A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Vote, Vote, Vote - Vote ABC

Are you Registered to Vote?

By this time you should have received your Voter Information Card telling you where your polling station is located, if you have not received one then either you are not on the list or you information on that list is incorrect and you should call or visit your local Election Canada office and get your information added or corrected.

If you did receive a card then check it out and make sure that the name and address matches that on your personal identification, in particular the address. If it does not contact EC and get the electors list corrected or you may be turned away on voting day.
Find your local EC office address and phone number here.......

I am told by someone who recently took poll clerk training that should you turn up at a poll with address information that does not match the listings or when you are not on the list then you will NOT be turned away but added to the list and asked to swear that you have not voted elsewhere.

Its a difficult choice we must make this time around in order to remove the current dictator from power, the choice of which other candidate (and thus the party they represent) is best placed to defeat the incumbent, or new, conservative candidate is not always clear in many ridings. You may be tempted to say I want him gone but I am not sure who else to vote for and therefore not bother. Please don’t do that, if the more that 40% of folks who did not vote last time get out and vote ABC then ANYTHING can happen in any riding.
So make sure you are on the list, your details are correct, and get out and VOTE, dont let Harper steal another election with his unfair election act changes designed to discourage voting and prevent Elections Canada from encouraging voters to vote and hamper investigation of electoral fraud.

Advance voting days
October 9, 10, 11 and 12, noon to 8:00 p.m.

Election Day is Oct 19th
The time polls are open will vary depending upon your time zone but ALL are open a minimum of 12 hours

Other ways to vote
Go to any Elections Canada office by 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13

No card?
Find out where to vote and check out if you are on the voters list here by entering your personal information


More voting wrinkles

Just found an interesting wrinkle in the voting process for those who wish to keep their face covered, despite have all the required documents the same as those who do not have photo ID and are permitted to vote right away those with face covering must swear an oath before they may vote. This does not seem logical or fair.

Those who want to make a protest by accepting a ballot and then refusing to vote will not be counted as refusing but their blank ballot placed in the box and counted as a spoiled ballot. A far better way to make your dislike of the system known would be to vote for a candidate who supports electoral reform. 31,000 people voted for “none of the above” in the last provincial election in Ontario where such an option was available, lets make every vote count..... against the dictatorial and corrupt Harper Regime!

As in all previous elections those that are turned away due to insufficient or incorrect identification or being at the wrong poll are not counted so we will never know how many voters tried to vote but were denied the opportunity. Please be sure you are on the voters list and have matching identification.
This information and more can be found in the polling clerks training manuals available on line on the Elections Canada site.

You should also have received a flyer regarding what to do if you did not receive a card which says you must present ......

1) Show one of these pieces of ID

  • your driver's licence
  • your provincial or territorial ID card
  • any other government card with your photo, name and current address

2) Show two pieces of ID

At least one must have your current address
What it does NOT say that said address much match in large part the address that EC has on file if it does not or if they have no listing you will have a problem.... call EC to ensure you can vote.

Almost 10 million Canadian voters did not vote for one reason or another in 2011, if all these folks make their wished know in this the most important election in years, possibly in Canadian history, then we CAN get rid of this undemocratic regime.............

In the Grey-Bruce Owen Sound riding in 2011 the conservative incumbent won by approximately 20,000 votes over the runner up HOWEVER over 27,000 eligible voters did not vote and there are almost 3,000 more eligible voters in our riding this time around. You CAN make a difference get out and VOTE!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Whos going to fix the copier?

