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.


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.



  • 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.