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.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "St. Mary's High School squanders a teachable moment". This Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato could well be in my opinion a sad commentary on an awful lot of our so called authorities in our society. Let me partly illustrate by way of a joke. What do the following three have in common? That would be the Pope, the Catholic Church and both our local school boards. Answer: All three think that they are infallible.
Now first off an apology to devout Catholics. They know full well that the last two sure as heck aren't infallible however the Pope is a totally different story. Luisa's Opinion piece puts in perspective a video made by a student protesting the crackdown on school uniforms. The student apparently included a "...well known scene from the 2004 film Downfall, a biographical film about Adolf Hitler.". The student's video is satirical and yes it is critical of the school authorities clampdown. However as Luisa points out, in theory at least, we still have freedom of speech in this country. Or do we? Luisa actually suggests that this suspended student get hold of a lawyer; that's how far extreme and overboard the reaction from the school is. While Luisa is correct in that the school authorities appear mindlessly authoritarian she also misses one other aspect of this situation. That would be political correctness run amok. Hitler was a bad guy hence no one is ever allowed to use his appearance to make a point. Really?
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Interesting when you compare today's posting with yesterday's. Yesterday dealt with an O.P.P. officer who came within an inch of killing a citizen due to the officer's careless driving. Today's post about Constable Robson deals with marijuana theft and use. Officer Robson now has a criminal conviction and his employers the Waterloo Regional Police Service appear hell bent on firing him. The victim in the first case is pretty clear but not so much in Officer Robson's case. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Police Act charges against Robson delayed".
The separate Police Act charges will be delayed until after the disposition of Officer Robson's appeal. He is appealing both his conviction and sentence. A major issue for Robson is the recognition of post traumatic stress disorder by the Police Service. I do know that just recently I read statistics that more O.P.P. officers die by suicide than die by on the job violence including auto accidents. That is a truly scary and eye opening statistic.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
This is one of those cases where the public should have been kept much better informed by the media. The O.P.P. officer (Roger Woods) was off-duty when he slammed into the back of a horse and buggy just outside Mount Forest a year and a half ago. The horse died and the driver Onias Frey was severely injured. I read one article about this incident and my recollection is that it took an unusually long time before any charges were laid upon the O.P.P. sergeant. He had been speeding at the time and eventually he was charged with careless driving to which he pled guilty to yesterday in a Guelph court. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the story and the title is "OPP officer sentenced over off-duty crash with buggy".
I don't have enough information to actually form an opinion as to whether the $500 fine, 18 months probation and 24 hours of community service are appropriate. On the face of it, it appears as if the officer got off very easily and only through good luck was the buggy driver not killed along with his horse.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Back on February 7, here in the Waterloo Region Advocate, I suggested that our civilian police boards lacked backbone, transparency and even legitimacy. Who the heck are they, who appoints them, are they mere rubber stamps and how good is their gig. In other words are they paid well enough to keep their heads down and take direction from the nominal authorities. Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record has a front page story titled "Police board's role debated in wake of controversial report". That story answers an awful lot of my questions which is good. What is less good however are the answers themselves. Who are they can be answered with the words cronys, buddies and or fellow travellors. This is allegedly a "civilian" police oversight board. Ha, not a chance. I recognize three of the names as current full time, well paid, professional politicians. A fourth name, namely Kim Denouden is either a past or present North Dumfries politician (Mayor?). This is four out of the seven. Then we have a recently retired Peter Ringrose who worked at the pleasure of the Region of Waterloo as head of Family and Childrens' Services for many years. Earth to professional politicians. This is NOT "civilian" oversight. The other two members are provincial appointees and I'm pretty sure I recognize both their names as well. I may just have to google them to confirm that they have either political ties or loyalty ties to our local power structure.
How good is their gig? Well on the face of it they only earn $10,484 per year. How much effort is required for that sum? Apparently once a month they meet at regional police headquarters for a chat. If they do this ten to eleven months out of twelve ie. off for Christmas and maybe for a summer vacation; then they are making in the vicinity of $1,000 per meeting. If it's a two hour meeting then they are making $500 per hour. Not bad and a generous plum for the worthy only.
Are they mere rubber stamps. The answer is unequivocally yes. By their own admission they aren't interested in getting into the meat and potatoes of police operational activity. They peruse the annual police budget. They do not ask serious or penetrating questions of the police chief. They do not even exercise some moral authority in regards to the ongoing and apparently never ending police scandals involving officers getting in trouble either on or off the job. They do not give overall community direction to the Chief and let him know what is and isn't acceptable to the community.
