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, October 31, 2013
Yesterday a dump truck dropped one load of dirt, topsoil, mud and gravel, all combined, outside my house along Church St. in Elmira, Ontario. The day before there were four dumptruck loads of gravel dropped along the street directly outside my house. Immediately prior to a large frontend loader pushing them into the empty ditch running between the sidewalk and the road; a pump amd hoses were hooked up and the end of the hose put down into the waterfilled ditch. This waterfilled ditch had been like that for many weeks.
Months ago an excavater had meticulously removed the grass and weeds in the ditch and made it even deeper. This was a very large drainage ditch which has been present for at least the last decade plus that we have been here. There had been pipes availble through which storm water could gravity flow from west to east where they discharged into a small creek which then flowed southwards to a stormwater pond located on Park St.. Immediately upon excavating our ditch the storm water pipes were obviously blocked. We had one immense rain possibly in late August which overnite filled this ditch up with muddy, dirty water. On the Monday morning the pump and hoses appeared and I estimate there was a good four feet or more of water pumped out, down along Carriage Hill Drive and into the storm sewers. Until Tuesday of this week that first pumping of the water out of the ditch was the last. Essentially we've had a muddy pool of water beside our home for many weeks. Thankyou very much Region of Waterloo and Network; the apparent name of the construction company allegedly doing the work along Church St..
Here is the kicker on the whole thing. We have been advised that the road and ditch are being rebuilt. This is to remove above ground natural stormwater ditches and replace them with underground storm sewers. The problem, among many, is this. They dug out the ditch in order to install concrete storm sewers. They filled it in again. What they haven't done is installed the storm sewers. Are these idjits closing up these water filled ditches for the winter and going to do the same absolute bullshit again next spring? Where the hell is the supervision? Where the hell is the oversight? This is obviously taxpayers money involved thankyou very much. You've inconvenienced me for many months and you assholes think you're going to do it all over again?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
After my first reading of yesterday's Waterloo Region Record article titled "Pathologists now work in the light"; my first impression was that this was a puff piece extolling the virtues of a so called new day regarding forensic pathology in Ontario. Upon rereading, while still skeptical about the metaphors around working in the light; I have seen a pretty honest assessment of how bad things were a few short years ago. We all remember Dr. Charles Smith and his talents and abilities for finding criminal causes for childrens' deaths when none existed. Whether shaken baby syndrome or head injuries caused by falls he seemed to magically be able to support the Crown's case of foul play. One of his most egregiously wrong conclusions involved an uncle who had allegedly raped and strangled his young niece. It turned out that she had died of natural causes but does anyone think that a family going through that horror will ever forgive or forget words and actions towards the wrongly accused? It's strange but I believe I have a recollection of a few scandals with Ontario's Institute of/Department of ??? Forensic Sciences from a couple of decades earlier. Again my recollection is that this supposedly nuetral, scientific body was simply being used as a backup to the Crown when they had a weak case. Clearly as indicated in the Record's article that while science should be paramount; nevertheless human systems of accountability and peer review are absolutely necessary as well. Psuedo science is actually worse than no science when it is practised for a predetermined outcome.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record advises us that "Firm cited nine times for violations before accident". The firm involved is Maison Canada and Nick Lalonde fell to his death on their site in Waterloo on October 11/13. These nine Orders were issued in two batches namely in January and July 2013. To date I have not seen the details of these nine Orders but it certainly gives the impression of an unsafe work site, at first blush.
According to the Record "Dozens (Orders) have been issued since the incident.". I have spent twenty plus years watching the Ontario Ministry of the Environment play games with polluters including Control Orders, Certificates of Approvals and other instruments that were as much smoke and mirrors as actual documents in the public interest. While my experience with the Ontario Ministry of labour is less, it is far from non-existent. I've seen them change rules in mid stream for the benefit of companies and I've seen them issue Orders for financial compensation to fired employees that were sucessfully ignored.
