Monday, December 26, 2016

Drug Dealing by the Government

While the federal government pimps for marijuana interests, the provincial government claims it simply cannot live off the avails of  drug dealing.  The Ontario Attorney General claims: "The revenues that are going to be raised (from marijuana taxes) most likely are going to be reinvested back in ensuring that we are protecting youth and the vulnerable."

It's a poor investment if all profit goes to rectify damage caused by the original action.

In fact, our money-addicted Ontario government will receive millions in revenue.  It is telling us that, on one hand, drugs do harm, while the other hand grasps the money.  The harm to our "youth and the vulnerable" is collateral damage.  Why did Premier Kathleen Wynne not voice objection to its legalization?

The  millions in revenue will be used to assuage the catastrophic effects of legalization.  Many of those dying each day from drug overdose began their downward odyssey with marijuana.

Another reason to legalize a drug about which science admittedly does not know the full effect.  How many tobacco company lobbyists have paid for access to the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? Over the years, the government has spent millions of dollars to discourage smoking. We now have it legitimizing the re-appearance of discredited tobacco interests and their prospect of financial gain beyond the dreams of avarice.

It required but a few years for the computer industry to be controlled by a handful of conglomerates. So too, tobacco interests will inevitably control the "party drug" trade. After all, they did finance those early protests. To what extent are they financing existing operations?

All the while, government revenue will continue "protecting youth and the vulnerable" and pay for their rehabilitation.  Another example of privatizing profit while socializing the problem.  These costs should be charged directly against corporate profits, and not as a deductible expense.

Where is the outcry in the media against this mischief?  Are they quiet in anticipation of bolstering sagging revenues from the promotion of the non-smoking uses of this drug?  How else to explain the publicity showered on this looming menace?  We regularly see in newspapers and on television screens acne covered youngsters trying to look mature blowing smoke into the cameras or chewing on drug-laced cookies, all the while making tough-guy statements to the compliant media.

Thank you, Justin Trudeau and Kathleen Wynne.  Future addicts and their families will sing your praise.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Prime Minister to apologize for executions?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues his apologies. Last year, he apologized for Canada's exclusion of Asians a century ago. These would-be economic migrants attempted to enter Canada illegally. In other words, they attempted to break the law of the time.

The Prime Minister will soon meet the demand of gay activists for compensation and apology for the incarceration of homosexuals when that behaviour constituted a breach of the Criminal Code. In other words, they broke the law of the time.

Capital punishment has been abolished. The Prime Minister must compensate and apologize to members of the families of those who were executed. Taking the lives of convicted murders is now punished by prison. Applying the Prime Minster's logic, the lives of those executed were ended wrongfully even though hanging was the law of the time.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Political correctness runs rampant at the Ontario Human Rights Commission

Just as we believed there couldn't possibly be any more avenues of mischief the Ontario Human Rights Commission (aka tribunal) might tramp down, these righteous people have expanded their mandate to include language engineering.

According to news reports, our bleeding-heart Commission has added to its ever expanding list of nonsense grievances the refusal to address someone by that person's customized pronoun.

(These same people, not long ago, dreamed up a make-work project by demanding the government give them authority to censor the internet. Common sense blew that one out of the water.)

Yes. I can drag you in front of those apparatchiks should you refer to me as he or him rather than my chosen pronouns  -- maybe and perhaps. Yes, I have the right to change adverbs into pronouns. And never refer to me as you, say couldbe.

It's political correctness run rampant.

For not using my selected pronouns, you will have disturbed this snowflake, insulted my personality, caused people to look at me funny, lowered my libido, offended my dignity, caused me to lose my job or fail my university exams. More grievances are on the way.

The good news is they will order you to give me a bag of money. That will immediately rectify all of the above.

The cash return is the main reason why anyone would appeal to this tribunal. At no cost to the aggrieved, and all the costs to the taxpayer, it's worth a try.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Human Rights Commission in error, again

The Webber Academy of Calgary, Alberta, is a non-denominational school near Calgary Alberta.  For not allowing Muslim students to pray on school property, the academy found itself facing the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

On a misreading, if not abuse, of the concept of religious freedom, the commission found discrimination and fined the academy $26,000.

Some followers of Islam believe they must pray five times a day. No specific time is mandated. They can be grouped together, for example, two in the morning, one after school, two in the evening, all off school property. There is no obligation to pray during school hours. The need for accommodation did not present itself.

