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?

In short, S-7 is a “Terrorism” related Bill that amends the Criminal Code, Canada Evidence Act and the Security Information Act in a manner that extinguishes many long standing rights held by Canadians.  The bill was first passed in 2001 after the World Trade Centre attacks as an “Emergency Measure”.

It expired (as was intended by Parliament when first passed) in 2007. The Conservatives attempted to resurrect the Bill during their minority years, but were soundly pushed back by an opposition that felt any perceived need had long since passed. The opposition no longer holds the ability to push back. Only the media and public now hold that power.

The Bill on the table provides, among other things, for ‘secret’ hearings in which individuals could be forced to to answer questions even if they have not been charged with or committed an offence. Charges such as “attempting” to leave the country to attend a ‘terrorist’ camp could result in a 10 year jail term. Even ‘refusal’ to answer a question could lead to a year in jail. How words such as ‘terrorist’ might be defined is open to endless questions. What we do know is these things will now be defined in secret by police and courts. Hearings will be held in secret and ‘access to information’ will be virtually impossible.

For the many centuries, democracies have been refining the Rule of Law in a manner that balances the rights of an individuals  against unwarranted intrusions by the state.  In Canada the Criminal Code, Canada Evidence Act, other Statutes and Case Law have worked well as the mechanisms that provide the balance. Since 2001, many of those rights have been extinguished, all in the name of combating ‘terrorism’.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson had this to say: “Terrorism will continue to be a threat into the foersseable future. The government needs to provide law enforcement with the means to anticipate and respond effectively to terrorism.”

I ask the Justice Minister: “In Canada today to which acts of terrorism do you refer? Please name just one recent case you think is sufficient to extinguish the rights of Canadians as guaranteed under the Charter and as previously protected in the Criminal Code, Canada Evidence Act and related statutes.”

A short quote from early in the last World War speaking to the dangers of apathy towards what happens in the political realm. The words are as meaningful today as they were in the last century:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
…and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Martin Niemoller, German pastor and theologian born in Lippstadt (1892 – 1984)

2012 Updated: “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.”

References Timbits Posts below for January 31, February 6, 17 and 23.

Editorial Section: Border Security Gone Crazy
Editorial Section: Preserving our Civil Liberties
Editorial Section: Terrorists or Warriors: For the full post go to Editorials. 

February 27, 2012  Small World – Tragedy in Colorado, Arizona, intersect my life of 1962 in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada.

A few days back I received a call from Dan Mahoney in San Antonio, Texas.  Dan had been reading the story I posted on January 6, 2012, about learning to fly a Fairchild 82 while in Lac La Biche, Alberta with Hans Vanderflugt the Chief Pilot for Alberta Fish Products. Tragically Hans (listed as 74 years old in the article), along with the mother of a family of five, were killed in the crash in Colorado in conditions similar to a crash I described in the story (blinding snow storm and whiteout conditions). The father and three children survived the crash. For the full details link to story posted as an appendix to the Fairchild Story.

A second call I received about CF-AXL was from a man in Phoenix, Arizona, whose pilot father had been killed in a helicopter crash while stringing power lines, in California I believe.  His father had flown CF-AXL in the late 1950s. I am sure Hans would have known that man as the world of bush flying in the 1950s and 1960s was a very small community of pilots.  The man who phoned was searching out details for a short story he is writing about his father.

One further recent tragedy connected to myself and CF-AXL.  A school chum, Aaron Pinksy, of Cold Lake, Alberta, with whom I spend many hours flying in CF-AXL and other aircraft around northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, passed away two weeks ago in Cold Lake. Other stories about the experiences that Aaron and I shared during those early years will be posted in future stories.

Link to:  CF-AXL – A Northern Canadian Workhorse

February 25, 2012   Hemp Farms, the way of the future

Dear Minister Toews,

Now that you have finally set aside the Privacy Bill that was so vigorously opposed by those you characterized as ‘pedophile supporters’, I have a suggestion that may help extract you from another move that is being vigorously opposed, that being mandatory minimums for marihuana possession.