Leaders of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 55,000 education workers in Ontario schools, ramped up the ongoing work-to-rule campaign on Tuesday morning. The union represents early childhood educators, educational assistants, custodians, clerical workers, librarians and other members of Ontario public and Catholic schools. Each category of workers was given an instruction list of approximately 30 to 35 items specific to their daily duties at school.
Some of the items that the union has told their member not to do include.......
Custodial and maintenance workers were advised not to sweep entrances and hallways or clean the offices of principals and vice-principals.
Clerical employees were told not to enter staff absences, complete month-end reports for the Ministry of Education, create or print newsletters or do school bank deposits.
Educational assistants will not complete any learner reports, make photocopies, will not do lunch duty, hall duty or yard duty.
Early childhood educators will not complete learner reports, make photocopies, attend training or do any paperwork.
Library workers will not clear photocopier jams or prepare materials for any classes.
Anyone employed in the information technology field will not clear photocopier jams, attend training or do any paperwork and all requests for work must be submitted in writing.
All instructors will not complete learner reports or submit lesson plans.
My only question is if this is a work to rule and these things are not in their job description, why not? No doubt that if such thing that are clearly part of their normal work routine were to be added to the proposed contract the union would be squealing for even more money. As with the Elementary Teachers I find it difficult to believe that the majority of the folks with a relatively secure and well paid job are so dissatisfied with their job and compensation to disrupt the normal school activities in this manner. Is the union dictating to its members, are they being consulted regularly? I dont know, I just know that those struggling for one reason or another to make ends meet, working part time or at minimum wage or desperately looking for ANY work are sick and tired of hearing this kind of crap from the unions, particularly 'public service' unions.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Be Prepared, Voter Identification

Much has been made of late of the removal of the voter card as a piece of identification, there was even a court case in Ontario to challenge the provision which was rejected. Frankly I believe the rhetoric that this change will disenfranchise some voters is a little overdone, it is the assumption that if you have received a card that’s all you need to vote that is the problem. You still need to positively identify yourself by other means, if you received the card by mail it is highly improbable that you don’t have some kind of addressed mail / bills etc that is acceptable as proof of residence.

A far greater impediment to voting, particularly in rural Canada, is that if the address on your drivers licence or other ID does not match that on the voters list (and thus you card if you got one) you may have difficulty. If you drivers licence still says RR something but the voters list says 123456 This Road then you could have a problem if you leave things to voting day. Even errors in the list that puts you to the other side of the street and thus sends you to a different poll location can really throw a spanner in the works, you MUST be registered with Elections Canada to vote. On voting day you MUST vote at the right polling station, at advanced polls and at Elections Canada offices prior to that there is much more flexibility.

There are several ways to both check and correct such errors and it is not unreasonable to ask voters to do so if they suspect the voter list is incorrect, or they have moved recently, they are just now old enough to vote or they are away at school for an extended period. The thing is they must be aware that they need to do so and that is what this post is about.

The Elections Canada web site detailing all the information required was updated in late June and clearly answers just about every question you may have but there are a few wrinkles that are not immediately obvious and not generally included in the discussions about who can and cannot vote and what they need to know to do so. I will try and cover some of those things here but please check the imbedded links for the details.

  1. Your mailing address and your residential address are not necessary the same, you may use either one but your ID must match the address on the voters list (and thus the voters card). Your drivers licence with a different address can be used to establish you identity but you then need a separate piece of approved documentation to establish your address. http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=vot&dir=ids&document=index&lang=e

  1. If you do not receive a card, the address does not match the ID that you can provide, you are going to be away from home either temporarily or longer, you just have to make some arrangements ahead of time. This is not unreasonable, if you want to vote and have a say in Canada's future get off your arse and make sure you can do so. Here is how! http://www.elections.ca/content2.aspx?section=id&document=index&lang=e

Elections Canada sends a voter information card by mail to each registered voter. It should arrive between September 28 and October 2. The voter information card gives the hours and address of your advance polling place, election day polling place and local Elections Canada office.
You may correct the Elections Canada voter listings to agree with you ID, (AND vote by special ballot whilst doing so), by visiting any of 400 Elections Canada offices before the deadline of Tuesday, October 13 at 6:00 p.m. (local time). Offices are open Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bring your proof of identity and address. You can vote by mail but need to apply for a special ballot voting kit as soon as possible, to allow time for your voting kit to reach you and for your marked ballot to reach Elections Canada by election day.
The deadline to apply to vote by mail is Tuesday, October 13 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time for anyone applying online or sending their application to Elections Canada in Ottawa.
You may vote by special ballot at any Elections Canada office at any time prior to the election, be sure to have the name and correct spelling of your preferred candidates name when doing so as the 'special ballot' is not preprinted with the candidates name and the office may not have an up to date list!
You can find the Elections Canada office nearest you on the internet or call Election Canada at 1-800-463-6868
When you vote at an Elections Canada office or by mail, you must use a special ballot voting kit.
In all cases, the elector must have a civic address for his or her place of ordinary residence in Canada, for electoral purposes. The elector's vote will be counted for that electoral district.

