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.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
A few years back a major Canadian magazine named Quebec as the most corrupt province. There were the expected howls of outrage by various illuminaries in Quebec but seriously; who took them seriously? The public inquiry into political and construction corruption is shining a light in some dark corners, particularily dark Montreal corners. Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record published this story "Not my job", "Montreal mandarin tells inquiry that kickbacks were't his problem".
Basically a city engineer (Gilles Surprenant) has confirmed that he received cash kickbacks for helping to rig bids for municipal construction contracts. Naturally of course the inflated bids all came out of the taxpayers' pockets. Isn't it ever so? It's funny but most provinces learned long ago how to fleece their taxpayers with only minor bending of the rules. I guess Quebec are simply more advanced than the other provinces in the fine tradition of screwing citizens and taxpayers, by those in charge. Perhaps there's a fine line between politics as usual and criminal activity. Maybe the line gets crossed a lot more than we think but provided the greed is at least a little under control, it doesn't get publicly exposed. I mean really, do you think just as a hypothetical example that our Waterloo Region politicians would want to advertise if they caught one of their colleagues dipping his beak, fingers in the cookie jar, wetting his whistle etc.?
It seems as if this ONE civil servant has received more than $700,000 in kickbacks over the years. I'd suggest that Waterloo Region send some municipal and regional employees down east to give pointers on legal beak dipping but am concerned that it could backfire and they might pick up some pointers from La Belle Province that would increase our taxes here even more. Better leave well enough alone.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Oh boy oh boy! What exactly is going on here? If legitimately this officer indulged in marijuana use only and there were no on the job misbehaviours I can understand the decision to keep her on the force, albeit with a demotion. Adding to the recognition for mercy are two doctor's reports and further evidence suggesting that she was depressed and under serious stress. My concerns however are multiple. Will each and every other officer charged under the Police act for marijuana use be treated equally? Also why were other officers charged both under the Police Act as well as criminally for marijuana use? Is there some favouritism going on?
There is also a huge hypocrisy issue here. What kind of a law ie. marijuana possesion can be apparently broken on an ongoing basis by officers who while on duty charge people criminally for possessing it? Is it about time that the average citizen who is depressed and stressed out also be given a break?
Personally I don't know what kind of an officer this woman is and I recognize that the demotion is an extremely financially costly one. I just hope she gets her act together, does her job proud from here on and finally that any and all officers in the same or similar boat get treated equally. This story is in yesterday's Waterloo Region Record.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "OPP, government not helping traumatized officers, ombud says". Boy the timing of this article certainly fits in with the plethora of local police officers behaving badly including self medication with alcohol and marijuana. Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin is not impressed with the OPP brass as he states "What we've heard from the OPP is a lot of craptrap and drivel, and very little action,". Incredibly more OPP officers have comitted suicide over the last twenty years plus than have died on duty as a result of dangers of their job. Furthermore apparently the OPP have one psychologist for its entire force of 6,152 officers. Finally Marin states "Police battle with depression, anxiety, nightmares, addictions and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a culture that tells them they should "suck it up".
Governments and bureaucracy in this country have inflicted a terrible price on human beings simply because they are not transparent and are not accountable. This price for the stupidity of those in charge has been the loss of life of officers in need of help.
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Ruling on videos allows Smith inquest to proceed". Divisiomal court Justice Joan Lax dismissed the Federal government's request for a stay of proceedings while they further argued the admissability of videos showing the treatment of Ashley Smith prior to her death. Specifically they show her being ductaped to an airplane seat and injecting her with chemical restraints. These tapes are part of evidence that will show how Ms. Smith was treated in prisons outside of Ontario.
Keep in mind it is both Correctional Services of Canada as well as the federal Tory government who bear responsibility here. Vic Toews, public safety minister is suggesting that the coroner's inquest "...will examine the facts and close the book on what has been a tragic incident,". I suggest that the closing of the book may very well be more of a slamming of the book and could seriously damage careers, excuses and credibilty throughout Correctional Services and the federal government. As well it should.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
"Prison authorities wanted the videos of a dying Smith held from public view". This quote comes from today's Waterloo Region Record article titled "Feds fight release of prison video". What's the matter Stephen Harper, our federal Conservative government and Correctional Services of Canada? Are you ashamed? Are you afraid that your callous, non compasionate care of prisoners in your custody and totally under your control will have to change? Are you afraid that your demonization and dehumanization of young, immature and possibly mentally ill inmates is in jeopardy?
