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.


Save our Rats

Written by Harold McNeill on January 18th, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Save our Rats

“Save our Rats”, “Save our Rats”
The chant is gaining strength outside the Oak Bay Municipal Hall

January18, 2915:  Headline news in the Times Colonist today: “Activists to cast eyes over deer cull in Oak Bay

An earlier article in the Times Colonist was titled: “Killing deer is not pretty, Metchosin mayor warns.”

The ongoing discussion of whether ”to cull or not to cull” seems to inspire considerable debate. Some have felt the ‘rat’ should be given the same consideration as deer and rabbits. Personally, I would not kill an animal unnecessarily, but will admit I have happily culled a few rats over my time in West Saanich. I have also killed animals for food (Lynn and I ran a small farm for several years). For those who hunt and kill a deer, moose, rabbit or other animal and then put the meat in the freezer, I have no problem, but go out and kill a grizzly, mountain sheep or other animal living in the wilderness just for the thrill of it or to gain trophy, I have a problem.

Close to 100% of people I know, except for a few vegetarians, vegans and others (like our friend Andrew), eat beef, pork, chicken, duck and a hundred other kinds of animal and bird products that cover our grocery store shelves. Those poor animals and birds are often raised and then killed in rather nasty ways, yet we really don’t give a damn as we just want the end product that is nicely wrapped in plastic.

Back on the farm, believe me, we often came to love a cow, pig, sheep, chicken or even an ugly ducking just as you might love your dog, cat or horse, We once had to tell the kids (Jay, Kari, Christine and Sean) we had sold the steer and bought other meat as there was no way they were going to eat “Roast Ghost” for dinner, Ghost being the name we had given to that poor steer now residing on our plates. We had to lie as we didn’t want the kids picketing the driveway with their friends, besides it was to late to save our friend, Ghost.

Photo: University of Victoria Groundskeeper removes rabbit from UVIC woods. The man suggested people have been contributing to the problem by dropping off unwanted rabbits and then overfeeding them as is the case in the one he is carrying away.

In some of the worst cases, we will cull other humans by the hundreds of thousands if we think our cause is just (we cull until one side wins or we reach a stalemate and both sides call it quits). Two World Wars are good examples. We don’t even need consensus to carry out this cull if our Government just decides to jump in as did the US and others in Viet Nam and Iraq. Both those wars ended in a stalemate, but not until tens of thousands of  innocent men, woman and children were killed during the cull. Many were “collateral damage” in these various wars, but that was (is) the price of carrying out a human cull.. Perhaps if we just viewed deer, rabbits and seals as people, we would not feel so squeamish about carrying out the cull.

So let’s not get so uptight about the loss of a few deer or rabbits. If you think they are infringing upon your property rights, just quietly and without fanfare do them in or arrange to have them deported to an animal sanctuary in Texas.

If you disagree, then I ask: “What do you think about rats? Don’t rats have just as much right to your protection as does Bambi, Peter Rabbit and those cuddly, innocent looking, baby seals?”   I bet Sarah MacLaughlin, would never be caught carrying a sign that read “Save our Rats”.



(Feb 14 2016 222)


Perfect Hand in Euchre

Written by Harold McNeill on January 2nd, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Lynn McNeill Hand in Euchre

The above Euchre hand was accomplished with a very big “IF” that left Lynn McNeill on pins and needles for seven consecutive passes.  In the game, Lynn was dealing, followed by Harold, Garth (her partner) and Esther. Lynn had dealt herself that perfect hand in Diamonds. No, she did not cheat folks, Lynn would never do that in this lifetime. A Club was turned as trump so, of course, Lynn could only count that perfect hand if she had a chance to bid in another suit – that was the big “if”.

The bidding began:

Harold – pass (crap hand)
Garth – pass (crap hand)
Esther – pass  (so, so, but not in Clubs)
Lynn then turned down the initial trump card

Second Round:

Harold – pass (same crap hand)
Garth – pass (same crap hand)
Esther – considered whether she was strong enough to take in another suit, then, after some hesitation, ‘passed’
Lynn erupted (uncharacteristically I might add) by calling Diamonds and throwing down her hand. Lynn never lets us throw down a hand as she wants to play fully play out each round.

