P.T. Barnum has nothing over Woolwich Council when it comes to putting on a show. This will be a spectacular demonstration of chutzpah, misdirection and smoke and mirrors. We will hear from ten, mostly sincere, Woolwich citizens who are all throwing their hats in the ring to sit on Council from now until October when they have the option of facing the electorate. I would suggest that Council in their infinite arrogance have dug themselves a tiger trap. How embarrassing will it be if their hand picked appointee tonite gets soundly rejected by the voters in October; especially if it's in favour of one of tonite's unsuccessful candidates?
Dare I hint of my belief that Julie-Anne Herteis is their hand picked appointee from the beginning? Dare I suggest that this Council would so arrogantly waste the time and energy of nine other citizens just to mask their own gamesmanship? Dare I suggest that I believe that most members of this council are so shallow and unethical that they would put on a circus in order to mask their manipulations to give a council seat to their preselected candidate now and a foot up on the competition in the fall?
Of course if I'm correct then council will feel the need to assist their previously hand picked candidate in the fall election. Look for endorsements at the minimum. Look for their appearances at her media events and or other public events. Hell would it be illegal for them to donate to her campaign fund? If it is they need not worry because as we've already seen there are no legal penalties even when they are caught red handed breaking the Municipal Elections Act.
Come out one and all at 6 pm. this evening. You will meet and hear from ten citizens and get to learn something about them and their hopes and aspirations. Do not blame them for the circus unnecessarily put on by Woolwich Council.
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, February 27, 2018
Monday, February 26, 2018
So what is the difference between winning an election versus winning a lottery? Essentially the odds are just so much better to win an election than a lottery. Sometimes the odds are as good as fifty/fifty and other times you might have three opponents still giving you odds of one in four of winning the election. The other item of course is money. The big reason there aren't more people at the municipal levels running is because of money. It literally costs thousands of dollars to run for office and very few of us dealing with mortgages and children (when we were younger) can afford it. Therefore politics generally is a sport for the better off financially. At the provincial and federal level it is all about party affiliations. You need to be endorsed by a major established party and that usually is a result of a history of political activism either within the party itself or as a school trustee or on a municipal council. Occasionally very high profile candidates will be parachuted into ridings that are very important to the party.
Any idiot can win a lottery and believe me any idiot can and has won municipal elections as well as others. Here in Woolwich Township we abound with examples of ill educated representatives, stale thinking and behaviours that were tolerated in the 60s and 70s but certainly aren't anymore. This is due to the huge advantage that incumbents are given. Unfortunately voters seldom do their due diligence prior to depositing their vote. Here especially in Elmira it's all about family name. If you are a Martin, Bauman, Strauss, Hahn, Sittler, Shantz, Gingrich then you are half elected before the first vote drops. Mennonite and or German last names carry the day. Secondly the luck factor is greatly increased if you are a new candidate and their is some kind of scandal or crisis immediately before the election. Incumbents rely on their "record" which the vast majority know nothing about. If as in 2010 we have a major discharge from Chemtura (Uniroyal) immediately before the election then the voters remember the headlines and throw out the old council. If all is quiet then usually the incumbents win yet again.
Todd Cowan was elected as mayor with virtually zero elected experience but both his timing was right (2010-see above) plus he campaigned door to door and people remembered him for that at the polling stations. In hindsight Todd was absolutely not elected due to any attributes or talents. The same goes for others both on that council and other councils. Voting records, gaffes and even laziness are seldom causes for electoral defeat. It's all about smiling, obfuscating and superficial glad handing and socializing. Former Woolwich mayor Bill Strauss was never accused of being smooth or polished but he sure had a way with people and at public events. he gave a good impression.
This folks is why the best anyone can say about democracy is that it's better than any of the alternatives. Ouch. Talk about damned with faint praise.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
So we are advised that the very difficult changes within the WRPS have been underway for a long time. Isn't that just dandy. That must be of some comfort to female police officers who feel that their careers have been stifled and damaged by the culture that they've had to tolerate over the last few decades. Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following story by Lisa Rutledge titled " Waterloo Regional Police to hire consultants to drive cultural change".
