence. Any such legislation would most likely result in municipal council members, federal M.P.s and provincial M.P.P.s quickly gaining criminal records. Maybe our governments could be persuaded to pass such legislation provided accompanying clauses made it clear that the politicians didn't lose their seats and were not prohibited from running in future elections. I can see the campaign advertising slogans now. "Our party has 24% fewer convicted criminals than the other guys".
My suggestion would be that either opposition parties could press charges, crown prosecuters or even citizens. Wouldn't this possibly revolutionize government as we know it today? Judges could have discretion regarding penalties. For example for a one off, routine self-serving lie perhaps a conditional discharge followed by community service. For a blatant whopper intended to deceive the general public a conviction plus 3 months in jail. The stiffest penalties would be reserved for both repeat offenders as well as those lies intended to deceive the public which are repeated repeatedly over a length of time.
I figure we'd have a revolving door with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. While undoubtedly other Ministrys are equally as bad I suspect that the M.O.E. would have a difficult time attracting professional liars as they kept getting sent off to jail.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Guess which one trumps the other in the title above? You got it, when we're talking about government bureaucracies power is miles ahead of decency. The Editorial in today's Waterloo Region Record is titled "Another view: Tell public more about prison deaths". As the first sentence of the Editorial states: "When a person dies behind bars, the government has a clear moral duty to be sensitive and transparent with the loved ones left behind.".
They are however failing to fulfill that duty. Portions of reports mandated by law are being redacted as in blacked out in these reports that are then handed out to the families. One such report blacked out 44 pages of an 88 page report. This is grossly unacceptable.
Friday, August 12, 2016
Today's Editorial in the Waterloo Region Record is right on the money. It's title is "Police shot Beau Baker; tell us all". Beau Baker was in crisis and desperately needed help. He did not need help at the business end of a gun courtesy of those paid to protect all of us. Whether there is a better way of disarming and de-escalating situations like his despertaely need to be found and exercised.
The full Special Investigations reportas well as the police review have been kept from the public. This is unacceptable. Quoting the Record "Yet when a public servant- and a police officer is one - kills a citizen, the public should know that person's name. That's a basic level of transparency people have a right to expect.".
The death's of citizens in crisis by our police officers who are supposed to be there to protect us can not continue. Better ways are needed to preserve everyone's lives including those with mental illnesses, those assigned to protect us and even those who have committed crimes. Refusing to follow a police order should not be grounds for murder. Only in the most dire cases where an officer is trapped literally with his back to a wall or when under attack in close quarters should an officer respond with lethal force. Tasers or pepper spray may have to follow failed negotiations or de-escalation techniques but guns should not be the first recourse when dealing with distraught, upset individuals.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
I have for many years been referring to the "cleanup" of the Elmira Aquifers as a "sham". I have been essentially stating that the entire plan is simply a smokescreen of minimal cost to the company in order to avoid a real, permanent and effective cleanup. Although the final conclusion in not yet written it appears as if I was right albeit with provisos. The provisos are that indeed a significant quantity of chemicals have been removed from the off-site aquifers, the plumes are shrinking in size and the dissolved concentrations have been reduced. That said the plumes are still huge and the responsible parties have admitted that they won't make Ontario Drinking Water Standards by 2028.
Back in the spring of 2012 the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee (CPAC) passed a Resolution in accordance with a consultant's (Dr. Gail Krantburg) report that advised that pump & treat technology as currently underway could not possibly restore the Elmira drinking water aquifers to drinking water standards by 2028. This resolution was endorsed by Woolwich Council and passed on to the Ministry of Environment, regional government and all local parties.
Six months later Chemtura and Conestoga Rovers came up with a new plan. It entailed tripling the pumping rates off the Chemtura site and in the Elmira aquifers as well as using In Situ Chemical Oxidation in some off-site hot spots. This now was supposed to seal the deal and the 2028 commitment. Well four years later and before Chemtura are even ready to start the increased pumping, guess what? They and their new consultants (GHD) who bought out Conestoga Rovers, have determined that golly gosh they aren't going to be able to suceed by 2028. It turns out there are all kinds of technical problems limiting the amount they can pump both to their current wells and to their proposed new wells. Isn't that embarassing?
The bottom line is that Uniroyal/Chemtura with full support from the M.O.E. and almost every Woolwich Council since 1989 haven't remotely been on top of this cleanup. They have made errors and wrong assumptions galore while cheerfully ignoring, it turns out in hindsight, excellent advice from involved citizens for years. Meanwhile these same liars and idiots are still in charge while the M.O.E. continue to abandon their mandate and detroy their own reputation. Serves them right for being in bed with money, power and influence for so long.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Contrary to the July 28/16 Editorial in the Woolwich Observer, bringing Councillor Scott Hahn to Provincial Court to face municipal Elections Act charges does serve the community interest. Contrary to out of town prosecuter Fraser Kelly prosecuting Sandy Shantz (mayor) also for Municipal Elections Act (MEA) charges was in the public interest.