This is exactly what our regional politicians want. They have a pretend "civilian oversight" that satisfies the rules but in reality does nothing. It is clearly appointed by either regional politicians or Chair Seiling on his own and he (they) have made sure it is a friendly board.
Friday, March 22, 2013
I've been suggesting that criminal charges should have been laid against the senior management at the Grand Valley Institution due to their orders regarding then inmate Ashley Smith. These criminal charges wouldn't be called practicing pop psycholgy without a license but would be close enough. What kind of a perverted institution allows wardens or others to make life and death decisions for mentally ill inmates when they the so called management clearly don't have a clue what they are doing? We are advised in today's Waterloo Region Record that the warden was indeed fired by the CSC six months afte Ashley Smith's death. Today we are advised that through mediation she is back at work with the CSC although no one is giving out her position or location. As long as her new job entails cleaning toilets, sinks and showers I have only a small complaint with her being rehired.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Scientists question closing of lakes facility". The appearance is certainly being given that the federal Conservative government does not want good science to interfere with bad politcs. Trent University have a fully funded research project underway that started in the Experimental Lakes Area in nothwestern Ontario last summer. Their funding comes from the prestigious and well known NSERC otherwise known as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Cost cutting may well be a legitimate reason for governments cutting back on services but as biologist Maggie Xenopoulos stated "This decision is totally unecessary. We have our own research funding. I don't know what they are thinking.".
My thinking on this matter is that something is seriously amiss. Our governments at all levels have long claimed that education and research are the keys for a high tech Canadian economy to grow. Meanwhile these research projects don't just employ established Profs they also employ Masters and PhD. students who are working their way through school. Why abort a project underway that is already funded?
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
O.K. I plead guilty, sort of. How's that for a firm maybe? I've been reasonably content watching our provincial government and our public and high school teachers bashing each other publicly. On more than one occasion I've been known to say a pox on both their houses. In my mind both parties have a multitude of sins which have negatively impacted the public. I don't need to go back into them at this moment.
Thomas Walkom is neither the first columnist nor probably the last to suggest that the teachers' fight in Ontario has much bigger ramifications than just about education. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys Mr. Walkom's column titled
"Attack on Ontario's teachers a test case". Mr. Walkom correctly points out the increasing trend by both our federal Conservative Party in power as well as by our provincial Conservative Party, out of power, against the trade union movement. I must admit that there is a great deal of subtlty involved when provincially this trend appears to be shared by our currently Liberal provincial government. Mr Walkom also gives a very interesting historical analysis regarding the overall state of labour relations in this province. He suggests that it's only been the last sixty years plus that unions have had any recognition or status whatsoever in this province. That in and of itself should be a wakeup call to all organized labour in Ontario. Labour's rights are only entrenched for a very relatively short period of time.
If I were a right wing government, hell bent on restoring the longer term status quo in labour relations, I would also pick and choose my battles. This would mean picking on the most arrogant, well off unionists who have sucessfully alienated much of the population with their complaining. It would mean studiously ignoring unionized workers in declining industries such as textiles who might be earning all of $14 per hour. I would focus my attack upon a group who may well symbolize everything that is wrong with unions from those with a rightward slant. Then under the guise of reining in this relatively small group I would pass labour legislation that would negatively impact the entire labour movement.
By the way by longer term status quo I'm referring to the bad old days prior to unions even being legally recognized. That's probably where we are headed and I'm one of those who has missed the boat while watching our provincial government rein in teachers wages and benefits. This reining in was long overdue and perhaps if the provincial government had recognized how awful the system of teachers unions negotuating with school boards actually was; they could have fixed it long ago and avoided more draconian legislation recently. The boards and the teachers would have been very upset but maybe just maybe parents and children would have also been the winners. The boards long ago abandoned their duties and responsibilities to the public in favour of themselves via constantly selling the farm to the unions. Can the province not improve this without damaging the other unions out there who have to negotiate with serious and sincere representatives of capitol, namely the management of private firms? Management represent honestly the interests of shareholders whereas I do not believe that school boards remotely negotiate on behalf of their shareholders, namely you and I and the public.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Last Friday's Waterloo Region Record carrys a review on page C2 titled "Innocence lost, the guilty prevail". It is a horrific story and documentary which I've been advised is currently playing at the Princess Theatre in Waterloo. The State of Arkansas is the venue for a truly outrageous miscarriage of justice. Apparently this documentary "...West of Memphis is practically in a league of its own, exploring a sprawling story over the course of nearly two decades of how three teenaged boys-the West Memphis Three- were railroaded for a horrific crime they didn't commit.". The allegations include police incompetence and prosecutorial misconduct that is blatant. They include the fact that DNA evidence has uncovered another suspect and nothing to date has been done about that suspect. The three boys were released from jail in 2011 after eighteen years in jail each for multiple murders that none of them committed.
