I am a Liberal

Written by Harold McNeill on August 13th, 2012. Posted in Editorials

This photo, which places Bob Rae in a diminutive position in front of the large Liberal backdrop and with a rather sad, resigned look on his face as he gives a farewell wave, captures, in a poignant way, the current status of the Liberal Party of Canada. Any new party leader will need to change the face of the party by bringing an inspired vision and indefatigable confidence about the future.

February 2015.  This post is brought forward from the summer of 2012.

I am a Liberal.  There, I’ve said it again. It sounds suspiciously like the preamble to a confession of having had an addiction, does it not?  Also, is it not funny how saying those words out loud has a better feel when sitting at the top of the heap rather than at the bottom?  Well, not exactly the bottom, we are still above the Greens and the Block, but as the Greens are in an ascendency period, they are still savouring the euphoria of success. (166)

The Politics of Fear

Written by Harold McNeill on November 1st, 2011. Posted in Editorials

Cartoon - Politics of Fear

The Politics of Fear: Much has been written on how fear is used to manipulate, yet few seem to take the time to think about whether their fear is based on real time event (e.g. a man with a gun pointing it at you) or whether the fear is built from images or stories of others (manufactured fear).  Statistics make it clear that infrequent events (e.g. a man with gun, a terrorist attack) will cause more irrational fear than, say, smoking, something which will very likely will lead to serious illness and possible premature death.

February, 2015.  This post is brought forward as the amount of ‘fear mongering’ (mainly on terrorism in the present day) has increased exponentially as the Conservatives get ready for an election.  Today, February 27, six pages of the National Post carried terror related stories. It has been much the same over the past several weeks as preparations were made for introducing a new terror bill.  Several months back when crime legislation was on the agenda, the fear mongering included ‘crime, drugs and sex offenders’. Murdered, missing and abused aboriginal women (an ongoing crime problem) barely rated a mention by the government or the press. More will be said on that in an upcoming post.

First, this earlier post:  (160)

To Live or Die: Some Hard Decisions?

Written by Harold McNeill on February 9th, 2015. Posted in Book & Movie Reviews, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


What if this man choose to die rather than live? Having choose the latter even in the face of a debilitating disease, he went on to became an extremely influential scholar. Every person who reaches such a crossroads in their life deserves the opportunity of reaching out to others before making the final decision to end life.  Wrapping a potentially serious criminal charge around such discussions makes no sense and the Supreme Court of Canada got it right.

To Live or Die: Another choice along the path of life.

On the evening prior to the Supreme Court 9-0 decision overturning the Criminal Code sanction against ‘assisted suicide’, I attended the movie “A Theory of Everything, a biographical account of the life of Dr. Stephen Hawkings. The movie was adapted from a novel written by Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde Hawking, the mother of their three children (family photo in footer).  It was an excellent movie so if you have a chance drop in and enjoy.

As many know Dr. Hawking became a world-renowned mathematician and cosmologist who wrote a number of best sellers including A Brief History of Time which sold over ten million copies. Part of Hawking’s wide popularity was his ability to write about highly technical mathematical and scientific theories in terms a layman could understand. (58)

Investigation of the Office of Police Complaints Commissioner

Written by Harold McNeill on February 8th, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Richard Rosenthal

 Photo (2015): Richard Rosenthal, Chief Civilian Director of the Office of the Police Complaints Commission.
Since being formed 30 months ago with a staff of 32 investigators and 18 civilians, 22 have either been fired or have resigned. During that period the Government has ordered at least three investigations into the operation and, as well, severance packages totalling $187,000 have been given to some who have departed. Where did it all go wrong?

UPDATE TO THIS ARTICLE:   “Police watchdog Stan Lowe rides a ‘sea of change’ (Times Colonist, February 14, 2015): What a difference an inspired leader can make in an organization.  Check out his article about Stan Lowe who has just completed six years as head of the B.C. Police Complaint Commission (BCPC) and has been appointed to another four year term.  Following is one quote from the TC article:

“The OPCC works separately from the Independent Investigations Office, which was created in September 2012 to investigate police-involved deaths or serious injuries where the officer could face criminal charges. In cases where the Independent Investigations Office finds no criminal wrongdoing, the OPCC can still investigate for misconduct which could result in discipline, ranging from a written reprimand or training courses to more serious sanctions, such as a demotion or discharge.