Is this in custody and totally preventable and unnecessary death going to cost you bastards votes? Is that the bottom line? Way too many normally apathetic Canadians are going to be shocked and repulsed by a culture in our prisons which reflects the true morals and ethics of our federal authorities. It just isn't fair is it, that one young woman, in death, can expose the society that our politicians are tearing down, one brick at a time.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Justice in this country died a long time ago and Democracy is close behind. Shame on each and every individual involved in the treatment of Ashley Smith.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
The good news first. Our College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario recognizes "incompetence" as an issue requiring intervention and possible correction. I would be very surprised if our Ontario College of Teachers did the same. With doctors, incompetence can literally be fatal and fatal quickly. With teachers incompetence is held in much less concern. I mean really how many school boards check an applicant's public and high school English marks for example to determine if the newly minted teacher with say a degree in history can actually competently and correctly string two English sentences together? Before university degrees were required I'll bet lots of teachers who passed teacher's college were barely literate and had flunked math or english all the way through school. At least the ones now who are illiterate at least must be smart enough to fake it.
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "College keeping doctor's errors secret". Here's what's going on folks. Doctors and teachers have political pull and power. They have it and they use it. We all know our current running and hiding Premier McGuinty became known as the Education Premier because he pandered to the Teachers' unions and lobby. Keep in mind they also have a ton of money for political donations and support. Yes it is our money originally and yes my son, in a democracy you can and politicians do buy votes and support, everyday and all the time. Doctors and teachers aren't the only culprits just the most egregious. These professions and others (including police) are supposed to be servants of the public whom they serve. Fat chance of that folks! They and our governments are in bed together for their benefit and generally to the detriment of the public. Read this article that I've linked to and ask how such an incompetent doctor (Dr. John Pariag) "bungled" so many procedures resulting in death and further injury to patients.
I lost a friend a few years back who was rushed to one of our local hospitals. He had sufferred a non fatal heart attack; was given blood thinners and then bled to death on the operating table. Does anybody really think that hiding either errors or incompetence improves the system or future health care? The other overiding reason to stop hiding errors and incompetence is for the benefit of the majority of professionals who are focused, serious and competent. They do not deserve to be tarred by the same brush which the public are slowly realizing has been used to keep the minority of bad doctors, lawyers, teachers etc. out of sight.
Monday, October 22, 2012
You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all the time. It looks as if Premier Dalton McGuinty's logic/reasoning behind suspending the legislature is full of holes. Two political columnists in today's Waterloo Region Record aren't buying what he is selling. The first article by Geoffrey Stevens is titled "McGuinty's exit less than graceful" and the second by Thomas Walkom is "McGuinty's explanation to suspend legislature makes no sense".
Quoting Geoffrey Stevens "In the meantime, the legislature is padlocked. Stealing a page from that artful dodger, the prime minister, McGuinty has prorogued the legislature for an indefinite period." Apparently it seems as if our premier has the same morals and scruples as our prime minister, which isn't saying much. Further Mr. Stevens states "The stated reason is to create a cooling-off period while he negotiates a resolutuion to the public service impasse. The real reason is to deny opposition members an amplifier with which to yammer away about the hydro scandal ...". In other words shut down the legislature and shut down the opposition parties criticism. Goodbye democracy.
Thomas Walkom is equally critical of our premier. "What prorogation does is to stop the bleeding. It forestalls the daily newspaper stories focusing on government incompetence...". Further he adds "The real story is that this government desperately wants the legislature shut down. It just isn't willing to give a credible reason why."
As previously stated here in the Advocate, these are the final nails in the coffin of democracy. Our barely and unethically elected minority governments can shut down government and democracy at will. We the citizens are finally fully captive to our dirty politicians.