Exactly when will the public have enough of unaccountable and out of control justice systems? Whether police, courts themselves including judges or prosecutors clearly the process and procedures do not produce the truth. How is it remotely possible for any judge or jury to convict the wrong three individuals for a horrific multiple murder? Who invented the "evidence" to convict anyone beyond a reasonable doubt? Are the juries so blatantly incompetent that they can be talked into anything? Are the prosecutors so career oriented and focused on "winning" cases that NOTHING else matters? Are the judges so politically motivated and or influenced that their so called independence is illusory? When are both Canada and the United States going to wake up to the destruction of innocent lives as well as the disrepute that they are heaping upon their judicial systems with these beyond belief abortions of justice? Shame on the participants and shame on all the gutless politicians involved who have the power and authority needed to take on and restore a horribly broken system and haven't done it.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Today's Woolwich Observer (dated tomorrow) on page 6 has this headline "Funny how a casino is starting to look good now".
Steve Kannon's Editorial points out that the very same cities which were against themselves and Woolwich getting a casino have now reversed themselves. Boy I'll tell you I'm actually kind of grateful for Todd Cowan and Woolwich Council voting in favour of a local casino. Don't get me wrong. If an activity is inappropriate in the first place, having it supervised, run and taxed by government doesn't take the stink away from the activity. It merely transfers it to the government in charge. In this case our provincial government as pointed out by Steve Kannon are addicted to gaming revenues. It's easy money for them. What Woolwich Council have clearly shown us is that Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge politicians are a pack of hypocrites. That would also apply to Regional Council whose members are from Kitchener, Waterloo., Cambridge and the Townships.
I wonder what Regional Chair Ken Seiling has to say right now after speaking against Woolwich getting a casino. Did he know that the three cities were just waiting in the wings for Woolwich to set the stage? I couldn't understand the politics that were going on and wondered what the heck the Region was doing meddling in a municipalitiy's business. All of a sudden whether you agree or disagree with Woolwich Council's decision; by comparison you at least have to admit they were more straightforward than Kitchener, Waterloo or Cambridge. I say that from the position of not being in favour of a casino in Woolwich or anywhere within the Region of Waterloo.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Recently I was advised of a website dealing with the issue of our federal government muzzling scientists. This is the website of Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party as well as a federal member of parliament. I've read Ms. May's report and yes it is indeed chilling. If there is any remotely good reason for the actions of the federal government then advising us sooner than later is called for. Since the start of 2013 there have been at least two directives to scientists within the DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) curtailing their ability to both apply for research grants and to publish their findings in scientific journals.
What also raises concerns appears to be the federal government's wish to have it both ways. In other words not only do they wish to control (muzzle) they also want to be able to deny that they are doing any such thing. Blatant disregard for obvious truths is not the way to convince skeptics. If you've got any remotely kind of rationale for what you are doing then share it. Fibbing does not improve your credibility but only reinforces your critics when you are found out. Hence the Harper government needs to reconsider exactly what they are trying to accomplish here.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
It's almost a relief to realize that Canadians don't have to take a back seat to the rest of the world when it comes to corruption. I know for decades I felt almost apologetic for Canada's squeaky clean image. We have however come into our own. We've heard of massive corruption in third world countries, Italy's double book accounting systems to beat their taxes, African and Caribbean funneling of funds to the elites etc. etc. While finally Canada is showing that she too has what it takes to be crooked. A few short years back McLean's magazine on their front cover accused Quebec of being the most corrupt province. Surprisingly Quebecers were much less upset than the politicians and other authority figures. Since then we've experienced the joys of the ongoing Montreal corruption inquiry. Boy if Quebec aren't the worst then at the very least they are working very hard to achive that title. Of course we've also had the Robocalls scandal which reaches to the very heart of democracy in this country. Imagine if you will the attempt to subvert our electoral process. Now that's world scale corruption.
Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Federal watchdog finds more cooked deals". This too can only add to Canada's growing reputation. The irony here is priceless. A school that teaches public servants about ethics and values has been caught cooking contracts to consultants. Apparently Frank Brunetta is the federal procurement ombudsman and was tipped off about numerous irregularities. Federal Treasury Board Minister Tony Clement was not amused and stated that "We find the conduct described in this report is unacceptable" further adding "The government will be seeking appropriate sanctions against those responsible.".