This folks is why unions came into being. One of the Orders after the accident was for the company to establish a joint Health & Safety Committee. Why wasn't this done long ago? This is supposed to be standard practice and it does save lives. This province has a shameful track record when it comes to job related deaths and injuries. A large part of that is due to an intentionally impotent Ontario Ministry of Labour. Politicians craft legislation that gives the appearance of protecting workers while in reality it is toothless and spineless.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
If they aren't systematically breaking down environmental protections then they are doing the same with labour laws. Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Union calls on Ottawa to withdraw labour law changes". Sneaking them in once again via the Omnibus Bill method the Tories are redefining the word "danger" to only mean imminent risks. They are removing long term health risks as well as less than lethal risks. This Bill referred to as C-4 will allow unscrupulous employers to backtrack on health and safety issues affecting toxic chemicals and substances which take years to decades to cause either cancers or re[productive damage to human beings.
In a nutshell this is why corporations and the very wealthy back Conseervatives. They are the party to count on to turn the clock back on humanitarian as well as health related issues. It's all about the bottom line and if that means sacrificing workers then apparently so be it.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Correctional Services Canada top brass need to spend some time behind bars, preferably in isolation, for a long time. On October 16/13 the Waterloo Region Record published this story "Ashley Smith looked "hopeless" from lengthy isolation". Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Socities stated that Correctional Services Canada's treatment of Ashley Smith was illegal. This was in reference to restarting the clock each time Ashley Smith was transferred and put back into isolation. She also stated that "a UN rapporteur wants solitary confinement capped at 15 days for adults-zero days for young people or the mentally ill- or be considered torture.". Yours truly once spent close to twenty hours in an isolation cell. It wasn't pleasant and when I was sent into the "bull pen" with all the young bad actors awaiting court appearances it was a relief. The purpose of putting me in isolation was strictly intimidation by police brass and their buddies at the top of the education food chain. Shame on the pack of gutless, yellow wonders.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Advocate carrys this story "Verdun avoids jail sentence". Well this is good news it is very thin good news. There is a 90 day house arrest plus 18 months probation and 200 hours of community service. Justice Goldstein stated that "jail should be the last resort in cases like this". He also stated that "Verdun didn't break a court order for personal gain, but rather because he felt it was his moral obligation.".
Having personal experience with Libel laws and our judicial system I have absolutely zero confidence in the "system". I do however have incredible confidence in extremely wealthy individuals being able to buy justice in this country. I did not attend the original Libel trial nor this contempt of court charge leading to yesterday's sentencing. I have however seen Bob Verdun in action here in Elmira and have considerable respect for his integrity and making accurate conclusions from the evidence available. Bob showed little tolerance for either corporate executives of Uniroyal and even less for bureaucrats from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Bob was right on both counts.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Verdun may get jail in sentencing". This particular tribulation for Mr. Verdun arises from his speaking to his federal Member of Parliament, one Stephen Woodsworth. Mr. Woodsworth apparently replied to Mr. Verdun but e-mailed his response inadvertently to Mr. Bob Astley. Mr. Astley then the proud owner of a court injunction prohibiting Mr. Verdun from any further (public ?) comments jumped on this opportunity to have Bob Verdun charged with criminal contempt of court. Apparently in Canada the free, communicating with your Member of Parliament on an personal troubling issue can actually be prohibited by a Judge. The fact that an M.P. could certainly be construed as an appropriate authority in which to privately take your concerns has no effect or bearing when a court wishes to jealously guard their authority and jurisdiction.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Full-day kindergarten benefits short-lived: study". Huh! Doesn't that title kind of make you want to ask the obvious question namely what rationale or what professional studies were done prior to implementing full-day kindergarten, to justify the expense to taxpayers? Were there not other jurisdictions around the world (or in Canada) who had done such a thing first, that Ontarian educaters could have studied and learned from? This study done by the University of Manitoba is pretty clear that any educational advantages to students wear off quickly and in the long run do not increase academic standing or knowledge. Not too surprisingly the results comparing kids in Grade 1 did show improvements in those students who had attended all day kindergarten.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Ministry permits some work at site of construction death". Apparently yesterday's five Stop Work Orders have been turned into Proceed with Care Orders??? I guess 17 Work Orders including the five Stop Work Orders were considered a tad too radical in this province. Quite frankly I was surprised when the Ministry of Labour got aggressive in the first place. If either smaller contractors or non union ones had any fear of the Ministry of Labour, I exspect there would be a lot more voluntary compliance in the first place. What is also distressing is the Ministry's spokeperson is talking about the investigation taking up to a year. Please.... give me a break. This isn't a complicated financial scheme involving hundreds of transactions or hundreds of witnesses. Yes a thorough, honest investigation should be done but taking a year to do it is nonsense. Similar to the Ashley Smith inquest five years after the fact; it simply gives witnesses the opportunity to say "I don't remember.".
