Quebec Election Results

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


Cartoon: When Renes Levesque became the PQ Quebec Premier in 1976, the rest of Canada became apoplectic. Not only was Levesque very popular across Quebec, but, over time, Canadians in other Provinces came to admire the chain smoking, outspoken work-a-holic.  Levesque initiated the first major charge for Quebec independence which was then carried forth by the PQ party, a charge that nearly succeded in 1995.

Following loss of the referendum by vote of 50.6 to 49.4 (less than 53,500 votes), then PQ Premier Jacques Parizeau, blamed the loss on money and the ethnic vote. Following the loss, he quit in a fit of anger while giving a speech that was nothing short of racist. Since that time the PQ party has carried the separtist banner in which open racism bubbles just beneath the surface.  

September 4, 2012 Vive le Canada!

Interesting election results in Quebec, although that tragic shooting certainly threw a pall over the emerging results.  With 68.1% of the population voting against them, and relegated to a rather weak minority position, the PQ certainly have their work cut out for them. 

From my perspective, if the PQ remain intent upon creating ‘winning conditions’ in any vote for a separate state, they must attend to the following:

Cartoon: Quebec Separtists continue to fight a battle that was lost nearly two and one-half centuries ago. It is time to move on.

Federal Handouts: Over the next eight years (assuming they stay in power), reduce their reliance upon Federal handouts by ONE BILLION per year. A tough financial hit, but without first weening themselves from those generous federal handouts, theyh would be reduced to third world status.

Balance the books.  At present Quebec is almost on par with Italy in terms of indetedness, yet they are a very rich Province in terms of natural and human resources. The PQ will need to begin reducing the funding for many programs (e.g. child care) and may even need to increase University fees above that which the Liberals imposed.

Increase immigration. Quebec, with an extremely low birth rate, must bring in many more immigrant workers willing to take jobs that no ‘self respecting’ Quebecer would consider. This is a problem that is shared with the rest of Canada.

Drop talks of linguistic crackdowns.  With the absolute need for more foreign workers, few of those new workers will be French speaking. If those workers do speak a second language, it will very likely be English. To seek both linguistic purity and independence is an oxymoron unless the PQ intend on forming a dictatorship in which the majority of Quebecers would have no voice (except French).

Secular Province: If there is an intent to become a fully secular Province, do so, but do not give Christianity a free pass. With the demise of the power of the Catholic Church, Quebec has already moved from being the most Christian Province in Canada to the most secular.  Trying to legislate back something that has been lost in the sands of time is a ‘lost cause’. Prohibiting only non-christians from displaying religious symbols is pure racism. It is either all or nothing.

With the economic drivers of Canada having moved westward over the past two decades, Quebec will find that fewer and fewer Westerners and, for that matter, other Canadians who are much worried about Quebec pulling the pin. The advantages to Quebec in staying are far to numerous. The was reflected by the percentage vote in the election.

The PQ, holding barely 30%, need to spent all their time cleaning house before anything close to “winning conditions” might be created. Of course, in trying to do that they would alienate all Quebecers. I don’t think the PQ has the fortitude to follow that path, so the only path they can follow is by creating as much dissension as possible. They have learned that lesson well from the Republicans, Tea Party and other fringe groups within the United States.

Take a few moments and read the PQ Platform for Quebec (remember they carry this platform while, at the same time, reap the benefits of being a part of Canada):

Quebec

  • Achieve sovereignty for Quebec following a public consultation by referendum when deemed appropriate.

  • Use any means at Quebec’s disposal to fully assume all powers for the development of Quebecers, particularly in the areas of education, culture, social programs, health, justice, the environment and immigration.

  • Develop a new Quebec secularism charter.

  • Establish Quebec citizenship.

  • Create Espaces Québec to spread the expertise of Quebecers to countries where we have economic, political, scientific or cultural interests.

  • Strengthen teaching and research in history at all levels, from elementary schools to university, with a focus on the national history of Quebec and its institutions.
  •  
  • Strengthen Quebec’s presence within the Francophonie.

Cartoon: There seems little doubt the PQ will continue to whine and cry about how unfairly Quebecers are being treated in Canada and will bait Ottawa at every opportunity. Creating as much dissension as possible rather than improving conditions for the majority of Quebecers many be the PQ’s only chance for success. 