Why not just bite the bullet and legalize marihuana?  This may not sit well with some of your supporters, but I think it would be an easy sell if you just pointed out there are a number of other uses for marihuana, including: fuel, fiber, paper, seed, food, oil, medicinal (a popular current use), etc.

Before it was made illegal in all forms these were common uses when the plant was called hemp. For some reason the Spanish renamed it marihuana and it was made illegal after sailers were found smoking the rope on their ships.

As a fibre, hemp was extensively used for making some of the best ‘rope’ products in the old world.  Given that you and your party members have expressed an interest in handing out rope to prisoners sentenced to long sentences, you can kill two birds with one stone by encouraging the opening of more hemp fields and rope manufacturers. As a side note, I urge you to careful keep the rope out of the hands of your own party leaders and senators.  You know the old adage, “give them enough rope and they will hand themselves…”

Well, cheers for now Minister and good hunting with your licence free rifle. You and other duck hunters can rest easy knowing your privacy will not be compromised by having to register those firearms.

Harold

February 23, 2012  Terrorists or Warriors, what is the difference?
Is it religion, ethnicity, or just a matter of definition?

In 2006, at the same time radicalized Six Nations members were occupying the Douglas Street Estates in Caledonia, another event was taking place less than 200 kilometers Northeast in the Greater Toronto area.  In the GTA, eighteen men, reported to be radicalized Islamists, were being kept under intense surveillance by the RCMP and CSIS.

Following arrest of the Islamists for allegedly planning a terrorist attack, the group became internationally known as the Toronto 18.  The arrests brought a deluge of accolades, particularly from the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and other US and world leaders.

For the full post go to Editorials. 

See also February 14 Post Below.

February 22, 2012 Victoria Police Chief, Jamie Graham, pepper sprayed himself once again.

Following a long string of disciplinary faults, Chief Jamie Graham has picked up another, this time a Written Reprimand placed in his file by the Police Board (they opened a new folder as the old folder was full). Apparently he ‘forget’ his police revolver under the seat of his car while he was attending an Amalgamation Victoria rally with the Mayor Dean Fortin.

Chief Graham tried to sideline the issue by bringing up the fact that several weapons are missing from the ERT locker.  The Police Board is looking into whether the Chief may have also forgotten them in his car after he had borrowed them to show the Mayor.

Photo:  Chief Jamie Graham after he finalized his divorce from his first love, the Vancouver PD. It is reported he selected Victoria PD so that he did not need to learn a new acroymn for the department. His disciplinary file from the Vancouver PD remained with that Department as they wanted to make sure he did not return.

‘Career limiting’ disciplinary faults have dogged more than a few good police officers as they sought to climb the promotional ladder, but such faults are not career limiting if your are already the Chief as is Master Jamie.  Oh well, other members need only follow his fine example if they run into trouble.

After several stabs at trying to pick a winning Chief from an outside the Department (the last man, Battershill, was actually dumped after a major disciplinary fault to do with some minor ‘affair’), the Victoria Police Board might take a shot a picking an insider for the job. They could follow the lead of Saanich PD as that Department has done very, very well over many years of selecting insiders for the job.  Does the Police Board think Victoria Police Department so bad they do not have not one person qualified to fill the most senior position within the Department? Personally, I think there are many good men and women who would be qualified and would do great job. If they had followed this route over the past few years, perhaps they would not now be facing so many challenges.

Note: I do not know the full circumstances of this case but it seems to me, if an ordinary citizen had left a loaded handgun in a car, even if the car was locked and in a locked garage, that person would be investigated and very likely charged for Careless Storage of a Firearm. More than a few citizens have been charged and convicted of that offence in the past.

