September 24th 2002
I love it when the biter gets bit.
Or more accurately when the Postman takes a whopping big chunk out of the Rottweiler that's been barking incessantly at him!
For some time now a few of the local School Boards have been getting involved in the annual “lets pretend that we are more important than the students we represent” fest.
According to the news media this has in fact been a recurring event through just about every different political parties tenure in office. Which is quite some time indeed!
This time the Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa School boards were at the forefront of a big shindig involving their repeated ignoring of the Provinces edict that they balance their expenditure for the coming year.
The Toronto board kept coming in with a ninety million deficit which they refused to even consider trying to clear up. The excuse being that the Eves Government was a nasty right wing Government that didn't understand the nuances inherent in being a trustee of the “most multiculturally diverse school board in the world”!
Considering some of the utterances in the media I was rather astonished to realise that the trustees hadn't relinquished their office to kindergarten children! Some of the comments being of the “ya boo sucks to you. You stink!” variety.
Oddly enough the board itself seems to have been split evenly. Unfortunately we only ever got to hear the pathetic utterances of the left wing “we know what is best for everybody” crowd which is why it was rather interesting to hear that the boards were considering allowing and outside accountant to check their books.
I got the impression that they thought this was going to be a “groot snotklap” to the Eves Government.
So the three School Boards agreed to allow an outside person come in and audit the books.
They even agreed to the choice of person as well!
Claimed that he appeared to be a moderate!
That is ..until the auditor had gone through the Ottawa School boards books and recommended that they be dissolved and a trustee be appointed to undertake a restructuring of the finances.
At which stage, suddenly the moderate grew horns and became the devil incarnate.
The Toronto District School Board took to whining loudly and long as to how they were about to be hung out to dry. It was unfair. It was a snow job.
It was……well everything that was anti the left wing agenda that was rapidly becoming apparent.
As an aside here I think I should also point out that they have some interesting capitalist tendencies for left-wingers as well! The Toronto School Board Trustees, or at least their forebears, being the gluttons who voted themselves an 86% pay rise back in 1988. Of course everyone forgets that the Tories weren't the party in power at the time.
Even more intriguing is how many of the current Toronto District School Board just “happen” to be Liberal Party or even NDP Party candidates who of course would never have a vested interest in making the current Government look bad eh?
After all, they were these wonderful people who only had the interests of the children at heart and the Eves Government was Satan intent on destroying little Johnnies future!
Of course, like many of the parents involved, I would have had this strong feeling of annoyance at the Ontario Governments actions if it wasn't for the full page advert taken out by various Unions representing, the teachers. Actually lets be more honest here and say that they “claimed” to represent the teachers. This is probably more truthful anyway as I am sure that the strident left wing agenda isn't followed by the teachers at all.
Anyway their Unions decided that a full-page propaganda effort was the way to spend even more of the boards money wisely.
After all when you're running a deficit what is a few thousand dollars squandered here and there anyway?
So we were treated to a full-page advert whining about the nasty Eves Government attempts to “harm out community”!
Suddenly the Auditor was in cahoots with the Government and was intent on damaging poor little Johnnies whole life.
The same person that a short while ago everyone had agreed was the right person to do the audit!
Of course when you read all the fine print the one word that pops up continuously is “may”. As in “may be forced to close”, “may have to cut” “may affect the attendance” or the one statement that was conveniently left out “may not contain a shred of truth”.
It was in fact a wonderful piece of propaganda. A superb piece! The subtle innuendo and lack of truth was brilliant!
But even better was the way it laid out all the cuts expected to take place.
Suddenly I began to notice an interesting trend with regard to what was being cut.
We're not talking cuts that massively affect the students here.
No! What we are talking here is trimming back on extraneous activities and persons that mainly seem to be involved in social re-engineering programs and left wing bull!
Here are some of the headings:
“Cuts to Board Administration, Cuts to building maintenance, Higher fees for community use of schools, Cuts to adult education, cuts to occasional teachers”, and a whole host of “cuts to bloody useless extraneous activities that have nothing to do with actual education of students and everything to do with the whole bullshit multicultural left wing claptrap” that seems to be part of the bleeding heart agenda!
