Why the BC Election Polls were so wrong!

Written by Harold McNeill on May 18th, 2013. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


But then again, one man got it right…

Leading up to the recent BC election I was reading a book by Nate Silver, “The Signal and the Noise Why so many predictions fail – but some don’t. The book provides an excellent outline on a variety of prediction issues.  After reading a good portion of the book and then seeing how badly the mainstream pollsters failed, it made wonder if they had obtained their results using outmoded methods. CEOs of the polling companies, when interviewed on TV, dodged and weaved as they tried to explain the inexplicable results. It seems their margin of error was something in the order of (+) or (-) 100%, 20 times out of 20.

Dimitri PantazopoulosFollowing the election I continued the book, then happened upon an article posted on the CBC BC News  web site about one pollster, Dimitri Pantazopoulos, who got it (the BC election) almost bang on. Working behind the scenes for the Liberal Party, he confidently projected a Liberal win of at least 48 seats. An outline of his work was covered in a number of other media reports.

Mr.Pantazopoulos had been hired early on in the election to give the Liberals a realistic assessment of their chances as they were not thrilled (an understatement) with the mainstream polls whose results (predicting an NDP landslide) seemed to fly in the face of what they were hearing on the ground. Pantazopoulos’s information, which provided a much different story, was shared only among party insiders and candidates involved in close contests (where most of the polling took place).

Two weeks out from election day, the party machine kicked into overdrive and drove hard to the finish line. This included several hard hitting ads targeting Dix and the NDP party platform.

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March 2012 Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Written by Harold McNeill on June 19th, 2012. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


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LINK HERE

March 2012 Posts

March 17, 2012   Rogers Communications: Deceptive Business Practice

Rogers is a big company, do they need to stoop to such
shoddy business practices?

Call Centre in Ohio

May 1, 2012 UPDATE: I spoke to a Rogers Outlet representative I know and he confirmed the following marketing practice is commonplace…

March 17, 2012 Comment

A few days back I was nearly caught short during a Rogers Communications Customer Satisfaction Survey being conducted by 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.

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. Why not? She then spent considerable time (20 minutes or so) 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. 

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My Tim Horton’s Morning Posts: February 2012

Written by Harold McNeill on March 5th, 2012. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


February 2012 Posts

February 29, 2012   Bill S-7, another Dangerous Bill to amend the Criminal Code, is back on the table

2012 Update to the Martin Niemoller quote below: “Since 2001, they began to chip away at civil liberties by makng changes aimed at ‘certain’ minorities in our society…I didn’t speak out because I was not one of those minorities.”

Over the past few days the ‘Robocall’ incident has dominated the news. Today, the National Post devoted a full 2.5 pages to the subject as they worked to play down the story suggesting it was all a tempest in a teapot. A few days earlier the same paper devoted only a few column inches on page 5, about the Conservatives resurrecting Bill S-7. I do not recall any radio or TV reports on the S-7 subject.  What then is Bill S-7 and why do I, a retired police officer, express concern?

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My Tim Hortons Morning Posts January 2012

Written by Harold McNeill on February 15th, 2012. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Tim Hortons Posts for January 2012

January 31, 2012   The Threat of Social Media

In the 21 Century, the greatest threats Facebook, Twitter, other social media and blog sites present, is not the invasion of the privacy of individuals using those sites, but as a tool to ‘out’ the efforts of governments and giant corporations attempting to keep their dubious dealings secret and, in the worst case, of dictators trying to control entire populations.  This was no better demonstrated than in the events surrounding the Arab Spring which, to this day, continues to build across the Middle East.

Social media presents an unparalleled opportunity for individuals to co-ordinate and communicate their concerns about abuses by government and corporations that once held information tightly in the vaults of secretive government agencies and in the board rooms of corporations. Insider information and leaks today can be broadcast around the world in a matter of seconds. Wikileads is a good example.

Over the coming months and years you will see governments and corporations around the world working hand in hand to pass laws that control information they consider proprietary to their vested interests.  The recent attempt to close down social media sites because information was passed along that was considered proprietary, is a perfect example.  It did not take long before the US Government backed off once the backlash began.

Also, you likely watched as governments around the world become apoplectic during after the most recent WikiLeaks release. They are still pursuing Julian Assange with a vengence and arranged to have several organizations cut off Wikileaks services. Yesterday seveal hackers turned the tables on some spy agencies and hacked into some very sensitive conversations about those very hackers.

Worry not about what you post (other than that which may come back to haunt you at some future date) being accessed by some inept individual or pervert or even a government, worry about your ability to freely communicate your idea’s with others.  Except to fight against network posts or internet displays that cross the bounds of common decency or are clearly racist, fight censorship at every turn.