Not one of us had ever been close to the perfect hand in either Euchre or Cribbage.

What were the odds of that hand coming up?

A check of Internet sources suggest the odds of getting that hand as something in the order of 1 in 100,000. The fact Lynn was dealing and could not use the trump card significantly decreased her chances as it seemed possible someone might grab the Club (in the first round) or Spades or Hearts in the second.  As it turned out, no one else held a strong hand.

The odds are likely beyond that for the initial hand, as it seems likely they would have increased significantly by having to wait for those seven passes.  If someone picks up on this post and can suggest the final odds, that would be appreciated.

Oh, just to mention, Lynn did go alone with the hand and that resulted in she and her partner, Garth, picking up 4 points to win third set and the three game series.

As congratulations were in order, Garth popped the top on another bottle of Champaign to complete our New Years 2014 Celebration.  Oh well, the 9:00 am ferry will work just as well as the 7:00 am, as we are all on our way to Seattle, then San Francisco to further celebrate the winning hand.

Happy New Year Everyone

Garth Opens Champaign


Victoria Mutiny Commemoration

Written by Unknown Author on December 16th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


December 21, 1918: Mutineers March down Fort Street in Victoria.

Honour the Resisters of the 259th Battalion

When: Sunday, December 21, 2014

7:30 AM – Memorial Walk, departing from Carnarvon Park (2801 Henderson Rd, at Carnarvon Street, in Oak Bay), following the route of the 259 Battalion

9:00 AM – Ceremony at corner of Fort and Quadra Street (location of 1918 Mutiny)

On the morning of Dec. 21st, 1918, French-Canadian conscripts in the 259th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force mutinied at the corner of Fort and Quadra streets in downtown Victoria. They refused to embark for service in a new war, as the Conservative government of Canada committed troops to aid the White Russian forces fighting the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. The war on the Western Front had ended six weeks earlier. So sending conscripts to fight in the Russian Far East had dubious legal grounds.

But at the point of the bayonet, the mutinous men were forced to embark for Russia. The ringleaders were shackled together on a ship, sent to Vladivostok and given sentences of between 30 days and 3 years imprisonment with hard labour for their act of resistance.

In 2014, on the 96th anniversary of the mutiny, we are gathering for the annual commemoration to remember this forgotten moment in the history of Victoria, Canada and the world.

The event has two parts:

1. A ceremony at the corner of Fort and Quadra streets (9:00AM) to honour these men’s resistance to imperialism and to demand a formal apology from the Canadian government for the families and a full pardon for the French-Canadian soldiers wrongfully convicted of mutiny at Victoria.

2. A commemorative walk will leave at dawn (7:30AM) from Carnarvon Park (2801 Henderson Road, at Carnarvon Street in Oak Bay) to the ceremony at Fort and Quadra streets. Highlights will be provided along the route. After the ceremony, the walk will proceed to the Rither’s Wharf (near Ogden Point), followed by brunch at a local cafe. Transportation for people with mobility issues who would like to participate in the walk is being accommodated. Please email

Sponsored by the Victoria Peace Committee

Join the event on Facebook

Learn more about the Victoria Mutiny


Privacy on Facebook

Written by Harold McNeill on December 2nd, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

March 21, 2018 (547).  Update.  With the current furore over data mining on Facebook, this post is again brought forward from December 2014. Was has increased in frequency in recent months and years is the number of posts asking you to find out something about yourself.   Each such post often asks a number of innocuous questions, that help to define you and your interests.

Every link you share and every comment you make helps to define who you are as a person and under the current setting profiles, that information can be mined. Anyone who shares information about themselves must be aware that information can be used to help define how best to influence you on a wide variety of issues.

Perhaps this article has even more relevance four years after it was written.




Privacy Notice by way of the Rome Convention

This post is brought forward and updated from a Tim Horton’s Morning Post of September 2012, as almost every day I see another comment invoking this privacy warning. While it only takes a moment to check SNOPES or other sites to find out whether the Rome Convention has some standing, many still accept it at face value. Even if it did have some effect, does that really make any difference?