Friday, October 19, 2012
This is getting ridiculous. Today's Waterloo Region Record has two more cases of alleged misconduct involving Regional Police Officers. The one story is titled "No record for police officer who leaked report in drug case" and the other is titled "Officer fights to have conduct charges dropped.". Both cases indicate either horrible judgement, incompetence or stupidity. That's the best case scenario. The worst case for both officers would be much more insidious and would involve some kind of criminal intent involved.
Brian Caldwell informs us that the first case involving Const. Craig Markham is in regards to him providing confidential information to a friend who was charged with an offence. Judge Norman Douglas gave Const. Markham a conditional discharge on the officer's guilty plea to a breach of trust charge. Const. Markham still faces Police Service act charges.
In the second case Const. Amy Hodgson was charged under the Police Act with discreditable conduct and neglect of duty. Apparently her testimony in court did not match her notes taken at the time of the arrest of the accused. There were concerns that the officer's poor performance on the stand might be related to the maternity leave shwe was on at the time of the trial. Eventually the prosecuter chose to go ahead with her complaint to the police although now there is an issue before this Tribunal dealing with time constraints upon the laying of Police Act charges. All in all this second case appears to me to be far more problematic than the first. Could the officer's poor ability at trial have been related to stress, nerves, sleeplessness etc.? Does the apparent screwup of the laying of Police Act charges make those same charges for neglect of duty against the officer seem inherently ridiculous?
Is there any issue of proper supervision involved in either of these cases? Is there a lack of training or even of proper peer assistance to officers involved? Are all these charges and alleged misconduct over the last couple of years normal for police forces the size of ours? How can anyone maintain their confidence in the professionalism of our police with ongoing, repeat incidences?
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Which basically is to say the buggers should all be thrown in jail first and then see if they can see the need for a few improvements from an insider's perspective. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Mothers protest harsh conditions for women in jails". A protest was held outside outside the Ottawa offices of Ontario Correctional Services Minister Madeline Meilleur. They were protesting the birth of a child on the floor of a segregation cell at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre on September 29/12. The mother's screams for help are alleged to have gone unanswered for hours. In my opinion each and every person on duty or not that day, who were present during that time, should be thrown in jail first and foremost.
The Correctional Minister has suggested that the incident was an isolated one. Oh isn't that just so reassuring. In other words in any given week or month you don't have female prisoners giving birth in their jail cells. I'm just feeling so much better about the care and professionalism being exhibited by the authorities now. Prisoners, male and female, die in custody and not of old age. This is one more example of a total lack of transparency and accountability within our government services. Clearly the authorities are of the opinion that prisoners get what they deserve. Ashley Smith proves that Canada doesn't need a death penalty for prisoners, even those convicted or charged for minor crimes. In this case apparently our authorities really don't care if newborn children live or die in jail. Their treatment of both mother and child makes the most barbaric third world dictatorship look humane compared to Canada.
It's taken a couple of days but local political pundits have gotten it right including Luisa D'Amato and Thomas Walkom. Luisa's Opinion article in yesterday's Waterloo Region Record is titled "McGuinty silences his critics by abandoning Liberals' ship" and Mr. Walkom's article in today's Record is titled "McGuinty takes democracy lessons from Harper". Both writers are appalled at the notion that our (allegedly) democratically elected legislature can be shut down by one person who isn't even representing the majority of seats in the legislature. It still would be undemocratic if McGuinty and the liberals held 51% of the seats but they are in a minority position.
