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.
Friday, June 30, 2017
This of course goes double when the politicians involved are the ones who've either instigated the crisis through their bad decisions or who have known about the problem for years and just kept on sweeping it under the rug. This seems to be the case in Woolwich Township yet again. The North Woolwich Landfill has had contaminant plumes associated with it at least since the 1980s. These plumes unsurprisingly consist of both chlorinated and unchlorinated solvents. A few years ago they were beginning to pop up in drilled wells south of the landfill located on Seiling Drive in Woolwich Township. I don't know if the road is named after our esteemed regional Chairman but I certainly hope so.
Meanwhile it turns out here in town (Elmira) we have methane issues. They have sort of been studied to death although in my opinion not very professionally. Nor in my opinion has Woolwich township remotely acted in an appropriate fashion. This includes their overlooking two sets of nearby neighbours who absolutely need to be informed as to the potential problems. The studies have been overwhelmingly focused on but one of four possibly affected areas. Not only have the majority of neighbours been given short shrift in the studies but they most importantly don't seem to have even been informed that there is a problem nearby. A potentially serious environmental problem that fortunately rarely causes explosions but it can. This is Elmira and if it can go wrong we've got the right people on the ground to ensure that it does. The ongoing "water crisis" has been bad enough. We don't need a methane crisis but as it's here let's deal with it properly including communicating with affected neighbours.
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Last Tuesday's Waterloo Region Record carried the following story titled "Victims' families speak of pain, anger". The very last sentence stated "Shortly after Wettlaufer's sentencing hearing, the province announced it would hold a public inquiry into the murders to ensure a similar tragedy does not happen again.". Really? Why am I so skeptical? We are talking seniors with either physical or mental health problems or even both. We are talking very elderly people who are in a fragile state and whose deaths are not terribly surprising at the time. Let us not forget that neither multiple nursing homes nor our authorities caught up to Elizabeth Wettlaufer. She confessed to the crimes while she herself was in a mental hospital. That's how she got caught.
So the province really want to open the can of worms that is our nursing homes? Ask yourself how Ms. Wettlaufer was let go by nursing homes for medication "errors" and then rehired by other nursing homes. Are they so desperate for staff? Apparently the answer is yes. Is anybody looking at death statistics from all nursing homes? Doubtful. Are autopsy's routinely done for sudden deaths? Apparently not. Ms. Wettlaufer injected patients with insulin and they died suddenly. That insulin should have shown up in their bloodstream and it should have shown up as being missing from inventory. Why wasn't anybody checking inventories more carefully much less sudden unexplained deaths? I'm not holding my breathe that Ontario's most vulnerable will actually receive some benefit from these multiple tragic murders.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Decades ago $85 million would indeed have been a marvelous sum to clean up the English-Wabigoon river systems courtesy of mercury dumped into them by Reed Paper. Nowadays that sum will certainly be helpful but I wonder how far it will go. I also wonder if the whole $85 million will still be available after the next provincial election, whether or not the Liberals win. Why do I expect that the whole belated cleanup is mostly one more desperate attempt to get the Liberals re-elected?
Today's Waterloo Region Record advises us that Glen Murray our Environment Minister views the past fifty years as being a period of "gross neglect". he also suggests that the lack of cleanup was due to both racism and colonialism. he is right on both counts. Seems we extend citizenship in this country to both newcomers and those that were here before us, albeit it is second class citizenship. Canada is second to none when it comes to hypocrisy. Yes well done that this provincial government at least appears to give a damn about Ontario and Canadian citizens victimized by corporate negligence combined with governmental negligence.
Monday, June 26, 2017
Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following Letter To The Editor written by Barrie Lillie of Kids"n" Dad Shared Support. He is commenting on a recent article in the Record about Justice Grant Campbell apologizing to the parents of a child seized by the state. Mr. Lillie indicates that the indictment of one particular lawyer is actually an indictment of the judicial system. Both lawyers and judges have remained silent through decades of abuse, incompetence and negligence by various parties in the courts. As Mr. Lillie states how can ethical lawyers "maintain a deafening silence even in the most egregious of cases" ? This silence from those working in our court system enables destructive outcomes for families. Mr. Lillie's final comment is "It remains unclear if the best interests of the family is at the forefront of the legal community". I would suggest that it is not.
Friday, June 23, 2017
Today's Waterloo Region Record carries this story titled "Officer facing assault charges arrested". Now these charges were laid last January however the Waterloo Regional Police officer was arrested by London police in February for breaching court orders. Similarly these latest charges are due to an alleged breach of court orders stemming from the initial charges in January. All this is very interesting as various public interest groups over the years have indicated that often times court orders and conditions are onerous, ridiculous and essentially penalizing the charged person prior to any conviction. No details were given in today's Record article so it's difficult to know if these breaches were technical breaches of stupid terms and conditions or if they were something substantive. perhaps it's not just the police who are self-destructing but also the entire so called judicial system itself.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Well they collect taxes and they spend them. Road repairs, streetlights, snow removal, sewers etc. are all part of their purview. Here in Elmira, Ontario they have responsibility for water distribution and share responsibility for water quality within their distribution system. The Regional government are responsible for initial water quality after treatment and into the various distribution systems around Waterloo Region. Municipal governments are involved with sampling within their systems for bacterial contamination (ie. coliforms & E.Coli). That said Woolwich Township were just as asleep at the switch as was regional government and even more so the Ontario Ministry of Environment. It is my belief and understanding that many citizens died prematurely from cancer and other diseases from long contaminated drinking water prior to the "discovery" of NDMA in the water in 1989.