The OPCC has a budget of just over $3 million and is staffed by 17 people, about half former police officers and half civilians. Lowe has said his staff has worked together “seamlessly.”

That short paragraph says it all and when you compare the operation of the BCPC to that of the OPCC (as outlined in the post below). There is a world of difference.



Two long articles appeared in the Times Colonist this morning (February 8, 2015) about high turnover and reported administrative dysfunction within the police watchdogs office.  While the turnover is extremely high, it was difficult to discern whether employee complaints were justified or whether there was just a ‘culture clash’ between the civilian leader Richard Rosenthal and ex-police officers and civilians hired to staff the organization.

It was not until near the end of the second article, Morale Went Down Fast (A4), written by Times Colonist reporter Katie DeRosa, I came upon this paragraph:

“Rosenthal kept a plaque in his IIO office that featured a mugshot of a police officer arrested during a corruption case that led to charges against 70 Los Angeles police officers in the Rampart division’s anti-gang section. Rosenthal was deputy district attorney  in Los Angeles at the time and helped expose the corruption.” DeRosa continued:  ”Many former police officers with the IIO found that mugshot offensive.”


‘Advocating Terror’ to become a Crime

Written by Harold McNeill on January 29th, 2015. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Home Grown Terrorists

Photo Collage:  A few of Canada’s notorious terrorists: The Bacon Brothers (BC), Maurice Bouchard (PQ), Eric Dejaeger (Nunavat), Vito Rizzuto (r)(PQ), Alan Legere (NB), Clifford Olsen (died in prison)(BC), Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (Karla served 12 years after a plea deal) (ON), Willy Pickton (BC) and Russell Williams (ON).

Note: Just in case a few may think I am a left wing apologist for terrorists, you would be wrong.  Terrorists, whether they be of the criminal type or of the religious type, are despicable scum who deserve to be removed from civil society wherever in the world they may seek to practice their murderous ways. What I do not think we should do is give them a platform on which to spread their vile messages, nor should we re-direct billions in scarce funds away from those things that could make a real difference in reducing crime in whatever form it may present itself.



Thinkin’ Man’s Country Song

Written by Harold McNeill on January 23rd, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Lego For the Oil Patch

Following a series of exchanges with a Facebook friend concerning gender equality, I happened upon this little song written by Thomas Wharton.  Born in Grand Prairie, the young man studied both at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary where he achieved his Phd. He is currently an Associate Professor of writing and English at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

An author with several books to this credit, he wrote the following lyrics about the changing attitudes of oil patch man and published in the most recent edition of Albertaviews (page 27). I can’t find a link to magazine article so I typed it below.  I think the song speaks well to the changing’ attitude towards woman in that province, a province which is becoming more Liberal with each passing day. (86)

The Art of Fabric Crafting

Written by Harold McNeill on February 3rd, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Alysha and Sean

Alysha and Sean unroll the gift (more photos below)

Crafting a Gift of Love

Over the past few months, Lynn and Sheri (Mom and Mom) have been working with small squares of fur fabric that Alysha had passed along to Lynn.  It was a challenge to work with – not your usual quilting material.   Over a few weeks they came up with an idea – going all out with a new design. (128)

Biggest Boondogle in Victoria History

Written by Harold McNeill on February 6th, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Sewage Plan Boondogle

2007 (near Vancouver, B.C.)  Premier Gordon Campbell discusses other major construction plans with
one of the leading Olympic Contractors.