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Lots of myths about employment. First of all there is no shortage of labour. Never was, never will be. What there is and always will be is massive discrimination by employers. In theory at least they can't discriminate based upon ethnic background, religion, sex etc.. Just ask women, asians, blacks, muslims, hindus etc. how well Canada's laws have worked for them. Then of course the list of factors that employers can discriminate for or against is incredibly long. Hair colour, hair length, no hair, tatoos, height, weight, body build, education (too much or too little), accents even domestic (east coast etc.), personality, obsequiousness, facial scars, criminal records, public notoriety, environmental, health & safety, labour activists, hometown, parents occupation and on and on.
Labour legislation is not enforced in this province overall. Large unionized firms may well receive inspections on an annual basis. Small, non union construction companies don't. Same thing with factories. Offices just forget it. So called right to stop work for health and safety dangers. Good luck with that. If you're even remotely a newer, non-union employee and you ask questions, you're gone. The employer won't write you a letter telling you you're being fired for being too inquisitive, he'll find a dozen other frivolous reasons. Black lists have also been around forever. Leave a company and go to the Ministry of Labour with a complaint and you're a marked man. Go to the Ministry of Environment because of the behaviour of your employer and you're finished in that field and many others.
Employers like having large groups of "second class" employees. Who else are willing to do dirty, dangerous work cheaply? Immigrants, day labourers, migrant workers, ex-convicts, the poorly educated all are in demand for menial jobs. Temporary help agencies supply factories with people to do the really nasty, boring, menial work. Then you let them go, no fuss, no muss.
In order to move ahead in a company, competence, common sense, reliability and work ethic come a far second to loyalty and brown nosing. Not necessarily loyalty to the company as much as loyalty to the individual boss. The brown nosing is absolutely fundamental. Ontario bosses are big into status and prestige. They've got it and you don't and do not ever forget that. Productivity is good to talk about but ass kissing is constant and forever. This is what employment is all about in this province. Yes thankfully there are exceptions. Status, power, prestige, dominance are the perks of most management. Hence with notable exceptions it is not the cream that rises to the top. It is the power hungry, backstabbing, manipulative ones who do. It may well be an improvemnent over slavery and feudalism but the system is there to keep people suppressed. There absolutely is no democracy in the non-union workplace. If there was most employers would walk away.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Man arrested after shots fired in Wilmot". Now first of all Wilmot is one of our local, rural Townships. During the hunting season I expect that gunshots would be more the norm than the absence of them. This time of year hunting seasons are closed but that in itself is not conclusive for firearms discharge. I live on the edge of Elmira and while walking my dog routinely hear gunshots year round from an outdoor shooting range, namely the Elmira Rod and Gun.
This particular individual was target shooting with a rifle "...in a bush area off Cedar Grove Road, just west of Wilmot line.". Now here is where my confusion comes in. The police themselves confirm that the 25 year old male "...didn't intend any harm.". Further a police officer stated that "...bad decisions and poor judgement were to blame.". O.K. that's all fair enough. Also of note in the story was that the rifle was legally owned and registered to the young man. Considering that registration of firearms isn't required any longer in Canada I must assume that he bought it and registered it at least a few years ago.
So lets consider the facts. This individual was shooting his legally purchased rifle in a rural area on a Sunday afternoon. What I don't know is the exact location of the shooting combined with the backstops he was using behind his targets. Everyone seems to agree there was no criminal intent but possibly some poor judgement. Was this individual on a friend's property with permission or did he just go looking for a wooded area outside of a town or city and start shooting at a tin can for example? He has been charged with three different firearms offenses namely weapons dangerous to the public, unsafe storage of a firearm and careless use of a firearm. I have to assume that these are all criminal offenses and if convicted he is looking at a criminal record and will not be able to own firearm's as a result.
What are the police not telling the public? Are they just laying serious charges for the purpose of looking needed with full knowledge this young fellow is more naive than criminal? Or was his shooting some kind of serious threat to nearby people? Even if it was should he be charged criminally or should he be made to attend (reattend?) a firearms safety course perhaps after a six month or one year timeout? Multiple criminal charges on a young person for alleged stupidity or carelessness seems a little harsh. What exactly is the offense here in this specific situation that is driving our criminal justice system to intercede?
