March 2012 Tim Hortons Morning Posts

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


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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. 

We finally settled on $4.00 or $5.00 saving (combined both phones in our family plan) and the deal was struck.  Not quite, I was passed along to the ‘call clincher’ (Mike, I believe) who went over the details. We had almost finished when he said something that piqued my interest (about the ‘contract’). On probing, I found by accepting the “deal” my contract was being extended to 36 months. This was never explicitly mentioned at any point in either conversation and I was not told until I point blank asked the question.

I explained that I was very sensitive about again being ‘locked in’ as I was burned on a 36 month contract with another carrier and did not well served on my original Rogers three year “deal”.  Then the bomb shell.  I thought I was currently on a “month to month” plan but the supervisor told me ‘no”, I had locked to a “36 month” plan some 18 months earlier.  I knew immediately what had happened – it was a similar call I received Rogers some 18 months back.

Was I livid? You bet. I asked how much to cancel the contract for both phones immediately. The answer:  “$700 per phone”. Unbelievable! The whole purpose of this 30 minute call became crystal clear, it was to have me make a slight change in the contract with the goal of locking us into a further 36 months. Such a deceptive process for a major company dedicated to providing top notch service.

Customer Service in Vancouver, BC

After numerous tries, I was able to contact a Rogers Representative (Desmond) in Vancouver, who as much as stated the Call Centre should have more clearly stated the purpose of the call, but, unfortunately, there nothing much he could do.

Over the course of our conversation, I even suggested that he might do a little something (like clear off that existing contract that was obtained by a very devious means) as s show of good faith. He said he could not do tha, but he could offer me a couple of 10 cent LD perks. So much for customer service.

If you have had a similar call from Rogers, please let me know as  I will be sending a written complaint to Rogers and the CRTC in addition to making this post.

Please feel free to repost the link if you wish.  The type of call I received is likely repeated many times across the Rogers Network every day.

This item is also posted in the Editorial Section of the blog.

Harold
March, 2012

Note: One further point about the calls – each was preceded with warning “this call is being recorded for training purposes”.  Really? I bet it was being recorded so they could show that somewhere in that 30 minutes exchanged of words, the customer (me) was given some kind of statement about ‘the new contract period’ being the purpose of the call.  I doubt it, but if it was stated, it was well covered in other words.

March 16, 2012   Halal or Kosher Meat, New York Dressed Turkey, No Meat on Friday and other Sacred Cows. Another Kafuffle…

A furor has erupted in the Quebec National Assembly over whether meat should be labelled as “Halal” killed.  The issue was not raised as a means to help Islamists remain true to their belief, it was being raised so that others would not ‘unwittingly consume meat slaughtered according to an Islamic rite.”  (National Post, link in footer)

Almost every belief system have food restrictions, a few of which is listed the title. Do those restrictions hurt others who do not subscribe to a particular belief? Of course not. Simple respect for others suggests we let some things pass without comment.

Some might not like the way a few animals are killed (I could never “New York” kill a turkey, or “Halal” kill a cow), but dad killed his pigs quickly by cutting their throats or stunned cows by hitting them in the head with a sledge hammer. For old horses, he shot them and the ground them into mink feed. It was a way of life. I did not like to watch, but I loved the food (bacon, ham, roast, steaks, etc.). Before their death, dad treated each animal with loving care and each had plenty of food, water, shelter and dry beds in which to sleep. Those animals lead a far better life than many (most) that are scheduled for the slaughter house today.

If people suggest animals slaughtered for human consumption should only be killed by some special means, I suggest they take a little time to travel to cattle feed lot (several near Kamloops) or a pig farm in Alberta, or a poultry farm in the Fraser Valley.

Photo (from web): The feedlots in Kamloops are not this large, but just imagine cattle up their knees in much an manure as they were in Kamloops. I have several pictures but cannot locate at the moment.

Many of the animals and birds in the commercial operations are being raised for many months, sometimes years, in abysmal conditions. Being killed by whatever means that is quick, is likely a blessing as it will put a quick end to lifetime of misery. Most of us do not worry much about this as the steak and other cuts in the meat department is nicely wrapped.

Make no mistake, this whole kafuffle is about intolerance (more to the point ‘racism’) not about a chunk of meat that came from an animal being killed in a certain way.

Reference: National Post: Speak French, hold the halal. Ignorance and intolerance drive Quebec food flap.