As the Capital Regional District edges ever closer to spending what will be something in the order of $1,200,000,000 to $2,000,000,000 (yes, that’s 1.2 – 2.0 billion – reference CRD Document on Costs, page 2, para 1) on sewage treatment, there was never a proper assessment of need, no consulting with scientists, no pressing environment issue, just one Premier who got his shorts in a knot when the Washington State Governor (a woman with a strict environmentalist background) told him flat out she would not support the 2010 Olympics unless he pushed for sewage treatement for Victoria (see link in footer). (51)

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  • Maxine

    February 10, 2015 |

    What great stories! So many names you mention ,I remember my dad talking about. He was very good friends with Marge and Albert. He used to talk about Irene lots. When we moved back from Powell River in 1956 we lived in Tart Dewan’s old log house for 2 years until dad got lumber from logging on the island to build new. I remember dad taking me to what he called the Dave McNeill place to see where he and mom lived when they were first married. It was a very beautiful yard site. You speak of your dad looking for his place in the sun. Well my dad must have gone to BC looking for that too however he hated the rain so came back to Sask. to eek out a meagre living on the rocks of Birch Lake. However I have good memories there. I used to ride my horse like the wind and spent many days riding checking cows and sheep on the island. Don’t know if I would have wanted it and different.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 23, 2015 |

    I am so glad that you read the story and that it connected. I feel very strongly about these matters as our society (in general) has, for far to long in this day and age of riches, left street people out in the cold thinking they are not worthwhile. I met many of them in my time and their story was often very different from the general picture that is painted about why they are where they are. I cannot even begin to imagine how Ivan and Debbie must have felt. Love Cuz

  • Bety

    January 23, 2015 |

    In reading your stories Cuz you came awfully close to home. In the Picton story the girl, second from the lefton the bottem row, Angela Jardine was from Sparwood and we knew her folks very well. What a sad state of affairs that was and how that SOB got away with that stuff for so long. Ivan and Debbie, Angela’s parents were nearly destroyed by that. Angela was a nice girl with some mental disturbances and was sorely taken advantage of. I am so glad that one of ours Callie Cochrane, Holly (Dewan) daughter one of Alma Morrison’s daughter is a lawyer now and I believe to fight for the right of native women and girls like Angela. I do not know for sure if they ever got DNA for Angela and if not how can there be total closure.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 19, 2015 |

    I agree, but when rats became to plentiful in the wild, they can do a great deal of damage. Around our farm they had to be controlled or they would have simply taken over. I didn’t like doing them in, but it was either do that or shut down the farm and move away. Obviously humans have taken over a lot of the environment that was once occupied by animal species and when in the wild, natural selection took place. Not so in areas habited by humans.

  • Carew

    January 18, 2015 |

    While i agree that our choice of who lives and who dies is kind of arbitrary, i disagree about rats not being cute or cuddly at all as I had 6 pet rats over the course of years and if you go into any pet shop you will see that rats are actually pretty popular pets. Of course the black plague is what ruined the rat’s PR but you’d think that after half a millennium we would have gotten over that by now.

  • McNeill Life Stories Santa and Rudolph: New Plans and Directions - McNeill Life Stories

    December 18, 2014 |

    [...] their annual photo taken. The original small group of Runners (about 10) first appeared in 2011.  Link Here Christmas 2011 (and scroll down through photos to #9 and #10 for a few comments on two different groups that [...]

  • Harold McNeill

    December 11, 2014 |

    Hi Rick. Thanks for the comment. Always nice to hear from someone in the past who shared similar experiences. I have never been able to track down any of the Murfitts so if something comes your way let me know. Given the number of hits on this story, I am assuming the Hutterite Colony has linked the story to their various Web Sites. Cheers, Harold (email: harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Rick Taylor

    December 10, 2014 |

    Your stories were great to read. I was raised a mile south of town and went to school there from about 1958 to 1964. My aunt worked in that old store you mentioned. The old town has changed since then, for sure. Great memories.

  • Karen

    September 28, 2014 |

    Hi Harold!
    Great Post! LOVE the pictures and story! Would love to know if you have any photos of my Mom or other stories about her. I never knew she lived at Peggy’s or worked at A&W. :)

  • Harold McNeill

    September 28, 2014 |

    Thanks Sis will add his name. The opening comment was also updated. It was the 1961 Honour Roll was it not. Tell Frank that if I missed anything, let me know and I will add it. I’ve gone this far, no use holding back now.