Friday, March 8, 2013
O.K. I've got no problem criticizing either Canada's Correctional or Judicial Systems. They are incompetent, lazy, arrogant and pompous. Oh yes and way too expensive for either the taxpayers or people sucked into their orbit. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Aboriginal corrections report shows "unaccetable racism". This report written by Howard Sapers, correctional investigator is highly critical of all aspects of our corrections system 's dealings with aboriginals.
I'll be honest here. I haven't read the report and I'm not particularily impressed with the reporter's write up in the Record. There are two facts that are indeed disturbing and they are that aboriginals make up 25% of all federal inmates. That is way higher than the percentage of aboriginals in Canada. Secondly this report alleges that these same aboriginals are left behind bars much longer than other inmates, allegedly for the similar crimes.
On the face of it, this Record article is underwhelming. Perhaps the actual report is riveting. I'm thinking that the reporter certainly hasn't read the report or they'd be much clearer about the alleged racism. One last comment however is that Howard Sapers is not an unknown name. He has been front and centre for several years in attempts to get the Ashley Smith inquest on track. He has also made clear over the years his dedication to getting the truth out and improving Canada's correctional services.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has a story titled "Military rifle gun of choice when lives at risk: police". Also today we have a story in the Elmira Independent titled "Under fire: The rising cost of policing". The stories are related in that they both deal with our own local profligate force. The two biggest lies in the first article are that contrary to the headline on page A2, our police are not "...often outgunned...". In fact I would suggest they are NEVER outgunned. Secondly the front page headline is completely deceiving but then the Record have given the story to a reporter who is just as likely never to have fired a gun in her life. Here's a newsflash. The C8 rifle is a close quarters combat rifle for use in military situations where there probably are multiple combatants firing at you. It is not designed to be used as a police weapon in 99.95% of the situations you will find in Waterloo Region. Indeed the statistics tell the story. Fourty years of regional policing have resulted in five people being shot by police. In a military situation this same firearm could fire several hundred rounds in a fourty minute time frame, much more if necessary. It fires a light .223 (5.56mm) calibre bullet at high velocity with relatively light recoil. Indeed it is a great weapon if you're under attack by the Taliban, Viet Cong or any other guerilla fighters around the world.
Here in Waterloo Region it's all about smoozing the politicians and the public. What's the difference between a man and a boy? It's the cost of his toys and that's what this is all about. $2,300 for a single firearm that is totally unecessary. An example was give of an O.P.P. officer murdered a couple of years ago near Seaforth. He was killed by a single shot to the head with a hunting rifle. If Officer Pham had a C8 in his cruiser it wouldn't have made an iota of difference under those circumstances. Yes if he'd been tipped off that ten criminals were waiting in ambush beside the road, perhaps a C8 would make the difference. Maybe.
Our force is costing us the taxpayers over $130 million per year. Wages are a huge part of that but so is this attitude that they need the best and most expensive of everything. Years ago six shot Smith & Wesson revolvers just wouldn't cut it. Plus they were inexpensive compared to a twelve shot Beretta 9mm. Then they weren't good enough and officers required .40 calibre Beretta's because the 9mm weren't as powerful. And on it goes. Now Regional Police need C8's. This is just getting thicker and deeper.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Affectionately known as FOI this legislation is actually named Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy. Now isn't that quite a moniker? Several studies have been done showing that information from our provincial government is anything but free and easy. It's time consuming, frustrating and often unsucessful. Loopholes and exceptions are not very helpful nor is simple bureaucratic stalling.
The Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act came about after the Walkerton tragedy. It seems as if just about everybody had an excuse and pointed the finger at the next fellow but the failures started at the bottom with two incompetent, irresponsible brothers at the public works department, escalated at the municipal council level and ended with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment not doing their job over many years. Allegedly the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act was supposed to make everything transparent and the lines of responsibility clear. It also was supposed to remove surprises by making available a report that the public could read and comprehend. What we have while interesting certainly isn't foolproof. There are literally hundreds of chemicals which no one is testing for or at least publishing the results of. This includes all kinds of petroleum hydrocarbons resulting from ubiquitous discharge of gasoline and diesel fuel into the subsurface of almost every service station in the past. Underground tanks have rusted, connections broken and losses only stopped when the leaks became big enough to warrant removal and replacement of tanks. The most obvious chemicals here in Waterloo Region which have been ignored by all include ethylbenzene, xylenes and toluene. NDMA which shut down the Elmira, Ontario wells twenty-four years ago has been found in groundwater in Cambridge and should be on the list. Dioxins as well as pharmaceuticals are not on the Annual reports published each year in Waterloo Region. Also the newspaper ads describing these reports each spring talks about tests conducted each year. That sounds appropriate to me yet numerous wells are going two years between testing.