 

March 15, 2012   “Who Watches the Watchmen?”  The passing of Bill C10, the Crime Omnibus Bill

Father Raymond DeSouza and I are seldom on the same page with many of our opinions, however this morning we share a common concern regarding Bill C-10 which has now become law.  I have often editorialized on the subject in other post so will not expand further at this point beyond quoting the final three paragraphs of Father DeSouza’s article:

“Therein perhaps lies an answer. The Conservative government, while quick to see bureaucratic abuses of power in the gun registry, the wheat board, and the refugee claims system, seems unable to imagine that the bureaucracy that wears gowns and carries guns is, despite how much we esteem it, still an instrument of the bureaucratic state.

There really isn’t very much “omni” in the omnibus crime bill. It’s about one thing — harsher punishments. It does nothing to alleviate the disgusting pre-trial (pre-trial!) conditions of remand that prevail in too many jails. It does nothing to mitigate the crisis in legal aid. It does nothing to lessen the likelihood of wrongful convictions. As Chief McFee notes, it does nothing for prevention.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards themselves? Who watches the watchmen? That’s the ancient maxim. The crime bill shows that those guarding the guards are not on duty.” 

For the full DeSouza article: LINK HERE

Montreal Gazette article provides an excellent outline of how Quebec is working to temper the effects of the crime bill:  LINK HERE

Full Comment on Bill C-10:  Crime and Punishment

Comments: March 1 as well as many comment in February and full articles in the Editorial Section. Link to February 2012 Posts

Plus several editiorials on the erosion of our Civil Liberties. Go to February 29 for comments and links in the footer of that post.

March 14, 2012  Afghanistan: A few burned Koran’s, a crazed murder on a rampage and it will all come to an ignominious end.

With Canada nearly gone and the United States preparing to beat a hasty retreat, what has been accomplished?  Thousands upon thousands of innocent Afghans killed, hundreds of dedicated, caring Canadian, US and soldiers from other countries having given their lives for a worthwhile, yet hopeless cause – it is all for naught.  The history of the English, Russians and others who have attempted to tame that wild land known as Afghanistan is one filled with heartbreak, with each invasion a miserable, costly failure.

Photo (Web) Demonstrators burn US Flag after the burning of the Koran.

Pulling the troops after all these years of hard fighting will have no more lasting effect than that left after pulling one’s finger from a bucket of water. Nothing.

Women and girls will continue to be brutalized and every person that does not tow the party line will be killed in a system that is controlled by religious zealots wherein the lords of war and repression control the country. While it is desperately unfair the Afghan people should be left to suffer under these brutal despots who use religion to justify every brutal action, not one outside nation over the past 2000 years has been able to change that condition.

Change, if it is to come, must first be demonstrated in dramatic fashion by the people who live under a repressive régime and who are willing to die for their freedom as they have done in Libya and Egypt and are presently trying to do in Syria and other nations of the world. Perhaps the point will come when the Syrians will have reached a critical mass where others can move in help but clearly that point has not yet been reached as there are still G7 nations unwilling to assist.

The United States should well understand the principle of the need for the people to rise against oppression, for they fought that very war against the British and, in the last century, joined the rest of the world in helping to defeat a brutal Nazi regime, then an expansionist Japan, after much of the world rose in rebellion against the tryanny being spread by those nations and their allies.

Thank goodness the current US President understands the lessons of history, or the US would now be mired in an endless war in Libya, Egypt, Syria and, perhaps, an even more widespread conflagration in the Middle East. Whenever the US has tried to unilaterally force the will of their country upon the world without first waiting for others around the world to take the lead, has ended in dismal failure has it did in Viet Nam and a dozen other locations over the past century.

Every caring country needs to be prepared for war, intervention and peackeeping, but war must be the very last resort and it must be lead by the countries under threat.

Note on the cost of Viet Nam War: 2 million Asian lives lost, 58,000 American lives lost, $220 billion spend, 10 million Americans air-lifted to Viet Nam by commercial aircraft, 5,000 helicopters lost, 6.5 million tons of bombs dropped. The war was lost.

March 12, 2012  BC Hydro Smart Meters Program: Email to BC Hydro

Dear B.C. Hydro,

I have been anxiously awaiting the installation of the new ‘smart meter’ for over two months.

A few weeks back, a representative from a contract company came around but looked at the meter box and said he could not install because he did not have a tool to take the cover off the meter box (it had a small glass cover).  He said a BC Hydro employee would have to do the job.

