Amalgamation: A Search for the Truth

Written by Harold McNeill on October 27th, 2014. Posted in Amalgamation Posts, Editorials


Truth Photoshop

Cartoon (Modified Web Source):  It is amazing how good information can change the complexion of an entire debate.
Join in A Search for the Truth.

Update March 30, 2016,  The Research Paper referenced in this post was first published in 1999 by Dr. Robert L. Bishas he neared the end of his career at the University of Victoria, School of Public Administration.  Seventeen years later, in 2016, Dr. Bish collaborated with Josef Filipowicz at the Fraser Institute to provide a complete update of the information presented in the original study.
Link to the Fraser Institute Study

(Link to Photo Album of this amazing place we call home)

Link to the Next Post in Series: Local Communities: Keeping the Spirit Alive

November 9, 2014: A new post on McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page:
Thirteen Communities and Ninety-Two largely Volunteer Councillors 

The Real Costs of Amalgamation (Time Colonist November 23, 2014)
March 2018 (Count 609)

Dear Reader,

This post provides a short overview and links to four studies that will likely answer many questions as to whether amalgamation of some or all the Municipalities in the CRD or of the Police Services in the Capital Region, is warranted.

These excellent works, written by a world-renowned expert in the field, Dr. Robert L. Bish, provide not only an in-depth review of the comparative costs and operational efficiencies in the Capital Region, it also compares the BC Regional District system with other city and municipal systems across Canada and the United States.

These studies provide clear evidence the Regional District system as developed in British Columbia, is the most inclusive, efficient and cost-effective form of Government in North America. In that regard, British Columbia was, and continues to be, a leader in the field and is often cited as a model for others.

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Amalgamation: Questions and Answers

Written by Harold McNeill on October 21st, 2014. Posted in Amalgamation Posts, Editorials


Capital Regional District

College (L to R): (T) Langford, Sidney, Victoria, Saanich, Highlands,
(C) Esquimalt, (Malahat), (CRD) Oak Bay, Metchosin,
(B) Colwood, Sooke, North Saanich, Central Saanich, View Royal
(Link to Photo Album)
Link to original Post: Amalgamation in Victoria

Note: After this Question and Answer post was written and published, and by pure chance, while doing a further search, an astounding discovery was made: The Bish Papers.  These papers, written by a renowned Economist and researcher into Public Administration, pulled away the veil of opinion and conjecture that defined the debate on Amalgamation. You may still wish to read this post and the one previous (linked above), however for solid, reliable information read the papers Dr. Robert L. Bish.  Link here:

Amalgamation: A Search for the Truth

The Real Costs of Amalgamation (Time Colonist November 23, 2014)

Introduction:

Since posting the original Amalgamation article in 2011, then updating it in October 2014, a number of exchanges regarding the content have taken place. The updated original (linked above) spoke to the many advantages of living in the Capital Regional District.  Clearly, not everyone agreed: dysfunctional, costly, over-supplied, cronyism, duplication, poor-decision making, hidden incompetence, poor media coverage, etc. These were just a few of the words used to describe the CRD and its members.

The words were spoken by otherwise thoughtful, intelligent individuals who are totally committed to the cause of amalgamation. On the other hand, I am equally committed to preserving the best of what we have. Most often the comments on either side appear only in posts where an individual is preaching to the converted.  In this post, the contrasting ideologies are placed side by side. Whatever may be the outcome, I don’t want CRD members or electorate, being pushed into making a decision based on faulty information or the whims of a few people. The four situations in #7 involving bad and very expensive outcomes pushed forward by persons in a position of power, as outlined in the final section of this post.

First, a sample of the questions asked and the answers given:

1. Question: 

There is a thing you refuse to answer in your posts and that really hits at the core of the matter: if you were drawing municipal Fort_Victoria_watercolourboundaries from scratch based on what would serve the people of the region best, would you draw the lines where they are today?

Painting:  Watercolor painting of the southwest bastion of Fort Victoria with harbour to the left by Sarah Crease (wife of Henry), 8 September 1860.  It was from these humble beginnings other communities began to take shape along the Saanich Peninsula and West to a community now called Sooke.

