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, September 30, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys an Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled "Why is it that Anstett gets off so lightly and Lavigne is pilloried?". Well for obvious reasons including you are comparing apples to oranges here. If Luisa was comparing a male teacher's conviction and sentencing while in a position of trust for having sex with a young girl versus the female teacher's identical conviction and sentencing (sex with a young male) then I could see valid comparisons. The case Luisa is looking at is in regards to a male hockey player assaulting a former girlfriend. The obvious difference is that 1) he didn't have sex with a person half his age and 2) he confined her in his car and then tackled her when she tried to escape.
Now if Luisa would like to discuss the case solely on its' merits then clearly as Luisa says our "justice system has its internal logic.". That is simply a diplomatic way of saying our justice system is an ass. And she'd be right about that. The only victim in the teacher's case is the teacher herself. Sure she showed horrible judgement but really public humiliation, jail and a permanent loss of her career. That is going way too far. The 17 year old male is as big an ass as the justice system. He played the teacher from the getgo and set everything up. Clearly this teacher isn't the smartest tool in the cupboard as she let a teenage boy have his way with her and essentially do it it front of his whole school. I wonder if he's such a jerk that he's still bragging about his "conquest" after she's without a livelihood and in jail.
Monday, September 29, 2014
I've known for some time that public consultation surrounding contaminated sites, landfills and other environmental concerns is mainly window dressing. It benefits both the polluter and the Ministry of the Environment to be seen as "consulting" affected, local citizens. There is a world of difference however between talking and honestly listening. Normally the polluter and M.O.E. meet privately, talk on the telephone and get all their ducks in a row prior to any public consultation. It makes deception and manipulation so much easier when the parties are on the same page with the same excuses and lies beforehand.
Four years ago Mayor Todd Cowan of Woolwich Township was under severe pressure from both Chemtura and the M.O.E. among others not to reappoint me to the Chemtura Public Advisory Committee. He did so but at the earliest opportunity when I reacted to his arrogance, disrespect and rudeness to me and CPAC, he then turfed me. Since that time George Karlos of the M.O.E. has tried very hard to get me turfed off of SWAT, a sub-committee of CPAC. Quite frankly I with increasing assistance from CPAC have been crushing both Chemtura's and the M.O.E.'s credibility at public CPAC meetings. Bill Bardswick former M.O.E. Director of the West Central District showed up for a couple of CPAC meetings in the last five or more years. His behaviour via talking and complaining while others had the floor was juvenile and disrespectful of all present. No sooner did he retire then he allowed himself to be a proxy for George Karlos by complaining loudly about me and the current CPAC in a book released last Friday titled "No Guardians At The Gate".
The Ontario M.O.E. have no business involving themselves either privately or publicly in the selection of private citizens to environmental committees. While stacking of public consultation committees with friends and fellow travellors is reprehensible it's even worse when the M.O.E. attempts to conspire to remove sincere and well informed volunteers from these committees. Could this manipulative, contrary to the public interest behaviour be defined as a form of corruption?
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Former newspaper publisher loses appeal". Bob Verdun lost a contempt of court case because he e-mailed a letter to his fereal M.P. Stephen Woodworth who promptly sent it off to the Plaintiff in the Libel case. Both Mr. Verdun's lawyer and indeed most Canadians would ask when did Canadians lose the right to submit a request for help to their duly elected representaive especially on a matter of public interest. Apparently this concept is beyond the reach of some of our allegedly professional jurors. Secondly Bob Verdun lost the Libel suit although it to was on a matter of great societal importance. Also what I find strange is that Mr. Verdun accused the Plaintiff of defrauding the public and meanwhile the City of Waterloo in regards to the RIM Park project sued the company the plaintiff represented. Sued for money the City claimed they had been defrauded of. What gives here?