A few weeks after that, a BC Hyrdo employee came around but he said he was to big to crawl under the deck to replace and, besides, he did not have a tool to take the cover over off the box.  He left and said someone would be in touch.  I have heard nothing even though I phoned a couple of times to see if they had a smaller man.

Now in my early seventies, I am 6’0″, 200 lbs., and suffering from a few stiff joints. I crawled under the deck with a small screwdriver in hand, gently pryed the cover off the meter box and set it aside to assist BC Hyrdro with the challenging task.

Without becoming too sarcastic, and in the face of much criticism about the ‘smart meter’ program, perhaps my meter will not get installed because no one is smart enough to figure out how to do the job.

If you send over a supervisor (by appointment), I can crawl under the deck and replace the meter under his or her watchful eye.

Regards,
Harold McNeill

March 10, 2012   Very few Timbits this week as I have been working on other posts to assist Lynn with her Travel Destination Folder.

Over the next couple of weeks as we prepare to leave for Eastern Europe, Timbits may be in short supply unless there is some issue that really jerks my chain.  Cheers,  Harold

March 7, 2012   The Wheels continue to fall off the Missing Women’s Inquiry

As reported on January 26 Timbits, and in various posts concerning the lawyerly shield being built around the police, being a difficult challenge to handle, is again demonstrated this week. While I have no doubt Wally Opel, the Inquiry Commissioner, is a good and honourable man, he has been given an impossible task.

With dozens of laywers representing Vancouver PD, the RCMP and individual police officers, it will be impossible to crack the protective shield that surrounds the police and their agencies.  Many public inquiries in the past that attempted to investigate why the police, in instances such as Missing Women’s case, seemed unable or unwilling to have done better job, have met with the same fate.

Today, Robyn Gervais, one of the few lawyers representing interests of the Missing Women and the Aboriginal Community, quit in disgust. Having followed this inquiry from the beginning, I cannot imagine how that young woman, a rather new and inexperienced lawyer, could be expected to break through the shell of 25-30 highly experienced lawyers that have been hired to protect the system.

For further details link to Lawyer quits women’s inquiry

March 3, 2012   Russian Connection to the Conservative Robocall Scandal

I had not realized until opening the Glode and Mail on the week-end the connection between the upcoming Russian election and the Robocall scandal that spread across Canada before the last election.  Following that it did not take a lot research to find an article that helped to connect the dots. See the Toronto Edition of (La Presse Canadienne:

It seems that it was a brother of Vladimir Poutine (French for Putin) one Pierrre Poutine, who helped implement the Robocall system in Guelph as an attempt to influence the election outcome. The system soon spread across the country and, given the election results, it appears to have helped to tip the balance in favour of the Conservatives.

Cartoon (La Presse Canadienne. Toronto): Le cabinet du premier ministre a nié lundi que Stephen Harper puisse affronter Vladimir Poutine sur une patinoire L’arctique. (translation below) 

From reports coming in from Russia, it seems the same skillful and manipulative hands will assist in helping Vladimir coast to victory in the upcoming Presidential elections.

As is the case in Canada, Vladimir has insisted everything in the Russian election is above board and that any interference with or manipulation of the electoral system, was not arranged by him or any of his party supporters.  I think it is only fair to take him at his word and we should just let the matter drop as did the Democrat’s in Florida during the 2000 election that ended up giving Bush and the Republicans an election win. You might remember the case of those ‘dimpled ballots’.

We can now only hope that in the upcoming faceoff between Harper and Poutine over Arctic issues, that Harper will not drop the puck.  Perhaps having helped Poutine with a few election issues will tip the rink in Harper’s favour.

Le Presse Translation: “The cabinet of the prime minister has denied Monday that Stephen Harper will face Vladimir Putin on an ice-rink in the Arctic.

March 2, 2012    Southeast Asia: A Magical Journey

Once having shed the shackles of a ‘modern-day’ twenty-year war that included carpet bombing, agent orange, a testing ground for a whole new arsenal of US Military weapons and during which up to 2.5 million civilians, 315,000 Vietnamese, Cambodians and others, along with 60,000 US Military personnel were killed, it is hard to imagine these were the same countries we so easily visit today.

As with the amazing transformation of Europe in the decades following the devastation created during World War II, Southeast Asia has realized a similar transformation in the decades following the Viet Nam War which officially ended on April 29th, 1975, when that last Air America helicopter plucked a final load of desperate individuals from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon (photo left).