Methane generation and movement through the subsurface is a long known phenomenon of municipal landfills. Methane just like Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) can intrude into homes through basements via a process known as vapour intrusion. In Cambridge, Ontario hundreds of individuals were exposed to Trichloroethylene (TCE), chromium and Trichloroethane (TCA) in the Bishop St. community of Preston. Here in Elmira we may have a similar problem. Technical reports by so called experts cautioned Woolwich Township to consider an indoor air monitoring program beside an old closed landfill. To date there has been no confirmation that any such program ever occurred.
While the issue with VOCs is toxic poisoning, the issue with methane is explosions. They are rare but they do happen. There is if you will a sweet spot whereby if the methane is above the LEL (lower explosive limit) and below the UEL (upper explosive limit), in the presence of a spark or open flame they can go boom. This open flame needs to be no more than a pilot light for a gas furnace or gas water heater.
Further investigation is underway.
Monday, June 19, 2017
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this article titled "Judge orders Waterloo lawyer to pay $100,000". Justice Grant Campbell of Superior Court in Kitchener has written the following in regards to the court system as well as in regards to Ontario's child welfare system. Firstly he stated that Ontario's child welfare system is broken. He then added that the parents and child "...have been consumed and trampled by the Frankenstein process we have created and allowed to become unmanageable". Justice Campbell then apologized for the manner in which the parents had been treated, ignored, demeaned and disbelieved."
All of this was in regards to the now discredited Motherisk program which in hindsight erroneously tested mothers for drug use. It had several false positives resulting in Children's Aid removing children from their parents improperly and in effect illegally. Compounding these problems was the lawyer for the parents who was negligent in her duties and legal responsibilities towards the child and her parents.
Monday, June 5, 2017
First off I would suggest that the author of the article in today's Waterloo Region Record titled "EQAO testing provides little to no real value" has a huge obstacle to overcome. That obstacle is literally decades of educators, school boards , teachers unions etc. telling us in no uncertain terms as to how professional they are and that children are their first priority. As a parent who has gone through the education wars I know that those comments are puffery wrapped in heavy duty bullcrap. Yes some teachers are indeed professionals in every sense of the word. They stand out from their peers not by awards, higher pay, more job security or greater respect within the educational community. The greater respect within the parental community I would agree with. This is a part of the problem. All their on the job feedback is essentially positive, most especially that coming from their union.
If you listen to their unions, no teacher has ever misbehaved, goofed off or taken self-serving educational shortcuts. Teachers indeed never make mistakes and frankly that just becomes a little too thick. Teachers are human and they have problems and crises in their lives that they need to deal with. Some of these are going to impact their on the job efforts and results. It's the teachers whose on the job efforts and results are routinely poor that have given the rest a bad name.
This opinion by Ken Durkacz a retired educator, seems to be just so much of the same. He claims that EQAO test results don't tell us anything that classroom teachers don't already know. That may well be true but that's not the point. Accountability is necessary in every and all professions and or jobs. Maybe your fellow teachers know that your students are behind everyone else's. Unfortunately they are prevented by union rules and self-preservation not to pass the word around. Included not to pass it around to those in authority. That is what EQAO tests hopefully shine a spotlight on. That is those teachers who consistently are allowing their students to fall behind the norm.
Friday, June 2, 2017
Today's Waterloo Region Record front page story is titled "Police face gender-discrimination suit". It seems as if the boys in blue have neither couth nor accountability. It appears as if they've been cheerfully bullying individual female police officers either with the tacit O.K. of senior officers or with the confidence that those same senior officers have a long term case of see no evil, hear no evil when it comes to insisting upon appropriate, decent and legal behaviour within the ranks. This speaks to a top down, systemic attitude and behaviour problem with our Regional Police Form. That is to their shame but is absolutely no surprise to me.
Back in 1990 I worked for a season on a public works crew for the City of Waterloo. We had females working along side of us and the behaviour and attitudes mostly by the male employees in their 40s and 50s were just awful. Most of the younger males were better behaved although the peer pressure to either go along or at worst simply ignore the bad behaviour of the more senior guys was very strong.
What I finally figured out was that these older males were insecure. They had propped up their fragile egos by thinking that they were rough and tough physical specimens doing hard, outdoor construction work. It offended them that girls and women in their early and mid twenties were just as capable or more so than they were at doing all day long, manual, outdoor work.
Now imagine testosterone fueled, possibly steroid enhanced males carrying guns and other weapons and actually dealing with some pretty scary situations. Many of these scary situations might very well be situations that damage the psyche and minds of human beings more often than broken bones and other physical damages. Regardless any insecure, old fashioned or just plain stupid male police officers might resent females on the job with them. If their superiors have the same attitudes and are essentially insulated from both more progressive thinking as well as public accountability; well you can expect the results. Women individually are told that they are incapable and inferior and not wanted on the job. They are treated rudely and disrespectfully, usually individually. Do you think these brave, male officers pull this crap on women unless they either outnumber them or have no witnesses? It is simple out and out bullying. On the street these women could use physical force from pepper spray to batons to simple takedowns and handcuffing of suspects harassing them or others. Imagine if they ever did that at work, off duty. Again these male officers are out and out cowards as are their superiors who look the other way and pretend it's no big deal.
To date these are only allegations in the class action suit filed against our police service. Based upon my personal experience both at the city and in watching our unaccountable local police force; I fully believe them. Some of the stunts the police are alleged to have pulled are similar to those I witnessed at the City of Waterloo. That case went to the Human Rights Commission and while it took far too long it was finally resolved with apologies and back pay in some cases to complainants. Ironically it was a later embarrassed CAO at the City of Waterloo (re: Rim Park) who stepped up and insisted that the City do the right thing.