"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Sorry,Sir Robert

Sir Robert,

Henry was my grandfather. Your generation. For the most part, four thousand miles removed from
yourself. Maybe you've met him since.

His son James was one of the Royal Scots Fusiliers you may have seen when you visited the rat and lice infested mud holes of trenches shared with your Canadians .

They became ready made graves after when it proved impractical because of the numbers to remove   dead and broken remains.

James was wounded in France, sent  home to recover from his injuries ,re- called still not recovered to be sent to Dardanelles and  killed immediately upon landing.

Sorry for the confusion about your first name.

I wish I was wrong about all the rest.

But it's a sad fact you learned too late about the reality of war.

Unfortunately nobody  learned from your experience.

War is still clad in dress informs, adorned with gilded laurel leaves, rows of colored ribbons, flags, theatrical performances  and marching bands to commemorate the vainglory and maintain the institution .

Such Deceit

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Guest Post":

9:13
That is true. I worked at Sunnybrook. But that was then. Now the support network for vets is being reduced across the country. And patients are still " trying to jump", some of them taking their families with them. We can do better and the billions of un-spent money in Ottawa is ugly.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 November 2014 10:20


************************

I do not consider myself expert in much that is military. But it does seem a couple of things are being deliberately left out of the equation by all concerned.

Veterans  of World War 1 and 11 are not the same as veterans of  a volunteer  army serving 6 month tours of duty to wherever their government sends them.

The essential,differenceis the first were conscripted and spent the duration of a declared war  away from home.  

The second  were enticed into  military  service with the promise of an exciting and fulfilling life style.

Nothing prepares them for the ugly reality they face in the places they never expected to see..

A couple of years ago, I watched a series on Prime Ministers of Canada .Probably on CBC.

Prime Minister Henry Borden 's name came up again  just before Remembrance Day.

Apparently in  the first war, he vowed to raise an army of 150,000 men to send  in defence of the Motherland.

Canada's population was less than 3 million. That was an entire generation.

He went to visit them in France as war progressed. Found them living  in unimaginable misery and so happy he  had come  to visit them .

As   he continued on to London , he  was so filled with rage he lifted  Brotish Prime Minister Lloyd George  off his feet by his lapels and shook him.

He had a heart attack and died shortly after returning home to Canada.

I believe a person can die of heartbreak.

I believe Henry Borden died of heartbreak when he understood  a generation of young Canadians had been betrayed at his hand.

All those battles,  newly memorialized by monuments  because  thousands  died.

Canadians were sent  in because they were " green" troops.

 Crack regiments were held back for strategic purpose.,

Cannon fodder was the term used for all the rest.

Words like Glory...Courage...Heroism...Sacrifice...Defending our values ...that 's all bullshit crap,
used by politicians to obscure the reality of  failure , miscalculation and cold-blooded exploitation of trust.

So millions of dollars are  now allocated for mental health services to repair broken spirits of young men and women shattered by the horror of their experience.

Here  in Aurora, fund-raising dinners are organized by  the hoi-poloi to provide  dress uniforms for the  Regiment and  care packages for the soldiers .







.



Guest Post

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A False Premise":

15:48
He is entitled to call himself Veterans Affairs Minister because that is what he is. Why do you have take away someone's title because you do not like them?

Years ago, my father worked for a DVA Hospital in London, Ontario. Westminster Hospital was a huge complex in south London. It contained a number of buildings - a large "main" hospital building, a large building for vet's that were diagnosed with "shell shock" or similar mental issues (called the PI "phyc institute" and a large complex of smaller buildings that vets went to in order to live out their final days (Western Counties Wing). They also had a golf course, bowling alleys, swimming pools, etc. This was southern Ontario's vet hospital, similar to Sunnybrook in Toronto.