Our legislature is shut down indefinitely. There isn't even a firm startup date being given. When it reopens I hope (naively) that our citizens remember clearly which party shut it down and reward them with a disaster at the polls. As much as I understand that the Conservatives are no better, as federally they and Harper did the same thing twice, nevertheless any combination of Green, NDP, Conservatives and Independents is absolutely necessary at this juncture. Cowards and bullys who turn out the lights, lock the doors and run are not champions of anything other than self interest. At the very least our two largest national parties have publicly demonstrated this. This is why I fear democracy is finished if our two largest parties can behave this way and get away with it. If they can then you may as well just roll up the sidewalks at night and admit the truth. Citizen misdirection, apathy and cowardice have won the day. Democracy is formally dead and buried both provincially and federally.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
And so it goes. The FIVE YEAR anniversary of the death of a 19 year old young woman is two days from now. FIVE YEARS and the authorities are arguing Motions that would minimize the relevant evidence before a Coroner's Inquest. Ashley Smith choked to death in Kitchener, while in custody, in full view of multiple officers who allegedly had orders not to intervene. She was distraught and possibly mentally ill. Part of her treatment in custody included multiple transfers again allegedly for the purpose of skirting rules on length of time in solitary confinement.
That apparently is how our Correctional Service of Canada handles young prisoners in their care. Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys the story "Lawyer alleges "state coverup" at Smith probe". For five years all the responsible and dare I say guilty parties have continued on with their priveleged lives as simple servants avoiding any accountability for this fatal mess. No wonder they feel immune from scrutiny and oversight. That they are basically incompetent in their care seems obvious. That they appear to have zero concern for their charges also seems obvious. What this Inquest needs to know is if there was malice involved? Was there pettiness and power tripping going on that cost this girl her life? Is this whole situation no more than petty bureaucrats far too concerned about protecting their aura of professionalism? Does anybody at the Correctional Service of Canada have a clue as to what they are doing?
Finally this Inquest needs to know that significant changes have been made. Who is being held responsible for the totally unecessary death of this young woman? Will heads roll and will smarter heads change procedures to save future lives? Or is this all a paperwork facade to pretend that our government and bureaucrats care? After five years of little or nothing; the message that I am getting is that our government and those in power don't give a rat's ass about individual Canadian lives being sacrificed on the alter of government and bureaucratic omnipotence and omniscience.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
It seems to have taken decades and a global economic meltdown or two but at least we are starting to get the truth. Canada's mass immigration is and always has been no more than the financial elites in Canada flexing their political muscle in order to flood our labour markets. My children and yours will have difficulty gaining long term reasonably well paid employment because they will be competing for limited jobs with literally millions of others who were brought here for the sole purpose of lowering wages and weakoning unions. This is the right wing ideological agenda of both Stephen Harper and Tim Hudak and all the Conservatives before them. By the way don't expect much better from the Liberals.
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Are we becoming a low-wage resource economy?". I had trouble getting the link to the Record so I've linked it back to the Toronto Star. Here is a stunning statement. Politicians generally speaking are professional liars. They are in office to promote the well being of a very select few at the expense of all the rest. Yes folks, Canadian citizens just like citizens the world over are nothing but cannon fodder for the maintenance, betterment and overall snazzier lifestyles of the elite which exist in every country, whether democracy or tyranny.
This article by Thomas Walkom gives us a brief history of how cheap immigrant labour has been used here in Canada to break unions and reduce wages. It tells us how our politicians and industrial leaders have lied through their teeth whether suggesting "unique skills" of immigrants or that there are labour shortages. All of it is complete rubbish and horse manure.
Keep in mind the lying goes both ways. Our leaders lie to us and to the prospective migrant workers. Do you think that incoming agricultural workers are told that they will work for less money and under worse conditions than current Canadians; while living in squalid conditions? Not likely. Do you think that strike breakers brought in from Europe are told ahead of time that they are here to hurt current Canadians and to make more money for the owners. Not bloody likely. Incoming Canadians today are just like those who came here over a hundred years ago. Thay want a better life for themselves and their families and they are willing to work for it. What they aren't told is that they are basically here to keep the immigrants before them in line. They are brought here by our monied class, via bought and paid for politicians, in order to maintain their privelege and staus quo.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys more of the same crap. The original headline was "Immigrants face strict occupational licensing requirements". The updated headline which you will see if you click on this one tells a more accurate tale. Essentially professional bodies which have control over their own certification standards have long made sure that they were exempt from competition from incoming immigrants. Apparently it's O.K. for the masses to have their wages, benefits and job security reduced via competition but please don't ask our professionals to share the pain.