While school policy bans headgear and facial hair in the classroom, accommodation is made for Sikh students. The requirement of a turban and facial hair is continuing and permanent, no choice of times and places.

Alas! The ignorance of the human rights commission extended to the courtroom where a judge bestowed legal sanction on the error.

The academy is considering an appeal.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dangerous Lawns

It wasn't that long ago when the familiar sign "Keep Off the Grass" was placed on lawns for their protection.  The grass and shrubs needed a chance to grow, so please tread not.  

Today, the lawn sign reads "Warning Pesticide Use."  It now means keep off for your protection.  Our public and private lawns are so loaded with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, that they can bring on headaches and skin disorder for you or your pet.  

Use at your own risk.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Toronto Star policy?

The Toronto Star has done it again -- says one thing, does another.

The newspaper has a strict policy that Letters to the Editor must be identified.

Yet, on July 13, 2016, the Star gave headline treatment to anonymity -- "Tenors' all-star anthem tweak ticks off Canadian viewers."

The basis for the report was the anonymous social media. Indeed, a single tweet was the basis for the entire report by the Star reporter.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Prolonging the error

A Canadian Press report in the June 29, 2016 issue of the Toronto Star claims that the First Nations residential schools were designed to "take the Indian out of the child." Neither CP nor the Star checked their facts. It's irresponsible to place non-attributable words in quotation marks.

No authoritative Canadian ever uttered that statement. Leading the charge was former prime minister Stephen Harper who voiced it in the House of Commons, and the agony of error more recently prolonged by Ontario Premier Elizabeth Wynne.

What to do when the tide of media and political error runs high? Let's try the whole truth.

From"The legacy of Duncan Campbell Scott" by Mark Abley: "The quotation can be traced back to a somewhat different statement uttered by a high-ranking officer in the U.S. Army, Richard Henry Pratt, the nineteenth-century superintendent of a residential school in Pennsylvania: All the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man."

Not a Canadian in sight, but why spoil a good story?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Erstwhile bigotry

Letter to the Toronto Star, June 26, 2016. Unpublished.

The reaction to "This is where I'm from" by Shree Paradkar (June 20), might leave the impression that the disparaging of others is something new in our city. 

When I was growing up in downtown Toronto, there was no Islamophobia; there were no Muslims. There was no racism; there were no people of colour. Yet there was animosity. 

During the war, our neighbours screamed at us across George Street, "Go back to Germany," and after the war,"dirty Catholics." At that time, Catholics were excluded from employment with the city, and likely other places. One had to state one's religion on an application form.

It was our perceived "otherness" that caused the reaction. It never occurred to us to plead injustice or bigotry. In time, understanding and friendship prevailed, 

However, to believe there will one day be an end to fear of "the other,"  let's coin atlerphobia, is to deny human nature. 

Society must always be an educational work in progress.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Business must clean-up its own mess

About four years ago, there began the reclamation of tar ponds in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The cost of this process fell solely on the taxpayer, the company no where in sight.

A similar situation exists in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, in the former Giant Mine. Reports make no mention who will bear the cost of the clean-up. We may presume it will be the taxpayer.

Any business that harms the environment must post a bond sufficient to pay for all damage occurred during the operation and for its clean-up should operations cease. 

That is not the case with the Alberta oil industry where the bonds posted are grossly inadequate. One day, the Alberta taxpayer, and by extension the rest of us, will pay to repair the enormous damage being currently inflicted.


Between 1962 and 1970, subsidiary companies of Reed International dumped 9000 kilograms of mercury into the Wabagoon-English River system to the severe detriment of the people of Grassy Narrows First Nation. In 1985, the company along with the federal and provincial governments made a one-time compensation payment of $16.67 million.

The problem persists in that fish from these waters are still contaminated with mercury. The people are ill with mercury poisoning. Again the perpetrator is no longer on the scene and all costs now borne by the taxpayer.

Again we ask -- Why was the company not forced to remain on the scene until the problem was totally resolved, the waters totally cleared of their pollution? Why were any governments involved at all in the compensation and subsequent costs persisting to this day? It was a private problem again turned into a public burden.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Repeated nonsense

Untruths repeated often enough become truths in some minds.   I can be persuaded the Toronto Star has a Board of Censors who delete any suggestion we did not get the whole truth concerning the residential school question. An unpublished letter: 

It is to be hoped Premier Kathleen Wynne did not use words attributed to her (An emotional apology, May 31).  

