Tim Hortons Morning Tidbits

Written by Harold McNeill on October 9th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Human Rights Abuse: A Selective Policy

The Raeside Cartoon  ( October 9, 2013) in the Times Colonist this morning makes an important point about how we choose our battles.  It is always better to pick a small PR battle you might gain some points than to pick a big battle you know you will lose big time.


Smokers, An Endangered Species

The CRD in Victoria seems set to introduce some strict new rules concerning smoking in public places.  In addition to all the usual prohibitions (restaurants, bars, work place, in cars with children, etc.) and recently extended to public parks and beaches. It will not be long before smoking in a public place (e.g. parking lot, sidewalk, etc) will be taboo.  This may seem harsh, but on a recent visit to Kyoto, Japan, a city of 1.47 million, smoking in all public areas is prohibited (that includes all streets and parks).

On October 1, the price of a cartoon of cigarettes when up by $2.00 bringing the package cost closer to $10.00.  Later in my smoking life, I sometimes smoked two packages a day, so today I would fork over up to $600 a month ($7,200 per annum), a tidy sum.  Having been a long term smoker (age 1 5 – 45), I finally chucked the habit and have never looked back.  That’s a lot of dollars in my pocket, to say nothing of the health in my lungs.

Fifty years ago about half the population of Canada smoked on a regular basis, but today that number has dropped to 17% nationwide and to 14% in BC. In the Victoria Capital Region, only 11% light up.  Perhaps the lower rate in BC can be explained by the number of high (oops, I mean, high number) of marihuana smokers.  (Details and statistics from Jack Knox, Times Colonist, October 9, 2013).

Smoking in Victoria



Mount Albert Edward, Climbers Found Alive

Written by Harold McNeill on October 3rd, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Christopher Yao and Jean Simon-Lessard

Climbers Found Alive on Mount Albert Edward

This morning’s headline in the Times Colonist brought back memories of an adventure that my sister Dianne McNeill, her partner Michel Payeur and I shared last year about this same time when we tackled Mount Albert Edward. (Link to Story and Photos)

In the present incident, “Jean-Simon Lessard, 22, and Christopher Yao, 31,(pictured above) were found in good condition after four days stranded in frigid weather at the 1,500-meter level near Moat Lake, three to four kilometers from Mount Albert Edward, which is where the men intended to go.”  (Times Colonist, Thursday, October 3, 2013, Link to story and Photos)

In the McNeill – Payeur challenge, taken in late September 2012, the weather was clear and crisp on our outbound trek to Moet Lake and even seemed promising the next morning, but by late afternoon that second day things deteriorated quickly when a storm front moved in. The temperatures dropped and the surrounding mountains were soon covered with heavy cloud that produced rain at the lower levels and snow above the freezing level at 1000 meters.

While Dianne and Michel proceeded with our plan to tackle the mountain by main route along Circlet Lake, I opted to cross Moet Lake by boat with a young man camping at the same site. On the north side of the lake, snow from previous slides had nearly reached the shoreline and, combined with the steep terrain and slippery conditions, made climbing conditions nearly impossible. We were not able to reach the main trail to intersect  Dianne and Michel by that time faced their own challenges and had to make their descent after dark in weather and trail conditions that were very dangerous.

Full Story and Photos join Dianne, Michel and Harold at:  Mount Albert Edward: An Adventure:

Full Story and Photos of Jean and Christopher go to: Times Colonist:


O’Canada, A Gender Neutral National Anthem

Written by Harold McNeill on October 2nd, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

O’Canada, A Gender Neutral National Anthem

1920: The World is Going to Hell in a Hand Basket
I rather expect these gentlemen thought it was…

I see the “Let’s change the National Anthem”  tag line is back in the news.  Hmm, seems that was news about three years ago when the subject was brought up in Parliament.  Why is this small change such a hard thing to accomplish. I suppose we like to keep our caves looking and sounding the same (and our women in line). Gosh, I liked Rock and Roll in the 1950s, why did they have to start bringing out a bunch of new stuff that I didn’t like as much.  See the original 2010 comments on changes to the anthem at:

O’Canada … In All Thy Son’s Command


What is Canada Worth?

Written by Harold McNeill on October 1st, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Pax Canadiana

A Canadian debates the issue with representative of Uncle Sam.  Could that guy on the right
be Don Cherry or Rob Ford in disguise?

What are We Worth?

An article in the October 1, 2013, issue of the National Post (A10 Link), reviews a new book by Diane FrancisMerger of the Century. In the book Diane suggests Canada could extract reparation payments in the order of $17-Trillion or about $492,529 per woman, man and child.

A tidy sum indeed, but why sell our soul to the United States when all we need do is wait as that country slowly melts down, then take over.  We have the lions share of every resource (water, oil, natural gas, land, etc) so all we need do is gain access to US Citizens (we would deal with them as migrant workers) to help us develop our resources. Our dreams of world supremacy could be realized within two decades.