I've been reading articles literally since the 80's extolling the virtues of Canada constantly bringing in literally hundreds of thousands of immigrants per year. I've seen crap suggesting that native born Canadians somehow aren't trainable for certain trades and I've seen nonsense that we can't possibly train enough doctors, nurses or special flavour of the month professionals. The truth is that certain small special interests within our society including developers make a fortune by having ever expanding construction of homes and markets. Labour of course is just a commodity when you are a well off manufacturer or industrialist. Supply and demand rule, and if you increase the supply of labour you tend to lower wages.
Our professional groups want it both ways. They want ever increasing markets but thank you very much lets keep the supply of skilled labour eligible for the professions at a minimum. This includes licensing requirements making it prohibitive or impossible for even well qualified immigrants to set up shop in competition to the established clique. This is the hypocrisy behind Canada's all inclusive, egalitarian society.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys the following story from Thomas Walkom: "The real costs associated with cutting red tape". While the current backdrop has to be the XL Foods tainted meat scandal, Mr.Walkom also advises us of damage done to the public via deregulation of new drugs at Health Canada. Essentially our federal governments have been shifting costs and responsibilities to both drug and meat packing plants and expecting them to do more self-regulation. Apparently our politicians are too stupid to remember that checks and balances are required.
These are for profit businesses and cost cutting is but one of the nasty ways they accomplish that. If the self-regulated industry can even appear to be complying, perhaps to the letter of the regulations if not the spirit, then how do they justify greater than minimum expenditures to their shareholders? According to Mr. Walkom, XL Foods "...hadn't been following elementary safety and cleanliness rules." What do you want to bet that until they were caught, they were making money? What do you want to bet that they are back making money? What do you want to bet that if their corporate culture hasn't fired everybody involved; that they will again take safety shortcuts if they can get away with it?
Deregulation is industry donating to political parties, getting paid back by those same parties once in power. As usual it's the public who suffer from the incestuous government/industry relationships.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
The difference between a man and a boy is the cost of his toys. I have no idea who first coined that phrase but it's a good one. My corollary is "The difference between a big politician and a little one is the cost to the taxpayers". Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story by Luisa D'Amato "How can we justify our shiny new courthouse?". According to her we can't. To date I have seen no serious attempt by politicians or bureaucrats to do so. "It was the Ontario Liberal government which decided to pour $766 million into the megacourthouse for construction and operating costs.". Over 3/4 of a billion dollars for one building! Are they nuts?
If I truly had any reason to believe that the quality of our justice system would improve, I might not be so disgusted. Instead we will continue with second rate justice or no justice with even emptier taxpayer pockets. Luisa has a big bone to pick with how Cambridge has been treated. Let's see: they get more taxes and reduced services all the while now having to commute to Kitchener. I live in Elmira and as part of that choice expect some government services to be further afield such as hospitals and courthouses. If I lived in Cambridge I'd be livid. Time, expense and inconvenience. Kind of reminds you of how they're being treated in regards to the LRT (light rapid transit) doesn't it?
Getting back to the "need" for this shiny new toy; all I can say is the old buildings dispensed psuedo justice perfectly well. Human errors, incompetence, maliciousness, laziness and pettiness will all survive the trip down the street to the new and improved (?) building. Luisa has trouble understanding all the new and expensive security features including surveillance and an explosion proof building. I don't. The authoritiies and politicians know they have pissed off the people and they fear the worst. Stop your psychopathic and paranoid behaviour as well as wasting our money for your grandiose schemes and go back to simpler less expensive times.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
On the face of it, the above title isn't too worrisome. Afterall, let's face it, police work is and should be labour intensive. It should be people face to face solving problems and disputes. It should be people gathering evidence and doing interviews etc.. I don't want to see the day when police work is mostly camera and sound surveillance followed up by computer analysis of automatic surveillance.