February 21, 2012 Waging a War on the Three “M’s” (Marihuana Mandatory Minimums)

Pressure continues to build on the Conservatives to modify their stand on mandatory minimum sentences involving cannabis and it’s derivatives.  Dozens of US Lawmakers responsible for crafting US Drug Policy and Mandatory Minimums, sent an Open Letter to Stephen Harper encouraging him to take a second look. Remember these law makers were largely Republicans and the laws began under the watch of that penultimate Republican, Ronald Reagan)

Photo: Pot plants sit on the deck of a Vancouver Island residence during a raid in the 1980’s. Under the new mandatory minimums these plants would earn three years in maximum security prison for the couple.  The couple who owned these plants were well respected citizens of the small Island Community in which they lived and worked. Go to full story.

Their warning is based upon the US experience over the past 30 years that has seen their jail populations  climb exponentially above every other country in the world including many countries controlled by brutal dictators.

Within Canada many Politicians, Judges, Policemen, Citizens and, yes, even many staunch Law and Order advocates of all political stripes, are joining the ‘dump the mandatory minimums’ parade.  Many are calling for the outright legalization of marihuana, a position which I strongly support.

Our government need’s to step back, toke up and take a fresh look at this legislation but it seems doubtful this will happen as the ideology is so deeply engrained it would be difficult to change direction without seeming to lose face. Oh well, the party may following the most excellent lead of Vic Toews … you know, the “give them enough rope and…’ type of ideology.

February 19, 2012 Republican acting like Piranhas as they continue to eat their candidates.

Canadians love to watch US politics as evidenced by the number of column inches (the old style metrics) in our newspapers, magazines and hours of news stories on TV.  I am no different as I have loved watching the Republican debates that have displayed the GOP in their true form.

Religion (they all claim an inside track to ‘the big guy’), insider trading (a password for republicans), infidelity, abortion, homosexuality and too many other sin’s to count (they provide check lists for other to follow), attack ad’s by the dozen that are target their own people. Even many moderate Republicans think this has gone beyond the pall of reason.

The Democrats sit back, record the Republican antics for future use, patiently wait while the economy continues too improve and bide their time until next election.

Go Obama, Canada loves you even if the Republicans don’t.

February 17, 2012  Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 1011

Vic Toews: “You can stand with us or stand with the child pornographers.” 

Well stated Vic! it is really gartifying to see that at least 75% of Canadians are not standing with you on this particular bill and I am certain beyond any reasonable doubt they do not stand with child pornographers. It was also great to see several of your own party members taking a step back from your stand. Perhaps you may wish to begin monitoring their viewing habits and material on their laptops…

I rather expect that if you given enough rope you will figure out what to do with it…   With a little steady concentration and help from your staff, you might even figure out the sarcasm in this post.

Honestly Vic,  you must have people working 24/7 to come up with names for the bills your government has been dropping over the past several few months

A article in the Atlantic suggests a better name for your bill might be The Encouragement of Blackmail by Law Enforcement Act 2011

February 14, 2012   Caledonia – The Dark Days of Canadian Law Enforcment?

Any who have read my posts, particularly those in the Editorial Section, will know I am passionate about many subjects. Although I was a policeman for 30 years, you will also know I have never backed away from critizing the police when I believed the criticism was warranted.

A few months back, I made the mistake of reading a book titled: Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of fear and anarchy, and how the law failed all of us” by Christi Blatchford.  Blatchford, a respected reporter for both the National Post and Globe and Mail, spent many months researching, documenting and writing on the reign of terror that engulfed the good citizens of Caledonia. You might expect these things to happen in some war torn country fighting a vicious dictator, but you do not expect them to happen in Canada.

THIS POST was to long for the Timbits Section:  Link here in Editorials Section

February 12, 2012   How is China any different from Syria, Egypt and Libya?

A great deal of media coverage was given to the recent trip to China by our Prime Minister. Bilateral talks, deal-making, closer ties, possible ‘free trade’ and a couple of Pandas on loan for  a few years.  When China cracks down on dissidents or curtails freedoms and human rights for politiical purposes we issue barely a peep.

We all watched the massacre in Tiananmen Square in 1989.  We watched as the people of Tibet sought to assert their independence. We watch as a the Falun Gong being brutally repressed, yet instead of speaking up, we actually support the repression by placing restrictions on their protests in Canada.