In hindsight it appears once again as if provincial legislation is primarily for the purpose of fooling Ontario residents into believing that our authorities care and are in control of problems when the reality is much more complex and difficult.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Poor Leroy. Bad enough not being born smart but he also wasn't born into either wealth or fame and they both make a difference in Canada. Leroy is facing a three year prison sentence despite a Judge with common sense and decency deciding that a mandatory minimum three year sentence for a "gun crime" was cruel, unusual and just plain ridiculous. Mind you the prosecuter in the case has no problem using twisted and tortured logic to put Leroy behind bars for three years. The Waterloo Region Record carried this story on February 20/12 "Gun-crime penalties undergo major test". The prosecuter is suggesting that it was both Leroy's fault and good luck that the gun involved didn't go off when he dropped it inside his cousin's apartment in Toronto. Of course he dropped it when the police burst threw the closed apartment door in the middle of the night yelling "police". If he hadn't dropped it they probably would have shot him dead there and then.
Now what exactly anti-social, criminal offense was Leroy up to when the police broke in? Are you ready? "He was caught alone in his boxers in his cousin's apartment posing with a loaded handgun while taking pictures of himself to post on facebook.". Remember the first sentence when I suggested that leroy wasn't born smart? I'm also guessing that Leroy had no clue whether the gun was loaded or not. Whatever happened to requiring criminal intent? Leroy's intent was to look tough. Whatever happened to a criminal case requiring a victim? Who's the alleged victim here? Leroy was alone taking photos of himself with a gun he'd found in the apartment. The Judge was right, there should be no minimum three year mandatory sentence here. The law is bad. Fix it!
Monday, March 4, 2013
In last Friday's Waterloo Region Record Luisa D'Amato has another excellent Opinion piece. This one concerns our public school teachers and their inability to let it go. The title is "Teachers should be careful what they wish for". While the high school teachers generally seem to be getting back to extracurriculars, the public school teachers are not. Apparently a number of recent decisions are being credited to the teachers unions including the election last fall in which Catherine Fife (NDP) easily defeated the liberal candidate. Also Premier McGuinty's decision to resign, repeal of Bill 115 as well as former education minister Laurel Broten's decision not to run for the leadership of the provincial Liberal party all bear the hallmarks of teachers solidarity. Still not enough apparently for the public school teachers. This by the way is the normal route of these things.
Luisa and other commentators have suggested that the teachers are their own worst enemies. I was amazed sixteen years ago when my family had a major runin with the public teachers' union as to how much power and support they had both within and without the educational system. They weren't remotely reluctant to use their money and political muscle for self serving ends. Ditto with the local school board. In hindsight it shows the hypocrisy of their anti bullying campaigns at school. The board and the unions are the biggest bullies around, by far. Their money and political influence also guaranteed them ready access and sympathetic ears within the judicial system. Shame on the pack of them. Long story short one of the few areas where I can't criticize the Ontario Conservative Party is their stand on the teachers. Or as Luisa states in her Opinion piece "For each day they wait, the teachers and their unions take a bigger risk that, after election day, it will be the anti-union Conservative Party waiting for them.".
Friday, March 1, 2013
Today's Woolwich Observer carrys this Opinion piece by Steve Kannon "Scandals and waste will continue as long as politicians make the rules". Fair warning to readers this is a very depressing Opinion piece by Steve. A few quotes will give you the idea: politicians are "...happy with a self-serving system that allows unfettered access to the cookie jar for themselves and their financial backers.". Further "Politicians write the rules for themselves. They prefer no rules, but failing that they draft vague rules with no enforcement, then there are no penalties for breaking the rules." Last quote "Getting politicians to do things for Canadain citizens -as opposed to their frineds and donors-appears impossible. Getting them to behave honestly and ethically is just beyond the pale.".
Personally I've long wondered how any honest people with ethics, once elected, can stand the nonsense they see all around them. Do some of them naively believe that if they hang around long enough they can be an influence for good upon the rest? Is it really as truly awful as Steve Kannon seems to be saying or are there significant numbers of politicians who started with the public interest in mind and have stayed with it? Once again read Steve's Opinion piece. Perhaps more people than I realized share Steve's view and that is why Canadaian apathy is so high. How do you become engaged in a process if you believe that it is fundamentally flawed if not corrupt?