January 31, 2012  Hackers, Snoopers and Peepers

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My Tim Hortons Morning Posts Most Recent

Written by Harold McNeill on January 20th, 2012. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


 More Tim Horton’s Timbits

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McNeill Life Stories Facebook page and click Like.
LINK HERE

Dear Reader,

Many Canadians consider a Tim Horton’s morning coffee to be one the five main food groups.  Yours truly is one of those individuals. I am now at the age where I feel slightly anxious whenever someone, even inadvertently, has the nerve to sit at my favourite table where I usually enjoy my morning cuppa and paper read if none of the other regulars happen to show up.

Each week I will add a few short posts about articles of local, national and international interest, as well as other miscellaneous items that have piqued my interest.  It seems there is never a shortage of items upon which I might wish to pass judgment.

Warning: The contents of this post do not reflect the views of my good wife, who sometimes jerks my chain just in time to modify a post she thinks might offend.  Since Lynn has engrossed herself full time with her travel consulting work, I am now running without the luxury of an Editor and Copy Reader. Any spelling errors and rough grammatical structure you encounter will most certainly be the product of my own hand.

I try to proof and correct but that is never easy when looking at ones own writing which is considered to be without fault and universally interesting. Bear with me, I am trying to overcome my shortcomings but the list is so long it will take years. If you wish to jerk my chain (occasionally!), that is fine.

Harold McNeill
Victoria, British Columbia

Travels from the end of March through April have taken me away from writing posts in this section. Hopefully, by the end of May, things will be back to normal.

June: It seems that other stories and spring/summer commitments will keep me busy until next fall.  Perhaps at that time I will return to regular posts in this section.

September 2012

September 30, 2012  Privacy on Facebook

In recent weeks, there have been many posts on Facebook and other social media sites about privacy. By definition, these sites are public. People post notes and pictures about themselves that lets everyone take a peek into their personal and private lives. What they had for breakfast, how they slept last night (sometimes even with whom), trouble going to the bathroom, a nasty little sore in a tender area, are just a few of the intimate details that periodically appear.

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Birch Lake: A New Begining – Chapter 2 of 4

Written by Harold McNeill on August 24th, 2010. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Birch Lake Early Years

Photo (Collage of Mom’s Photos):  Family and friends in Saskatchewan provided a strong draw, but earning a living on the farm was becoming increasingly difficult.

Link to Next Post: A Place in the Sun
Link to Last Post: 
Blizzard of Forty-One
Link to Family Stories Index

Community Dance:  March 1941

It would be the first time since Harold was born that the new mom and her husband had attended a dance at the Meadstead Community Hall.  In those days almost everyone in the family attended the dance including kids and babies.  Because their were no carriages or baby baskets, makeshift items were used to carry the baby, diapers, bottles, etc.  Laura used an old suitcase for this purpose.  She would just pop open the top and she had a ready made bed for her little boy.

Arriving at the hall after a few months of being absent at the dances there were many people to greet who had not yet seen her baby and proud mom she was, took him around to meet everyone.  When the dance began, Laura tucked him in his bed in the cloakroom and like the good little boy he was, promptly fell asleep so mom could go our and dance.   Fifteen or twenty minutes later when she went to check on him, the suitcase now had the lid closed and it was covered in coats and scarves.

Frantically Laura began fling coats, hats, scarves, mitts and gloves about the cloak room of the Medstead dance hall as she uncovered the suitcase. From outside appearances she had gone stark, raving mad.

“How could I have been so stupid?  My baby boy is probably dead and it is my fault – how could this have happened? Please God, please, please let him be OK.”  These dire thoughts swirled through her mind as she searched for her baby boy.

(1990)

Treat Your Tradespersons Fairly

Written by Harold McNeill on March 31st, 2010. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


mary_poppins_chimney_sweep

By far the majority of tradespersons are hard working, honest people who will do a days work for an agreed upon price.  Some employers however, some who can well afford the rate, will turn around and try to stiff the tradesperson.

The 911 operator received a mid-afternoon call from hysterical woman screaming that she had just been assaulted. The barely coherent woman gave her address and two cars were dispatched Code 3. A record search revealed no previous calls to the residence, a large, upscale home in south Oak Bay.

Another patrol officer and I happened to be nearby – we responded immediately. Although there were no previous to calls to the residence, we approached as “high risk” not knowing what might have transpired. After parking several houses back, we did a quick scan of the street then covered each other as we approached the house. There was no one in the yard, no car in the driveway and the curtains were open. I approached the front door while my partner covered from the side away from the window.

About half way up the sidewalk, the door suddenly swung open and a woman in her mid sixties came rushing out. She was completely covered from head to toe in a black substance. Her appearance reminded me of a farmer having worked all day in a hot, dry, dusty field. The whites of her blinking eyes and the flash of her teeth stood in stark contrast to the black that covered her face. Although extremely upset, we were able to ascertain the suspect had fled the scene driving a white, windowless mini van with a ladder attached to the top.

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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) […]