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record advises us that keeping Ashley Smith in segregation/isolation for extended periods of time was flat out illegal. The title of the article is "Smith's long isolation was unlawful". For me that begs the question why haven't charges been laid against the Correctional Services of Canada? Clearly her long term isolation exacerbated her mental health issues. Until or unless that happens there will never be justice for what the system did to her.
Keep in mind that her initial sentence of one month fot throwing crab apples at a postal worker was increased to six years from in custody incidents. She was literally serving years in isolation for the most minor of incidents. That our prison system are so self important and so focused on their own internal rules and control of inmates is ridiculous. Who the hell wouldn't be uncooperative and disrespectful under those circumstances? In hindsight maybe it was CSC who had and have mental issues. Clearly they really couldn't have handled Ashley Smith much worse than they did.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has this front page story titled "Construction site shutdown a relief to fall victim's mom". Similar to the Ministry of the Environment, The Ministry of Labour are hell on wheels after the fact for small businesses. I think of all the years I worked on construction (non-union) and never, ever saw a Ministry of Labour inspector. Anyhow a total of 17 work orders were laid on the construction site, including five stop work orders, after the fatality.
At the OMB hearing last week in Elmira dealing with the proposed Hunder gravel pit in Conestoga; we were informed that the average active gravel pit in Ontario will see a Ministry of Natural Resources inspector about once every five years. Again after fourty years working in construction and industry I rarely if ever saw a Ministry of Labour inspector. Ministry of Environment inspectors would come in, by appointment only, twenty years ago, at a licensed hazardous waste disposal site that I worked at in Elmira. Clearly Ontario are great at writing legislation and hopeless at enforcing it. In the case of this most recent fatality, when the smoke clears, let's see if the construction company were flagrantly in violation of safety standards or is the Ministry of Labour simply putting on a show here.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Just recently we had two people die here in Woolwich Township due to agricultural accidents. While farming and tractor rollovers are near the top of the list; not far behind is construction work. Talk about a well known prescsription for disaster. A new on the job, twenty-three year old employee; working at height. He was hit by cinder blocks while working near the edge of the roof. The impact knocked him over the edge and the fall killed him. Meanwhile the President of the company is bemoaning what he feels was the lack of a harness and an unconnected safety line. Either one would have been fatal after the worker fell.
This is where the Ministry of Labour are supposed to get tough. A new on the job, young employee needs close supervision when working in a dangerous area. It is the company's absolute responsibility to ensure that ALL safety standards are being met. Whether safety harnesses or even prohibiting cranes from moving materials when workers are nearby; there was a fatal error or errors made. The result is an unecessary, untimely death. When will workers actually be safe on the job in Ontario?
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys the story "Worker who died in Waterloo fall had been at site for less than a week".
