Vaccines and the Good Old Days

Written by Harold McNeill on April 17th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


If you have a child, it is your decision whether or not to vaccinate. But, you might stand by the strength of your conviction and stop taking your own preventative medications. Why would you want to risk falling prey to one of the side effects of those medications even if the danger is minimal?  There is no better way to show you love your child than standing side-by-side with them if your decision is to not vaccinate.

November 27, 2014  I bring this post back to the top to demonstrate how little we fear once common killers that have made a return, yet becomes panic-stricken over one “ebola” case in Texas. Calls for travel bans, additional airport screening, isolation of passengers, quarantines, cruise ships in a state of lockdown, aircraft placed in hangers for decontamination, passengers not allowed to board aircraft even after being screened, people wrapped in bubble wrap on flights, etc.  How is it that government and media can so easily push us into a panic state at the drop of a pin, yet when an outbreak of a disease that at one time killed thousands in our country and around the world appears, we just shrug our shoulders? In the face of all this fear about ebola, there is no rationale explanation as to why it has taken so long to begin the ‘War” on that dreaded disease that is killing thousands in West Africans. We could really make a difference, but six CF-18’s to fight ISIS – that’s just symbolic.

May 17, 2014.  An excellent article on “A Failure to Vaccinate” begins on Page 1, of the  Vancouver Sun. An 80-90% vaccination rate is needed to prevent a widespread outbreak.  Check the details on page A6 and A7 of the Sun or read the Post below. Think it over folks. (Link Here to the Sun Article)

Children of the 1940’s

My sister and I grew up at a time when many childhood communicable diseases such as measles, whooping cough and others were feared by every parent.  While vaccines had been developed for polio, scarlet fever and others, many killers still remained.  In PolioCrusade_t614every community, children were dying for lack of effective vaccines and over the course of the 18th  and 19th  centuries, millions of children and adults around the world died. Millions more were left with debilitating, lifelong scars. Except for Chicken Pox, my sister Louise and I luckily escaped the most serious.

Photo (Web): In this polio campaign photo a nurse stands with a recovering child.  Millions of children were afflicted with that dreaded disease and while many died, just as many were left with lifelong after effects.

After decades of careful medical research, more and more vaccines (and safer, more effective vaccines) were being developed. By the 1980’s most childhood killer diseases, including measles, were on the brink of extinction. Many others had already been taken out of existence.

Was the world was safe? Well, almost.  It did not take many years after the rate of infection had dropped to very low levels, for a few to begin to question the possible side effects. It was then parents stopped vaccinating because they feared the side effects more than the disease. Most families who refuse have never seen communities devastated by various communicable diseases. It seemed that a few pseudoscientists and celebrities carried more weight than mainstream doctors and scientists.


Afghanistan: The End of an Era

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

Chinook lifts Canadian troops our of Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, US Forces Chinook Helicopters airlift out the last of the Canadian troops
while circling Blackhawk gunships provide cover. 

March 13, 2014:  Kabul, Afghanistan

Today the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan comes to an end.  The departure of our troops seems eerily similar to the final retreat of the US Forces from Viet Nam on April 29, 1975.  We must strive to treat the men and woman of our military much better than was the fate suffered by the those returning from Viet Nam.


Rant of a Shock Jock

Written by Harold McNeill on February 14th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Texas Newsman, Dan Hansen, in Dallas-Fort Worth
NFL Openly Gay Draft Choice: Will the right choice be made?
(Link Below)

I seldom listen to, let alone share, the rants of news show hosts who earn a living by being controversial, but I logged into this one because it was shared by a friend, Bria Wilson, whose FB postings are balanced. At first I flushed, then was shocked, shocked to see someone from the Southern US, let alone a broadcaster from Texas, speak in this manner? True, I am biased against much of what flows from the lips of those southern shock jocks and others, but this is worth a listen – then a little reflection upon our own position in these matters.

Celebrating our Differences.

Link Here: Dallas sportcaster’s shocking shocking response to Michael Sam coming out as gay.



Jiquilillo, Nicaragua: Community Support Fundraiser

Written by Harold McNeill on February 7th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

GNS Group to Nicaragua

Photo (GNS Newsletter) (March, 2013).  Cheryl Murtland and staff from SMU with another group of students at
Monty’s Surf Camp in Jiquilillo, Nicaragua. The little kids are from the nearby community of Jiquilillo.

Fireside Grill, Victoria, BC (February 6, 2014)

It was a great evening of meeting old friends and making new ones as Cheryl Murtland and others from St. Michaels University School, continued their work with another group of students as they hosted a fundraiser for theSMUS Students Together Works Society (1).  The funds will be used to support projects in and around he remote community of Jiquilillo, Nicaragua.

Together Works Society, a Canadian non-profit Society, is the brainchild of Donald (Monty) Montgomery (2), a teacher from Parksville, British Columbia, who runs a Surf Camp near Jiquilillo on the northwest coast of Nicaragua.

Photo (Fireside Grill): A few of the many SMUS students who have diligently worked on the fundraiser.

In April, these students along with fifteen others will be travelling to Nicaragua to help with Surf Camp projects as well as taking time to savour the sun, surf and sand at the camp.