If you're not sure what address E.C. has on file, check your voter registration here.
If you need more help with voter registration, contact them here.

  1. If you are unable to probuce any ID showing your current address you may take an oath
    Show two pieces of ID with your name and have someone who knows you attest to your address. This person must show proof of his or her identity and address, be registered in the same polling division, and can only attest for only one person. The identity of a person without documentation cannot be vouched for only his or her civic address!

Those living in residence or in a home with a roommate off campus may have difficulty because some of the bills may not be in their name. In situations like that students can get a letter of  confirmation of residence from their student residence. The same could apply for someone staying in a shelter or senior’s residence or living on reserve. These forms can be found online at www.elections.ca or by visiting a local election office.

I am told by someone who recently took poll clerk training that should you turn up at a poll with address information that does not match the listings or when you are not on the list then you will NOT be turned away but added to the list and asked to swear that you have not voted elsewhere.

Remember under the new (un)Fair Elections Act, Elections Canada can tell you where and how to vote but cannot advertise or otherwise encourage you, or our under represented youth or native population, to get out to vote. So bloggers let us take up the challenge and do all we can to get everyone to have their say on Canada's future.

Election date is Oct 19th

The above information cross posted at Democracy Under Fire

Elections Canada Offices in the Grey-Bruce Owen Sound Riding
All offices open 10am – 5pm Monday – Friday

Main office of the returning officerThe Professional Centre
945 3rd Avenue East, Suite 24
Owen Sound, Ontario N4K 2K8
Tel 1 866 238-4198

Other returning offices
The Former Rona Building
185 Elizabeth Street
Durham, ON, Ontario N0G 1R0
Tel 1 866 450-9918

The Meeting Place - Propeller Club
575 Edward Street
Wiarton, Ontario N0H 2T0
Tel 1 866 374-4031

The Candidates and their offices for Grey Bruce Owen Sound are:-
Chris Albinati, Green Party 148 Garafraxa St. N., Durham 226-432-2152
Kimberley Love, Liberal Party 155 8th Street East, Owen Sound 226-909-2046
David McLaren, NDP 1043 2nd Ave. East, Owen Sound 519-270-4333
Larry Miller, Conservative Party 1260 2nd Ave. East, Owen Sound 226-909-1925

Upcoming Candidate Debates in Grey-Bruce Owen Sound
Monday, Sept. 28th – Hanover – Civic Centre Theatre – 7-9pm (no L.Miller at this time)
Thursday, Oct. 1st – Owen Sound – Bayshore Centre 7-9pm (yes L. Miller)
Wednesday, Oct.7th – Keady – Keady Community Centre – 7-9pm (yes L. Miller)
Thursday, Oct. 8th – O.S. – St. Georges Anglican Hall – Women’s Issues debate – (no L. Miller)
Wed. Oct. 14th – Paisley – Paisley Legion/Town Hall – 7-9pm (no L. Miller)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Party Platforms, some thoughts!

If the choice is between fixing the hole in the roof and remortgaging the house then the choice is obvious, particularly with the interest rates so low. Throwing a tarp over it and putting a bucket under the drips is not a long term viable solution, that for so many of us finding a job to even purchase a tarp is a major problem simply highlights the position we are in both individually and as a country. If the roof has been leaking for some time and just moving the buckets around as needed was the solution chosen then simply doing more of the same is equally illogical. When your accountant then proposes that you go out and buy a shiny new Caddy with the money you did not know you had, saved by not fixing the roof, would you rehire him!