One of the programs due to be cut, and which was trotted out as the most unfair to this poor multicultural city, was that involving “cuts to international language tuition”. Actually not what you, or anyone else, thought either. Apparently this program is a free program designed to teach immigrant students the language of the country that they emigrated from.
Think about that for a moment or two. And then simply ask yourself what is so incompetent or incapable with the parents that their children need to learn the language they speak from someone else. For free! In a country that speaks a different language. See what I mean by sheer insanity?
Or how about “family literacy” and “roots of empathy” programs? Or “adult education”. All of which sound suspiciously like left wing feel good programs.
Probably designed to rectify the lack of linguistic skills of immigrants who lied about being able to speak one of the Official languages when they arrived!
Although more likely designed to throw away more money on “refugees”!
Anyway the upshot of the auditors report was that the Toronto District School Board was basically incompetent and needed to be put into receivership. In other words the Ontario Government was to put an interim Supervisor in to make the requisite cuts and amendments, which were necessary to ensure that the actual students were able to get a reasonable education.
After all the trustees were supposedly there to see that this was done. However political agenda's, personal agenda's and plain incompetence had been the order of the day and the students were the last people to be taken into consideration.
Having baited the Government continuously and then agreed to the choice of auditor it is rather amusing to see the weeping and wailing taking place amongst the trustees who have at last been shown up for what they are.
Hopefully the Toronto area students will be the eventual winners.
September 16th 2002
Sometimes it is the really simple little things in life that remind you that it probably is worth living after all.
Last night, on a clear, starlit, smog free night out in the middle of Lake Ontario I got the full majestic force of how beautiful Ontario can be.
One of the volunteer activities I undertake here in Canada is working with TOWARF or, to give it its full name:
The Town of Oakville Water Air Rescue Force.
TOWARF is part of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and the aim of the organization is to provide backup out on the Lake to people in need or peril.
Or as the publicity blurb puts it:
“Our mandate is the saving and protection of life and property on that part of Lake Ontario adjacent to the Oakville shoreline”
I am of course still trying to envisage how the hell we are supposed to save property on Lake Ontario. Dive down and bring up any submerged houses?
OK I am aware of what property means people. Little waterlogged humour there OK?!
Fred Oliver, the Chief Constable of Trafalgar Township, formed TOWARF, in 1954. This was some time ago and the T in TOWARF originally stood for Trafalgar. Which explains Trafalgar Road which neatly bisects Oakville East and runs alongside our townhouse complex and , until someone decided that a memorial was less important than a damn Starbucks, the Trafalgar Memorial at the corner of Trafalgar and Dundas streets.
I haven't been able to find out what the O stood for yet though!
The unit was organized after two Sea Scouts and their leader drowned in Lake Ontario offshore from Oakville. Drowning amongst youth organizations apparently being quite a high profile occurrence in the old days, and even today, given one of the more tragic events up in the Georgian Bay area I think.
When it was first set up TOWARF was mainly funded by local service organizations and private donations. The Lions Club being the biggest sponsor. I'm not sure when this changed, nor for that matter, why, but at the moment the unit is financed by the Town of Oakville itself.
Oddly enough not a large amount either. About $35,000 dollars annually which is then used for just about everything that is needed.
Apparently part of the reason for this is that greater amounts mean that the local council has to debate the validity of providing the money. Let's just say that our local council doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence! In fact lets just say that “unable to organize a piss-up in a brewery” is fairly accurate! Mind you let someone try to smoke and they will send the Gestapo out to enforce the no smoking policy but this is the mob that wants to let developers into the Moraine area north of Dundas thereby stuffing up the “green lung” and ecological balance that provides the “country” setting!
So not letting them anywhere near a debate on TOWARF finances is probably wise.
And anyway everyone is a volunteer here and one of the nice quirks about Canadian volunteers is that they tend to just dig into their own pockets or do whatever is necessary. Quietly and without to many thanks either I notice!
In 1979 TOWARF became a member of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary.