Given the -6C temperature and three centimetres of fresh snow this morning, the incentives to travel to Monty’s little hide-a-way is even more enticing.


McNeill Solutions and Seaside Magazine

Written by Harold McNeill on February 4th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Screenshot of the February Seaside Magazine Web Site
(also, page 7 of the February 2, 2014 Edition)
The Homepage of the Website changes each month to match the cover of the hard copy edition.
Link to Seaside Magazine

Link to Photos of the new Seaside Magazine Reception at Mary Winspear Centre

Link to the Most Recent Update (February 27, 2014)

Congratulations to Sue Hodgson, Publisher of Seaside Magazine on the launch of the new Magazine Website.  The site, designed by Sean McNeill of McNeill Solutions, provides a bold new online presence for the locally owned and published magazine.

Sue Hodgson and her talented staff, Editor in Chief, Allison Smith; Design Assistant, Kelsey Bormann, and Advertising Sales, Marcella MacDonald, have worked to create a dynamic magazine catering to community interests along the West Coast with particular focus on lower Vancouver Island.  Sue speaks to the collaboration between Seaside Magazine and McNeill Solutions:

“Seaside is all about celebrating the community, so we were thrilled to work with locally owned web design and marketing company McNeill Solutions. Designer Sean McNeill helped us to come up with a website that truly reflects Seaside Magazine.”

From his side of the equation, Sean states:

“It has been an exciting project to create with a magazine that’s so focused on local culture. Working with Seaside came to be through the strength of referrals in our community. We are excited to continue working with them in the future.”

Congratulations, Sean, on a job well done and to Sue and staff for their continued pursuit of excellence in the production of a quality magazine.

Harold McNeill

Link here to a January 2013 article on the launch of the Seaside Magazine 

SIC Beauties: A new post being written explores the efforts of a group of young people as they work to enhance their artistic abilities as well as bring a high level of social commitment to their entrepreneurial efforts. It is in this new world that many young people seek to find new ways to interact with each other and with their business contacts.  The photos below include several Young Entrepreneurs who are part of the SIC Beauty Crew.

SIC Beauty Crew Members

Sean and Crew 2



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


A Call for Justin to Come Home

Over 100,000 citizens of the United States have signed the petition calling for Justin Bieber to be expelled from the US and his Green Card revoked.  The petition claims Justin is not a fitting role model for young people in the United States.  US law requires the White House respond to any petition with 100,000 or more signatures.

Following is a partial list of celebrities that have signed the petition: Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, MacCauley Culkin, Charlie Sheen, Alex Baldwin, Anna Nicole Smith, Tonya Harding, Mel Gibson, Geraldo Rivera, Denis Rodman, Kobe Bryant, O.J. Simpson, Ozy Osborne, Keanin Reeves, River Phoenix, Exl Rose and Eminem. 

Perhaps Bieber should come home as it seems it is he who is being lead astray.

Oh, a good post of Facebook yesterday featuring O.J. Simpson and referencing to Denver.  The last time we had a Bronco chase that was so widely watched was in Los Angeles.



Canada: What are we doing with our resource wealth?

Written by Harold McNeill on January 30th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Profit from ‘Stateoil’, the #4 ranked oil company in the world and 70% owned by the Norwegian Government, has made all Norwegians Crown millionaires   (Link to Article) (Link to Ownership). When our family visited Norway in the 1970s, hundreds of oil rigs were being built. The North Sea oil boom was well underway and from that date forward, Norway kept tight control of their share of the resource.

What can Canada learn?

As a result of a FB post made by the daughter of a Cold Lake High School friend about free university in Norway, and an earlier post I made about the quality of ‘birth to death’ social services in Oman as compared to Canada, a few folks were inspired to take me to task. My position in both cases was that Canada and the Provinces need to make better choices regarding the use of our natural resources. Let’s take a look at how Norway manages its resources.


Emotion Rules the Day

Written by Harold McNeill on January 8th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Animal Collage

Those we Love and Those we Don’t

It is immensely interesting how we humans choose to differentiate between animal species (including other humans). Most often it seems it is the “cute and cuddly” factor that makes all the difference.  In the above picture, which would be the first and second choice for a pet?  Of course, who could resist that little pup seal, perhaps even a little piggy under the right circumstances, but a rat or a nest of snakes, very unlikely.

Now, take that seal pup. The WTO recently ruled the EU was justified in prohibiting the import to seal pelts and products based only on “public morals concerns” (National Post,). At the same time the WTO clearly stated there was no “legal, scientific or conservation” concerns with respect to seals.  In a word, “seals” are just so cute that no matter how much damage they do to the environment (fish stocks, etc.) or how much their overpopulation begins to degrade an area of other wildlife, they must be protected.

Pigs on  the other hand seem not so deserving of our consideration. I (and likely you) also think they are as cute a buttons when they are babies. Does if not seem strange that when they are treated badly (and in many cases very badly) we don’t raise any concerns. We so love our bacon, ham and pork chops that we don’t much care how they live and die. The same applies to cattle and all sorts of other ‘domestic’ animals raised as a food source. Compared to pigs, cattle, sheep and others held in captivity, seals live an awesome life of freedom, even if a few of them end up being killed for their pelts or taken down by a sea lion or killer whale.



  • 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.