With Harper promising billions in funding for various projects across the country despite the numbers that put us in recession whilst at the same time saying that there is / will be a surplus of income over spending is troubling enough but that Mulclair is echoing that scenario is bizarre. Anyone who thinks that the books will be shown to be in the black when the 'new' government is sworn in must be drinking more than coolaid and to promise that all the goodies being proposed can then be paid for without substantial new income is a fantasy. The fantasy includes the recently announced $1.9-billion surplus for 2014-15, a $4 billion jump from the announced deficit just a few months ago and revealed just a month before the election....are you kidding?. The deficit still exists even if only in unfulfilled promises and programs! Of course close examination of many of the promises reveal that the amounts flaunted are to be trickled out over several years, in some cases even decades, and thus can be reduced, redirected or cancelled as required. It is the promise of big bucks for this or that that gets the attention of far too many voters.

It is understandable that all the partys (except the Greens) are reluctant to talk about minority and / or coalition government, they all want the power to pass legislation of their choice without having to 'comprise' by 'cooperating' with those damned folk from other partys who have been elected by their constituents to represent then in our search for a better Canada. We have seen what majority government has brought about, and it has not been pretty, whilst the Cons have been particularly destructive of process and ideologically rigid I suspect any party with a majority will not embrace 'comprise' and 'cooperation' which to my mind is what we need to move forward.

I will be very surprised if we are not in a minority situation come October and that will at a minimum require two or more partys to work together to undo the Havoc that Harper has wrought be it on a case by case basis or on a more formal agreement. I applaud Elizabeth May's efforts to get a conversation started about this possibility (probability?) BEFORE we find ourselves in another constitutional crisis. We cannot forget that despite Harper & Mulclair having said they will not appoint senators and that they want to abolish it, it still is part of our parliamentary process and legislation must be passed in the senate before becoming law. That as it sits now it is a body dominated by Conservative appointees who can be counted upon to oppose just about anything that does not fit their view of the world will be difficult enough without adding further dis-functionality to that body by calling in to doubt its legitimacy.

All the opposition partys are promising to move towards election reform, the Libs say they will introduce a new voting system in time for the 2019 election, are leaning towards a preferential voting system but will form a committee to study it first. The NDP say that they will impose a Mixed Member Proportional system and the Greens have long advocated for change and say that they will “establish an all-party Democratic Voting Commission to review past research and conduct a public consultation on the style of proportional representation best suited to Canada.” With even those of us who strongly flavor electoral reform unable to agree on which of the several systems and variations of same is the best option this one is going to be difficult for all concerned. Then there is parliamentary reform, the return to following the traditional rules and strengthening the system so it cannot be abused as it has been in recent years. Little has been said about that by the partys, they are all too busy trying to GET power rather than restrict and share it!

Finally, little has been said about reinstating our scientific research, Census Canada data collecting, environmental protections, search and rescue capability, social support mechanisms etc etc etc gutted by the Con Regime. These things will all take time and money and require a vibrant “economy” with folks able to finds jobs and pay taxes, stopping the exodus of corporations to other jurisdictions and ensuring those that do stay pay their fair share. In short we need a leader and a government that instills confidence in Canada both internally and overseas, are any of the partys going to provide this dramatic change so desperately needed? Frankly I see a few glimmers of light but still await the rising of the sun over Canada bringing a new era of our 'representatives' working together to bring a new day to our diverse country.

Who is going to be that bright light, I have no idea!

This article cross posted at Democracy Under Fire

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Brits “Peeved” over recent events.....

Various versions of this bit from John Cleese, English actor, comedian, writer and film producer have been circulating for years.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards." They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender." The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France 's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs." They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbour" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels ..

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries" to "She'll be right, Mate." Two more escalation levels remain: "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The barbie is cancelled." So far no situation has ever warranted use of the last final escalation level.

John Cleese ,
British writer, actor and tall person

And as a final thought - Greece is collapsing, the Iranians are getting aggressive, and Rome is in disarray. Welcome back to 430 BC.

Life is too short...

............And Canada has gone from “Who gives a shit” to Pity eh!” but are considering raising it to “Audit the bastards” but haven’t yet reached the top level of “Hide in the closet”.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Not News to Us.

