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June, 2010:

Tough decisions

We all have to make them from time to time – tough decisions that is.

Usually there is a time limit on these choices because beyond a certain point in time, the choice of whether to go with Option A or B becomes moot.

There are also varying degrees of impact of one decision over another. Sometimes for some people, the selection of one path forward over another has impacts that radiate out from yourself to others.

I am faced with one of these choices right now and have been agonising over what to do for over a month now.

Note to family and friends… And Mom… I’m fine. It’s all good. This isn’t about anything bad or negative or anything like that. Chill.

This is a choice that, if I choose to take one path, there will be impacts on my time and energy, my family and perhaps even my career. It would be a commitment that I would not be able to back away from – if I were successful in achieving my goal that would be the preferred end result of my decision.

Later nights…. would have to stay up past 10 pm on some nights (??!!) Less time with the kids… though I would try to avoid this consequence as much as humanly possible. Likely wouldn’t have the spare energy to continue my climb up the corporate food chain… though I am kind of happy where I am right now.

The upside of choosing to take the challenge on over choosing the status quo is big. Little pecuniary advantage, but a huge thumbs up for my own personal goals and – if I am any good at it – my community.

The thing is that I’m getting to a point where I have to either fish or cut bait. And I’m having a hard time doing so. I am not normally like this; I tend to make hard choices fairly easily.

So, what do you do when faced with difficult decisions? Put them off as long as possible and then go with your gut? Do you have a hard-wried decision tree ingrained on your brain. Do you flip a coin?


mayorlarry… Will he or won’t he?


Yup, he’s running… it’s official.

In an election where there isn’t a single burning issue, the campaign will likely come down to a question of leadership, and leadership is personal.

“I hope it is about leadership because leadership is about getting things done,” O’Brien said. “If you want milquetoast and calmness and the chief of protocol, then you know who you can vote for.”

Yeah – I’d hate the Mayor to be calm… rather have him or her running around in a panic… that would get things done.

Municipal election season is underway.


So Ottawa Mayor is holding a press conference today to announce his intention that he will fight for his Chains of Office again in this fall’s municipal elections.

I think I have been clear about where I stand with this guy… not really his biggest fan in spite of the fact that he is a fellow BBC adherent.

But I hope he runs! I’d never vote for him – haven’t decided yet who I will support as Mayor of Bytown – but he makes GREAT blog fodder! Between him and that nitwit at the head of the ATU, I have penned some of my fave posts!

Go Larry!

Oh, I’ll be attending the BOLO event at Irene’s next week. Come on out for an evening of laughter and good times!


Police State well underway – and Friday miscellany too!

This does NOT give me warm and fuzzy feelings…

‘The public has nothing to fear with this legislation and the way the police will use this legislation. It really comes down to a case of common sense and officer discretion.’— Sgt. Tim Burrows of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit

The Ontario Legisl;ature passed, without debate, a special piece of legislation called the Public Works Protection Act. It gives the right for security jackboots to search anyone who comes near the Gee-Wow-Fence.  Police, at their discretion, can deny access to the area and “use whatever force is necessary” to keep people out. And those who refuse to provide the cops with their identity or reason for being there can be fined a few hundred bucks… but here is the kicker:

The regulation also says that if someone has a dispute with an officer and it goes to court “the police officer’s statement under oath is considered conclusive evidence under the Act.”

Say what? This means that the accused is denied the right to a fair hearing, does it not? The police can lie all they want (like the RCMP did in the Robert Dziekanski case) and get away with it.

True, the special powers expire when the summit is over, but from the 21st to the 28th, Canadians will be subject to the same limitations on their freedom as did the East Germans before the Wall came down.

Friday thoughts…

1. Why are there still parents who, despite all of the risks, drive around a busy city with their little kids perched in the front seat or on their lap? I saw this twice this morning? Is this not child endangerment?

2. Why do many male teens who wear ball caps keep the sticker on the brim and not tear it off?

3. My posts about the Great Quake of 2010 garnered just shy of 2200 hits on the 22nd and another 250 yesterday… a new record for a single post! Yay me!