Our entire court system including civil law is a mess. It is too lengthy, too expensive and too mired in red tape and unecessary legalese. It is a playground for lawyers and wealthy Plaintiffs. It is also unjust and disgusting.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Apparently all parents aren't gutless wonders who freely put up with what sometimes passes for education in our public schools. Today's Woolwich Observer carrys a Letter to the Editor titled "Parents need answers about Floradale P.S.". Parent Eric Schwindt has been forced to pay for extra schooling from a private organization (Kumon) for his daughter. Similarily his next youngest child while attending Floradale P.S. also needed extra tutoring. Now that Mr. Schwindt has seen the latest results from provincial testing he understands that Floradale P.S. is the bottom of the pack here in Waterloo Region. It should also be noted that Waterloo Region is generally below the provincial averages a little whereas Floradale is consistently below. It is this consistent below par performance that should have all parents worried. I've got news for Mr. Schwindt. Not always but often the Board sends problem teachers out to the rural schools to get them out of the way. The Board pulled this crap at Winterbourne P.S. years ago and if you check out Linwood and the former Three Bridges School you just might see a pattern.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "Suit targets violence at London jail". That jail is referred to by the local London courts as "hell". Assaults and murders are at ridiculous levels and the cause is plain and simple negligence and neglect by those in authority. the jail is grossly overcrowded with sometimes three sleeping in a cell designed for one. The guards are pulling their hair out and the inmates are constantly under physical threat. Once again our tax dollars heve been misdirected towards politicians pet projects and away from the necessities. These conditions are more 19th century hellholes than what a civilized society should be providing.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story "A natural history of Canada Revenue tax audits". Our very own, here in Waterloo Region, K-W Field Naturalists has been targeted by Canada Revenue for an intimidating letter because they had the temerity to send a letter to then federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz about the negative impact of neonicotonoid pesticides. Image that a club whose primary interest is the natural environment and everything that is in it, being threatened by Revenue Canada with a tax audit. You know it would tale an absolute Conservative control freak at the helm of the party to do such a thing. Does this describe anybody we all know and who currently goes by the initials PM ? Four postings ago I also mentioned a group of 400 academics who have accused the federal government of abusing their authority regarding a Canada Revenue audit of a left wing think tank.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Unsurprisingly to me our top educaters are failing the grade. According to an article in the Waterloo Region Record yesterday titled "Youngest students falling behind"; Region of Waterloo elementary school students are scoring below the Ontario average in reading, writing and math. This despite an annual budget for the WRDSB somewhere in the vicinity of $400 million. The reason I'm not surprised is that I've seen some of their senior personnel up close and personal. My opinion of them was that they care far less about students' achievemnt and far more about maintaining the status quo which includes perks, priveleges, status and money. And they are succeeding in exactly what their priorities are.
This staus quo includes a happy bunch of well paid front line teachers who are not likely to rock the boat internally and even less likely externally in the public eye. In other words keep your front lines smiling hence minimizing whistleblowers and leaks. One last interesting point from this article. "Separating results by school board, local Catholic students currently outperform public students across the board, yet still fall below the Ontario average in four of six areas.". Indeed our WRDSB are masters of puffery and self congratulation. Too bad they weren't better at teaching children the three R's.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record has a very short article updating us on the long running ordeal of Robert latimer, the now 60 year old Saskatchewan farmer who ended the tragic and pain ridden life of his twelve year old daughter approximately eighteen years ago. Mr. Latimer spent thirteen years in jail after being convicted of second degree murder. To my knowledge no one including the Crown or police ever suggested that it was anything more than a mercy killing of a child who had had a terrible life filled with pain and sufferring with more of the same on the horizon when her father piped exhaust into the cab of his truck to end her life. She had severe cerebral palsy her whole life. Mr. latimer while out of custody the last four years still had ridiculous parole conditions on himself which were just lifted recently by the courts. I wonder besides myself how many Canadian citizens but for the grace of God would have done the same thing under the circumstances and also wonder what the hell is wrong with our legal syste.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I've heard it said many times that the U.S. Congress is the most corrupt legislative body in the world. It is dominated by big money interests and their lobbyists. Sometimes big money can simply bypass the lobbyists and buy their own senator or congressman. Then for example in India we have democracy. What a joke. There is democracy depending upon which caste you were born into as well as which gender. Here in Canada it's also all about money and influence. Yes just like the U.S. we have a few token filthy rich white men in jail but not too damned many. In the States it seems more about throwing the odd white collar financial criminal behind bars to set an example then to really clean up corporate crime.
The point I am making is how vulnerable democracy really is. A population that are working long hours tend to rely upon others to keep an eye on the political front. Politics is inherently dirty as are most of its' practitioners. Cheating within the rules is considered an art form and cheating outside the rules is O.K. if you aren't caught. Big money likes to keep score ($$$) but politicians are all about power, authority and influence. It's about legacy projects, name recognition and fame. The whole idea of public service while championed publicly is sniggered at ptivately. All of us will eventually pay for this slide into corruption.