Answer:

I have mixed feelings about ‘what might have been’ questions. I seldom ask them of myself, as the question never helped me to move forward. My gut feeling, based upon 55 years of living in this area, is that had this city began and remained just one city from early in the last century, many of the CRD areas would not be nearly as well developed, and filled with citizens who were generally satisfied with their lives, nor would they be as close to their government as they are today. Even within the core, when Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Saanich began to emerge, they ended up with their own districts rather than as part of Victoria.  I spoke more to this matter in Part 6 of Amalgamation in Greater Victoria

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The Secret World of the CBSA

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


vancouverairport

Does the beauty and welcoming nature of the new Vancouver International Airport (YVR), completed in time to showcase British Columbia and Canada to the world for the 2010 Olympics, belie the holding of dirty little secrets in the bowels of that sparkling facility?

Link Here to Part I of this series: Abducted: The First Twelve Hours
Link Here to Part II: Living in the Shadow of Mental Illness
Link Here to Part III: Mental Illness: A Rising Crisis on the Street
Link Here to Other Police Related Posts

Update, November 9, 2014:  The inquiry into the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez while in custody at the Vancouver Airport is now concluded.  Several recommendations were brought forth and it is clear from these recommendations that entire CBSA operation should be subject to the same independent oversight as that which takes place with regular police services.  Under the current legislation, the entire CBSA operation is effectively shielded from any form of formal oversight and it was only after persistent probing by various media outlets that much of what is happening is now coming to light. For one summary, listen in to the CBC Early Morning Edition podcast.

September 19, 2014 (Original Editorial): Introduction

Sometimes the greater threat to our democratic way of life comes from within and not from without. I am not speaking of terrorists, jihadists or those who join murdering criminals like ISIS, I am speaking of how we respond to the threat. When we begin to dismantle all that which underpins our democracy because of them, they will have won.

As I researched the following post, I was astonished to see just how far we have fallen in the past decade. I fear that if we continue along this path for another decade, we will have become just a shell of nation which our grandparents and great grandparents fought for in first fifty years of the last century and which they and our great-great grandparents dreamed of when they first joined a line of immigrates and refugees to take up life in Canada.  (From Facebook Post)

Would it surprise you that under the Beijing Airport, hundreds of people, thought to be ‘enemies of the state’ are detained after being pulled aside for a secondary search and questioning during entry? No surprise you say? In China, you could just as easily be whisked away on the street. What about Russia or other countries where human rights and the rule of law has little meaning in the sense we know it? Same answer? Probably.

How about the United States? Given the incredible size and strength Homeland Security and the many laws enacted since 9/11, there is little doubt a person, particularly a foreign national, could easily disappear without a trace at any airport or transportation hub in the country. Being whisked off the street would be just as simple.

Now, what about Canada, “the true north strong and free”? Do you think it possible thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of men, woman and children might be arrested and taken away to secret prisons located below major airports such as Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary or Winnipeg and at other, more or less secret facilities across Canada?  Is it possible these prisoners have been stripped of all the rights we Canadians take for granted?  Finally, is it possible these people could be whisked out of the country at the stroke of a pen, never to be heard from again? Not possible you say — we have far to many checks and balances. Well, think again.

This week after researching an article on the plight of a few immigrants and refugees, I was astonished to learn that not only is this happening, it is happening on a regular basis in cities and towns across Canada.

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Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay

Written by Harold McNeill on May 16th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal 1980

Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal (Web Source) c1980’s. On the May Day long week-end, 1983, a dozen police waited patiently with weapons at ready. The gang that commanded their attention had amassed a small arsenal of handguns, shotguns, rifles and even considered mounting a machine gun in the back of a stolen van. They also collected a box of dynamite and purchased blasting caps, radio transmitters, scanners, balaclavas and sundry other equipment to pull off a major heist. The leader of the gang was a convicted bank robber from the Lower Mainland who made no bones about killing if that should become necessary.

The gang had their planning down to the minute with their goal being a small fortune in cash that flowed through the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal on every long week-end. The only thing that stood between the gang and their goal was a small group of police officers and civilians who quietly, deliberately and surreptitiously inserted themselves into the gangs planning process.

October 28, 2017 (1090)
February 3, 2018 (1125)

Link here to Part I of this Series: Oversight of Police and Security

Link here to Part II of the series: Conspiracy to Bomb the BC Legislature

Part III Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay

An earlier post about BC Ferries posted on McNeill Life Stories: Thank you BC Ferries

1. Introduction

In Part II, Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature, the crime was developed over a five-month period by 250 RCMP Security Service officers, a few of which had close personal ties with two two criminal suspects as they (the police) coached, cajoled, encouraged, threatened and supported the couple along the path towards committing a serious crime at the Canada Day celebrations in July 2013. It was a crime the police defined, not the suspects.