The phrase "take the Indian out of the child" has gained such notoriety many believe it to be incorporated in Canadian legislation. 

It is a corruption of a nineteenth-century statement of a residential school official in Pennsylvania. 

No knowledgeable Canadian has ever uttered it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Let us end the apology binge

"The idea of apologies is demeaning of those at whom it is directed," according to Andrew J.M. Wheatcroft of Stirling University, Scotland. "They also deny the notion of the past and simply extend the present backwards."

Prime Minister Justine Trudeau recently issued an apology for Canada's denial of entry to a boat-load of Asians more than a century ago. He said, in part, "Canada's government was, without question, responsible for the laws that prevented these passengers from immigrating peacefully and securely."

A Toronto Star columnist complained that law was discriminatory because it prevented their entry.

Of course, the government was responsible for our immigration laws. Of course, the law prevented their entry. Of course, laws are discriminatory against those who seek to violate them.

The legislation was enacted for the benefit of Canadians, not would-be illegal economic migrants.

Let us hope this ends the recent binge of misguided apologies.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Real Canadians and others

The current debate over certain wording in O Canada has attracted many letters to the Toronto Star. Among those published on May 14 was mine:
Yes amend the national anthem to include both sexes. One thing more is necessary to make it totally inclusive. For millions of Canadians, Canada is their home but not native land. The words should offer the option and read "our home and native (chosen) land". 
Exercising rare restraint, I omitted a second suggestion:
We need also delete the word "home". To Canadian citizens living permanently in a  foreign land, such as Lebanon, Canada is not their home. Yet they feel free to call on Canada whenever trouble lurks. Such occurred during a crisis in 2007. These 15,000 Canadians of convenience waved their moth-riddled maple leaf flags and demanded safe evacuation to Cyprus. They were, at a cost of $80- to 100-million to tax-paying Canadians whose real home is Canada. 
These freeloaders, and plenty of others in Hong Kong for example, pay no Canadian taxes and have pseudo-Canadian addresses in order to fleece our healthcare system whenever needed.
To discourage this mischief, the residency requirement to qualify for citizenship must be increased from three years to ten. Passports must show a minimum of six months' Canadian residency every three years. 
Prime Minister Justine Trudeau has proclaimed, "A Canadian citizen is a Canadian citizen. is a ..." 
Not so, Mister T.  

A real Canadian citizen contributes to Canada, not some foreign country.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mercy killing

The Canadian media are all agog these days in promoting mercy killing. Ethicist Margaret Somerville urges restraint and some safeguards against abuse by the victim's family and doctors. My letter to the Globe and Mail. Unpublished.

Margaret Somerville deals with deep truths while outlining ethical problems in the matter of doctor-assisted dying (Why judges should have the final word, May 4). We can discuss ethics, legalities, rights, demands, conditions, immunities, and safe guards as much as we wish with regard to mercy killing as we once termed it. It will in no way affect the ultimate application of the proposed legislation. 

Human rights tribunals have the authority to override Bill C-14. They have the final word, not our legislators, not our judges. Someone refused a hastened death by the courts need only petition with a sufficiently heart-rending plea to one of these tribunals to qualify for death on demand. The history of these unregulated agencies in dealing with the vulnerable, as they themselves define the word, points in only one direction.

It's curious that the final arbiter of this issue is not even mentioned in the debate.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Another unwarranted apology

On April 12, 2016, the Toronto Star reported that Prime Minister Justine Trudeau will in the near future apologize in the House of Commons for an event of 1914. My letter to the Star with copies to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland. No reaction expected -- the Star censors anything that questions any of its target markets, the PM ignores everything not on his agenda and my Member of Parliament does not reply to any of my communications.

No more anachronistic apologies (Trudeau to formally apologize for Sikh tragedy, Apr 12). 

No Canadian alive today is responsible for the immigration law of 1914. The ship Komagata Maru was turned away from Canadian waters at that time because it posed illegal entry according to the law of the day, unfortunately to the detriment of many Sikhs aboard. 

Canadian immigration laws protect Canadian interests, not those of would-be illegals.