This allows a standardized link between all the search and rescue operations to be maintained and controlled. Which is a good thing actually. Especially for those poor souls floating out in the Lake waiting to be rescued!
The TOWARF area covers from the Cement factory docks at the bottom end of Winston Churchill Drive all the way through to the PetroCanada Docks down past Bronte harbour. And out into the Lake to the American border. Not a particularly large area but there are two harbours included here, both of which have plenty of pleasure craft going in and out at all times.
Up until last year TOWARF had a twin hull rescue boat and a 17foot whaler but last year they acquired a 27' Aluminum Hardtop with twin Volvo Penta V6 inboard/outboards The others were sold to defray costs and this is the only boat operational at the moment.
There are 11 crews that make up the roster for crew duty. Most crews have up to seven members but I note that generally you don't get more than five people turning up for the shift.
The most important aspect of this organization is that they operate from mid-April to mid-November. I suppose that in an extreme emergency the boat could be launched during winter but as it is normally dry-docked then I suppose the people needing our attention would have to be taken out using ice picks rather than fished out with a boat hook!
Besides during the winter months is when we receive other training on aspects such as search and rescue, marine radio operations, navigation, boat handling, first aid and CPR.
So that we are at least competent enough to actually fish them out.
Having been at sea in the Merchant Navy for some time (in my wild and wooly youth OK?!) and having also been the Captain of a rescue boat before I thoroughly enjoy this activity although I haven't really mentioned this to everyone around. My Captain knows as does the Commander but I am enjoying the chance to start all over in a Canadian setting. I guess it does make it a bit easier that I am aware of much of the activities but to all intents and purposes I'm still a newbie and learning!
And besides I get to sit out aft in the middle of the night in perfect peace and harmony watching the lights of Toronto on the one side all the way through to the lights of Niagara on the other. Like I said it was a perfectly clear night with hardly any pollution so the lights were crisp and clear and well delineated. Even the stars seemed to be clearer.
There were a lot more of them obviously. There always are when you get away from the electrical clutter around cities. In fact you would be amazed at the millions of stars that you can see when you are out in the middle of the ocean.
Of course out in the middle of the sea you don't get to see just how many airplanes there are flying over the North American continent either.
Considering that we were out on the lake when the light aircraft ditched off Clarkson I guess they should be happy we were below them watching as well.
I suppose more than anything else that was the best five hours of pure stress relief and relaxation technique I have had for ages. And it cost me nothing!
There's a lot to be said for this volunteering business after all!
September 9th 2002
Well. You've got to give him his dues. Chretien is one wily old fox when it comes to having his back up against the wall.
Mind you when over seventy percent of the Canadian electorate is telling you to pack your bags and go, it takes some testicles to stand up and basically tell them that you will retire after another year or so and that you are doing this for the good of the country as well!
But then our “little guy from Shewinigan” has never been short in that department. You don't need honour, intelligence or even communication abilities when you are a deep down nasty little street fighter. The type that insists on bringing a gun to a knife fight for that matter.
Although in Chretiens case he would lie about it and then insist that who ever was pointing this out was anti-something or other. Knowing Chretien he would say anti-fair play and then be totally put out that his version of the law according to Jean was not being adhered too!
Of course never having had an original thought in his life (he is after all a member of the Liberal Party!) even the very action that has supposedly saved his bacon was stolen from Joe Clark of the Progressive Conservatives.
Mind you quite a lot of the Liberal platform, and subsequent Government actions, were too, so I suppose there should be no surprise there.
This year has been an interesting eye opener as to the Canadian political scenario and it seems that virtually every single party in this country has decided to implode at roughly the same time!
The first party to do so was the Canadian Alliance, which decided that the Skidoo wonder boy wasn't the right image to portray. Actually the image that the press played up continuously was that of a Christian fundamentalist anti-abortion whacko which sort of stuck.
And as Ontario controls the lions share of the electorate and as Ontario contains the Sodom and Gomorrah of Canada so of course was Ontario scared of the Canadian Alliance and dutifully returned the Liberals to power.
The Canadian electorate in Ontario being mainly trendy lefties anything that smacks of Christian morality is quickly derided and denigrated by the media, most of whom would quite cheerfully fit into Mugabe's press corps quite well.