In a previous post, “Pax Canadiana” I explored this possibility in depth and after watching events in the US House and Senate over the past few weeks, I think the dream of Pax Canadiana may be closer at hand than I had previously anticipated.  As of midnight last night, the US can’t even pay their own bills let alone raise $17-Trillion to purchase Canada.  Nice try Diane.

Link Here to Pax Canadiana



Dietrich Family Visit

Written by Harold McNeill on September 28th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Dietrich Family Visit

Dietrich Family with Lynn McNeill
Photo (Mout Tolmie Lookout): Lynn, Paul, Jodi and Griffin

Link Here to Facebook Photos

After a quick stop at Tim Hortons, it was a whirlwind tour of Victoria with the Dietrich family (Paul, Jodi and Griffin) who hail from Belwood, Ontario (not far Debbie and John in Guelph). While the weather was blustery in the early morning, it cleared by 10 am, so we were off and running for the “Six Hour” McNeill Family, Tour Special.

After a city orientation spiel at the top Mount Tolmie, we followed the waterfront to the breakwater, were we scouted out a few starfish and watched as a dozen or so novice scuba divers made their way into the murky depths. This particular dive appeared to include several several boys and girls in their early mid-teens.

Looking across the Strait we could see what Paul and I thought it was a large cargo ship sitting at anchor, but Lynn, with those sharp travel agent eyes, told us it was a cruise ship waiting to dock. Guess who won…(damn women). As the noon whistle sounded, the Holland America MS Westerdam, came into view and was soon nudging its way toward the jetty.

Not one to shirk an opportunity, Griffin rushed over to assist the Coast Guard Pilot and shore crew with docking (photo below). We suppose the pilot did not see Griffins frantic call for a full stop as the ship nearly rammed the jetty. Reading the paper later that day, we learned the Westerdam would be the last cruise ship to visit the city this season so we had timed our little tour rather well.

Our next stop was Fisherman’s Wharf to chow down on a couple of platters of Barb’s Fish and Chips with the required side of deep fried oysters. We even managed to get a few seals to join us for our early afternoon snack.  I think Paul or Griffin posted a video of Griffin offering an outstretched hand to on of those cute the little seals.

We capped off the tour with a visit to China town and then home. It was a short, but great visit with another branch of this amazing  extended family we hold so near and dear. Perhaps we will catch them for another day on their return trip.


Photo:  Griffin Dietrich works at getting the MS Westerdam into position at the Cruise Ship Dock.

Dietrich Family Visit with MS Westerdam


Papal Infallibility

Written by Harold McNeill on September 24th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Papal Infallibility: A Cornerstone of the Catholic Church

As a one time practicing Catholic (1), I have always been troubled by the ever changing positions taken by the Church. A large part of this stems from the churches concept of Papal Infallibility (2). It struck me that this concept tended to place the God (the Catholic God at least) in a very negative light as He was constantly changing his (or her) mind on key subjects held near and dear to church teachings.


Doom and Gloom

Written by Harold McNeill on July 14th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


“I realize that few phenomena are more tiresome than people of my age, and older, grimly lamenting the decline and fall of almost everything… (Conrad Black, Editorial in “Ideas”, National Post, July 13, 2013)

A decade back, Conrad Black and I were infrequently on the same page. That has changed. In recent years it seems this deeply conservative man has experienced somewhat of an epiphany, perhaps the result of having spent the better part of half the past decade as a guest of the US prison authorities. From reading his frequent comments, it seems he came to realize that many of his fellow prisoners, more than a few of which were lifers, presented far less danger to American society than a good many of the Bay Street and Wall Street Traders who were likely to be his associates in earlier years.


Duffy Dollar rebuffed by the Bank of Canada

Written by Harold McNeill on May 26th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

“For goodness sakes” (mom’s saying), the Times Colonist(as reported by columnist Jack Knox) choose not print a copy of the the Duffy Dollar cartoon after another Canadian newspaper apparently received a written warning from the Bank of Canada advising it was against the law to publish images of fake Canadian bills.

Duffy Dollar
Now, if the Times Colonist is so meek they can be cowed by such a mindless threat, it makes one wonder how they might handle a real exposé involving influential political or business persons suspected of wrong doing if those persons threatened with a law suit.

As far as this fake bill is concerned, it is hard to image that someone might be fooled into believing it is real. If that was the case, I know of an awesome second hand bridge on the Interstate 5 in Washington State, just south of the US-Canada boarder, that is up for sale. $90,000 might do the trick.



  • 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) […]

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    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) […]

  • Harold McNeill

    August 21, 2019 |

    For those who followed the earlier post about the cost of ICBC Auto insurance coverage in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (linked in comments) here is another follow-up article.

    This article again confirms earlier assertions that public-private insurers such as that which ICBC provides, is among the best in Canada in terms of rates and coverage. A link is provided in the original story.

  • 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.