In her book, The Uses and Abuses of History, Margaret MacMillan asks, "Is it healthy ... for societies to apologize for things that were done in different centuries and under different sets of beliefs?"  The warden of St. Anthony's College at Oxford University continues, "It is all too easy to rummage through the past and find nothing but a list of grievances."

Should anyone think differently, the memory of abused British prisoners then deserves an apology. 

During the Second World War, 25,000 Sikhs deserted Britain to join the Japanese-inspired Indian National Army. In his book, To the Kwai and Back, War Drawings 1939-1945, Ronald Searle graphically depicts the horrors inflicted on British prisoners. In one sketch, a captured British officer on his knees is about to be beaten by a Sikh guard for failing to salute. Searle writes, "The most visible guard duties outside the wire were taken over by Sikhs who gratuitously thrashed any unfortunate who caught their eye."

No apology demanded.
* * *
Later additions:

"One should not demand that past epochs conform to current prejudices, and thus commit the sin of excessive 'present-mindedness,' distorting the past by forcing it into a mould of recent construction."
     Roland N. Stromberg
     European Intellectual History since 1789

* * *

Was it necessary in 2007 for a tribe in Papua New Guinea to apologize for eating missionaries in the 19th century?

Exporting human rights and wrongs

It may be well and good that other nations copy our Charter of Rights and Freedoms as extolled by seemingly endless editorial writers, retired judges and commentators  However, any export of this document must include the caution:"Contents subject to extreme abuse." 

One need only examine one of the Charter's offspring (Ontario Human Rights Tribunal) with its over-reaching tendencies and questionable results.

-- A UFO cult was declared a religion thereby transforming a breach of contract into a more lucrative case of religious discrimination. 

-- A coffee shop owner was ordered to pay $15,000 to a disruptive customer whom he called a Gypsy.  I do know if there's a connection but within two months the coffee shop closed.

-- A hockey association was ordered to pay $18,000 to a family for failure to provide adequate dressing room facilities.

-- The Ontario Superior Court ordered a re-hearing of a case where a business owner was ordered by the human rights tribunal to pay $36,000 to a dismissed employee. Immediately following the original decision, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) swooped in and obtained a writ of seizure ordering the sheriff to sell the business operator's home to enforce payment. 

On appeal, the Court said it was "simply not possible to logically follow the pathway taken by the adjudicator." The HRLSC chose to proceed, the illogic notwithstanding. Had the accused not had the funds to appeal, she would have lost her home. And so on, across Canada.

By any objective standard, human rights tribunals are cash cows for those with grievances, real or imagined. Countries importing our Charter must be warned: Handle with care.

Self-serving questions

In a recent interview on CBC Radio One, Anna Maria Tremonte, asked why the interviewee's
opponents acted in the they did. I informed my favourite interviewer that such questions invite self- serving answers, and it did -- "I simply cannot understand why they would do that" or some such biased reply was the result. The proper answer is, "Ask them."

Similarly, hypothetical questions tempt self-serving answers. On April 19, the Canadian government avoided the issue all together. Globe and Mail journalists reported that Chrystia Freeland, "would not say whether she would have sold the weaponized armoured vehicles to the Saudis were it in her decision in 2014" (when the deal was originally approved by the previous government).

The Minister of International Trade wisely replied, "It's important not to engage ... in hypotheticals ... not to engage in what-might-have-beens."

A third type of question to be shunned is the negative interrogatory. As the question contains the sought-for answer, it is self-serving of the questioner.  Examples:  Do you not think the Toronto Maple Leafs should quit hockey?  Don't you want this job? You really don't want to do this, do you? 

You do agree with me, don't you?

Bad law is bad law

During the reign of Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismark, the government enacted a law designed to shelter the sensibilities of European monarchs against public ridicule. It was illegal to insult those in high office. In 2016, Recep Erdogan demanded the 143-year old law be enforced against a German satirist who had mocked the Turkish president.

On March 31, the comedian read a poem mocking the Turkish leader whose government has brought more than 1,800 criminal cases against Turks for insulting their president.

Germany's freedom of expression laws notwithstanding, the case has been allowed to proceed, with the statement the government intended to repeal the stale-dated law.

During the reign of the German chancellor, Adolf Hitler, the government enacted a law against home-schooling. Its aim was to ensure Nazi indoctrination for all. 