In researching this travel article, I again came to realize just how many vastly different places there are to travel around the globe and how the people, cultures, landscapes and architecture creates new beauty at every turn.

That we in Canada have escaped being ground zero in a full scale war is more than sufficient reason to pause and give thanks.

Join the full story of Southeast Asia in the McNeill Life Stories Travelogue, join at:  Southeast Asia: A Magical Journey

March 1, 2012 Hugo, a movie well worth attending

On the recommendation of friends Garth and Esther Dunn, Lynn and I trotted out for our semi-regular Friday Night Dinner and Movie Date but instead of Friday we headed out Thursday to the Academy Award Winner Hugo.

The movie did not disappoint as the mixture of fantasy, reality, young, old, love, tragedy and the evolution of life, was juxtaposed with award winning sound, cinematography and visual effects that left us captivated from the opening scenes to the very end of the 127 minute production.

The only part we both still have trouble adjusting to is the 3D effects, although in this movie I think most would appreciate the stunning visual impact.

From a book Hugo Cabret, four thumbs up (with Garth and Esther that makes eight) to Marten Scorsese (another hit), Asa Butterfield (photo above) and Chloe Moretz (two kids in their early teens facing off against adults), Ben Kingsley (a convincing old man who felt his life’s work had been lost in a sea of change), Sacha Cohen (actually very well acted by Cohen who is cast in a more serious and touching role) as well as a host of others.  Oscar wins: Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound Direction, Sound Mix, and Visual Effects.

We would be very interested in hearing what a child, say the age of our Grandson Grayson (5), might think of this movie. We think he might be at the same time scared and captivated. With this post you already now know what one older guy (yes, that would be me – move over Ben Kingsley), as well as three youngsters in the throes of their tumultuous 50s think.

March 1, 2012  10:30 am – Will ‘mandatory minimum’ sentences help educate low level drug users and small time criminals? A former Correctional Services Minister from Ontario says “yes”.

I just listened to a CBC Radio Morning discussion featuring Robert Sampson, a former Ontario Conservative Correctional Services Minister and Eric Sterling, spokesperson for LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). The men were debating whether Mandatory Minimums for being proposed for certain ‘victimless’ crimes in Canada were necessary. In online posts some have taken exception to an ‘outsider’ speaking on a Canadian judicial issue.

Sterling strongly advised Canada to rethink whether mandatory minimum legislation was needed for low level offences. His rationale was based on the disastrous results experienced by the USA in the three decades since his country began walking down that path in the late 1970s.

Sampson, who was the architect of the Ontario ill-fated venture into privately run prisons, defended the proposed legislation as being (rough quote) “the path towards giving low level offenders a sufficiently long (mandatory) sentence that would enable them to complete their Grade 12 education or a trade such as carpentry…”   Sampson felt short sentences and probation did not provide any opportunity to retrain and redirect offenders.

Photo: Make no mistake, a mandatory minimum sentence means prison (period). It is not a free ride to a High School Diploma or trade certification. Besides, I do not think Law and Order enthusiasts would stand for tax dollars being used to buy text books or the tools needed to teach a trade, nor the other services needed in order to help move prisoners toward the chances of a better life. Better to maintain a philosophy of ‘lock’em up, keep’em in longer and forget’em!’ 

Having listed to Mr. Sampson for 20 minutes as he sought to justify the legislation, it was as if he had lived his entire life inside a cardboard box, never read a book, never looked at a statistic and never set foot inside a minimum or maximum security prison.

For his part, Eric Sterling barely had to say anything to justify his warning to Canada, as all he had to do was let Mr. Sampson founder around attempting to justify the legislation as being progressive and forward thinking. Sampson’s statements could not help but leave those who were listening stunned by his lack of knowledge, not only about the effects the prison system has (particularly on young), but also his absolute belief that prison is a fine way to educate, retrain and nurture recalcitrant young people away from a life of crime. If Sampson is an example of the thinking in Ottawa on this subject, we are all in serious trouble.   

Over my thirty years of policing I went inside many prisons to interview inmates and, in my view, it is not a place that rehabilitates in any way, shape or form.  I truly thought the Conservatives, facing such a strong outpouring of public opposition to aspects of the Bill C-10, would have backed off at least a bit. As this Bill now comes closer to final approval, I am no longer so confident that will happen. Oh well, as I have stated in other posts, ” ‘give’em’ enough rope…”

(2005)

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Comments

  • 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: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • 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.