Friday, October 11, 2013
Last May 17/13 the Woolwich Observer published an article by the Editor Steve Kannon titled "They bank on us forgetting that the system does not serve us". Steve details the financial meltdown in 2008, the minor reforms that followed and how banks and financial elites are already attempting to subvert them. Steve also describes so called "trickle down" economics whereby supposedly what's good for the wealthiest classes is good for us all. My personal belief is that the wealthiest simply are pissing on the communal cornflakes and that is what trickles down to the rest of us. Finally Steve also details the right wing Harper Conservatives stance of lowering corporate taxes and transferring the burden to the middle class. Funny thing is that this continuing lower burden on corporations has not been paid back to Canadians via increased investment or other dividends. In fact all I've seen are cuts in social programs including unemployment insurance and even our old age security has been moved to age 68. Mass immigration and a larger population were supposed to make payment of our social programs easier. Instead it's just more taxes, more screwing of the lower and middle classes and less benefits for those who truly need them. Welcome to the Canada that our parents and grandparents fought for during two world wars. We won the wars against external enemies only to lose to internal financial enemies.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Last evening I heard Maude Barlow speak live for the first time. She is indeed an excellent speaker and her message was all about the politics and economics of water. I bought a copy of her latest book titled Blue Future. She spoke in Guelph, Ontario at a Church called Hope House. She mentioned two recent sucesses for both local citizens and the Council of Canadians namely the Stop 41 Landfill and the just accomplished backing down of Nestle Canada in Hillsburgh, Ontario. Nestle had been stickhandling sucessfully with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment to avoid water taking restrictions during droughts. Both the Wellington Water Watchers and the Council of Canadians stepped up and appealed another private deal between industry and the M.O.E.. The Environmental Review Tribunal agreed that it wasn't a deal in the public interest hence Nestle now have to cut back on their groundwater extraction during droughts and dry spells.
Maude also discussed the attempted privatization of water by corporations around the world. Fortunately with much hard work the United Nations have declared water a basic human right. Canada to its' shame did not support this endeavour. Maude had many harsh words for the current Canadian government led by Stephen Harper and suggested that Canada's aboriginal peoples will benefit from this U.N. declaration.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Public trust, my butkus! Is there any doubt that the government in power views public money as their money? The Auditor general now advises us that the cost of last minute cancellations of two gas plants is between $950 million and a billion dollars. I guess parenthood and politics are the two professions that require zero qualifications. For politicians even the ability to count isn't a requirement.
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Cancellation of two gas plants will cost at least $950 million". To add insult to injury it also appears that the Premier's office royally screwed up the negotiations with TransCanada Energy to determine the appropriate financial penalties. All in all the cost to taxpayers is now closer to $200 million per Liberal seat saved in the last provincial election. To my mind this goes beyond ethics, politics or even dirty tricks. This is a criminal breach of the public trust. Wouldn't that clean out some of the political wannabees if they were actually held civilly and criminally liable for their misdeeds?
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record has this story "Cost of two gas plant cancellations to be even higher in auditor's report". Apparently the Liberal government had been estimating $190 million costs for cancelling and moving the Mississauga gas plant. The provincial auditor increased that estimate to $275 million. The new provincial auditor is about to release his estimate for the moving of the Oakville plant. The Liberal government initially suggested $40 million but the Ontario Power Authority forcast $310 million. These total costs of $275 & $310 million are expected to go even higher than their current total of $585 million.
The Liberals held all five seats around the two cancelled energy projects for a just over $100 million of taxpayers money per seat. And who says that democracy can't be bought? I only hope that the next provincial election occurs before the electorate forget this travesty of democracy.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Politics is the art of subverting the laws your predecessors enacted. Furthermore politics is the art of acting immorally and unethically while stickhandling around the laws and telling the public it's for their own good. To be a top notch politician requires a healthy disrespect for the public who serve you. This is the reality. Citizens and residents are here to be sheared, with the able assistance of politicians at all levels. Yes every now and again they go to far and get caught but the general public have short enough memories to make it worthwhile to get right back up on the horse and start screwing them again.