In that quest, I think (and hope) the PQ will fail as the majority of Quebecers have come to realize their future is inextricably linked to a united and prosperous Canada. The new battle cry in Quebec could very well become:

“Vive le Quebec! Vive le Canada! Vive le Canada libre!  Vive le Canadian Dominion! Et vive la Canada!”  

 

(788)

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.

(462)

Quebec Student Protests

Written by Harold McNeill on May 27th, 2012. Posted in Editorials



 

March 25, 2012.  Thousands march in Montreal in protest of Bill 78, a Quebec law designed to crack down on street protests. I doubt if you will see any masks in this crowd.

Note: Bill 78 was passed on May 18.  For a general discussion of the timelines and events, the follow Wiki links is recommended by a FB friend in Montreal, Gilles Arpin: BILL 78

Comments

It was the Quebec student protests that spurred me to get busy and write the Prague travel post (Link). This was mainly because I felt the people of the Czech Republic and other former satellite states of the Soviet Union (as with those in Egypt, Libya, Syria and others) demonstrate a dogged determination to change their world for the better. In Eastern Europe, nearly 80 years of death and destruction were visited upon those Easter Block countries before peaceful co-existence became a real possibility. (Reference the Prague post for more details). For Africa as well as other countries of the world, it remains a work in progress. Now, back to Canada.

While the vast majority of Canadians, both young and old, demonstrate a strength of character that continues to help shape a peaceful, productive society, a few, shall we say a privileged few, take much for granted. Perhaps, in many ways, I do the same thing with my Pension Plan, Health Care and general services that provides me with a standard of living that is second to none in the world.  

Recently, in Quebec, one small but vocal group of University students suggested their fragile, privileged world would fall apart if the Government applied a $325.00 per year increase in student fees in each of the next five years. The protest began with a small degree of public support, but that turned sour when masked intruders invaded University classrooms in an attempt to intimidate teachers, students and staff. On the streets, mask thugs usurped the peaceful intentions of the majority of protesting students.    
 
Those who know me or have read some of the editorials on this blog, know I am a staunch advocate, both of the rule of law but also of vigorously protecting civil liberties and freedoms entrenched within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Our Charter is a document for which many people around would be willing to forfiet their lives and, in many cases, thousands have already paid that ultimate price. Each day in Libya, Syria and Egypt we seen hundreds seeking just a small measure of the freedoms we enjoy.  

That challenge in Canada is that infringments of our Charter by various levels of government are often let to slip by with nary a word of protest. An example was the mass arrests that took place at the Toronto G20. All three levels of government as well as three levels of police (Local, Provincial and Federal), not only acted badly, but, in several cases, committed criminal offences for which they will likely walk away scott free.

Photo (Web): Police car on Queens Street West was left to burn, then smolder for hours as the media played and replayed the clip.

From the moment marked police cars were strategically placed within the protest zone, then left to burn for media camera’s, the stage was set for mass arrests that included hundreds of well intentioned protestors. The result, a significant  percentage of the Canadian public was justifiably outraged. Since that time little has been done to properly review these matters and bring the culprits, particularly the police, before the courts. 

In Vancouver on the other hand, the public overwhelmingly supported the police in the actions taken to quell the hockey riots and that support has continued as the worst perpetrators are being identified and brought before the courts. I do not recall one police officer being accused of a criminal offence or even abuse of power.

While police cars in Vancouver were also burned, the situation evolved so quickly, police had little chance to protect the cars as roaming crowds outnumbered them at least 1000 to 1 as there had been no real expectation (perhaps that was their greatest error) that rioting would erupt. I am still amazed at how quickly and efficiently the police managed to bring that very dangerous situation under control without loss of life or serious injury.

The student protests in Quebec are an entirely different story. While the students initially had what they felt were legitimate concerns (student fees), the public turned solidly against them after the invasions and the actions of masked protestors. 

Photo: Masked individuals marched through Montreal University distrupting classes and threatening students. Can you imagine how you would feel if these thugs invaded your study or work-place. With scenes likes this, it was easy to understand why action of some sort was needed.

The Government, sensing they had gained full public support and the upper hand, introduced Bill 78, which, as it turned out, had a completely unexpected outcome. Both public and the students massively attacked the intent of the Bill, which was, in effect, to curtail public protest. The whole issue suddenly switched from being about student fees to one of civil liberties and freedom.
 