4. Again on the Quake – it was interesting to see how folks reacted when it happened. A few freaked out. A few were confused about what exactly was going on. And some, like one of my colleagues just down the hall, didn’t even notice the quake. I’ve also heard stories about geese feeding on the shore suddenly heading to the water, cats that hi-tailed it to the basement and dogs running in circles. I think there is something primal in all creatures that kicks in when the earth moves.

5. The World Cup is pretty exciting, eh? France and Italy both get knocked out (YAY!). I’m looking forward – and with dread – to the England/Germany clash on Sunday. Wayne Rooney is going to have to be a lot better if the 3 Lions have a chance in this one!


Ottawa quake – another map – showing the shaking intensity

From the USGS as well…


Map of the epicenter of Ottawa / Quebec earthquake

From the USGS.


Earthquake hits Ottawa – more details

More details – the USGS is reporting that the epicentre was about 61 kms north of Ottawa:

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 5.5
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:41:42 UTC
  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 01:41:42 PM at epicenter
Location 45.955°N, 75.546°W
Depth 19.2 km (11.9 miles)
  • 49 km (31 miles) N (349°) from Cumberland, Ontario, Canada
  • 52 km (33 miles) N (10°) from Gatineau, Qu�bec, Canada
  • 58 km (36 miles) NNE (16°) from Hull, Qu�bec, Canada
  • 61 km (38 miles) N (11°) from OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 11.5 km (7.1 miles); depth +/- 5.3 km (3.3 miles)
Parameters NST=294, Nph=311, Dmin=160.3 km, Rmss=1.12 sec, Gp= 25°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=6
Event ID us2010xwa7


THAT was scary!

Lotsa folks freaked out by this… the building across the street seems to have been evacuated…

It lasted about a minute or so… I didn’t think these things lasted that long…

Cell service is down.


I wonder if they shoot the moose that get too close?

When I make the 5 1/2 westward trek to my hometown outside of Parry Sound, Ontario, I take Highway 60 through Algonquin Park – or just “The Park” as we call it.

It’s a beautiful drive. Rolling hills, lakes and rivers… and lots of fauna. Why, just last month when I did the trip with two of my kids, we saw 4 moose right on the side of the road! The kids loved it!

But we didn’t see anything like this:

This Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) is parked right on the side of the highway near Hidden Valley Road. Hey, they’re using these against the freakin’ Taliban! Protesters and stray moose wouldn’t stand a chance!

There are gates across the highway now, with police and soldiers monitoring check points and checking the ID of anyone who approaches.

Some of the locals are taking it in stride, I hear. But some are not so happy about the whole Gee-Ate thingy. Folks in this part of the world are pretty practical and straight forward. They are not afraid to call a spade a spade… like this guy:

John Niedzwiecki, 55, who runs a popular chip wagon across from the Tim Hortons in downtown Huntsville, is the first to admit it doesn’t take much to get him worked up.

“They told me to take down my ‘Obama for Prime Minister’ sign (on top of his chip truck). They told me it was disrespectful to the (federal) government given all it has done for Huntsville,” said the Muskoka native.

He said it wasn’t like the local Conservative MP, Industry Minister Tony Clement, was being altruistic by pumping $50 million of G8 money into the Muskoka-Parry Sound riding.

“All he did was buy himself another four years in power. I know he doesn’t like to hear that, but people aren’t stupid.”

I too would like to think that they’re not stupid.

And I hope those moose that we saw are not stupid enough to get close to one of those check points. I’m pretty sure they haven’t been cleared by the Integrated Security Unit.


The folly of Harper’s fences

And the sign said anybody caught trespassing would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and yelled at the house, Hey! what gives you the right
To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in
Signs – 5 Man Electrical Band

Almost complete are the conversions of two different Ontario communities into armed fortresses that would make even Kim Il Jong blush.

Huntsville and Toronto are very, very different types of communities – aside from the fact that many from the latter like to spend their summers in and around the former – the two are as different as night and day. Small town Ontario versus the Big Smoke. Urban versus rural. Natural environment versus built environment.