Back on September 9/13 Carol Goar wrote an article in the Waterloo Region Record titled "Costly bail system is clogging our courts". She presented a recent report by the John Howard Society which indicated that the bail sytem in Ontario has been badly abused for decades and is getting worse. They use the term "presumptive detention" which basically means if you're charged even with a non-violent crime you are going to jail BEFORE you've ever been convicted of anything.
So who is benefiting from the subversion of our judicial system's original bail conditions and requirements. Well like everything else just follow the money. If violent crime is steadily declining then why aren't budgets for courts, jails, police and the administration of justice doing the same? The answer is busywork. Just like office work which can multiply to fill the time required; this is what has happened with our judicial systems. Fewer criminals then just make the most with the ones you've got. Multiply the court appearances and make sure that more non-violent crimes result in greater incarceration time prior to trial. Make bail harder and harder to get, except of course for the wealthy and influential. This is what our judicial system has descended into. Shear the sheep and keep the taxpayers money flowing where it's being abused by those in charge.
Friday, October 4, 2013
This morning I heard the comment that there are thirteen Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) inspectors for over 5,000 gravel pits in Ontario. Similarily a few weeks back evidence was entered at the Hunder Pit (Conestogo) Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Hearing in Elmira, Ontario that gravel pits in Ontario get inspected once every five years. This complete lack of enforcement and monitoring of the rules is similar to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE). Perhaps our governments would be wiser to stop with new rules and regulations and attempt to enforce the ones they've already got. Another prime example would be our provincial Ministry of Transport. Lots of rules regarding driving and negligible enforcement accept for the moneymaking speeding laws. Similarily drunk driving rules are being enforced although it took citizen lobbying to get even that accomplished.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled "Warden's denials of responsibility in Ashley Smith's death inexcusable". I have to agree with Luisa. At the same time I fully expect that the warden in order to regain her job at CSC was advised that she needed to "take one for the team" if and when the matter ever went to an inquest. That may explain her stickhandling and convenient memory lapses while being questioned. Regardless shame on both the warden and Correctional Services Canada. Bureaucratic bungling, refusals to listen to subordinates and a lack of common sense resulted in Ashley Smith's death.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Inquest hears denials from warden". Middle managers, a senior manager and at least one guard have testified that they raised their concerns about delaying removing ligatures from Ashley Smith's neck directly with warden Cindy Berry. The warden however categorically denies knowing or ordering guards to stay out of Ms. Smith's cell while she was choking.
Well the blame is now currently sitting right at the top of the Grand Valley Institution for Women. What is interesting is that the warden was fired by Correctional Services Canada only to be rehired less than two years later as a result of a mediated settltment. Will the CSC come under scrutiny in this case? The inquest has been advised that they were intimately involved in the details of Ashley Smith's "management plan" and that they were very interested in use of force reports emanating from the removal of ligatures from her neck.
Is this simply a milder version of top down directives causing subordinates to commit either stupid or horrific acts? I am of course referring to Nazi germany's genocide during the second world war. Orders from the Nazi hierarchy to commit mass murder were followed all the way down the chain of command right to the gas chambers. Some human beings are easily manipulated and if the order comes from above, no matter how stupid or repugnant, it is followed to the letter. And Ashley Smith unecessarily died as a result.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
So far we've had a senior manager (Joanna Pauline) blame the warden for the directives not to enter Ashley Smith's cell until the eleventh hour. Meanwhile the Warden is calling Ms. Pauline incompetent and suggesting that the management plan for Ashley Smith went to both regional and national Correctional Services Canada headquarters. Today's Waterloo Region Record has the story "Warden says she sought transfer for Ashley Smith".
The facts seem clear that guards were being disciplined for doing the right thing by removing ligatures until the day, under mounting pressure, that they didn't remove them in time. At that point they were thrown under the bus and now senior management are scrambling to cover their asses. Meanwhile CSC are also hardly standing up to accept any blame either. What a pack of useless tits and toadies overall. This is precisely what comes of promoting yes men and women rather than those with a moral compass and common sense.