In this post, an Armed Robbery and a Conspiracy to Commit an Armed Robbery, a half dozen suspects take the lead while an equal number of police officers (Note 3) take turns following the group, listening to their conversations and collecting evidence as it was produced along the way. During the five-week investigation, the suspects had no idea police were dogging their heels. It was a classic conspiracy investigation.

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Teachers Need a Plan to Win the War

Written by Harold McNeill on September 3rd, 2014. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


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September 2, 2014: Make no mistake, the BC Liberals (Liberals in name only) is waging an ideological war on teachers. They are perfectly willing to let the current situation drag on without concern for the welfare of students, parents and teachers.  Unfortunately, the picket lines are helping the government win the battle, not the teachers. Every since the government made that 2002 decision to legislate away a legally binding contract section, they have committed to 12 years of all out war.

Update, September 17, 2014

So glad to see that negotiations seem to be producing some concrete action and that it appears the Government is backing off on E80 as well as tossing in some money toward the class size and composition issue.  It will be interesting to see the final agreement. I do so hope the teachers are able to get back to the classroom.

Update, September 10, 2014

On September 10, 2014, the Times Colonist reported that a group of parents plan to cross the picket line and occupy Lansdowne School (Hillside Ave., in Victoria, BC) on Monday, September 15, at 10:00 am (Families will gather). Crossing a legal picket line is not the answer and I have no idea why they think that will help.  On the contrary, it will be seen as a move against the teachers and if a confrontation occurs (however minor), the media will eat it up and teachers will end up being the losers.

Instead, why not join a group of concerned citizens at the picket line in support of the teachers move towards binding arbitration. To that end you are invited to:

JOIN THE LINE
Location: Lansdowne School

Meet at the corner of Richmond Rd and Lansdowne Rd
Time: 9:30 am on Monday, September 15.

Perhaps the teachers will be able to supply a few ‘Supporter’ signs.  If you cannot make it to Lansdowne, perhaps you would join the teachers at a school near you and advise them you are standing in support of the teachers at Lansdowne who will be facing the occupation of their school.

Everyone is cautioned —  this is to be a peaceful form of support for ending the strike. If any person arrives and is intent on crossing the picket line to occupy the school, they should be freely allowed exercise their right.

Thank you,
Harold McNeill (a retired parent of four)

Continue with Original Post

Note: Part 2 of this post provides a snippet of family history that speaks to the heart of the teachers dispute, that of class size, composition and teacher assistants. Our family worked hard for over three decades to achieve some balance in these matters, both in school and in the adult life of our son. Children and adults with learning disabilities and other issues that seriously affect their well being deserve to be given a bit more consideration rather than thrown under a bus.  Several other articles on this subject appear on this blog, the most recent being Living in the Shadow of Mental Illness and Abducted: The First Twelve Hours.  Both address the challenges of living at the margins of our society.

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Living in the Shadow of Mental Illness

Written by Harold McNeill on August 19th, 2014. Posted in Editorials


depression

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 of 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 by either the victim or their family 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 not only for those immediately affected but also across 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.   (Post:February 1, 2016 1095, April 2018, 1289)

Link to most recent post on this subject.

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Conspiracy to Bomb the BC Legislature: The Grand Illusion

Written by Harold McNeill on April 24th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Editorials


Nuttall and Korody

December 19, 2018  In a unanimous decision released Wednesday morning, the Appeal Court sided with a B.C. Supreme Court judge who stayed proceedings in the terrorism trial of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody on the grounds that the police investigation was a “travesty of justice.”  Read more background at Entrapment

January 6, 2016 UPDATE:  More information about police misconduct continues to be aired following the conviction of the above couple on terrorist charges.  Read more in the Times Colonist

November 18, 2015 UPDATE:  A BC Supreme Court Judge has ordered the RCMP to release documents related to legal advice they obtained during the investigation of the above couple.  This is part of the hearing related to the subject of misconduct (or entrapment) by the RCMP.  Full report in The Province

June, 2014 UPDATE:  While Nuttall and Korody have been convicted of some charges by the jury in their case, the conviction has not been entered by the Judge pending a “Judge Only” follow-up trial to consider whether ‘entrapment’ played a role in the alleged crime.  Several Mr. Big Operations have been tossed by various Provincial Superior and Appeal Courts in recent years, and in one case that made it to the Supreme Court, the court upheld a lower court decision to toss the conviction.  (Link to Game Changer)

Photo (Web Source): As you read this post consider whether you think John Nuttall and Amanda Korody were latent terrorists just biding their time or whether they were drug induced dreamers targeted to play a lead role in the Government’s War on Terror. After nearly five months of work by a squad of 250 RCMP security personal and with just three days to go before Canada Day 2013, this couple still had no idea they would be planting fake bombs in the bush around the B.C. Legislature.