While very few have sympathy for masked protestors (they were responsible for most of the damage and disruption), no one thinks the government response will do anything other than push more protesters onto the streets, just as we have witnessed over the past few days. We now see mom and dad, old and young now taking to the streets in the thousands with pots and pans in hand. The original student protests have been relegated to a non-event except in the hands of the media and a few diehard students.

A cynical person might suggest it would have been an ideal for the Montreal Police to strategically place a few unprotected, marked police cars along known protest routes and wait for nature to take it’s course. A burning police car and a couple of masked men jumping on the roof could certainly become a defining moment as it was in Toronto.

A friend of mine in Quebec predicts that by mid-summer, if the Government does not find a way to maneuver out of this situation, if police continue to make mass arrests and if the students do not back off, it will eventually take the army to restore order. Some may remember the Front de liberation du Quebec (FLQ) and the crisis of October 1970. At that time civil liberties were suspended across Canada and police given massive powers to arrest and detain. No one wants a repeat of that sad month in Canadian legal history.

Photo (Web): Peaceful, but now illegal, ‘pots and pans’ protest moves along Bernard Street in Montreal. Such protests are taking place all over Montreal and Quebec.

As this matter has now evolved, I stand fully with the protestors on the issue of civil liberties and would be on my front law banging pots and pans (maybe I can start something here), not because I support a few spoiled students, but because of what the Quebec Government did in response. It demonstrates clearly how a Government can, with little thought for future consequences, can introduce legislation that goes against common sense. We have all watched as the Federal Government has doing the same thing for the past several months. In the long the Federal ruling party will most certainly pay a big price for the liberties they have taken with the Charter, just as will the Government of Quebec.

While I do not support civil disobedience or mass protests except in extreme circumstances, I would be much more concerned if no one in Quebec or the rest of Canada for that matter, took issue with the legislation as it stands. I would also be marching and banging a pot if I lived in that Province, but I don’t so the best I can do is write a short post that a few might read and reflect upon.

As for those Quebec students and their tuition fees – get back to class, find a better way to bring your concerns forcefully to the government and then get on with life. Save your energies for a real issue.

Harold

(289)

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama: An Open Letter

Written by Harold McNeill on May 10th, 2012. Posted in Editorials


tibetan-man-new-delhi-1

This photo provides a stark reminder of the challenges faced by Tibetans and how a few young Monks have sought to bring attention to the plight of their people.  The letter that follows encourages His Holiness the Dalai Lamas to return to Tibet to stand with his people as others have done when their people were being oppressed and brutalized.

“Tibetan culture, religion and identity face “extinction” and (the) residents of Tibet (are) living in ‘hell on earth’.”  A quote by the Dalai Lama made at the Dharmsala Conference, India, on March 11, 2009. (Reported by Emily Wax, Washington Post)

His Holiness, The Dalai Lama
May 11, 2012

Dear Holiness,

Re: Has the time come to go home and stand shoulder to shoulder with your people?

During your recent visit to Canada, I noted Prime Minister Harper warmly greeted you (photo left), but did so in a rather low key fashion. I suspect that was because he did not want to offend the Chinese Government as China has become an extremely important trading partner for all manner of Canadian resources, goods, and services. Your reception by other world leaders seems to follow the same general trend – respectful, but low key and not likely to influence China one way or the other regarding their harsh treatment of the people in Tibet.

I also note your status as a media darling has grown substantially in recent years and while you grant many interviews, those interviews must be closely scripted as I cannot remember hearing one hard question ever being asked of your Holiness. In a recent clip broadcast on a Canadian News Network station and in other interviews, the hosts were extremely deferential and never came close to asking a probing question. In this open letter, I will take a few lines to pose a few questions and make a few observations, some which beg for answers from your Holiness. I choose this medium because it is the only one available as I am unlikely to ever have the chance to speak with you personally.

(15730)

Rogers Communications: Deceptive Business Practice

Written by Harold McNeill on March 17th, 2012. Posted in Editorials


Rogers Communications

This was the attitude that greeted me when I took my complaint
to the Rogers office in Vancouver.

January 2015.  I brought this post forward as this scam is still active with Rogers.

The Scam: Originated from a Call Centre in Ohio (March 2012)

A few days back I was caught short during a Rogers Communications Customer “Satisfaction Survey” being conducted from a Call Centre in Ohio. Although I don’t usually take these calls near dinner, I was in a bubbly mood so decided to let the woman ask away (ah, I can be led so easily).