Monday, September 15, 2014
More than 400 academics have written a letter to Diane Findlay, a cabinet member in the Harper government. They are expressing their belief that a Canada Revenue Agency audit of the left leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is politically motivated. The Conservative federal goveernment has long been accused of being anti-science and of intentionally defunding scientific research that embarasses them on either the home front or on the world stage. Today's Waterloo Region Record carrys this story titled "Academics defending think-tank". Our government of course denys any political interference whatsoever in the activities of the Canada Revenue Agency. Unfortunately governments albeit in "democracies" or otherwise in the U.S. and other locations have played these games before. Is it any wonder the lack of respect for politicians because of their incredible pettiness and abuses of authority?
Friday, September 12, 2014
Twenty-three years ago after Severin Argenton of Varnicolor Chemical was charged with numerous environmental offenses in Elmira, Ontario he bragged that they were all "paperwork" offenses. In other words he was saying that there were no pollution charges per se and that therefore he hadn't polluted. In hindsight it was just more blatant lies as pollution charges were eventually laid after more media pressure on the Ministry of Environment.
Here in Elmira the question is whether or not our Mayor intentionally or inadvertently had his conference, mileage and meal costs expensed to both Woolwich Township and the Region of Waterloo. While there really is no permittable excuse for either one obviously the intentional decision would be much worse. This is the question that has gone to the Waterloo Regional Police.
While I do not know the answer to that question I have another one. If and I say if it was done intentionally then I would be led to believe that there must be some incredible financial pressure on the mayor. The newspaper claims that his income from Woolwich Township, the Region and a number of Boards (eg. GRCA) he is on exceeds $100,000 per year. To jeopardize that income for a measly $2,700 intentionally would be the act of a desperate man. This again is not making excuses but it is perhaps suggesting that circumstances and human weakness combined would explain (not excuse) intentional behaviour. If as he has claimed it was unintentional without intent to defraud or steal then sadly that reflects upon his competence. All in all this is a human tragedy.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Two new facts have arisen which are responsible for the low to medium level radioactive storage plans near Lake Huron to be reopened. Firstly an underground storage site in new mexico which had been cited as an example for the Kincardine operation leaked radioactive material to the surface last winter. Secondly a former Ontario Power Generation scientist has written a harsh critique of the company's alleged inventory of items to be stored underground as allegedly low to medium radioactive waste.
It appears that both sides of the debate are using the same argument that this generation owes the next the security of having found and utilized a safe repository for nuclear wastes. That is pretty much where the concensus ends however. OPG believes that limestone formations hundreds of metres below ground in Kincardine are safe and secure. Opposition is based upon geological concerns as well as the proximity of Lake Huron. The article in Tuesday's Waterloo Region Record is titled "Nuclear waste site hearings re-open".
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Today's Waterloo Region Record carried this story "Legal system too costly, judge says". According to Chief Justice George Strathy "Ontario's legal system has grown so expensive and bogged down by red tape that it's now inaccessible to many of the people it's meant to serve.". That has been obvious to most citizens for a very long time. In other words our legal system has become nothing more than a playground or a battlefield for the rich. Or in other words as is usual we the majority of citizens are once again subsidizing the rich in this country with our taxes going to their playground/battlefield that we can no longer access for ourselves.
Various groups which are in agreement include the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Ontario Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada. Another quote that I particularily enjoy from Justice Strathy is "...perfection can be the enemy of the good." Too many rules, too much red tape and too much complicating of procedures have seriously weakened justice. While nobody wants to admit it there are winners in the current system but they certainly aren't your average citizens searching for and expecting justice in our courtrooms.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Today's front page story in the Waterloo Region Record concerns the Mayor of Woolwich Township which includes Elmira, Breslau, Conestogo etc.. There is a $2,700 discrepancy in his expense claims apparently as a result of overlaps in expense claims going to both the Townships (he's the mayor) and the Region of Waterloo (he's a regional councillor). I do not have the details and feel it would not be appropriate to offer an opinion regarding his statement that it was an error that he has rectified. In other words the money has been paid back and in fact I have been advised that at last night's Woolwich Council meeting he also voted along with Council in favour of asking the Waterloo Regional Police to investigate.
