A Celebration of the Life of June Allison Beaddie (1922 – 2014)

Written by Harold McNeill on August 27th, 2014. Posted in Biographies


February, 2008: Maggie (Corns)(nee Mathews) and her mother June (Beaddie) (Matthews) (nee Heather), share a special moment aboard the Golden Princess.

What an inspirational day as Lynn and I as travelled to Salt Spring Island, that little gem in Georgia Strait just off the southeast coast of Vancouver Island. We were there to celebrate the life of the mother of our one time next-door neighbour and long time friend Maggie and the grandmother of Maggie’s five children – Alison, Jon, Megan, Dan, Ben. The second youngest, Jon, our son Sean’s school and sports buddy, could not attend as he is currently on course in Singapore while completing a two year stint as an Emergency Room physician in Perth, Australia.

We were most fortunate to have met June a few months earlier when the family, absent Ben on that occasion, were visiting Victoria just before Jon left for Australia.  At ninety-two, June was clearly a going concern until the very end and from the stories we have heard or read, she was truly an inspiration. (112)

Living in the Shadow of Mental Illness

Written by Harold McNeill on August 19th, 2014. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Photo (Web Source).  The dark shadows of depression and mental illness can be lifelong or sudden in onset.  While cancer, heart disease and any one of dozens other diseases are accepted and treated with respect, not so for depression and mental illness. They remain in the shadows. People experiencing these debilitating states are often cast aside where they are left to their own devices. Many Military personnel have felt that pain. Can you imagine a cancer patient being cast aside and left to his or her own devices?

As many families have learned, the nature of the illness makes it difficult to reach out for assistance as the attached stigma casts an ugly net. This story continues to track those who have been caught at the margins of our society where failure to provide timely and ongoing assistance can have tragic consequences in the mainstream.  

Note:  This story is part of a series about living at the margins of our society.  Abducted, the First Twelve Hours was posted a couple of weeks back. A list of other editorials on the subject is posted in the footer. (175)

Abducted: The First Twelve Hours

Written by Harold McNeill on June 28th, 2014. Posted in Police Notebook

A full set of photos from this story and a short introduction for the post appears on the
McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page (Link Here) (Note: All the photos except the two for the Police Department are captured from Web sources.)


“Except for my dogs, I am alone in a world filled with people.”

For  people of all ages, but particularly the young, few things can be more lonely than being on a street full of people and the only looks  received vary between  pity, disgust and outright anger. Most street people are viewed as being worth less than the clothes they wear. They could go missing, be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, even murdered, yet this often raises barely a ripple within the police circles. If they are of native, it is even worse. In 2010 during the Olympics, I watched as two members of the “Red Shirt Brigade” (Volunteer Security) in Vancouver were openly antagonistic and physically aggressive towards a native woman sleeping in the doorway of a store that was closed for the night. This story traces the social conflicts which remain close to the surface in this bountiful country of Canada. (Photo Web source)

Link to the Second Part in this Series


In the Oak Bay office it was nearing 3:00 am, as the night shift Sergeant, Constable and a Civilian Dispatcher were cleaning up the coffee room when the five phone lines lite up. In the quiet hours this usually meant an accident or similar emergency had shaken several residents from their pre-dawn slumber. In this case, two blasts from a shotgun were followed by blood curdling screens.  So began a twelve hour saga where a young woman’s life hung in the balance.”

Having lived inside the police system for thirty years, this story (and others to follow) use various Oak Bay Police Major Crime files to demonstrate how some criminal acts (or suspected criminal acts) can be quickly filtered to ‘inactive’ when the victim lives outside the mainstream. While this is sometimes done for good reason, discounting these crimes can have serious, unintended consequences in the mainstream as demonstrated in eight interconnected chapters beginning in the early 1980′s and extending to the present day.

Chapters 1: A discussion of how the police and justice system filter is applied and how societal norms (reference the section on deviance) impact the events described in this  Oak Bay Police abduction case.

Chapter 2: A general description of the Greater Victoria area, the various police departments and of area in which the crime occurred.

Chapter 3 and 4: Provides background on the victim as a method of demonstrating how some victims, because of age, sex, socio-economic status, mental illness or some other factor, are left vulnerable when society in general and the criminal justice system in particular, fails to render assistance.

Chapters 5, 6 and 7: Tracks the investigation from beginning to end as a means of demonstrating how a high level of cooperation between police agencies is an essential component of effective law enforcement. This is particularly so when a crime crosses jurisdictional boundaries, be it local, provincial or national. The chapters also demonstrate how a small Department the size of Oak Bay is able to provide a full range of effective police service.