After a few questions about my degree of satisfaction with Rogers, she went on to ask if it was OK to check and see if any savings could be found in our account (a reward for doing the survey I suppose). Well, why not, I had fun with the survey? She then spent considerable time (20 minutes or so) going over various options and I was feeling bad for taking up so much of her time trying to find so little in savings. She stated: “no problem, Rogers is here to provide you with the best service we can” or words to that effect.

(486)

Rarefied Beef and Deep Fried Sushi

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


Happy Meal

Who, in their right mind, could resist the
MacDonald’s Happy Meal pictured above?

I picked up on this story from an article in the National Post last week (Rarefied Beef) as it has long been a mystery to me why the lowly hamburger, one of the five main foods in the Canada Health Food Guide and sold by the billions across Canada, is only considered to be safe when it is cooked to the consistency of shoe leather. From my perspective, the hamburger ranks about even with a morning coffee at Tim Horton’s coffee as an essential part of the Canadian diet.

Personally, I like my hamburgers thick, juicy and cooked to a point where there you can still see a small ribbon of pink after that first delicious, mouth watering bite. When I was little, I used to snipe bits of raw hamburger when mom was mixing the ground meat with egg (also a raw ‘no-no’), onions (you can eat them raw, but I recently learned they suck in bacteria after being sliced), breadcrumbs (to make the meat go further), salt and pepper (pretty safe). A few of you may cringe at knowing at my mom let me have a bite of raw burger?

Well, my mom was a professional cook (today we would call her a Chef) for her entire life (she passed away in her early 90s) and never once did she turn a burger into shoe leather and, guess what, in some eighty years of cooking (she started young) she never poisoned anyone.

Photo (Web) The Violetta Burger, served up by the Rollin’ Etta food van in Portland, Oregon, is reported to be the best of the best in the Pacific Northwest: Link here

Cooking a thick burger until the pink is gone means the surface is likely charred to a crisp and most of the juice long since disappeared into those BBQ flare-ups. I have even watched as people squished the meat down to get rid of the final threat in that juice. Yummy, another hamburger sacrificed to the temperature police. You may just as well have picked up a Big Mac, or taken out one of those thin, frozen patties, thrown it in the microwave and nuked it until every little critter that might have at one lived in that burger, was dispatched to the great beyond. Most certainly, that burger will be totally safe, but what’s the point? Does it sound like a burger you would enjoy?

My mother-in-law (I loved her dearly), a war bride from England (the English wrote the book on overcooked meat), was a person who played it safe with every cut of meat. In true British tradition, she cooked a roast until the inside was as crisp and colourless as the outside. Mind you, it was mildly OK if you cut it very thin, smothered it in gravy and used plenty of ‘hot’ horseradish. One thing it could never be called was succulent to the last bite.

It took the better part of ten years to get her daughter (that would be my buddy and life partner), to slowly make the switch from over cooked to a touch of pink, then a rich, red in a roast. She now has no idea why she even liked meat that was cooked to a colourless, dry mass.

Photo (Web) This Prime Rib leaves the mouth watering.

My Dad and his friends seldom cooked anything beyond the point of searing the surface. Unless the meat was running red, it was considered over cooked. Perhaps their impatient hunger was partially the result of the half pack they had each consumed before deciding they were hungry!

For North America at least, the explanation seems to lie in the fact that someone, somewhere, sometime, suffered from food poisoning that was traced to a piece of infected meat. A recent article in the National Post mentioned a 1993 case where 73 Jack in the Box outlets suffered an outbreak of E. Coli poisoning in which four people died and 700 taken to the hospital. The story went virile, food-safe scientists jumped on the bandwagon, a minimum internal temperature of 70oC (160oF) was declared necessary to kill E. Coli and the rest, as they say, is history. It is a good thing those same scientists did not look at people killed or injured in car wrecks or we would all be walking.

A National Post reporter also spoke to one restaurateur, who said he was more than willing to cook burgers that leave a band of pink, as well as a little food value and taste, still intact. That restaurateur had no concerns about E. Coli as he felt basic cleanliness was the key to safe food. If you find a restaurant that overcooks everything, perhaps you should have the health inspectors check out the kitchen.

Also, as pointed out in the article, restaurants in many countries around the world serve various cuts of fish, chicken, meat and similar products, raw, the belief being, I suppose, that raw foods, including vegetables (many with skins), taste better and provide the best food value.