There has been a pattern of law breaking and rule bending by Woolwich Township for a very long time. It goes back several elections as the Municipal Clerk has advised me that it was a Woolwich "tradition" not to require Councillor Mark Bauman to file Financial Statements when he was acclaimed. This of course is in direct conflict with the MEA which makes it very clear that unless or until an acclaimed candidate (or any other) files his Financial Statements, the public has no idea what if any his campaign expenses and Contributions were.
Clear consequences as in convictions for each municipal election contravention followed by even relatively modest fines would send a clearer message to the public. That message would be that the candidate indeed was incapable of following simple directions and rules and was caught after signing an oath that he followed the rules to the best of his ability. It might also advise electors as to just how limited his or her ability really is. It would also send the message to the public that if they the public do not get excused for "oopsies" then why should politicians be treated differently? Lastly it would encourage lazy or sloppy politicians to bear down and concentrate on these Financial Statements. If their colleagues and opponents can do them properly and appropriately then why can't they?
There are three other good reasons for sending Mr. Hahn on to the courts. They include the Municipal Clerk and MECAC (Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee). Both parties are in need of significant coaching and teaching regarding their job duties surrounding municipal elections. The third reason is as a deterrent both for the initial offences and then as a deterrent to the rude and inappropriate behaviour exhibited by candidates after they were caught by citizens.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Luisa D'Amato has an interesting Opinion piece in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "Wildlife rules create a feeding frenzy for petty officials". Luisa is discussing a couple of recent silly decisions by Kitchener Council. The first was in regards to dancing at a music festival and the second is in regards to feeding wildlife on your own property. Well indeed. Apparently bird feeders are still allowed provided you follow the rules as deemed appropriate by the wildlife nazis. Feeding neighbourhood stray cats is an altogether different matter.
As Luisa points out this municipal legislation is way out of place. We do not have a bear problem as in northern Ontario whereby leaving food out could be considered threatening to the neighbours. Similarily leaving a small pet tied up in an open backyard next to a ravine might be inviting a coyote to put tiny dog on his menu. One could argue that that was a form of feeding the wildlife. Perhaps Luisa's larger point is that human beings just love to get some authority and then go nuts with it. Just look at our school boards and politicians at all levels. Nanny state indeed or worse.
Monday, August 8, 2016
Last week's Woolwich Observer's Editorial was titled "Workplace review sees problems, but we await solutions". I suggest that the Observer as well as all the rest of us will be waiting for a very long time. All the evidence points to our governments being the cause of the employment problems both in this province and in the rest of Canada. Excessive immigration during stagnant job growth combined with credentialism, cronyism and an intentional export of manufacturing jobs over the last two and a half decades have accomplished exactly what our well off, self anointed political and financial saviours proposed. That is an increasingly terrified work force with no job security, no pensions, few if any benefits and lots of part time employment. Oh and plummeting unionism. Thank You Conservatives and Liberals both for helping you financial backers at the expense of all the rest of us.
Friday, August 5, 2016
There's an old joke about a lawyer, an economist and a politician all discussing (at that time) a $9 per hour minimum wage. Of course while all three make between seven and twelve times that amount per hour they are all earnestly advising as to how $9 per hour will destroy the economy, magnify unemployment and be the social downfall of the country. Such is the attitude of Peter Shawn Taylor in today's Waterloo Region Record article he wrote titled "Laurier's triumph, union's woes". Mr. Taylor is absolutely crowing about the human foibles and weaknesses which caused the current unionized Laurier cleaners to sell out all the future union members and university cleaning hires.
This behaviour by union members is unfortunately nothing new. The unionized Brewer's Retail workers did it decades ago as did the unionized Brink's guards. In exchange for their good union wages continuing until retirement they agreed to drastically reduce the pay of future hires doing exactly the same work as them. Shame on the lot of them. I wonder what they told their children when they reached adulthood and applied for work at one of their parents employers. Employers who once paid well enough for their parents to own their own home and be able to send their children to schools of higher education if they so desired.
Mr. Taylor's attitudes on this matter are right wing Conservative and hypocritical as well. How many Liberal and Conservative governments in order to obtain votes have passed legislation insisting upon equal pay for work of equal value between men and womwn? Has pay equity simply evaporated in Canada? What about equal pay for the exact same work much less work of equal value. This is discrimination pure and simple and it is reprehensible.