Perhaps my concern arises from the total budget for the Waterloo Region Police. How does $126 million sound to you? I'll admit I wasn't shocked because I know how ridiculously high the annual budget for the Waterloo Region District School Board is. Soaring education costs put police costs to shame. Nevertheless first class officers make $83,156 per year and under the union contract; that, similar to the teachers pay grid, is based upon time and seniority, not necessarily performance. There are a little over 1,000 police employees in Waterloo Region. The number not mentioned is how many of them are on the "sunshine" list. This is the listing of public and civil service employees who make more than $100,000 per year and it is rising by leaps and bounds. The Waterloo Regional Police have hundreds on that list.
I fully expect that as the public's ability to pay taxes decreases that the cutoff line for the "sunshine" list will rise. Even a decade ago the numbers were tiny to what they are now. These quoted numbers are in last Wednesday's Waterloo Region Record story titled "Police wage dispute going to arbitration". While I don't know how you put a fair wage upon police work I do know that having it this much above average wages of those paying the freight is ridiculous. I also know that it is unsustainable in the long run. I also don't understand how these wages could be so high when it's the first time they've gone to arbitration. I've heard horror stories in the past as to how biased in favour of labour, arbitraters are; but these contracts were negotiated by the police union with the politically appointed police commission. In other words, directly or indirectly, our regional politicians have been selling the farm when it comes to the public picking up the tab. Thank you very much for that! Nobody wants or expects our police officers to work for minimum wage or even low wages but there is an incredible disconnect here between what they are making and what the vast majority of the rest of us are making. That widening gap needs to be closed.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
A year or so ago a well known magazine published an opinion that the province of Quebec was the most corrupt Provincein Canada. Predictably this did not go over too well in Quebec. At this point in time however most of us hope that that is true because if they aren't the most corrupt; then God help whatever province is worse. The Jean Charest Liberal government appointed an Inquiry to look into construction industry corruption in Quebec and they seem to be receiving testimony implacating politicians. Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record has a story titled "Police raid Laval mayor's office, home". Laval is the third largest municiplity in Quebec so clearly the pot is boiling and bigger fish are being scrutinized. Allegations at the Inquiry have included price rigging and payoffs to corrupt bureaucrats, politicians and even the Italian Mafia.
All of this leads me to wonder about Waterloo Region. Are we more honest, more careful and or more subtle? That corruptiuon exists in Waterloo Region is a certainty. What I am not aware of is organized crime or corruption of the brown paper bag variety such as videos in Quebec have shown, or even of the Brian Mulroney /Karl Heinz Schreiber variety. Here the corruption I am aware of consists of government and political deception of the public. It consists of misrepresnting facts for self serving political ends. Sometimes a little bit of graft can be of less social consequence than a whole lot of political deception. Neither are acceptable and need to be rooted out.
Monday, October 8, 2012
I am very glad to see the amount of time and ink that the Waterloo Region Record have been devoting to this important case. It is my hope that Constable Robson will find peace and relief and it's also my hope that his trials and tribulations will bring a recognition to the Waterloo Regional Police, that they have a duty to their officers to assist them in their time of need. Last Friday the Waterloo Region Record carried this story: "Investigator defends drug sting that nabbed officer".
I am somewhat surprised by the article's statement that fellow officers had been making allegations against both Officer Robson and two others. I know that the teachers' union for example expressly order that any union member complaining or criticizing a fellow union member, absolutely must provide the target of their allegations with a copy in writing. This indeed serves a partial purpose of discouraging petty or frivolous complaints. This is why I kind of don't understand what's going on with the policemans' benevolent association (ie. union). Are they playing favourites and only protecting those in the clique, or are they protecting all their member officers equally? Something is being kept hidden from the public and I don't know if it reflects upon the union, upper management or even the political masters.
What is also significant to me is that Officer Robson was offerred a conditional discharge "...meaning he wouldn't acquire a criminal record- if he pleaded guilty and resigned." This suggests that the Waterloo Regional Police simply want to get rid of him and the marijuana charge was simply the method chosen to do so. I wonder if the upper management discussed this with the union ahead of time? Wouldn't that be an interesting scenario? Constable Robson in court described "...a macho police culture with no tolerance for signs of weakness." Again I wonder if this intolerance includes the police union and their support or otherwise for an officer in trouble?