Photo (Web): Consider for a moment how much safer the Sushi in this display would be if it had first been cooked to a temperature 70oC!  

In North American cities and towns, the fear capitals of the world, tons of raw fish are sold in Sushi Bars each day. Just watch, some day, someone somewhere will suffer food poisoning after eating their favourite sushi lunch. The media will pick up the story, the fear will spread, the Sushi Scientists will become involved and shortly thereafter, all Sushi Bars will be required to buy thermometers to make sure the fish has been cooked to the magic 70 mark. For the connoisseur of fine sushi, the world will be forever changed.

Apologies to my sister Dianne, you will have to become accustomed to pan or deep fried sushi when you visit our home as we do not wish to take a chance on poisoning you. Yummy!

In closing, I think John stated it best in one of his many hits:

C’mon, everybody’s talking about
Ministers, sinisters, banisters and canisters
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Popeyes and bye-bye, bye-byes
All we are saying is give food a chance
All we are saying is give food a chance

Harold McNeill
Victoria, BC

Link to National Post article: Rarefied Beef

The temperature police in downtown Victoria

 

 

 

(2263)

BCTF Strike Rally

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


teachers_strike

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)

10344777_10152154172188061_6106133146895538735_n

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 and is being brought forward as a result of the current lock-out/strike situation.

(1346)

Terrorists or Warriors, what is the difference?

Written by Harold McNeill on February 23rd, 2012. Posted in Editorials


Terrorists or Warriors, what is the difference?
Is it religion, ethnicity, or just a matter of definition?

In 2006, at the same time radicalized Six Nations members were occupying the Douglas Street Estates in Caledonia, another event was taking place less than 200 kilometers Northeast in the Greater Toronto area.  In the GTA, eighteen men, reported to be radicalized Islamists, were being kept under intense surveillance by the RCMP and CSIS.

Following the arrest of the Islamists for allegedly planning a terrorist attack, the group became internationally known as the Toronto 18.  The arrests brought a deluge of accolades, particularly from the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice as well as other US and world leaders.

Prior to this arrest, heated rhetoric emanating from the US, accused Canada of being ‘soft’ on terrorists and having a border filled with holes. Despite the fact we had suffered only one major terrorist attack in the past century, that being the Air India bombing, the US felt Canada needed to be doing more to combat terrorism as it was defined by the US following the attack on the World Trade Centre.  That Canada had not joined the war in Iraq remained another sore point in Canada/US relations.

Meanwhile, in the parallel Caledonia case, law and order began to fall apart when heavily armed and masked Six Nations ‘Warriors’ invaded and secured the Douglas Street Estates, a nearly completed housing development on the outskirts town. When the police did nothing to restore law and order on Estate property, the owners obtained a court order directing the OPP to dislodge the Six Nations Warriors.

After making one poorly planned and executed assault, the police, heavily outgunned and outnumbered, were easily repelled by the Warriors. It was a humiliating defeat for the OPP and one from which they would not recover. Following the raid, the Court orders to remove the warriors from the Estate properties were quietly left to rot on the OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino’s desk.

Even as people were being assaulted and hospitalized, Commissioner Fantino would not remove his order to his officers to “stand-down”.    Those officers who chaffed at being restricted from arresting those found committing criminal offences and those who openly criticized the Commissioner’s order were removed from duty at the site and sent to some outpost to continue their career as a ‘red circled’ officer.

The Toronto 18 Terrorist Group

Back in Toronto, as bits of information were released by CSIS and the RCMP about the arrest of the Toronto 18 “terrorists’, the 18 men became widely known in Canada and around the world for the ineptitude of their Tim Horton’s planning sessions and the haphazard manner by which they went about recruiting members, several of whom were wide-eyed teenagers seduced by the glory of joining the jihadist cause. In the eyes of many, the whole episode reeked of political opportunism and police entrapment designed to show that Canada was a player in the fight against terrorism.

In one news report the Crown’s key witness, Mubin Shiakh (pictured right) recruited as an “agent provocateur” who infiltrated the group, made it clear the whole episode, while dangerous and could have resulted in death, was far from being a well planned terrorist event. The following is taken from the news report:

Having infiltrated what became known as the Toronto 18, he (Mubin Shiakh) doesn’t believe they (the Toronto 18) were capable of pulling off their ambitious plan to storm Parliament, set off bombs and behead our prime minister. But he believes that whatever course they settled on, it would have meant the destruction of human life.