Finally for those twits who believe that cleaners don't deserve decent wages. When did you last clean toilets, wash floors and do other cleaning work for a living? Do you think it's fun? Do you think it's beneath you? Do you or any other well paid persons look down your noses at whoever does the exact same work in your own homes? Cleaning is hard, very necessary work and this behaviour by Wilfred Laurier University in reducing a living wage down to $13 and change an hour is disgraceful. This is honest work and deserves a living wage which $13 an hour is not.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Why is nobody fired? Why is nobody reprimanded? Why is nobody in authority, whether RCMP or Crown, charged criminally for their behaviour? Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Reining in excesses of war on terror". Columnist Thomas Walkom describes the absurdity of both our national police force (RCMP) as well as prosecuters who went along with these bizarre charges and prosecution of a couple in British Columbia.
The couple have turned out to be the perfect patsies for a police force and or Crown prosecuters looking to make a name for themselves. Is this all our judicial system is capable of these days? Basically entrapping and railroading a naive and granted not too swift couple into co-operating with undercover RCMP agents and being led, poked and prodded every step of the way into supposedly terrorist activities. For the love of God you tax sucking, obviously underworked police bullies, start looking for real crime. Maybe even heaven forbid real "terrorists" if they exist here in Canada.
The RCMP have once more brought shame unto themselves, our judicial system and Canada in general. Thank goodness for Justice Catherine Bruce. She stepped in and cleared up this disgusting mess known as the Victoria bomb plot of 2013. It was a sham from start to finish orchestrated by our Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Now justice needs to be done within the Mounties and the responsible decision makers punished.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following story titled "Jails blacked out parts of death reports". First of all forcing family members to go through acess to information laws in order to get information on loved ones who have died behind bars is outrageous. Is Canada and the CSC determined to prove that we are living in a third world country/non-democracy? Why do they think that family members have to beg for information on their incarcerated and now deceased close relatives?
It turns out that when families do get these death reports they are often redacted ie. significant parts blacked out. Wow! These reports are solely for inmates who have died by other than old age or well diagnosed diseases. They include homicide, suicide and misadventure. Canada's federal prison Ombudsman has taken CSC to task both for the redactions as well as for their lack of compassion when dealing with grieving families. Quite frankly Canada I grow more and more ashamed of you year after year.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Last Wednesday July 27/16 the Waterloo Region Record carried this story titled "Abuse of young detainees alleged in Australia's north". It is a shocking story with an equally shocking phoyograph of a teenaged boy, hooded and strapped at the wrists and ankles to a chair. Furthermore his hooded head also appears to be strapped to the chair as well. This is I remind you is from a juvenile detention centre in Darwin, Australia. The Prime Minister of Australia has promised a public inquiry into the abuses.
Professional liars and politicians like to pretend that there are no conspiracies in politics and governance anymore. Allegedly people are both intrinsically better behaved plus there is more oversight than ever before. Both of those suggestions are mere puffery and spin. There is no where near enough oversight, transparency and accountability of persons in positions of authority. Simply put the greater the authority the greater the abuses of it and this of course especially includes in correctional services around the world. Simply look down the road in Kitchener with the Grand Valley Institute for Women. Two high risk (to themselves) inmates have died in that institution in recent years whether from suicide or authorized negligence. Shame on all those who make the rules, those who break them and those who look the other way.
Monday, August 1, 2016
Last Thursday's Woolwich Observer carrys the following article by Steve Kannon titled "Even if it's nice after the apocalypse, it might be better to avoid it".Steve has one paragraph that absolutely grabbed my attention namely "Nomadic tribal societies grew in size and complexity, developing rituals, hierarchies and eventually systems of governance that invariably became overbearing and corrupt, from monarchs and church leaders to the dictators, in-name-only democrats and oligarchs crushing what remains of our souls and threatening the very planet trodden on by generations uncounted."
While Steve goes on to give a very good account of the two books written by local author Michael Purves-Smith, it is that previous paragraph that got to me. Essentially Steve seems to be saying that humanity similar to some of the animal kingdom are ingrained to want alpha males if you will, leading them. This is disturbing on many levels. Are we so conditioned to taking orders (even stupid ones) that we will blindly obey what has somehow been presented to us as legitimate leadership? Is this indeed part of the psychology that democratically elects leaders such as Adolf Hitler?
Steve refers to governance that invariably becomes overbearing and corrupt. In my words and others power corrupts. It may not corrupt 100% of the people but when 95% of the people who chase power for its' own sake are already corrupt it sure makes the likelihood of corrupt governance awfully likely. Currently here in Canada we routinely are given choices at the polls between bad and worse. The entire system is set up to avoid honest people or groups from getting elected. What are the chances of appointed judges and other authority figures being scrupulously honest and unbiased when thay are all appointed by these very same corrupt politicians?