I remember going to work with him on weekends and I could not get around how much money had been spent on the care of these guys. This was like a small Town. In the PI, there were fenced in balconies at the ends of the building - too many of these patients tried to jump. At the time, the vets of WW I were approaching their 80s. They were becoming the minority. Vets of WWII were the majority. I would talk to some of them, some were okay to tell a stranger about their exploits overseas - they would spin stories. Others did not want to talk about at all.

Eventually, the population of Westminster vets declined to the point that DVA divested in the facilities. It was sold to the province and today in the site of London's renewed Victoria Hospital. The old Victoria, which was open for 20 years or so after the Westminster acquisition, was closed down. Some of the old DVA buildings still exist. But the vets are gone for the most part - a small group are left.

I am proud that this country spent an enormous amount of money to care for these vets. DVA needs to open the history books on how they were cared for then.



Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 November 2014 09:13

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Thank You

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Can We Talk About This ?":

You are quite right - the time lines are different but Cosby sure has built up a lot of anger for whatever reasons. It would be terrific is just a few gals were speaking out about what he had done for them & their families.



Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 26 November 2014 20:39


****************************

I spent the whole day writing and re-writing  the post to ensure  the question of fairness would be the one addressed. 

Thank you for your prompt response. It makes the effort worthwhile. 

Now the question is, how much  does social media have to do with  generating and portraying  Cosby as  a sexual predator. 

How many blogs will challenge the validity of the message? 

It isn't just those who may have benefitted from his generosity who have  a stake in  how this discussion evolves. 

Jian  Ghomesi was released from custody to his mother's care in his mother's home.

That cannot be a happy circumstance.

Can We Talk About This ?


 I am not comfortable about what is happening to Bill Cosby.

It may be a reflection of subconscious bias. I cannot be sure.

Experience is said to be the best teacher. Does greater experience mean better taught  ?  Not necessarily so.

In my faith, seven is deemed  to be the age of reason when a person can discern right from wrong.

I know something of my grandparents experience. I learned  from them.

I shared some of my parents' experience. Lessons derived there as well.

I had  a husband and many close friends whose lives I shared.

I have two daughters and five sons  and  while they were children ,much though not all of their experience was mine.

Grandchildren are already adults and embarked on life .

Great grandchildren  know me. I am an observer in their lives. The eldest is a pre-teen already.

As a politician, I have had opportunity to observe variances in how different people react  to

and handle identical circumstances.

Allegations against  Jian Ghomeshi's  appear to be appropriate.mThey are current and receiving  prompt  and proper attention.

His  high profile generates it's own  intensity.

He has an opportunity to defend himself.

Cosby's situation is not the same.

Accusations of wrongdoing  decades old are not easily defended or proven.

The burden of proof  not readily accessible.  But damage  is easily accomplished.

Any decision about guilt or innocence in decades old accusations is liable to carry greater bias than weight of evidence.

I think there should be a statute of limitation to accusations of sexual harassment.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A False Premise

It 's still November...the month formerly set aside to pray for the holy souls in purgatory paying for their sins in life.  It  wasn't hell. There could be no escape from hell.  Purgatory was temporary hell.

I was still practicing my faith when I came to Aurora. I tried to attend mass daily in November.
Until  one day the parish priest made a comment about people attending  mass for reasons other than.

That was a jolt into reality. An ice bucket if you like.

Veterans Affairs Minister is in trouble with Vets for several reasons. Most recent being $1.7 billion  unspent funds  being returned to Treasury.

At the same time an announcement is made of millions available for mental health treatment for veterans returning from Afghanistan.

All matters faithfully recorded by the media.

Bad news for Veterans . Good News for media.

On the eve of Remembrance Day, CBC presented an hour long feature of the Silver Cross Mother to follow the Prime Minister laying a wreath at the National Monument.

No reference was made to a partner or sibling throughout the hour. The mother was alone in grief.

Her son had stepped on an explosive device . His broken body brought home to die in hospital.

Mother visits his grave daily.  They talk . Son reassures his mother.

Her home is a shrine. His uniform jacket is displayed on a manikin with rows of  medals on display.