Transcripts and stories about the setup of a radical training camp, in Washago, include a lot of trips to Tim Horton’s. The wannabe terrorists had a thing for French Vanilla coffee and hot chocolate.

“If you want to deal with terrorism,” Shaikh grins, “set up a Tim Horton’s.”

Before testifying, he asked for more money. But he says it was never conditional to his testimony. The idea he intentionally set these people up for profit seems laughable. Maybe I’m just not a risk-taker, but of all the get-rich-quick schemes, pissing off terrorists seems a notch below throwing yourself in front of a bus for the insurance. They may have been goofballs, prompted by jihadist propaganda, but goofballs attempting to acquire bombs.

In another account, McLean’s Magazine spoke about a second informant, Shaher Elsohemy (pictured right), who was paid millions of dollars for his testimony. While McLean’s, as expected, took a hard-nosed view toward the terrorists and their capabilities, the introductory paragraphs provide a bit of insight into the motivations of the informants:

When his testimony wraps up in the coming days, the man once known as Shaher Elsohemy will step off the stand and disappear back into the arms of the witness protection program. For obvious reasons, nothing about his new life can be revealed. Not his fake name. Not his whereabouts. Nothing. But one thing is absolutely certain: when he does leave the witness box and return to a location unknown, he can walk away a happy man—vindicated, finally, after all these years.

Until last week, when he showed his face for the first time since 2006, Elsohemy was famous for two things: helping the RCMP topple the so-called “Toronto 18,” and being paid millions of dollars in the process. For more than three years, the Mounties’ star informant had to stay hidden in the shadows while countless fellow Muslims attacked his credibility. They called him a traitor. A rat. A money-hungry liar who deserves to “suffer in this life and the next.”

Let us accept that at least some of the Toronto 18 might be defined as bonafide terrorists and, left to their own devices, may have mounted some kind of serious attack. However, at the time of arrest, the eighteen had not yet harmed a hair on anyone’s head and had not damaged any property. In a normal investigation, they would most certainly have been charged with Conspiring to Commit an Indictable Offence with various sub-offences being listed in the indictment.

However, this was not the outcome as these men were Muslims and that fact alone lead to their being defined as “terrorists” as opposed to “criminals’. The result, they were charged under Canada’s new Terrorism Act, an Act that changed many of the rules of evidence, created much greater secrecy and provided more severe penalties.

One has only to scan the charges to see just how vague they had become as opposed to equivalent charges in the Criminal Code. Following is the disposition of 11 of the 18 cases:

Zakaria Amara
Guilty plea, October 2009, Appeal dismissed 2010
Participating in a terrorist group, intending to cause an explosion for the benefit of a terrorist group
Life in prison

Saad Khalid
Guilty plea, May 2009
Participating in a militant plot with the intention of causing an explosion
20 years in prison

Fahim Ahmad
Guilty plea, October 2010
Importing firearms, participating in a terrorist group and instructing others to carry out activities for that group
16 years in prison

Saad Gaya
Participating in a militant plot with the intention of causing an explosion
Guilty plea, September 2009, Appeal allowed 2010
12 to 18 years in prison

Steven Chand
Participating in a terrorist group
Convicted, June 2010
10 years in prison

Ali Dirie
Participating in a terrorist group
Guilty plea, September 2009
7 years in prison

Amin Durrani
Participating in a terrorist group
Guilty plea, January 2010
7½ years in prison

Jahmaal James
Participating in a terrorist group
Guilty plea, February 2010
7 years in prison

Asad Ansari
Participating in a terrorist group
Convicted, June 2010
6½ years in prison

Nishanthan Yogakrishnan
(previously tried as a youth, publication ban lifted on his name in September 2009)
Participating in and contributing to a terrorist group
Convicted, September 2008
2½ years in prison

Shareef Abdelhaleem
Participating in a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion
The decision not yet handed down.