Thank you BC Ferries

Written by Harold McNeill on November 15th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


The following letter was first published on Facebook following a rant by an Island resident, Sean Smith of Nanaimo.
After making the post it seems many FB friends also think highly of the service.

November 15, 2014
Victoria, B.C.

Dear Sean Smith,

Re: Your Rant about BC Ferries (Link Here)

I went through your rant point by point and while some of what is said seems superficially reasonable, if one delves in deeper, I think you’re wrong on almost every point. Having ridden various coastal ferries thousands of times over the past fifty years, I find the service to be exceptional and would stack it above every other ferry service in the world (e.g. England, NZ, Mediterrean, USA, etc.). Many of the others provide good service, they just don’t match BC Ferries.


Bert Ramsden (1921 – 2014): A Canadian War Hero

Written by Harold McNeill on November 10th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

In Memory of Herbert W. Ramsden
1921 – 2014

Herbert (Bert) W. Ramsden

On November 3, 2014 Pilot Officer Herbert (Bert) W. Ramsden, passed away peacefully at his home in Saanich, British Columbia. The young war hero and others who fought with him in the Second World War shall not be forgotten.

“At the age of 93, Bert joins his beloved wife, Marie who predeceased him in 2004, as well as parents, Joseph and Mercy and brothers, Cal (Eleanor) and Cec (Bess).  Born in Castor, Alta., Bert is survived by his son, Don (Nancy); daughter, Karen (Chip); grandchildren, Andrea (Chris), Jennie (Trevor), Jon, Jamie and Jeff and great-grandchild, Zachary.” (McCall’s Funeral Chapel)

memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, November 14, 2014  at
St. Aidan’s United Church, 3703 St. Aidan’s Street in Victoria.  

After a chance meeting at a Son’s of Norway dinner in early 2012, I continued to meet regularly with Bert over that spring to learn more about his years as a bomber pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force.  Bert still had many photographs along with all his log books from the time he began training, until he mustered out in 1945.

His service with the RCAF included dozens of missions into the Fjords of Norway, where, in one battle that became known as Black Friday, eleven of Bert’s fellow pilots and navigators were killed. Bert and his co-pilot along with a few other aircraft from the 404 Beaufighter Squadron  managed to escape and return to base.  Over the course of several meetings Bert told me the full story of his war experience.  Thaty story, titled Black Friday in Norway, was written and posted in June, 2012.

Ninety-one at the time of our meetings, Bert was ever the affable pilot officer who was still more than able to charm the young women at our various coffee stops and restaurants we frequented along the way. While his vision was failing, his mind remained sharp as a tack and his easy going manner made him a hit.  Bert was also a humble man who did not think his actions in war were anything extraordinary – he was just doing his job.

The photos in the post and in the photo album attached to the post were copied mainly  from Bert’s personal files and from various Web Sites that carried information about Black Friday battle.  During the period of research and writing, an amazing coincidence became apparent with that coincidence being written up in a separate post (linked in the main story).

Tomorrow we shall take some time to remember Bert and the thousands of other young men and woman who left their homes, families, farms, businesses and careers to join in the Second World War effort in Europe and other parts off the world.  While Bert returned home without injury, many of his comrades in arms were not so lucky and it is on November 11 of each year we celebrate these young men and women whose sacrifice made to made our world a better place.  While I say that Bert returned without injury, it is clear he still carried with him, even at the age of 91, great sadness that he returned while so many of his flying comrades died in the battles in the skies above Norway and elsewhere.

We shall remember Bert.

Harold McNeill
November 10, 2014
Victoria, B.C.

Link to Black Friday in Norway

Link to an Amazing Coincidence

Remembering Viet Nam

Link to Remembrance Day 2012  (with photo of Lynn’s Dad and Mom at their wedding, in England, just before Lynn’s Dad left for the front in Italy).



The Secret World of the CBSA

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


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.



  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email:

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.