That law is still in force. It authorizes the government to remove children from parents who wish to home-school their family. For repeated offences, the children may be removed permanently and adopted out to strangers, the parents losing all rights to access. 

No mention of possible repeal.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Ashley Madison speaks of morals and values

Ashley Madison is a website operated by Avid Life Media of Toronto, its slogan "Life is short. Have an affair." The site purports to be "the leading dating service for discreet encounters" of the infidelity kind. The braggadocio speaks of a "secure site." Indeed, the company flaunts a "trusted security award."

Such websites cater to men who lack self-confidence and imagination, creatures who neither understand nor accept their limitations and whose naïveté leads them to believe the fairy tale of website security.

Hackers recently successfully cyber-attacked Ashley Madison. They demanded the site be "immediately and permanently" shut down along with a sister site that operated in "prostitution/human trafficking." Avid Life did not oblige. The hackers released profiles of the site's clients, names, addresses, credit card information and painfully more.

Righteous double-talk added a touch of dark humour to the drama. In a statement, the company pleaded for an end to this "unprecedented crime." It asked the hacking community "to use their moral judgement and their values to help us."

Yes, an infidelity website with a false promise of security speaks of morals and values. Hacked emails showed that Avid Life itself had hacked into a competitor's website in 2012, thereby having earlier committed this "unprecedented crime."

And one dares speak of morals and values.

April 22, 2016 up-date. In the class-action lawsuit against Avid Life Media for security breach, a Missouri judge refused a request for anonymity by that the 42 plaintiffs representing users of the website. They must identify themselves for the action to proceed. We await the next step in this tawdry affair.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Colonial Grievances

India demands the return of one of the British crown jewels. Under, some believe, questionable circumstances, the 105.6-carat diamond emerged in England during the reign of Queen Victoria. The Indian Cultural Minister is exerting "all possible efforts" to see the return of the sparkler, short of war, I presume.

Also in someone's cross-hairs are Britain's so-called "Elgin marbles," pieces of the Parthenon in Athens shipped to England during the Ottoman occupation of Greece, again under disputed circumstances. The Greek government demands their return.

Just to make it a threesome, Canada should join the line. We should demand the return of  all those beaver pelts taken from our forests to make hats for the British aristocracy in the 18th and 19th centuries. Do we also want the return of all that wood taken to provide masts for the British navy?

While we exported these goods to Britain, in return, they sent us immigrants. We got the better deal by far. So no, we won't lodge a complaint.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

A version of this sent to The Globe and Mail, May 8, 2016. Unpublished.

Plans are under way for a sale of $15-billion dollars worth of light armoured vehicles from a Canadian manufacturer to Saudi Arabia.

Objections to the transaction have emerged. Cited are Saudi Arabia's human rights record, its execution rate, its war in Yemen, and the fear the vehicles may be used against its own people.

By those criteria, Canada should suspend trade with China. That nation's human rights record is a source of shame, it will not reveal its execution rate believed to be high,  it has waged war and occupied Tibet, and it has used tanks against its own people in Tienanmen Square.

By those criteria, Canada should suspend trade with the United States. That nation's human rights record against its black citizens is a source of shame, its execution rate is on the same level as that of Saudi Arabia, it has attacked and/or exploited every nation in the Western Hemisphere, and is currently equipping its municipal police forces with surplus military light armoured vehicles for use against its own people.

The objections are a confusion of morality, law, politics and business. Trade with Muslim countries continued during the so-called Crusades. Need we love those with whom we do business? Need we approve of their behaviour? And they of ours? We should not hesitate to deal with the devil it it redounded to our benefit.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Profits and virtue in coal

American banks have developed an understandable caution against financing coal companies. The sole reason is the downward shift in the coal industry, possibly a permanent situation.

The banks claim their reticence is due to concern for the environment, rather than the prospect of negative profits -- a blatant attempt to turn necessity into a virtue.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Unanswered questions

A recent newspaper report was headlined, "Studies support feeding infants allergenic foods such a peanuts."  When I was a youngster at school, everyone in the class had peanut butter sandwiches. To my knowledge, no one ever had a reaction to the peanuts. Today, some school ban all nuts.

None of the studies in the report examined how the product was cultivated and processed. What is different from then and now? What fertilizer is used that was not used before? With what are the plants sprayed that was not used before?