Pristine army boots sit side by side ,laces loose ,waiting.

A snapshot of a seven year old  wearing a forage cap and carrying a stick for a rifle told of  his lifelong ambition to be a soldier.

A saxophone and guitar stood upright on  stands waiting to be picked up and played.

Mother told how he liked her to accompany him  on piano.

The  massive gravestone of black marble bespoke affluence. The home was comfortable. Mother  stylishly dressed.

But the story  was the  loss of everything in life that meant anything to her.

Denying the loss is the only way to cope.

The pain is too great.

No reason presents.

Why did he die so terribly? What purpose was served?

Canada is not at war. The country is not under attack.

His friends are still around, carrying on with their lives.

No amount of mental health services will rationalize, after the fact, a voluntary decision to risk one's life in such a fashion, in the absence of  real and meaningful cause.

A cause that makes sense in the face of the  terrible reality of his terrible death.

Young men who leave home and families behind , hearts and minds filled with noble purpose and just cause, can never be expected to come to terms with the reality of  being blown to pieces  or seeing friends blown to pieces, by stepping on an explosive device ,hidden in the sand  by the people they came to help.

There is simply no therapy that can make sense of that.






Monday, 24 November 2014

Sorry About That

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "This Just In":

I have no idea what that means.
- that the lunatics are taking over the asylum ?
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 November 2014 19:34

**************************

Sorry about that. I found the item in  the regular newsletter of BILD.  

The Honorable is recently elected to the Provincial Legislature  and eager to show his mettle. At the same time  clearly showing he learned nothing as an alderman and Chairman  of the Planning and Growth Management Committee of the City of Toronto.

The item is particularly relevant for potential of an application from a potential new owner of Highlands  Golf Course. 

According to a  recent quote I the media,   a Councillor has suggested the town should buy the golf course.

One thing is not simply potential. From the day  the golf course was last purchased and before
the value of 98.8 acres of land within an urban developed area has been well understood.

When the evaluation is/was made , it will be done on the basis of  potential numbers of units
to. be built on the land.

It is not raw land. It is surrounded by municipal services

To contemplate  purchasing a golf course as a  golf course is wishful thinking at best and  at worst
the same level of competence as the Honorable Peter Milczyn . Frightening.

Add to the price,forfeited lot levies  and assessment revenue , which is the business of the municipality, cost  of  purchasing  Hjghlands Golf Course is out of the question.

That  it is cited as a possibility by a town official  is at best unbelievable.

At  worst , Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin might wonder at which  meeting the matter was discussed for such an idea to surface.

This Just In

The Private Member's Bill proposes a number of amendments to the City of Toronto Act, Planning Act and other regulations. They appear to reflect MPP Peter Milczyn’s intentions that he outlined during his provincial election campaign and are items that were of considerable interest to him when he served as a City of Toronto Councillor and Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee.

requires the OMB to make decisions that are consistent with municipal  council decisions..

******************** 

The above is an exert from a  BILD newsletter received this morning .

It's one of those things you'd be better off not knowing.

I feel compelled to share anyway. This blog is not about leaving readers in blissful ignorance. 

Note the Honorable  mentioned was a city Councillor and Chairman of the Planning and Growth Management  Committee before rising to the austere dignity of  Honorable Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Note also the  long-held function of the Ontario Municipal Board  is to  hear appeals  and rule for or against municipal decisions. 

To require the Board to endorse municipal decisions, as proposed by the Honorable Member,  is to remove  entirely the function of the  board

That a Member of the Legislative Assembly, erstwhile chairman of the Planning  and Growth  Management  Committee of Toronto Council can be so utterly, appallingly  and dismally ignorant of the  function of the Ontario Municipal Board  is sufficient cause to send a sensible  person  run screaming into the night. 

Much  as many would have it otherwise, when selfish interest is affected, people who buy property with a legal designation have a legal right to use the property for the purpose purchased. 