It seem’s the dictatorships we support are those dictatorships that can provide us with the greatest advantage in oil or trade or some other commodity, and those we do not support are those which can no longer provide the support we would like. Are we not being two-faced and self-serving when seek to befriend dictatorships when it serves our interests?

Again, the media always seems to follow the party line in these matters. Confused in Victoria.

February 12, 2012   Greek Debt Crisis

Each day I have read more articles on what the Greeks must do to address the crisis that is enveloping their country and over the past few years many deadlines have been set and passed without much change having taken place. I recently read a book titled “Boomerang – Travels in the New Third World” by Michael Lewis  (other Lewis books on the making of a financial crisis include “Liar’s Poker” and “The Big Short”.) that put things in perspective.  All are easy to reads.

In “Boomerang” Lewis applies a case study method to Ireland, Iceland and Greece (with bits on Italy, Portugal and Spain).  These countries are just the visible tip of the iceberg.  In Greece the systemic issues that lead to the current crisis are such that no amount of temporary reform and bailout money will correct the situation. The Greek system must change and yet it will not change until the country defaults, drops from the European Union and then begins to rebuilt their society from scratch (say from 40 or 50 years in the past).

Iceland, Ireland and Greece are perfect examples how we must all learn to live within our means, whether as individuals or as governments. We are fortunate in Canada that we have not yet hit a financial wall but that does not mean we are by any mean’s protected from a future default any more than is the United States and other G8 and G20 countries.  Very few media reports actually tackle the real issues that lay below the surface. Instead they play only to the superficial.

In modern terms, the Greeks provide a good example of how any country could fall into a default situation if they did not seek to correct system issues (being prepared to pay for those things that we demand from our governments).  Reference Boomerang, pages 46ff for the Greek example.  I think you may enjoy the read.

February 11, 2012   RCMP, 1    REPORTER, 0

It is good to see the tables occasionally turned in favour of the police. An RCMP Officer in Osoyoos pulled over a driver coming from a local watering hole.  The officer demanded a roadside breath test during which a ‘discussion’ ensured.

After the interaction, the reporter, Keith Lacey, of the weekly Osoyoos Times, published first on-line, then later in the local paper, a scathing indictment of the officers behaviour.

Following is part of Lacey’s version of the events:

  • I had dinner along with one pint of beer, bought a bottle of wine and was heading home (when pulled over by the RCMP Officer);
  • It was an attempt to embarrass and humiliate me;
  • I responded very politely;
  • I had done nothing wrong;
  • When I suggested to him I was not displaying any signs of impairment, I did not weave or speed and was wearing my seatbelt, that he had no right to be interrogating me like this, (the officer) made it very clear he was going to make me undergo the humiliation of having to undergo a roadside breath test;
  • I’ve been a journalist for 27 years and my integrity as a writer and reporter of the truth has never been questioned and I’m not going to let some stranger with a badge, gun and attitude take that away from me;
  • I’m 50 years old, was polite and co-operative, showed no signs of impairment, yet this experienced officer couldn’t help himself and had to humiliate and embarrass me just because he can. It’s disgusting.

Shortly after the news release, the Mounties fired back. They had a video and audio of the interaction and an RCMP spokesperson stated they could post the video/audio on-line if Mr. Lacey so desired. Mr. Lacey declined, so the video and audio was not released other than one comment made by Mr. Lacey: “I am the editor of the newspaper and you will see the powers that I have.”

After the RCMP released their version, Mr. Lacey immediately removed his post from the web (he could not remove the already printed article) and stated: “I am suffering from writer’s remorse. I’m man enough to own up to it. I realize I may lose my job.” Mr. Lacey is now writing an apology to the police officer and to the RCMP.

How many times in my own career had I wished there was a video and audio recording of an interaction with a citizen. In one instance a police board member from outside Oak Bay had a mini melt down on leaving a restaurant in the Estevan Shopping mall after I had warned him not to drive his car as I had reason to believe he was impaired.

The warning was given in a quiet and respectful manner, but the man made it clear to all within hearing distance that he was a police board member and that I had no business embarrassing him by telling him he should not be driving his vehicle.  He warned me that he would have my badge and that he would be phoning the Police Chief in the next morning. I must assume that when his head cleared the following day he had second thoughts.