As we enter one of those ubiquitous coffee shops, we are delighted by the aroma wafting through the air. Why does the taste of the coffee not live up to the promise of the aroma?

On your next visit to an art gallery, exam any paintings of Adam and Eve. If they were created by God, why do they have navels?

Commercial revisionism

Reader’s Digest, a number of years ago, produced a book of fairy tales and fables. Inhaling excessive amounts of secular air, the publisher indulged in the questionable business of revisionism. Every reference to a church or religious place was censored and replaced by a castle or other large building.

A report in The Washington Post tells of recent revisionist activity. The website of the intelligence-challenged National Rifle Association offers gun-slinging versions of Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood.  Happy to relate, the weapons produce happy endings.  Have the perpetrators of this literary mischief inhaled excessive amounts of gun smoke?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Police and Taser International

The various doctors' associations across Canada have announced new rules concerning drug companies' sponsorship of medical events. Wining and dining of doctors is of course a marketing tool for the sponsors. The fear is the influence this sponsorship may have on doctors' decisions as to which drugs they prescribe to their patients.

A spokesperson for one of the organizations said that the new rules will unite the professional bodies on how to manage their relationships with the drug companies. Some U.S. organizations have issued outright bans on  industry involvement with medical education out of concern it is biasing the doctors and leading to poorer prescribing.

What about other professional organizations? The Canadian Association  of Police Chiefs (CAPC), for example?  At a recent annual meeting, the CAPC accepted $100,000 as conference sponsor from Taser International Inc. The police also accepted stock options from Taser.

Medical professionals are concerned about industry influence on their decisions.  The public is left to wonder how great an influence Taser marketing tools exert on the purchase and use of its equipment by our police forces. May we expect similar rules from CAPC  in the near future?

Justice vs. Law

In late March, former media celebrity Jian Ghomeshi was found not guilty of various sex offences, to the chagrin of many.  The decision provoked protests.  If the trial trial produced any good it was to emphasize once again the difference between law and justice.

Law is a process whose application may or may not produce justice.  We do not have courts of justice, but courts of law, supported and occasionally restricted by arcane rules of procedure.  A practitioner of law should not be styled as Justice Judge Smith, rather Law Judge Smith.  A Minister of Justice in the government is a Minister of Law.

Justice by definition is never flawed, only denied at times in a court of law.  These objective descriptions would help the protesting public to understand the sometimes bizarre judgements rendered by a court.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Police and Death

On Feb 3, 2012, mentally troubled Michael Eligon, scissors in each hand, was confronted by eight to ten Toronto police officers. They shot and killed him. 

On Mar 20, 2015, a knife-wielding man faced three Peel Region police officers. They shot and killed him. 

On Mar 6, 2016, twelve Toronto police officers surrounded mentally troubled Devon LaFleur. They shot and killed him. 

On March 14, 2016, a man carrying a knife attacked two members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Several other unarmed military personnel subdued the attacker who was unharmed. 

Did no one die because the police were not present?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Justice delayed is justice denied

A March 4, 2016 report relates the good news that 1,600 Scotiabank employees will receive the overtime pay due to them. The bad news is that the $20.5-million settlement required nine years of legal wrangling. The $12.5-million in legal fees must also be borne by the bank.

In a similar class-action suit, 31,000 CIBC staff are currently engaged in a on-going suit against the bank also for unpaid overtime. The lawsuit was filed in June 2007.

A friend's stock brokerage firm was bought out by a bank. The bank attempted to modify my friend's pension to his detriment.  He sued. Four years later he won. The bank appealed.

In a lawsuit against the Law Society of Upper Canada, I was offered a settlement six years after the writ was issued. I did not recover my legal fees which amounted to half of the settlement.

The modus operandi on the part of corporations is the hope the plaintiff will lose interest, run out of money to continue the suit, or better still, die. In the latter case, the deceased's estate could be held liable for all costs.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Democracy, but not for all

Published in the Toronto Star, February 28, 2016

Re: Let all MPs decide freely, Editorial Feb. 21
In demanding a free vote on the issue of assisted suicide, the Star editorializes that “If ever there was an issue that calls for MPs to examine their consciences and vote according to their personal values, this is it.”
Curious, the Star did not extend such liberality to would-be candidates who had examined their consciences and would have voted according to their personal values with regard to abortion. 