At any time, under regulations of the Ontario Planning Act  there exists legal right to make an application to change the use of property if deemed  by the owner to be useful. 

All property owners have the same right. 

Under the Act , the municipality is required to process an  application within a certain time period. 
Failure to do so means the Ontario Municipal Board  may assume  authority to make the decision themselves.

Original purpose of the Ontario Municipal Board was to approve municipal budgets. 

During the depression, municipalities failed to collect sufficient revenues to cover the cost of operations. Some declared bankruptcy to escape payment for goods and services received. 

It was not a good thing. 

The OMB was created to be the  public watchdog .

Until  Regional Governments were created , the OMB had supervisory authority to approve  proposed municipal debt.

Think about that.


Finger slipped again

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Monday Morning Quarterback":

I wouldn't be able to refrain myself as well as you do. I would have called him a lot worse.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 November 2014 13:18


*****************

It's hard to tell if there's only one  but not hard to tell the objective. 

The incident happened at an interesting  time.

For several weeks, candidates had been busy plastering public property  with private property.,

Some went so far as to suggest  additional police should be scheduled at greater public expense to protect  the private property set out  in display on public property.

Some vigilantes formed a posse and rode out in dark of night to catch the blighters but failed to obtain a license  number thereby missing out on opportunity to provide information to support a charge or multiple charges.

Feelings of outrage were so high, no doubt they too felt jail time would not be too harsh a penalty for  miscreants within our midst.

It's a good thing stupidity isn't an offense against social order.

Wait a minute...what did I just say?

Monday Morning Quarterback

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Free As A Bird....I Shall Be":

I don't think anyone likes to be called a jackass Evelyn, but you call a spade a spade.

Was you intent to ask the question to actually get the charges dropped or were you asking what it would take to get the charges dropped.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 November 2014 09:10


*********************

Stephanie , like most of her generation ,spends a huge amount of her time texting reading texting and 
whatever else she finds on her  dinky tiny palm handy gizmo that connects her to the world.

I've  talked to her about trashing comments that contribute nothing to the conversation. Stephanie  finds it entertaining when  a blog moderator responds in kind.

I appreciate the point. Lively exchange  does attract more attention.  I do want to I grow the readership. I do have the advantage of the last word. But at this point in time, civility in the main has greater appeal to me.

Occasionally calling  an anonymous spade  JACKASS  is as far as I am prepared to indulge myself.

Yet still  the  redundant question  persists :  What did I say to District1Desk Sergeant about the theft of a plain little white cardboard poppy box which may or may not have contained coin?

Read the posts; both  of them, . My question and the response received could not be more transparent.

I did not use my elected office to obstruct  police in  performance of their duty.

The senseless,heartless comment of the Legion spokesperson that the person who took the box  should  be sent to jail for two or three years triggered my outrage.

I may or I may not attend  the court to observe the sequel.

Previous advice from sound authority indicates  Justice  is not what people think it is and it is not what it should be.

We shall see.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

There is a Story

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Free As A Bird....I Shall Be":

Evelyn I believe the condo on Yonge was planned during your term as councillor 1986-88.Correct me if I am wrong

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 23 November 2014 11:21


**********************

You are not wrong.  It was a three year  term and I did not run for Council at the end of the term. The municipal election overlapped a Federal election. I was a candidate for the NDP and chose not to run for Council 

It was an interesting election. The late John West was incumbent Mayor and a challenger was the town's former CAO. the late Bud Rogers.

Highland Gate condominium construction was well up out of the ground by that time.

As noted in comments yesterday. Mr. Rogers enjoyed high status in the community and in his profession. He served numerous terms on the executive of the  Ontario Association of Clerks and Treasurers.

But it wasn't enough to take the Mayor's office from John West.

During the nineties I was not in office. Out of the loop so-to-speak. I believe the Rogers family moved to Barrie and  he took a position with Reid and Associates Consultant Engineers. I understand  a planning service  was added to their operation and Mr Rogers  had  that responsibility.