Chapter 8: Outlines other cases, in particular the recent murder of Tim Bosma in Ancaster, Ontario, as a means of demonstrating how application of the police filter can have unintended consequences when a serial sex offender or murderer is at work.

Addendum 1:  Summary of a personal experience that resulted in some follow-up at work. The matter flowed back to the surface in July 2013. (344)

BCTF Strike Rally

Written by Harold McNeill on March 7th, 2012. Posted in Editorials


June 5, 2012: Brenda Peacock, Jane Tufnail, Andrea Doak, Kate Reynolds across the street from Gabriola Elementary School on day one of the three-day strike. (Derek Kilbourn photo)


June 4, 2014:  This was posted by Kari McNeill, our daughter, on FB Page.  Her sister and our other daughter, Christine LeClair, was at one time a teacher so, I suppose, I am biased in these matters. But this postcard makes a pretty awesome statement as Governments (in general) never went after the Wall Street Traders, Enron Fraud Artists, or the Dot Com Billionaires who helped to push many local, state, provincial and national economies near bankruptcy.  Have you perhaps had a chance to read what some state governments (e.g. Texas) have been doing to Education in the US?  In Canada, we are not that far behind.

Note: (June 3, 2014): This story was originally posted in March, 2012.  It is being brought forward as a result of the current lock-out/strike situation.

It has been about 40 years since I attended a major strike rally and walked down Government Street carrying a picket sign, but  today I joined ranks with 7000 BCTF and other union members, as they marched from Centennial Square to the grounds of the Legislature. The crowd stretched from the foot of the Legislative steps back down Government Street to Humbolt Street and beyond.

When a similar number of Police members (that was my career) and their supporters marched back in the 1970’s, the BCTF and other unions stepped forward to assist our small number in a very difficult negotiating period.

Today, Unions members from every part of British Columbia as well as from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, stood in solidarity with the BC Teachers as they stood to protest the introduction of Bill 22.

As I understand this Bill, it will roll back teachers rights in manner very similar to a 2002 Bill that rolled back their contracts and inserted draconian new sections. The Bill was introduced by Christi Clarke who was Education Minister at the time. That Bill, in 2007, ruled illegal by the BC Supreme Court, but by then the damage had been done.

One particular section of the new Bill disproportionately impacts children with Learning Disabilities, a subject is near and dear to the hearts of members of our family. For the past 40 years we worked to maintain a balance for our son in a system in which the disabled and other disadvantaged persons always take the biggest hit when cutbacks in services appear necessary.  (Reference series of links in the footer). (886)

The Grayson Chronicles Part 1

Written by Harold McNeill on August 22nd, 2012. Posted in Adventure

Grayson Walker and his Grandpa

Photo (2012): Five year old Grayson and his Grandpa get set to go hiking in the hills behind his mom’s home in Kamloops, BC. It was during the trek the two hatched their summer plans. 

Dear Reader,

The following chronicles were written during the magical summer of 2012 when five-year old Grayson Edward Walker, along with his Grandpa, Harold David McNeill, his Uncle, Jay Wesley McNeill and a family friend, Bjorn Oscar Simonsen, completed an exploratory expedition through British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. While the trip through British Columbia was relatively peaceful, once they hit the Alberta border, they entered a new and perilous world.

Fighting massive lightening and thunder storms, flooded highways, tens of thousands of monster trucks and flocks of giant, blood sucking mosquitoes hatched in the primordial settling ponds of Fort MacMurray, the intrepid explorers bravely marched across Alberta and into the largely unknown wilderness that is now known as  Saskatchewan, an immense flatland whose name originated from a river the Cree originally called “Kisiskatchewani Sipi“.  In that harsh land the group encountered buffalo as big as barns, tractors that were even bigger and giant, round bales of hay that once set rolling in a land that has become known as Tornado Alley North, farms, cities and towns were placed in immanent danger of being wiped off the map.


The True North Strong and Pot Free —– Not

Written by Harold McNeill on December 20th, 2013. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


 The True North Strong and Pot Free —– Not
Vancouver, April 20, 2012. Over 20,000 people, the largest crowd to date, attended the Four Twenty Protest.
At 4:20 pm (precisely), a sweet smelling cloud lazily drifted over the Library and across downtown Vancouver.
Twenty thousand people just had a group toke.

It has long since been ordained that the ubiquitous Mary Jane would one day become, if not legal, at the very least a controlled substance sold in Government style Liquor Stores. Marihuana grow ops will be popping up across the country like dandelions on a newly planted lawn. Now that a few States in that bastion of extreme conservatism south of the border have begun to decriminalize the substance, can the Province of British Columbia’s five billion (that’s right five, with nine zeros) pot growing industry, be far behind? For BC  this is not a trivial amount of untaxed ‘free enterprise’ money by any count.