Here is the rub for me. Apparently a citizen requested Cowan's expense records under Freedom of Information legislation. This was done in July three months before the municipal elections scheduled for October 27/14. Am I and the public to believe that this was just a routine request of the expense records of one of the five members of Council? Alternatively did someone on the inside, whether staff or councillor, have an idea that there was an error or discrepancy and then focused an FOI request on Mayor Cowan? If one believes in coincidences in politics then Mayor Cowan is the unluckiest son of a gun there is, timing wise. Allegations of possible impropriety one month before an election are terrible. I am extremely doubtful of two things. Firstly that there will be any unequivocal resolution of the matter prior to the election. Secondly even if there is an unequivocal resolution of no wrongdoing I am doubtful that the media will write it up clearly and unequivocally as such. Both our local papers, especially the Woolwich Observer, are not fans of the Mayor. I do not need to go into the details other than to say they were disappointed in him over various issues this last three and half years.
Anyone who reads either this Blog or the Elmira Advocate know that I am a skeptic especially regarding politicians and government. That said as of this point in time I offer no opinion or insights regarding Mayor Cowan making an honest error versus intentionally trying to scam expense money. Mayor Cowan is not my favourite person in the world and for sufficient reason. Regardless I find the timing of this discrepancy incredibly self serving to a few individuals. I find the focused FOI request odd. I find the alleged enjoyment of the situation by one councillor very odd. For me things aren't adding up and I would like more accurate information sooner than later.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Last Saturday's Waterloo Region Record carrys this article by Carol Goar "Presumption of innocence being whittled away". It turns out that the John Howard Society, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Economist Don Drummond and many others have advised the provincial government to stop automatically putting so many people behind bars awaiting either trials or bail hearings. Apparently there are four reasons for this entrenched and expensive stupidity . They are inertia by the Police, courts and bureaucracies. Secondly fear whipped up by the likes of our idiot Prime Minister and his cronies. Thirdly is ignorance in that most Ontario citizens have absolutely no idea how and how badly our criminal justice system works. Fourthly there is a lck of political will. Wynne and the majority Liberals could clean up this mess if they wanted. They could save big bucks in doing so. Unecessarily bloated jails would be a really good place to start.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
It's recently crossed my wee mind that perhaps aside from the tragedy to the shooting instructer and to the nine year old girl involved in the accidental death of the instructor; that there are some pretty serious work related health and safety issues involved here. Apparently there are areas where gun tourism is a big thing in the U.S.. Tourists from Europe or Japan with limited or no access to firearms rent guns and with some level of instruction blast away at targets. So far so good when dealing with adults in very controlled and safe environments. Things change however when it is a young child involved just as for example at fairs there is a minimum height required to get on certain rides. This is a safety concern such that safety belts etc. are not effective if the person using them is too small. Clearly a nine year old girl's arms are not as strong as a teenager's for example. Perhaps restrictions on the type of firearm, calibre and method of fire (automatic, semi-auto, single shot etc.) are long overdue. It is fairly well known and understood that even adult males have difficulty in controlling muzzle rise from the recoil of a fully automatic weapon. In hindsight the owners (and employers) of the firing range badly failed in protecting both their employee (instructor) and their customer (the child).
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
The Minstry of Excuses and Corporate Collusion (MOECC) otherwise laughingly known as the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has been taken to task publicly twice over the last week. Last night it happened in the Woolwich Council Chambers in Elmira, Ontario. It was actually a televised Council meeting courtesy of Rogers Cable TV. Last Thursday it also occurred in Council Chambers and was a public Chemtura Public Advisory Committee meeting. Last Thursday Graham Chevreau spoke and took the M.O.E. to task on behalf of the Soil, Water, Air and Technical Committee (SWAT). Last night CPAC's Chair Dr. Dan Holt advised Council and the public that the M.O.E. were possibly willfully negligent in their mishandling of pollution issues in Elmira over the last two and a half decades. Dr. Holt gave specific examples of the M.O.E.'s failures , miscommunications and simple refusal to do their duty. I've waited for twenty-five years for an officially appointed body to actually publicly call a spade a spade. Congratulations to CPAC and to Woolwich Council for their reception and support of CPAC to date.
Monday, September 1, 2014
According to a media release by the United Steelworkers released on August 19, 2014 they are. Quoting from the media release: "The transportation Safety Board sees things clearly! The report that was released today confirms what the United Steelworkers has been saying all along: that the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) was taking safety risks and Transport Canada failed in its duty to provide supervision and monitoring.".
The TSB stated that the railway cut corners and that this was a predictable result of self regulation. Governments while constantly stealing more money via taxation just love to reduce their inspection and monitoring costs even when they are drastically required for safety reasons.
This is simply an extension of our provincial ministrys behaviour such as Labour and Environment. They are constantly allowing profit oriented businesses to police themsleves and then wonder why shortcuts are taken which cost lives.