But over the next little while, these two communities have something very much in common. Something that up until recently, would have been unthinkable in the country.

They are full-fledged, razor wired, jack-booted police states.

I mean, what else can you call them?

Both are ringed with a 3 metre high fence that will be defended by fully armed and outfitted police officers recruited from the RCMP, OPP and the Metre Toronto boyz and girlz in blue. They have been specially trained in the use of anti-riot weapons like water cannons, sonic cannons, tasers, whips, batons, big guns, small guns, tear gas and effective noogy giving.

At first, the chattering was all about the threat of terrorism and hence the need for massive security.  Since terrorism is no longer a “threat”, we should not be too surprised that Day and the other Harperites are now characterizing all protesters as “anarchists and thugs”.  Thus the reason for this incredible and unprecedented armed presence on the streets of T.O. and in the bush around Huntsville. The ReformCons have to say something to warrant the ONE BEEL-LEE-ON dollars being spent on the establishment of the police state.

Sure, there will be some protesters in Toronto (there may be some in Huntsville too, but the main throng will be where they can garner the most media coverage) who are not there to exercise their democratic rights of free expression and assembly in a peaceful and meaningful way. There will be those who are there simply to cause trouble, mayhem and madness and to damage property.

But surely they can be identified fairly quickly and dealt with in an appropriate way? There are, like, thousands of cops and other security personnel, after all! They don’t do advance reconnaissance to identify individuals who may pose a threat? There isn’t a list somewhere?

I find that hard to believe.

Nope – the powers-that-be WANT disruption so they can point to it and say:

“We told you so! All of that money spent on fences, cops, cannons and razor wire was so WORTH it!”

The folks that I do feel sorry for are those in Huntsville and T.O. for whom this whole thing is a nightmare of epic proportions. I even feel sorry for the Bay Street lawyers!

Naw. That’s going too far.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Torontoist – which is keeping a running tab on what the Gee-Score is ruining or making a mess of.

I’m sure everyone is thanking you, Stevo! From the tourism operators in Muskoka to the LCBO employees in downtown Toronto. Thanks a BILLION!

And all for a photo op…

Well, how is this for a photo op?


The Parry Island folks I knew woulda been pissed…

Sorry, but having grown up with folks of surnames like Pegahmagabow, Tabobondung, King, Rice, Partridge, Nanibush and others… I think this sorry attempt at a politically correct attempt at being inclusive would be chuckled at.

I don’t pretend to be an expert or even a knowledgeable person when it comes to land claims, treaty rights and all the rest. But I did know quite a few of these folks while growing up in the area and they wanted nothing more than to be respected and given the same opportunities as those of us who lived off the Island.

“I knew that we wouldn’t be involved with the G8,” Tabobondung said in an interview this week at the band office on Parry Island, across a single-lane bridge from Parry Sound.

“But I thought, ‘This is part of our traditional country. Our ancestors are still there – we should celebrate that.’”

The 39-year-old chief says guidance came from his grandmother, Chief Flora Tabobondung, who passed away four years ago at the age of 86. Flora was a legendary figure in Canadian first nations, one of the chiefs chosen to go to England in 1982 when the Constitution was being repatriated, one who fought for aboriginal presence at the constitutional table and who subsequently was named to the Order of Canada for her work.

Flora was the Grandmother of an old friend with whom I went to undergrad. I studied Politics and she, Native Studies. I think Shane is her brother. But the name is widespread across the Island and he may be a cousin.

In any case, Canada’s distant heritage is often an afterthought for the main political parties – as much a bother that has to be attended to than anything else.

But I saw the discrimination, the prejudice and the addiction problems with that part of the population in my hometown.

And it’s too bad that Obama et al are getting an oh-so-sanitized view of a very old story in a part of the world I still call my hometown.


How much the Gee-Ate and Gee-Score is costing us…

There are some busy little Grits out there working on stuff like the counter I just embedded to the right…

Kudos where kudos are due…

Thanks to Scott for pointing this out.