Saturday, 22 November 2014

Free As A Bird....I Shall Be

It had a call this morning.

From a distance.

Do I remember an O.M.B. Hearing on a previous proposal for development of the Highlands under the ownership of the late  Joe Shaw?

I don't . I was out of office from 77/80 . My caller knew I was not elected recently but called anyway.

It's  a bit odd.

One particular jackass is trying every which way for me to confess I identified myself as an elected official  in order to get a charge dropped  against a person unknown to me for stealing a poppy box.

After the election a couple of comments expressed  ecstasy at the results. One stated how overjoyed he/she was.

Apparently not sufficient to be content. Hence the need  to gloat.

One person's satisfaction derived from knowing my "power" was ended.

It's  interesting to discover weird ideas.

I 've never thought of a single vote on Council in terms of power.

However , I do know at least five who consider five votes to be  beyond the law.

Since  the time approaches I am no longer a Councillor, I allow my mind to roam over alternate topics for Blog.

I 'm still on the Council e-mail list . Still connected for  thirteen more days.

Then
 I shall be free.
 Free as a bird.
To do whatever comes naturally.
Whatever it might be.
That comes naturally to me.

Friday, 21 November 2014

What does it take?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Facebook...Open Book....Few Surprises":

You can just as easily 'Unlike' a Facebook post/comment.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 21 November 2014 12:59

*******************************

Stephanie just told me that. But my grand-daughter was not on hand at the time.

No matter. there are a couple of other things that need to be said.

The flyer posted by Councillor Mrakas  on Facebook  was not identified. I had heard former Councillor, now MLA Christopher Ballard was  calling for a town hall meeting to oppose
residential  development.

I had seen an e-mail indicating Councillor Abel had referenced  a park.

Now  freshly elected ,full of enthusiasm for how much better things might be done with co-operation,
Councillor Mrakas has  put both ideas forward obligingly ,with neither name mentioned.

It is noted the flyer mentions " passive park" as the second option to infill residential development.

A passive park is one with no activity; no baseball diamonds, no soccer fields, no skate board facility. no all-season tennis  courts ; nothing at all to disturb peace, tranquillity and absolute privacy of the
neighbourhood.

No pesky human activity of any kind.

The golf course stretches from Yonge Street, behind Highland Gate Condominiums, right out to Bathurst Street.

The town is entitled to take 5% of development land for parks .

There could be a trail.

The creek would certainly be conservation.

The province has a policy for high-density infill with the objective of saving  farmland and  preventing urban sprawl.

The Region's  Planning Department is charged with responsibility for making that happen.

The situation has all the elements .

Facebook...Open Book....Few Surprises

 Facebook is not yet a routine  I have not adjusted to the discipline.

Recently my finger hovered with no purpose in mind  and auddenly  "Like" activated .

By the nature of  Facebook, it would not normally be an issue.

But it was a political statement. Councillor--elect Mrakas posted an anonymous leaflet rallying home -owners to an organization  meeting at the town hall on Monday night.  The golf club  closure is the issue.

Two options present as future use;  high density residential or a passive park.

Councillors Abel, Humphreys,Mrakas and Thoms have been consulted. They look forward to meeting with residents at the meeting.

Before the issue hits the fan,I wish to note IPad is a highly sensitive instrument. Too damned sensitive.

I did not intend to click on Like.

The suggestion Highland Gate  Golf  Course  does not come as a surprise.

If a redundant  6 acre school site, why not a 98.8 acre golf course ?

Endorsation  by  Councillors is hardly unprecedented either.

The town is currently engaged in litigation to compel  the developer to sell the property to the town for a fraction of it's value for an unidentified need with no documentation to support a park.

Mayor  Dawe is responding to golf course neighbours on status and the requirements of the Planning Act which provides  ample opportunity for input.

Councillor Mrakas is quoted this week on how well things go when everyone is on the same page

I suppose  he could have been referring to the Facebook page.