The unemployment rate for the Stratford-Bruce Peninsula economic region increased from 5.4% to 6.1% last month, led by a loss of 3,500 jobs in trades and 1,400 in educational services.” This area includes a wide geographic area and does not properly reflect the Grey- Bruce part of that “economic region” in my opinion, we may not have “lost” as many jobs simply because there have been very few in this area to loose and the unemployment numbers are suspect in that they do not generally include the thousands that have not been counted due to having long ago run out of EI and despite still wanting a job cannot find any to even apply for!

A young man in our family in the trades who was laid off due to “lack of available work” and who exhausted his Employment Insurance many months ago who has been looking for almost any full or part time job recently attended an information session for a new national parts and surplus store being opened in our area shortly. He tell me that the two day session had several hundred attending on the day that he was there and after a couple of interviews received yet another “thanks but no thanks” letter. He was told he had many of the qualifications required but others “were more qualified”, this for an entry level warehouse / clerk type position. Looking at the local job listings I cannot fault him for not finding a job, there are simply no jobs to be had, and most of the few that are available require speciality certification or training, there are not even any jobs bagging groceries to be had!

Our fact spinning PM and his mouthpieces are crowing
that "Under Conservative economic leadership, we had strong economic growth in June, exports are up — particularly in manufacturing — and now we've seen that Canada created over 50,000 full time jobs last month," Oh wow! 50,000 “new” jobs across a country the size of Canada and the unemployment rate ROSE to 7% And a loss of 42.000 (part time) jobs offset this number for a net gain of around 12,000.

Meanwhile here in Ontario the job losses in just trades and educational services exceed that considerably with the loss of 6,900 and 23,300 jobs respectively. Hell the job losses in just our economic region alone is almost half that at 5,300, so don’t tell me about a slight rise in the number of jobs across the country, the miniscule gain is totally meaningless to those in this area who cannot find work.

Oh yes and the budget is balanced and we are not in a recession and Harper puts no limits on who attends his election 'photo opportunities' and how may questions he will answer!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Harpers Speech

Please find below for your enjoyment a few extracts from Harpers speech upon dissolving parliament and launching us into an extend taxpayer subsidized 11 week campaign.

As it is my intention to begin campaign-related activities, as is also the case for the other party leaders, it is important that these campaigns be funded by the parties themselves rather than taxpayers..........
.....and my use of taxpayers dollars to inundate them with advertisements promoting our “Economic Action Plan” and our “Bribe Families with Kids Plan” was not partisan at all. It is just coincidence that our MPs have been out handing out more funding cheques in the last few days than in many years. Also I will not be accepting the 50% taxpayer funded reimbursement of our expenses.

It is an election about who will protect our economy......A national election is not a popularity contest.......
.....which is why we have spent millions trying to reduce the popularity of Justin and ignored the fact that the Economy still has not recovered from the recession.
Our choices have been prudent and our actions have been disciplined........
........the closure of scientific library’s, coast guard stations etc and the defunding of organizations supporting democracy and womens rights etc were not ideologically driven at all.

As a result, our economy and our employment have grown steadily over six years......
.........and those studies and charts that say that the economy is tanking and 1000s of Canadians have given up even trying to find a full time job and similar reports were not dreamed up by us and therefore must be wrong.

Our budget is balanced........
........ and we have a pristine island for sale in an Albertan tar sands effluent pond.

Our social programs have been preserved.,,,,,,,
.......the veterans, womens groups and others that say they are not getting federal support are just a bunch of whining sissy’s.

Jihadi terrorists have declared war on Canada and Canadians by name, and last October violent attacks were carried out on our soil.......
...........I know because I heard the shooting from the single disturbed gunman from inside the closet I was hiding in.

Now is not the time for political correctness, inexperienced governance or an ideological unwillingness to act...........Now is the time to face those who threaten us with moral clarity, strength, and resolve.........
.........those threats include opposition politicians, environmentalists, scientists, charitable organizations and anyone who does not agree with me. My dismantling of our parliamentary democracy and refusal to debate these issues is a measure of my resolve to finish totally destroying Canada as you once knew it.

I will be asking Canadians for their support to continue to deliver sound economic management, and to take the difficult decisions necessary to protect our country’s security...........
...........and if that fails we will lie, cheat, ignore the rules and try and buy you votes in any way possible because we are the only ones who know anything and all others are terrorists trying to kill you.