Also, consider (and compare) as you read this post and the next, link below, how much could be accomplished if you assigned 250 RCMP members with a multi-million dollar budget and the latest in crime technology to take down some serious criminals who have already committed a crime or a long series of crimes, rather than chasing a couple of potentially dangerous airheads for five months.

(Link here to Part 1: Oversight of Police and Security Services)

(Link here to Part III: Conspiracy to Rob the BC Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay)

Part II

Conspiracy to Bomb the B.C. Legislature: Introduction

This post continues the discussion about whether oversight of police and security services is as important today as it was in the 1970’sAfter reading and watching over four-dozen media, video and web reports covering the ongoing trial of Nuttall and his partner Korody, it was astounding to learn of the extremes to which the RCMP Security Service went in order to envelop the couple in a terrorist plot. It was as if we were back in the 1970’s when security agencies could act with impunity (Oversight).

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Separation of Church and State

Written by Harold McNeill on May 13th, 2014. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


 

MAC2514-1-770x656

May 2014, Late one night Stephen Harper and Peter McKay run away from the Supreme Court…

February 2018 (2018)
For a 2018 update on this subject link here to Church and State

This post will trace the evolution of our secular system of government and attendant public institutions. By remaining fully secular, these organizations allow all Canadians to remain free from religious rule and teachings, yet many are under constant pressure to revert to a more religious based system. It was difficult finding a way of criticizing without the criticisms being seen as a rant rather than a rational discussion. Hopefully, I have succeeded, but suppose that will depend upon the perspective of the reader. 

June 11, 2014: In a significant move BC Lawyers, by a vote of 3210 to 968, directed their benchers to reject an application for accreditation made by Trinity Western University for their new Law School. (Link)

May 15, 2014, 11:00 am. This is an Edited version of the original poster of May 13, 2014, at 12.29 pm.  Mostly cleaning up the structure with some subject matter moved around. There has been no alteration of the original direction and intent of the post.

A smattering of news reports over the past several weeks focuses on the challenges faced in maintaining a balance between competing interests in our pluralistic society. This week, PMO staff found the Prime Minister wandering around kicking chairs and punching walls after the Supreme Court yet again struck down one of his carefully crafted pieces of legislation. It is largely because of this Court of Last Resort that we are able to maintain a balance in our society. While the Prime Minister may rant and rave about this ‘activist’ court interfering in the business of Parliament, we should all be thankful it is there to protect our rights in cases where ideologically driven legislation fails to meet the standards set by our Constitution and Charter of Rights.

For his part young Trudeau choose to open Pandora’s Box with his directive about accepting only Pro-Choice candidates (if you please!). It seems Justin, God bless the little guy, has inherited his Daddy’s tendency to ‘never let a sleeping dog lie’, and as for little Stephen, he completely forgot his Mommy’s message about ‘not poking a hornets’ nest with a stick’. These items make for an interesting read, but, standing alone, are just stories about a couple of gifted and privileged boys playing politics in hallowed halls of Ottawa. Neither item would prompt me to write an in-depth post, but the next certainly did as that item, in my opinion, is an emerging challenge to our secular system.

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    August 16, 2019 |

    Many thanks for reviewing the article Elizabeth. There are so many areas of our society in which populism carries the day, although I think what is happening with the ICBC is that groups having a vested interest in private insurance would dearly love to dislodge ICBC from their preferred position. That being said, I think was a good move to have only portions of the insurance coverage in BC being held by ICBC and other portions being made available through private enterprise.

  • Elizabeth Mary McInnes, CAIB

    August 15, 2019 |

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see a resident of British Columbia look to review all the facts over believing what is reported in the news or just following along with the negative stigma of the masses. Your article truly showcases that with a little reform to ICBC’s provincial system – British Columbia could be a true leader for other provinces in Canada. Very well written article!

  • Harold McNeill

    August 13, 2019 |

    August 13, 2019. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a private enterprise group not unlike the Fraser Institute, is again on the campaign trail. They state ICBC rates are the highest in Canada, but, thankfully, Global BC inserted a section indicating the Insurance Bureau cherry-picked the highest number in BC and the lowest numbers in AB, ON and other Eastern Provinces. If you take a few minutes to check reliable sources you will find BC rates, are the lowest in Canada.

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.