It is unfortunate the reporter did not have second thoughts before publishing on-line and in the paper.  Link to article.

February 10, 2012 Why Municipal Amalgamations Halifax, Toronto, Montreal

A paper written by Andrew Sanction of the University of Western Ontario (2003, 27 page PDF). (Link on above title above to the full PDF). The document provides an excellent insight into the pressures that drove many amalgamations within these cities and Provinces. There was never any solid rationale behind the push other than someone, namely a Premier and few senior politicians, pushing the amalgamation agenda for political ends.

In none of the cases of forced amalamation(s) within those three provinces was any information ever developed or produced that would demonstrate the amalgamations would provide new efficienies, streamlining of services or some other advantage that could not be more easily found by working at coordinating the efforts of the individual entities that comprised these three cities (and other cities upon which amalgamation was forced).

It also discussed the experience with a few amalgamations within the United States and other parts of the world.  In some cases, for instance in California, there is now a strong movement to try and disentangle the amalgamations.

The final paragraph of the Sanction paper reads:

“There are no sweeping conclusions to be drawn from this attempt to understand why municipal amalgamation policies have been pursued in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec over the last ten years.  Such policies were brought in with little or no thought by provincial premiers who acted as they did in response to the particular political circumstance in which they found themselves.  They made little or no effort to mobilize consent for these policies beyond a small group of cabinet ministers who in turn helped and control obedient caucuses.  The adoption of these policies demonstrates how easy it is – in some circumstances at least – for those who control the apparatus of the provincial state to have their way.  Such a demonstration raises two questions: Is it a good idea for provincial premiers to be able to do what they want without having to mobilize political support?  Or is the municipal sector in some way unique or unusual, such that similar state policy-making autonomy would not be possible in other sectors.”

Within British Columbia we had a small taste of this process when former Premier Campbell and Finance Minister pushed through the HST without first gaining any form of support within their own government or of the people. While the idea might have had some merit, it has turned out to be a very costly error on the part of the government.  Hopefully the same error will not be made with respect to amalgamation in Greater Victoria as they are now finding was made in some of the large eastern cities. 

February 9, 2012  The word is out!  Langford leads the region in growth (reference Times Colonist article).

The phenomenal growth in Langford between 2006 and 2011, reflects a number of policy decisions made by respective Langford Councils over the past 20 years that has helped to transform the former “dogpatch” (even the Mayor is now using the word) into the modern, livable, welcoming community it is today. This would not have been possible if the future of Langford had been controlled by a City Council centred in the core area. On the contrary, it very likely would still be known as “dogpatch”.

It will be very hard to convince the residents of Langford and other small communities that their interests will be better served within an amalgamated city. Would it not be better to find the ways and means to work cooperatively at problem solving on items of regional interest such as sewer and water, public transportation, traffic congestion, public safety, etc?

February 7, 2012  Amalgamation Victoria Committee Calls Meeting

A crowd estimated between 200 and 250, attended a meeting organized by the Amalgamation Victoria Committee at SJ Reynolds last night. It was a cordial discussion with the group divided into tables of 10-12 persons. Each small group completed a brainstormining session around specific questions such as: “What could we share and by what common approaches“.

At our table were citizens from Sidney, Oak Bay, Saanich, Esquimalt and Victoria, each bringing a balanced approach to the discussion. Two of our participants had recently moved too Victoria, one from Edmonton too Oak Bay and the other from Calgary too Esquimalt. Both were thoroughly impressed by the livability and many offerings around the CRD and neither were smitten with the big city approach to problem solving in the cities from whence they came.

Near the end of the meeting, when the microphone was opened to the audience, a few speakers expressed the opinion that the only solution to the challenges we face is full amalgamation. A few others took the other extreme, that the status quo was the only route.  I think, given the discussion at our table and on the open mic comments by several others, that a more moderate, balanced, cooperative approach is favoured.

