Voter Turnout: Vancouver Island

Written by Harold McNeill on October 21st, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Student voter turnout on Campuses across Canada reached record numbers.

Congratulations Vancouver Islanders

We have once again set more voting records on the Islands, but it seems that somehow the Green Tinge wafting from Salt Spring and Saanich somehow turned a psychedelic orange as it covered the rest of the Islands and while it wasn’t red, it still exuded a glow much warmer than steel blue.

Voter turnout. In a word, awesome! Thanks to those thousands of young people who picked up the torch and marched to the polling stations across the Island.  We may be tagged as the newly weds and nearly dead’s here on the Islands, but when it comes to voting we managed to tuck away our stash or grabbed our walkers and headed to the polls by the thousands. When you live on the these laid back Islands, an extra hour or two in a line-up just wafts by with barely a notice.


Syrians in Crisis: Can Canada Do Better?

Written by Harold McNeill on September 5th, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Hungary, September 5, 2015

As Syrian refugees flee a war torn dictatorship and hundreds march across Hungary and other countries, the people of Canada have many thoughts about what our response should be or should have been over the past few years.

Should Canada and other countries around the world take in more refugees or should those refugees be put in camps and simply held for years as done in many countries. I am not being critical of refugee camps as they serve a very useful purpose when used on a temporary basis, but too often that is not the experience.

Perhaps barriers could be built along borders so they can’t in, an idea that is gaining strength in the United States regarding the Mexican border and in some have even suggested one (at least electronic) with Canada.  But, really, is building fences along our borders the answer?


Mental Illness by Another Name

Written by Harold McNeill on August 31st, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Photo (Web) Whether Chiheb Esseghaier suffered from the onset of mental illness or not, makes little difference.  With great fanfare, he was arrested, charged, convicted, and awaits sentence.  The massive publicity generated served the greater good of helping to prove a war on domestic terror was not only necessary, but it was also essential. This created the conditions that allowed dozens of new anti-terror laws to be passed with barely a whisper of complaint.  

UPDATE: August 27, 2019,  Two men jailed on terror charges given a new trial by the Ontario’s Highest Court

Original Comments on this case:  (August 31, 2015)

As the trial after a trial of Victoria’s infamous Canada Day Bombers case awaits its fall continuation, the sentencing hearings in that earlier terror scare, the VIA Train guys, is slowly being derailed by controversy.

The court-appointed psychiatrist leaves little doubt the main protagonist was rapidly slipping off the rails well before he actually did any planning to derail that train.  Early-stage schizophrenia? Probably and, as many have observed, just the sort person to be targeted in:

“… an FBI sting that has been used dozens of times in the U.S. to nab prospective terrorists … It’s a method adopted from the war on drugs and the FBI’s battle against the Mafia, and one that critics charge has routinely and deliberately served to ensnare the mentally vulnerable or the insane.” (Globe and Mail).

You may not recall, but it was The FBI who ran the VIA Rail sting and who agreed to pull the pin hours after the Boston Bombing (see Terrorism, Another Perspective). (also, Link Toronto Today article)


Warning to Immigrants Entering Canada

Written by Harold McNeill on July 31st, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts, Editorials


This Victoria, B.C.  Big House is illustrative of a proud Aboriginal past where wealthy, prominent hosts would use it as longhouse for potlatching and housing guests. Potlatching was an innovative way for re-distributing wealth between families and clans, but the practice was brought to an abrupt end in 1884 in Canada through an amendment to the Indian Act. The same was done in the United States a decade later.

This was done at the urging of missionaries and government agents who considered the cultural practice to be “worse than a useless custom that was seen as wasteful, unproductive, and contrary to ‘civilized values’ of accumulation of wealth.” (Wiki Source). For those who didn’t know or may have forgotten, and that likely includes at least a third of the Canadian population, the Aboriginal people of Canada and the United States were the first to claim the Northern part of this continent as home.       

Note: September 8, 2015.  This pencil video narrative tells the story of early settlements in North Central America.  (LINK)

Introduction: Warning to Immigrants  

I felt compelled to write this post after receiving another of those wide circulation emails that spoke harshly of Muslims and others whose religious and cultural practices differed from that of white, english-speaking, middle class, Christians. Also, the fear mongering about the target groups and the harsh legislative agenda of various conservative leaning governments around the world over the past ten to fifteen years, has reached hysterical proportions.

In that vein, many Canadians may think Donald Trump an outlier, but it remains clear a significant number of people support him.   “This is our country not yours” is a refrain repeated over and over and fear mongering on a wide scale is a tactic used to cement the concept (e.g. “Mexicans are rapists”, “Muslims are terrorists”, etc.).  Make no mistake, when it comes to racism, Canadians can play that card with the best of them.


Visions of the World

Written by Harold McNeill on June 22nd, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts, Editorials

Harold holding new Canadian Passport

Harold holding his new Canadian Passport that was issued a few days back and is now valid until 2025.  About 53% of Canadians hold a passport, whereas the US stands at 20%. Given that most new Canadians apply for a Canadian passport (reference comments in footer), there must be a high percentage of natural born Canadians that have never bothered.

As many Canadians only use their passports for travel to the United States, Mexico, Cuba and other the Caribbean states, a large percentage of our population have never visited other parts of the world.

Visions of the World, was first written and posted on Facebook in early 2014. It is now updated and includes the following introduction. What prompted this re-post was a horrendous act of domestic terrorism in South Carolina carried out by a White Supremacist.  The case might make the front page of media outlets for a couple of days and will then drift off into history.


A Bad Fire Year?