Friday, October 5, 2012
Peter Shawn Taylor has an excellent opinion piece in yesterday's Waterloo Region Record titled "Solution to pedestrian deaths lies underfoot". In one sense we could suggest that this is a case of blaming the victim. Which he does. However he also backs it up with some very interesting statistics. Apparently over half of pedestrian deaths occur either mid block where the pedestrian has no business crossing or they occur while pedestrians are crossing against the light or even while walking on roads rather than the shoulder. Make no mistake while pedestrians are to blame just slightly over 50% of the time, drivers are clearly to blame all the rest.
None of this is of the slightest surprise to me. Once as a very young teenager I got my bicycle clipped by a car and once while jogging across a street on the green light as a nineteen year old I went up over the hood of a car rather than get my legs taken out from under me. Both times I was very lucky although both times I was paying a hell of a lot more attention than the driver and thus took last second evasive manoevres.
Since then I have driven for over fourty years both privately and commercially. I have driven little tiny four cylinder cars and tri-axle dumptrucks while pulling a float with heavy equipment on it. This I can categorically say: The Ontario Ministry of Transport are the world's biggest idiots. They haven't the foggiest idea how to improve safety on or off the roads. Secondly our traffic police and senior bureaucrats including politicians should all be fired and or thrown in jail. This focusing on the extremely few drivers who actually drive at speeds disproportionate to traffic volume, road capability and weather and visibility continues to cost lives. What they should long ago have been focusing on is the majority of drivers who can't or won't focus and pay attention to what they are doing. The driving habits of 50% of our drivers are less than pathetic and our police ignore them. Last second turn signals, wandering from lane to lane while going through roundabouts, stepping on the brakes on high speed highways when there is absolutely nothing in front of you, failure to pull over into the right hand lane when there is traffic behind you; the list goes on and on. This includes drivers on bare roads in broad daylight with perfect driving conditions driving five km/hour under the already generally ridiculously slow speed limits.
All this being said, I am also a pedestrian. Whether on my own or walking our black lab I am fully aware of the general stupidity and incompetence out there. How stupid would I have to be to step out in front of even a slow moving approaching car; even while having the right of way? Apparently pedestrians assume all the time that approaching cars are only driven by attentive, focused, wide awake individuals. Even a light car weighs 2,500 pounds. Pedestrians "insisting" on the right of way aren't going to "win" anything if the driver has his head up his ass. I have long referred to this as driving HUA and it is the norm. Only when our police ever get their heads out of their asses and start enforcing laws other than speeding; will HUA drivers ever start to learn that they are obliged to pay attention when driving. Then accidents and deaths of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will plummet. Not before.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
On a personal basis I feel sorry for Ontario Energy Minister, Chris Bentley. He's caught in the Oppositions' cross hairs for disgusting actions taken by the Liberal government. Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys the story "Energy minister could face jail time". This is of course due to the allegation that he is contempt of parliament (legislature). He had been ordered by the speaker of the House to produce documents arising from the Liberal government's cancellation of two gas plants prior to the last provincial election. This he did at the last moment yet the opposition believe that he's held a large amount of documents back.
Clearly the Liberals are paying the price of a scandal of their own making. They used taxpayers money to pay out construction and other costs for one of the gas plants already under construction. It's an idiotic move to waste taxpayers money in such a fashion but it goes beyond idiotic when the purpose is as the opposition have suggested "a seat saver program" for the Liberals, at the public's expense. Minister Bentley is learning the hard way that whether you're new to a portfolio or not, you inherit any ongoing and unfolding scandals. Jail time for him alone is not proper. Perhaps jail time for the decision makers in this unfolding mess is; but don't hold your breathe waiting for that to ever happen.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Back on July 2/12 I wrote an article here in the Advocate in regards to Officer Robson. There were a half dozen comments all supportive of him. Today's story in the Waterloo Region Record is titled "Officer testifies he nearly pulled trigger in suicidal moment". After reading today's story it certainly appears that this officer is less a criminal and more a victim. It is possible that as the trial progresses there may be another side to the story presented. Regardless it seems obvious that this Officer's intentions and on the job conduct have been meritorious over the years.