I'm the first to admit that there has been a huge cultural change in Canada within my lifetime. I was born just after the Second World War and boy there was animosity towards immigrants from the European and Asian countries that we and the Allies had fought against for almost six years (1939-1945). It changed but I know my father had difficulties with my friends of Germanic background even into the nineteen sixties.
What I find very difficult to understand is the workplace culture that discriminates against women. Here in Canada, boys and girls went to school together throughout our entire education from public school to high school and through university. In public school the majority of our teachers were female and any boys who were bullies or rude to the girls in the class quite promptly and appropriately got put in their place. In high school there were more male teachers although the ratio may have been 3:2 . Again discrimination or rudeness based upon gender simply didn't happen because if it did the offenders would be given one warning and then promptly sent home.
So what the hell happened in our workplaces? Yes I saw gender discrimination in wages and promotions in private industry. The vast majority of managers were male as were the bosses. As significant as that was what I did not see was overt rudeness and or gender based crude "jokes" or other obvious female putdowns. Subtle (somewhat) dumb blonde jokes maybe. The odd risque joke between two genders who were of equal status maybe. There was no touching, butt grabbing or skirt lifting as has been alleged (repeatedly) at the WRPS. That would have been grounds for immediate dismissal with no defence available whatsoever.
Guess what Waterloo Regional Police? In non-union private industry there was no democracy in the workplace. When the bosses said jump you asked how high. But despite this there were social conventions that were not explicitly contravened and those conventions were followed. If you seriously believed that women were less able to do certain jobs then that was your thinking. It did not give you license to treat them poorly or disrespectfully. From the top down through the ranks gender based blatant disrespect simply was not tolerated.
It appears that these beliefs and behaviours have never existed at the WRPS or many other police services. Traditional male dominated jobs such as construction, police , firemen, mining, military all likely share the same negative attitudes and sterotypes. It requires the so called leaders and managers to bring their institutions into the 21st century. The times changed dramatically during the Second World War when women were desperately needed in factories as the younger males all went overseas. Women filled these roles magnificently in all our times of need. That war ended nearly 3/4 of a century ago and our local police service and many others still haven't gotten with the program. Perhaps our current police leadership all need to step aside. Clearly they have been unwilling and or unable to keep up with normal, common sense behaviour in the workplace.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
And no they aren't appealing a ruling approving solitary confinement; they are appealing a ruling by the B.C. Supreme Court which struck down indefinite solitary confinement as being cruel, inhumane and can lead to severe psychological trauma. In other words its' use is counter productive as it can make either bad or mentally ill persons much worse. The story is on the front page of today's Waterloo Region Record and is titled "Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling". The B.C. Civil Liberties Assoc'n as well as the John Howard society had gone to the courts to try and have solitary confinement ruled unconstitutional. Prior to this an Ontario court had ruled that administrative solitary confinement longer than five days was unconstitutional however otherwise it did not violate constitutional rights. The B.C. Civil Liberties Assoc'n have stated that currently prisoners continue to spend weeks, months and even years in small cells without human contact.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Last Tuesday's Council meeting was going to discuss a Council Vacancy Policy produced by the Township Clerk, Val Hummel. Essentially this Council owns Val as they could have and maybe should have fired her three years ago for not doing her legislated duties in regards to the Municipal Elections Act (MEA). Councillor Mark Bauman in particular should have had the riot act read to him by both Val and her predecessor, Christine Broughton. Mark had repeatedly contravened the MEA by not, post election, filing Election Financial Statements with the Clerk and for public display. This of course is one more major weakness in provincial legislation in that it assumes that the Municipal Clerk, who is hired and can be fired by the CAO of the Municipality, is somehow independent and owes a duty to provincial legislation even when it is in direct conflict with her duty of loyalty to her employers, the Municipality.