Charges Stayed in the Following Cases

Ibrahim Aboud
Participating in a terrorist group, training for terrorist purposes
Charges stayed, April 2008

Ahmad Mustafa Ghany
Participating in a terrorist group, training for terrorist purposes
Charges stayed, April 2008

Abdul Qayyum Jamal
Planning to cause a deadly explosion (dropped in November 2007), participating in the activities of a terrorist group and receiving training from a terrorist group.
Charges stayed, April 2008

Yasim Mohamed
Participating in a terrorist group, training for terrorist purposes
Charges stayed, April 2008

Youth 2
Participating in a terrorist group, receiving training to be part of a terrorist group
Charges stayed, February 2007

Youth 3
Participating in a terrorist group, receiving training to be part of a terrorist group
Charges stayed, July 2007

Youth 4
Participating in a terrorist group, receiving training to be part of a terrorist group
Charges stayed, July 2007

Media outlets were severely restricted as to what they could publish about the case in that they could only report on evidence given in court.  Even the preliminary hearing was cut short after Mubin Shiakh had given evidence.  The case had then been sent to trial by direct indictment. Between guilty pleas and charges that were stayed the full story was never made public.

The Caledonia Terrorists

In Caledonia, the Six Nations Warriors had completed planning that went well beyond that completed by the Toronto 18. They had stockpiled numerous weapons and sufficient ammunition to start a small war, invaded a small community that was part of Caledonia, dug trenches across main highways, built barricades, burned bridges, torched a Hydro Station, burned cars, fired shots and assaulted people, as a shortlist of their activities. They dressed in camouflage gear, wore masks to shield their identity, flew “their” nation’s flag, tore down and burned Canadian Flags. They confronted police and residents at every opportunity. For a visual of some of these events go to the Photo Gallery at the end of the Caledonia Post. 

Only one charge was ever laid against any of the Warriors and that charge, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, was finally disposed of last year with the conviction of a man who was 18 at the time of the offence (22 at the time of conviction). He was sentenced to 18 months, so with time served he had spent less than a year in jail.

How could it be that one group of Canadian Citizens were left to walk free while another group of Canadian Citizens are now serving sentences that range up to life in prison for planning (rather poor planning) of an event that never came close to being carried out? Had those involved in Caledonia been Muslims, the outcome would have been very, very different. There would now be dozens of First Nations Muslims serving life in prison for “terrorist’ acts.

We should all be concerned about differential law enforcement in Canada. Why should Muslim Canadians be treated differently just because they are Muslims, of which a few (very few) are radicalized Islamists? On the other hand, why should Canadians, just because they are radicalized First Nations and feel their cause is just, be allowed to disregard the law with impunity.

Caledonia is no different from hundreds of other communities across Canada that depend upon the Government, Police and Courts to uphold the law in a fair and equitable manner.  When all three levels abdicate that responsibility and anarchy is allowed to rein, as it was (and is) in Caledonia, respect for our institutions of law and order is greatly diminished.

Harold McNeill
Victoria, BC

Food for Thought:

Over the history of our country, a variety of immigrant groups have been subjected to various forms of discrimination. The Chinese, Japanese, German’s, Italians, Irish, Scottish and the list goes on depending on the decade and the particular status of the group in the dominant society, have each shouldered their fair share.

Since 911 Muslims, East Indians and others have shouldered the greatest burden of discrimination.  For a variety of reasons, Native Indians have been marginalized and discriminated against from the very beginning.

Discrimination should be the reason for great concern as it diminishes our society in every way. That being said, I do not think discrimination alone is sufficient reason to become a radicalized Native, Islamist or any other particular group.  To import hatred into a country that has accepted a person on good faith is simply wrong.

(1904)

Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    February 16, 2020 |

    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]

  • Harold McNeill

    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

    I’ve copied just one sentence from Mulligan’s longer discussion, “And I think people don’t like the idea that somebody who’s, for example, was drunk and ran into you and you become a quadriplegic is going to be treated exactly the same way you would in terms of getting benefits (go to minute 00:15:26 to see his full comment)

    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    January 5, 2020 |

    […] 28. The past as a guide to the future (Part III): Over the past 60 years, many activities the police once performed as a natural part of their daily duty, eventually became incompatible with achieving their basic goals. What happened? (August 2019) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories Why I stand with science? - McNeill Life Stories

    November 11, 2019 |

    […] During the Ice Age, the Earth’s average temperature was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it is today. That was enough to keep snow from melting during the summers in northern regions. As snow fell on the snow, glaciers formed. (NASA Earth Observatory) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories How to Game an Election - McNeill Life Stories

    September 18, 2019 |

    […] The Federal Conservatives and Seymour Riding Association complied but one day later those memes will be shared by every third party social media site and by thousands of supporters where the message will be taken as a statements of the fact.  Five years from now those memes will still be circulating. (Link here to background on the SNC Lavalin matter) […]