The elaborate sting operation which his lawyer is characterizing as entrapment does not bring honour upon our Regional Police. The discription of Officer Robson's arrest also gives credibility to the unreasonableness of the entire three police force operation to entrap him. He was cut off in his car by an unmarked police car and then swarmed by up to a dozen officers. What the hell is that all about? He was arrested for "stealing" two ounces of marijuana not for violent offences or threats. Something is very amiss in this case.
It is possible that Officer Robson, with assistance, could still be an honourable and upstanding police officer. It's also possible that either he no longer wishes to be or simply is unable to resume his duties. Whatever the specifics and causes of his mental health issues, again our Regional Police brass do not appear to have handled the problem with anything other than a sledgehammer. As a citizen I do not want police officers on the street with drug/alcohol problems nor with mental health issues. I suggest there was a far better method of helping both this officer and protecting the public than entrapping him and laying criminal charges. If as testified to, his health problems were either caused or exacerbated by his duties as a police officer, all the more reason to have resolved this with compassion and care.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Whatever your opinions on Canadian immigration policies since the second World War, the reality is that Mr. Khadr was born in Canada and is a legitimate, legal Canadian citizen. Our federal government has a broad diversity of duties and responsibilities, but one of the most basic is looking out for the rights and security of Canadian citizens. Omar Khadr at the tender and impressionable age of fifteen was put into a house by his father that was later bombed and attacked by U.S. military forces. Khadr's acquaintances and friends all died and he himself was wounded almost unto death. The U.S. government alleges that he threw a grenade killing one U.S. soldier while he was lying terribly wounded on the ground. After a mere eight years in captivity in the notorious Guantanamo, he confessed to that killing in exchange for a transfer back to Canada. Quite frankly after eight hours in captivity most of us would confess to just about anything to get out of the hands of the people who had mortally attacked us.
The Progressive Conservatives don't have a leg to stand on. They appear to have been supporting their U.S. ally from the beginning with absolutely zero concern about a fifteen year old Canadian citizen's life much less rights. Shame on the federal tories. Omar Khadr is finally back in Canada, despite the Conservatives not because of them. Shame on them again. Mr. Khadr has been treated like trash by Canadian politicians. Allegedly Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is worried that Mr. Khadr might have been "radicalized" by his confinement in Guantanamo. Who the hell's fault is that? Khadr certainly didn't ask to be attacked, bombed, shot, imprisoned and then left to rot by the Canadian government. There are days that I feel that I've been "radicalized" by the hypocrisy, lies and deceit of our politicians. Who could possibly be "normal" after spending one's youth, teenage years and early twenties in prison after allegedly commiting a crime as a "child soldier". Indeed he was a child. I'm not so sure they ever proved he was a soldier much less anything else. U.S. military "justice" does not win any awards for transparency, honesty or integrity. Shame on the lot of them, U.S. and Canadian authorities. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the most recent story.
Monday, October 1, 2012
Lawyers and courts occasionally tend to disgust me and this is one of those times. It's been five years since Ashley Smith died by strangulation in front of numerous allegedly responsible witnesses who literally stood there and watched her die. Accountability time is long overdue and yet more procedural delays are forthcoming. Three doctors, one from Woolwich Township, one from Burlington and one from St. Thomas are suggesting that various doctors outside of Ontario who signed off on her multiple transfers before her death, should not be issued summonses . The most recent story was in last Friday's Waterloo Region Record and was titled "Scope of Smith inquest questioned".
Apparently Smith suffered from mental illness and her treatment included multiple transfers and almost constant time in solitary confinement. Until or unless you've spent time incarcerated and in solitary confinement you have no idea of what that is like. To do that to a mentally ill teenager is beyond disgusting and certain people desperately need a major dose of their own medicine in that regard. Lawyers and courts however often have the ability to blame the victim and allow the real criminals, especially white collar criminals, to walk. Enough of the excuses and delays, get on with this inquest. Ashley Smith and her family can never get justice but at least they deserve the truth.