On the first page of the Council Vacancy Policy we see Val hiding behind the Vacancy Policies of other communities such as Barrie, Vaughn and South-Oxford. Similarly the Ontario Municipal Act 2001 was quoted at the last Council meeting as the authority for Council not simply appointing the first runner-up in Ward 1 to the Council seat vacated by Ward 1 Councillor Scott Hahn. Again this provincial legislation is inadequate in allowing self-serving councils to have complete authority and discretion to literally appoint anybody they want. The legislation is wide open in that runner-ups can be appointed as can citizens applying for the vacancy or believe it or not, Councils supposedly reaching out at random to any citizen they wish, and giving them the nod without any alleged input from them. Essentially this section of the Municipal Act is an inappropriate and undemocratic gift to any Councils who want their friends, buddies or fellow travellors on Council with them. This is a bone and a perk from the higher tier of government to the lower.
Woolwich Council sincerely thank the province of Ontario for this perk. Now they can hide behind other self-serving politicians further up the food chain, in order to avoid the embarrassment of having to appoint the runner-up, Dr. Dan Holt, to Council. Dr. Holt via Council's own stupidity (see last Thursday's Elmira Advocate posting) publicly humiliated this Council two years ago when they attempted to stifle democracy and deny citizens' right to attend Council and speak to them as Delegates. Sandy Shantz actually went so far as to suggest that Council was not a "soapbox.". Lynne Hare in her Delegation two weeks later assured Sandy that in fact it was a soapbox for citizens to address their concerns and complaints directly to Council.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
FURTHER ALLEGATIONS IN REGARDS TO THE CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST THE WATERLOO REGIONAL POLICE SERVICE
The following allegations are found in an Affidavit in support of the class action lawsuit. They were filed by Sgt. Karin Eder and sworn on December 18, 2017.
Early in her career her immediate supervisor Fred Benedict repeatedly showed her unsolicited photographs of him having sex with various women. On one occasion he grabbed her waist from behind and pressed himself into her buttocks. Both Detective Fred Sinko and Fred Benedict made loud verbal comments regarding her female anatomy in front of other officers. Sgt. Benedict also on many occasions grabbed her buttocks. Both Staff Sgt. Wherle and Inspector Beacock refused to assist her in regards to her complaints of sexual harassment and assault. Furthermore both of them were dismissive and rude and refused to address her complaints. Supt. Pat Dietrich is also named in her Affidavit in regards to several rude and crude behaviours towards her. Several other officers both union reps and superior officers were aware of the nude photo that Supt. Dietrich sent to her but no action was taken against Supt. Dietrich. These and other behaviours and actions of sexual harassment went on throughout her thirty years as an officer at the Waterloo Regional Police Service.
Monday, February 12, 2018
The Waterloo Region Record published the following story on February 2, 2018 titled "SIU investigating 4 sexual assault allegations involving officers". The investigation is of the Waterloo Region Police (WRPS). The alleged assaults are in regards to a class action lawsuit that was filed last June and in which a number of complaints including sexual assault were stated. Further to the initial lawsuit there were three Affidavits filed this past December, in support of the suit, and in which three new complainants also added more allegations against specific officers within the WRPS.
The fact that the SIU is investigating these complaints is a good sign. That said however the fact that they didn't go to the SIU a long time ago is worrisome. There are many possible reasons for this not occurring including the understanding that it could be career suicide. The promotion within the WRPS may very well be, as alleged, discriminatory. In other words rather than promotions based upon merit, the criteria could be extremely subjective including opinions of the very same officers accused of illegal or immoral behaviours. Hence who in their right mind, seriously trying to get ahead in the force, would want to allege criminal misconduct by one (or more) of their superiors?
Friday, February 9, 2018
Apparently Canadians will soon be seeing in detail how yet another male dominated institution treats female members. We already know from lawsuits and Human Rights complaints how the RCMP as well as some provincial and municipal police forces treat female officers. Twenty years ago I exposed how the City of Waterloo's Public Works Department treated their female employees. All of these male dominated organizations condoned bullying, harassment and sexual assault.
Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried a story titled "Pm orders review of arguments against military lawsuit". It seems as if federal Justice Department lawyers have taken an aggressive stance against the proposed class action lawsuit filed last year by three former service members. They are seeking $800 million for themselves and others in similar situations. Beyond the aggressive stance is a claim by these lawyers that the government does not owe a duty of care to individual members within the Armed Forces nor must they provide a safe and harassment free work environment. Obviously that flies in the face of statements and actions of Prime Minister Trudeau over the last couple of years. Interestingly though they are in line with comments recently made by the lawyer for the Waterloo Region Police Services Board who are facing a similar class action lawsuit.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
The title of today's posting is in regards to a civil suit that is potentially about to start in Toronto this week. The Waterloo Region Record carried the story this past Monday titled "Kitchener man's civil trial stemming from G20 to start". The man, Luke Stewart, filed his statement of claim in 2011. Seven years it's taken to merely get close to starting in court. That is pathetic. Literally witnesses could have died, retired or simply disappeared. That is not justice.
The G20 Conference occurred in June 2010 in downtown Toronto. Mr. Stewart claims he was assaulted and detained illegally by Toronto Police Services. He is suing the Toronto Police Services Board. Furthermore his personal property, a pair of swimming goggles were seized from him. He was attempting to attend a legal protest and had the goggles for defensive purposes in case police deployed chemical weapons (tear gas). This apparently is the only civil suit to date to have gotten this far. There have been other minor legal actions taken against police including one criminal conviction for assault.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Those are the two most guilty and blameworthy bodies for the local mess here in Waterloo Region according to Kelly Donovan in her book "Systemic Misfeasance in Ontario Policing and the Coordinated Suppresion of Whistleblowers". Clearly throughout the rest of Ontario the local Police Service Boards in conjunction with this provincial Ministry are at fault. Basically uninformed, out to pasture former and current local politicians combined with status quo provincial appointees are a huge problem. Do not forget these names: Ken Seiling Regional Chairman, Tom Galloway Regional Councillor & Police Services Board Chair and Karl Kiefer Regional Councillor. Those three are all members of the Police Services Board. Former Regional Councillor Jim Wideman was as well. Our regional council also appoints one of the other members of the Board along with three additional provincial appointees.
My comment on status quo provincial civilian appointees may be by provincial intent or may be by inexperience. If your a new member of the Board you are extremely unlikely to rock the boat until after you've gotten some experience and varied input from more than just the vested interests all around you. The lack of training given these individuals as to the relevant legislation and their duties and responsibilities essentially guarantees that they won't be confronting even obvious problems. It certainly appears that this lack of training is intentional. It's all about power and control and I would suggest from the choice of Chair to the regional council having control over four out of seven appointees; it's clear who are in charge. Again it is this Board who allegedly choose the Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs. This is supposed to be part of the civilian control over our Police Services. What is apparent from both the class action lawsuit and the book by Kelly Donovan, this civilian "control" is a sham. Through knowledge, financial and legal power, manipulation and intimidation, the Waterloo Regional Police Service are and have been in charge of the Police Services Board for a very long time. Apparently with the full knowledge and support of our Regional Council.
Ask yourselves this. When was the last time you saw an announcement in your local newspaper advising you when and where the next PUBLIC meeting of the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board was occurring? Exactly! Here in Woolwich Township, despite the long sham of honest public consultation around the Uniroyal now Lanxess property and environmental degradation; we still have these PUBLIC meetings announced in our local paper. NEVER does our local Police Services Board do so. They and Regional Council prefer out of sight and out of mind in order to avoid informing citizens as to what is and is not going on.
Saturday, February 3, 2018
I am very disappointed in the opinion piece by Peter Shawn Taylor in last Thursday's Waterloo Region Record titled "Police deserve their day in court". In his sub-title he suggests that comments made about the class action lawsuit are "disconcerting". Indeed they are as in very disconcerting. I would take less umbrage with his opinion article if his tone and bias was a little less evident. He suggests that the police deserve their day in court as if that is a positive to allow them to explain themselves. Based upon my life experiences and knowledge of past history of both gender discrimination and police behaviour and attitudes; I suggest that indeed the police deserve their day in court as in I hope they get their asses hauled into court and have to "explain" why they've either broken provincial laws on these matters or turned a blind eye to them for decades. Yes I believe the allegations in both the lawsuits and the recent Affidavits and I and others need not apologize for that. Our Regional Police just like our school board (WRDSB) literally have millions of dollars of taxpayers' money per year to play with and that is exactly what they do as they attack legitimate concerns and complaints of parents, local residents and citizens. They do this with lawyers, lawsuits and courts constantly. In other words stop feeling sorry for the bullies. At long last they're on the defensive and it's about time.