Seeing an opportunity in this trend, Medbox Inc., a U.S. based company, is set to introduce into Canada, automatic Pot Vending Machines (PVMs) for use by those licenced to toke as permitted under the Canada Health Act (link to story).  Apparently the PVMs provide easy and secure 24 hour access. Imagine, pot on demand at your nearest 7-11. It was also reported the RCMP is looking at installing machines in their remote detachments (link). City members, of course, will be able to pop by the nearest 7-11. (1723)

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  • McNeill Life Stories A Celebration of the Life of June Beaddie - McNeill Life Stories

    August 29, 2014 |

    [...] June (Beaddie) (Matthews) (Heather), travelled a life path very similar to that of my own mother, Laura Isabel (Skarsen) (McNeill) (Wheeler) with both having married and lived several years in the wilderness – my mom in Northeastern [...]

  • Harold McNeill

    August 22, 2014 |

    Hi Frank,

    Cannot see that we have any friends in common on linked in. Hard to tell these days what is spam and what is sincere. If you pick this up send me something on Linkedin. Cheers, Harold

  • Alan Korejbo

    August 21, 2014 |

    These are great stories! Thanks for publishing them on the web. Kinosoo Ridge was my first skiing experience, and I always wondered where the name came from.

    I am doing some research on the Martineau River and was wondering if you had any information regarding the Martineau River Mine or the camp that is at that location. It is located approximately 10 km north/northeast of the mouth of the river (as the crow flies). I am guessing fairly close to where the logging camp was situated.

  • McNeill Life Stories The Grayson Chronicles Part 1 » McNeill Life Stories

    August 13, 2014 |

    [...] That was great news from Grayson today! It now appears I must start working on that tiny detail about how long we might be away. First, I got hold of my old travel buddy Bjorn Simonsen, that famous Fjordland Bone Man and Terasen Gas Explorer, and told him we were good to go, but that I was still working out the time frame. Bjorn comes from a long line of Norwegian Explorers as he grew up in Fjords of Norway during the last war and knows how to deal with adversity. For a short story about the history of his family Link Here. [...]

  • Arthur Close

    July 31, 2014 |

    We would have been neighbours and I am a bit embarrassed at having no recollection of your family. My family lived at 12209-95 st (1944 to 1960) and 12205-95 st (1960 to 2005).

    I also attended H A Gray school for most of my grades 1 to 9 (1947 to 1956) with grades 5 and 6 at Delton.

    You mention Mable Pester. She was my aunt. There was a cluster of Hardy family members in the area — Mable, my mother (Geneva) and the David Hardy and Forrest Hardy families across the street from you. And across the alley on 95A st was their sister Maranda and on 96 st. Janie.

    I live near Vancouver now but the area holds a lot of memories. More than I can share in this brief note. Maybe another time.

  • Harold McNeill

    July 28, 2014 |

    So glad you happened upon the blog story. I have sent you an follow-up email with a few questions.

  • Shirl (Blair) Parsonss

    July 28, 2014 |

    I was so happy to come across your website and stories of Pibroch via “google”. I was born in Westlock, Alberta and lived my whole life in Pibroch and very fond and happy memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    June 23, 2014 |

    The following comment from BOB CHERKAS of Nanaimo became attached to the wrong story. It belonged on the LacLaBiche story (reference second half of Chapter 7): Hello again Harold, I was going to include a comment in my previous E-Mail about that girl….and that kiss…Pauline Sampietro. Sadly Pauline, who was a neighbor as well was killed in a car accident many years ago. As I recall she was only about 17 years of age. Lovely girl. I remember her so well….even to this day. She had a sister, Charolette who lives in the Coquitlam area whoo I spoke to a few times over the years but not recently. I know this news about Pauline is unsettling but I felt you should know. I live in Nanaimo and presume you still reside in Victoria. I have an answer to some of my question and now know you are a writter and that skill was certainly evident in my earkier reading of your postings.Regards, Bob

  • McNeill Life Stories Cold Lake High School Years: The Journey Begins McNeill Life Stories

    May 2, 2014 |

    [...] Chapter 16:  The Tumultuous Teens Begin in 1953                (Link to Chapter 17, Cold Lake High 1955 -1960) [...]

  • McNeill Life Stories Cold Lake High School Years: 1955 - 1960

    May 2, 2014 |

    [...] Chapter 17    The Silent Generation                     (Link Here to Chapter 16: The Journey Begins) [...]