So the Canadian Alliance had a leadership review and put Stephen Harper in as the leader into the Promised Land. An earnest policy type, time will tell how effective he can be although so far he has been only a little bit better than his predecessor.
Shortly afterward Joe Clark of the Progressive Conservatives announced that he was going to step down. Joe being a fairly astute type this was no doubt bought on by the unseemly infighting taking place in the Liberal Party where Chretien had fired Martin and was going around basically daring anyone to “take him on”!
Joe has been known, and denigrated, for ages as “Joe Who?” despite being the youngest elected prime Minister and also despite being the party Leader who is respected for being the most honest of this sorry bunch. Of course this appellation is mostly used by the opposition Press so I suppose we shouldn't really be surprised after all. And even they are grudgingly forced to admit that Joe is the most honourable and honest of the lot.
Joe, however is also a clever and sneaky character because it was he who decided to put a small rider onto his resignation which basically went something like this:
“ I am announcing my resignation in about a year or so, unless something drastic comes up, or I am needed, or hell freezes over, or the current Ottawa-pigs-at-the-trough learn to fly”.
Smart man our Joe. He came out of that little lot smelling of roses as opposed to the faint odour of manure that should have been apparent.
Not to be out done by this, the NDP (National Democratic Party) saw a bandwagon and decided to jump aboard in order to fall off with the rest. The NDP is of course the far left wing Canadian Party. As with all the totalitarian loony lefties they have Democracy as part of the their logo even if they have no intention of ever implementing it, nor for that matter would they recognize democracy if it crawled up their unshaven, earnest, peasant legs and bit them on their sorry asses!
Composed mainly of middle class university students revolting, or being revolting, sandalista wannabee's and those earnest placard waving “useful idiots” of the sixties their leader was the epitome of all the political correct nannies that hover around any sign of enjoyment and crush it ruthlessly. She was also bloody pathetic as a politician which no doubt is why she resigned. You can't rely on the party ignorant to keep providing votes ad nauseum. Even they like to see some results once in a while.
So the upshot is that Alexa McDonough resigns and the NDP begin to have their own internecine struggle to replace her.
Which is where of course, if they were smart, the Liberal Party would have sat back with a smirk and worked on how to dupe the electorate into giving them another few years to gorge at the trough and screw the Canadian public.
But as I have reported before, both the electorate and the Liberal Party faithful are getting a little tired of Chretien and his antics. Reports being filtered out to the media and which were even reported in The Star showed that seventy percent of the electorate thought Chretien should go. That Martin should be the new Prime Minister. That politicians were untrustworthy. OK that last bit has nothing to do with Chretien going but it does show how Canadians are getting “gatvol” of all the bull up in Ottawa.
And believe me when I sat that if the Toronto Star is running articles that deride the Prime Minister there is something seriously wrong.
So after much antagonism, sniping and petty politics from the Chretien and Martin camps last week Chretien announced his resignation.
Sort of! Maybe! Unless!
Ah yes! Very much in the Clark mould Chretien announced that he would resign in about eighteen months time. He hasn't officially put his resignation down in writing I might add. This is quite frightening because the last time Chretien swiped something from the Tories and announced his intentions it was the hated GST. Chretien telling everyone he would do away with it and then of course not only implementing it but benefiting tremendously from it as well. Well how do you think the Liberals managed to blow millions in unaccounted slush fund blowouts??
So having lied for eight years about the GST many people are quite rightly skeptical about his intentions to resign here as well.
Personally I think his real reason for waiting a few years is to allow the three hundred thousand immigrants every year from the Far East to get their citizenship. As every one knows they are the backbone of the Liberal Party in Ontario and still have this naïve belief that the voting process in Canada is democratic.
At least that is what the Liberal newspapers tell them. The ones that they were recommended to read at their immigrant indoctrination classes.
So instead of a quick clean severing of the head we now have another year and a bit of a slow blunt hacking away.
I just hope that we ordinary suckers don't get hit by too much fallout although I have this horrible feeling we will.