One major challenge for the Amalgamation Victoria group is evident in the very title of their organization, the implication being that “Amalgamation Victoria” is largely being organized, sustained and driven from within in the City of Victoria. That may not be the case but wtatements by of Mayor Fortin, Police Chief Graham and other politicians and business persons from Victoria certainly perpetuate this perception.

That the movement has also gained the unqualified support of the Times Colonist Newspaper (as evidenced by the lack of information published about about viable alternatives to full amalgamation) also perpetuates the perception.

There is much published information, both pro and con, on the subject of “amalgamation” that needs to be fully digested before an informed decision can be made on possible routes that might be taken.  Soliciting public input, as done in the SJ Willis forum, is an important step, however, when there is a lack credible background information, the conversation is often driven by emotion rather than fact.

I will end this Timbit with a comment on amalgamation received from my nephew Lorin Yochim in response to an earlier Facebook post I had made. Lorin resides in Edmonton, Alberta where he works at the University of Alberta while completing his doctoral thesis. I believe his comment hits at the nub of the amalgamation issue.

Hmmm…I would think that the effects on community spirit and the like depend less on the size of the municipality and more on what people actually do for and with each other. The suggestion that amalgamation is the solution to municipaliti…es money and service problems misses the point that efficiency is a means, not an end. Also, efficiency pushers are addicted to this mission. For them, government can never be efficient enough. After the amalgamation, they will see nothing but waste and continue to push for cuts. Service will deteriorate and that poor performance will be the new justification for further cuts, privatization, etc. (LY)

References

Also Link here:  Amalamation in Greater Victoria by Harold McNeill

Link here:  Regional Issues   A series of links to issues considered to be of importance within the CRD.

February 6, 2012    Who’s Accountable to Whom?

Does parliamentary democracy suffer when long standing rules of governance are set aside?  Obviously we are no where near becoming a dictatorship, but every attack on parliamentary rules, however small, is another nail in the coffin of freedom and accountability.

The above title provides a link to a longer post under the same name: “Who’s Accountable to Whom?” It is an interesting discussion of how several long held rules of the Canadian parliamentary system have been subverted.

Scan the article (linked in the title above) and you can be the judge of how serious the matter might be. From my view, we should all be concerned when any party, be it NDP, Liberal or Conservative, fail to follow the Parliamentary Rules or the Rule of Law. Speaking of the Rule of Law in a different context, what about torture? (reference the next post)

February 6, 2012     Torture Warrants: An idea whose time has come.

In a news clip streamed live from a parliamentary debate, it was clearly stated that CSIS and other law enforcement agencies will now be allowed to use statements obtained by torture from a suspect held in custody in another country, presumably a country that overtly or covertly uses torture as a means to extract information. This is a major shift in government policy in that the same government, in previous statements, made it explicitely clear that information obtained through the use of torture could not be used by our law enforcement agencies. THe announcement today is a significant change in policy.

I realize this is a complicated issue (there are whole books dedicated to the subject), but, in my view, allowing the use of statements obtained by torture carried out by others is wrong. This is tantamount to stating that torture is OK as long as we are not ones who actually carry out the torture. If we feel complelled to accept statements obtained by torture, why not change our laws and carry out our own torture. We we can then maintain control over who we torture, for what reason and to what degree. We could even have a Judge oversee the use torture by making authorities obtain a Warrant to Torture much like our current Search Warrant system. At the very least this would allow control and oversight of a very dangerous practice.

To let others carry out the dirty work and then use the information is dishonest and morally reprehensible at best and criminal at worst. Remember Torture is Not Pretty as clearly observed in the photos from Abu Ghraib. The linked pictures should serve as a reminder of what authorities may do if the cause is considered ‘just’ (e.g ‘”when Canadian lives and property are at stake”) and the authorities are given the green light.

Supporting the practice on the floor of the house, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, made the government position cyrstal clear: “Information obtained by torture is always discounted BUT the problem is, can one safely ignore it when Canadian lives and property are at stake?” That is an awefully big “but” Mr. Minister, you cannot have it both ways.  The Minister has also invoked the Air India bombing, the only terrorist act ever carried out against Canadian citizens in the last 25 years, as an example.