Written by Harold McNeill on July 8th, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

sucker river fire- tammy cook-searson- june 7, 2015

Photo (Web Source): A fire burns out of control in Northern Saskatchewan, north of Prince Albert. Across western Canada wild fires have consumed millions of acres of timber and killed an untold number of wildlife caught in the path.  While only one death has been reported, that being a firefighter, Johnny Phare of Roberts Creek, on the Sunshine Coast, thousands of homes are threatened and many have already been destroyed and the danger level is extreme.  Over 7000 people have been evacuated from several native communities in Northern Saskatchewan with an undisclosed number being relocated to my home town in Cold Lake, Alberta.  (More photos in footer)


On watching the local and national news tonight I listened as the Premiers of British Columbia and Saskatchewan commented on the challenge being faced by firefighters across their Province.  Resources were being stretched to the limit and in some areas of Saskatchewan the military have been called in to assist.  The Premier of Saskatchewan stated on Global National that he has placed a call to the Prime Minister, but did not elaborate on what he intended to ask the P.M.  My goodness, the Province is burning, the military have been called in, 7000 people evacuated and the P.M. has not yet checked in with the Premier to see what national resources might be needed?

On the local news, a citizen from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island reported that earlier today a fire had started across Sprout Lake across from his home.  11666312_10153348533261041_6025522279400697740_nThe fire was not threatening his property, but the man felt it needed immediate attention or would soon be out of control.

Photo (Nichele Studios, Port Alberni) This photo was taken by Paulette a day after the fire started.  A giant Martian Mars water bomber sits idle under a smoke shrouded noonday sun on Sproat Lake just outside Port Alberni.

All but for the want of contract approval  by the BC Government, that bomber would have been available it to tackle the Dog Mountain  fire minutes from where it was moored shortly after the fire was called in.  A contract was eventually signed and when the smoke cleared for a brief period under light winds, the bomber hit the fire with everything it had. However, by that time the fire had spread and done an incredible amount of damage to the pristine forests of Dog Moutain (more photos in footer).  Update: Five days later that fire is still not fully extinguished.


Finding a Balance in Society

Written by Harold McNeill on July 6th, 2015. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 2.57.38 PM

Richard Buckminster Fuller, an amazing man who published 30 books and during his lifetime he worked tirelessly at finding conditions that would lead to a balance in society. Check the section on ‘Depression and epiphany’ in the link.


All I need do is start reading a comment such as that above or the cartoon and linked articles in the footer and I’m off on a new venture of trying to put my own thoughts in some kind of logical order.  Because these posts often ‘evolve’ over time, this article will likely change as I do more reading and correct some of the logical errors. However,  most of you who choose to read this will get a pretty good idea of where I stand ideologically.  Why do I do it?  Well, it’s fun and I like trying to make sense of the world around me.  Perhaps Greece is melting down, but, then again, perhaps the challenges the Greeks face is just a symptom of the greater socioeconomic challenges that face mankind.  Some friends on FB make reference to the bloody ‘socialists’ in Greece as being the problem, others blame the banks.  I rather suspect they all contribute an equal share.

Finding a Balance in Society

The above meme was originally posted by the Occupy Wall Street group.  It was then re-posted by a FB friend Ted Godwin, a generally quiet and non-controversial guy.  His comment: “Now, somebody needs to point out to the 1% how land “ownership” is simply a paradigm for organization of physical space agreed to by society rather than an inviolable right.”

While the above comments do not wholly match the content below, they did prompt me to think more about the manner in which people are governed and how we seek to find a balance between competing societal social interests. As we approach an election (for that matter any election) people seem to sink to the lowest common denominator with their meme’s and comments. It seems that once we have set our minds on an ideological course, that ideology sticks like crazy glue. As for attack ads and posters, every political party does it, but some are much better at it than others.  I suppose that is why we end up taking extreme positions on just about every issue. Distill it down to one sentence or one photo and that is our position.  This demonstrates why we so often fracture on overarching issues.


Police Members and their Oath of Office

Written by Harold McNeill on December 12th, 2015. Posted in Police Notebook, Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Oath of Office

Not only did these photo ops take place on the opposite sides of Canada, the police recruits being sworn in will be entering two very different policing worlds. Their employment adventure begins with the Oath of Office they have just swore or affirmed and from that first step, their careers will diverge in a significant way that can be traced to that Oath. The photographs actually provide a rather good visual example of that difference.

Photo Left (Web Source) RCMP Associate Commander Brian Brennan, personally welcomed officer Peter Wallace into the ranks of the RCMP in Nova Scotia, presenting him with his badge during a special swearing-in ceremony.

Photo Right (Web source) Chief Frank Eisner, right, shakes hands with Casey Jones, left, and Matthew King during a ceremony to welcome the two new constables to the Victoria Police Department.   (Photograph Adrian Lam, Times Colonist)


As outlined in a related article, Dispensary Raids Galore!, those ‘discretionary’ raids and arrests at marihuana outlets in Nanaimo, Mission and Sechelt will waste an impressive amount of police and court time and will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in cases where the RCMP will eventually walk away empty handed.



  • 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.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read your life account of Pibroch excellent.
    My family mowed to Pibroch in 1942 Dad was grain buyer for Searle Grain Company lived in town for 5 years than mowed one mile East to the farm on the corner of the road from Pibroch and Hwy 44. Bro Don still lives there.I went to school with both you and Louise.


    November 15, 2021 |

    These stories brought back some sweet memories for me. a wonderful trip down memory lane . the photos were great. It has made me miss those days.


    November 15, 2021 |

    Enjoyed your story Harold Dorothy Hartman