Mr. Taylor exaggerates. "As soon as the allegations are made, the case is closed.". No it's not. There will hopefully be some kind of opportunity for Patrick Brown for example to fully respond to the allegations against him. Many people like myself, a non-Conservative, understand that those allegations are anonymous and do not have the weight of an identifiable person stepping forward and signing their name to a written Affidavit or Civil Lawsuit as six current or former police officers have done. Yes I will agree with Mr. Taylor that in the Patrick Brown case he has been already punished. Especially with anonymous allegations, that is unacceptable.
Mr. Taylor suggests that we must vigorously resist any attempt to impose mob-based tactics on our court system. Really? O.K. I might agree in principle with that statement however I see virtually no attempt to do so by anybody. Secondly do you think our courts are so damned good in the first place that they don't need a serious good kick in the ass? Justice! Horseshit, it's all about money. Who's got it and is most willing to spend it greatly determines the outcome especially in civil law. Who can buy the most experts. Who can buy the best lawyers. Who can buy the best private investigators. And on and on.
James Bennett. Please. He promised that "...the truth will be properly revealed under cross-examination in coming months.". Well that's almost certainly horse manure. Little or nothing of the truth will be revealed either by the courts or by cross-examination in the near future. This is our judicial system of which he's been sucking at the teats of for decades. Every additional court appearance, delay, rescheduling, motion etc. are all money in the bank for him and his fellow lawyers. NOBODY within the judicial system has any incentive to get the lead out and get on with cases. Delay is usually the name of the game by one party or the other if not both.
Mr. Taylor then suggests that the Sexual Violence Task Force want the regional police to pay out $167 million immediately because "getting to the truth might have "negative impacts"" on women and girls. Such trollop Mr. Taylor. The negative impacts are in response to the words of Mr. James Bennett, lawyer for the Waterloo Region Police Services Board and presumably the union (?) as well. Mr. Bennett has publicly called the victims of systemic gender harassment and abuse, liars. Well puck you Mr. Bennett. You sir are in absolutely no position to be calling other people liars. Those words of yours are what could cause "negative impacts", not the truth.
Then finally Mr. Taylor, to his shame, hints that this lawsuit is all about female police officers looking at a possible $167 million payday. Let's see exactly how long and how well you would last in a hostile and toxic work environment. I and others have done it for years and decades. Sitting behind your typewriter/word processor wordsmithing articles; I expect that you have not, probably ever. Instead of blaming the victims try empathizing with them, rather than with the perpetrators.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
The Waterloo Region Record carried the following story yesterday titled "Superintendent named in lawsuit to retire". The Superintendent was named as a police officer who took advantage of his position in regards to his treatment of some female officers. One female officer in particular has made serious accusations regarding his conduct towards her. This recently announced retirement effective yesterday was unexpected and will only serve to give even greater credibility to the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit and to the Affidavits recently filed in support of the lawsuit.
The other astounding item in this article is the fact that the Police Union (WRPA) earlier this month filed a grievance against the Waterloo Region Police Service (WRPS). Hoo boy does that ever smell in regards to this Union's (oops - Association) credibility. The lawsuit was filed last June. Those police officers have stated that they went to the Waterloo Region Police Association (WRPA) over a period of years and received little to no assistance. The Affidavits were filed in December 2017. Then and only then, after waiting to see the fallout from the lawsuit, does the Police Union get off their backsides and actually file a grievance. I feel that the stench of corruption is permeating. Union President Mark Egers is saying all the right things in yesterday's article. Filing the grievance however is decades late.Tom Galloway the Chair of the Waterloo Region Police Services Board and a regional councillor advised that the board does not get involved in employee matters or with union/management business. From what I can see the board pretty much has a hands off policy on just about everything dealing with the Waterloo Regional Police. Whether this is entirely of their own choosing or due to provincial government legislation I am not sure. Regardless it must change or otherwise get rid of this useless taxpayer funded board.