The policy shift now leaves it to senior officials at CSIS and the RCMP to decide whether the information is needed. It now becomes a simple matter of sifting and sorting through statements obtained by torture to determine what is needed and what is not. Experience suggests that leaving senior bureaucrats in charge of these matters will soon lead to another Maher Arar rendition and torture case. We indeed seem to be following far to closely in the footsteps George W. Bush and the US military in Iraq.  We are either a country that follows the Rule of Law and Internation Agreements on Torture, or we are not. We all need to be concerned with this policy shift.

February 4, 2012    Story Updates

Travelogue Series  Over the past week I have begun to transfer a series of picture posts from Facebook to the Blog so that Lynn has better access to the information for her clients.  A nine-part series on New Zealand Series is nearly complete.

Flying Logbook  With the recent passing of my very good High School friend and flying buddy, I decided the time had come to start pulling entries from my log-book.  I had written about the Fairchild 82, CF-AXL some time back but never completed the story. It is now posted.   Over the coming weeks I will be pulling more stories from those early years. I am glad I managed to keep my log books and that the internet now provides access to many pictures of airplanes we flew ‘back in the day’.

This morning at Tim Horton’s I spent an hour with a chap from Viking Air (known for their amazaing restoration work on the venerable Beaver) swapping flying stories.

February 3, 2012    “Save our Rats”

An article in the Times Colonist today is titled: “Killing deer is not pretty, Metchosin mayor warns.”

The ongoing discussion of whether “to cull or not to cull” seems to inspire considerable debate. Personally, I do not kill animals unnecesarily but will admit I have happily culled a few rats. I have also killed animals for food (Lynn and I had a small farm). For those who hunt and kill a deer, moose, rabbit or other animal and then put the meat in the freezer, I have no problem, but go out and kill one of them or a grizzly, mountain sheep or other animal living in the wilderness just for the trophy, I have a problem.

Close to 100% of people I know, except for a few vegetarians, vegans and others (like our friend Andrew), eat beef, pork, chicken, duck and a hundred other kinds of animal and bird products that cover our grocery store shelves. Those poor animals and birds are often raised and then killed in rather nasty ways, yet we really don’t give a damn as we just want the product.

Back on the farm, believe me, we often came to love a cow, pig, sheep, chicken or even an ugly duck just as you might love your dog, cat or horse, We once had to tell the kids (Jay, Kari, Christine and Sean) we had sold the steer and bought other meat as there was no way they were going to eat “Roast Ghost” for dinner, Ghost being the name we had given to that poor steer now residing on our plates. We had to lie as we didn’t want the kids picketing the driveway with their friends, besides it was to late to save our friend, Ghost.

Photo: University of Victoria Groundskeeper removes rabbit from UVIC woods. The man suggested people have been contributing to the problem by dropping off unwanted rabbits and then overfeeding them.

In a worst case, we will cull other humans by the hundreds of thousands if we think our cause is just (we cull until one side wins or we reach a stalmate and both sides call it quits). Two World Wars are good examples “winning”. We don’t even need consensus to carry out his cull if our Government just decides to jump in as did the US and others did in Viet Nam and Iraq. Both those wars ended in a stalmate but not until tens of thousands of  innocent men, woman and children were killed in the cull. They were written off as “collateral damage”. Perhaps if we just viewed deer, rabbits and seals as people we would not be facing this dilemma.

So I say, don’t get all squeamish and uptight about a few deer or rabbits if you think they are infringing upon your property rights, just quietly and without fanfare do them in or arrange to export them to an animal sanctuary in Texas.

If you disagree, then I ask: “What do you think about rats? Do rats not have just as much right to your protection as does Bambi, Peter Rabbit and those cuddly, innocent looking, baby seals?”

I bet no one, not even Sarah MacLaughlin, would ever be caught dead carrying a sign that read:

 “Save our Rats”

Link to January 2012 Tim Hortons Posts

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  • 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.