Indeed, the Star lauded Justin Trudeau when he barred such would-be Liberal candidates from seeking office.
Democracy has many faces, some of them ugly.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Democracy dismissed by Prime Minister

A copy of this post has been forwarded to the Prime Minister.

It's strike two against Justin Trudeau. The Prime Minister's idea of transparency does not include democracy 

The issue is the end-of-life law (euphemistically called dying with dignity). The Conservative and New Democratic Parties will allow their members a free vote when the proposed legislation comes before Parliament. 

At that time, Trudeau will deny the right of freedom of expression to the very people who sustain him in office, the Liberal Members of Parliament. 

Strike one in Trudeau's dismissal of democracy occurred last year when, during the election campaign, he vetted would-be Liberal candidates as to their opinion on abortion. Pro-life candidates were summarily dismissed, despite the fact that at least three polls indicated they represented a significant number. About 30 per cent of Canadians favour some control over access to abortion. 

The PM refuses to believe that democracy includes the right of contrary opinion. 

Canadians await strike three.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Maple Leafs, 49 and counting

In the February 14, 2016, edition of the Toronto Star, the writer pleads for suggestions how to improve the Toronto Maple Leafs, currently mired in the basement of the National Hockey League. My reply:

Sorry, I can't tell you how to improve the Leafs. I have a suggestion how to help make the viewing experience somewhat less painful.

But first, an observation. Why should the Leaf organization spend real money for real players and coaches when every seat in the place is already sold? Harold Ballard knew that economic fact and acted accordingly. Hey, that's business.

Second observation. NHL bosses (the American ones who run the league) are delighted at the current situation -- no Canadian teams in the playoffs. TV viewership in the U.S. declines when Canadian teams are involved, whatever the sport. All the American moguls want from Canada are players. Hey, that's business.

Now the suggestion. It's a Toronto cheer, a rough idea to be developed by some professional cheer leader. It goes: (Loud) T O (soft) r o n (boom, boom, loud) T O.  Or a variation : (boom, boom) T O, (boom, boom) T O (boom, boom) T O (boom boom, fading into the face off).  Of course, this can be used for any Toronto event, unless playing against Tokyo, Toledo et al. So let's get there first.

Full disclosure. My son and I stopped going to the games in the Maple Leaf Gardens days when I couldn't buy tickets at the wicket, while my regular scalper had a whole section of them.

Anyway, I wish the organization well, kind of, as they prepare another full-page ad of apology for their seven-squared year. It'll soon be a tradition as they enter their Golden Anniversary of Failure. In Roman numerals that's L. L for Leafs. Hey, that's show business, Lose one, Lose one.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Human rights more nebulous than ever

Do the well-paid human righters in the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) ever wonder why some people simply do not take them seriously or indeed scorn their efforts? In its latest venture into uncharted waters, or possibly to stir up more business, the Commission has redefined the word "creed". The chief commissioner speaks: "The door is open" for veganism to be considered a creed.

Vegetarians and their more extreme brethren, the vegans, immediately claimed victory, and thereby legal protection, for their "creed" which includes their version of animal rights. As one of their group put it, "This change is important for ethical vegans, because in instances where accommodation is required they'll have a legal right to enforce it."

Never mind what the word has meant for centuries, the OHRC news release reads, "Creed may also include non-religious belief systems that, like religion, substantially influence a person's identity, world-view and way of life." There are Toronto Maple Leaf hockey fans whose creed is no less strong than that of vegans. The net result may be complaints from tofu munchers, beer guzzlers and other undefined behaviours.

Can't you see it? Ethical vegans will soon demand the right to investigate restaurant kitchens to ensure their food not cooked in animal fat, to demand changes in menus, the censoring of "hot dog" or "pig in a blanket". Will they insist staff not wear leather shoes or belts?

Complainants will object to dissecting frogs in school labs, to wearing uniforms with animal-based components, or attending school functions at steak houses.

Complaints to the OHRC are financed by taxpayers. If the complaint fails, no loss to the vegan. Victory, however, brings a bag of money, usually thousands of dollars. Trying for that pot of gold entails only the loss of time. No matter what you state, you cannot be charged with perjury. The possibility of victory makes it all worthwhile.

We witnessed an earlier manifestation of this nonsense five years ago when the Ontario human righters declared a sex organization a religion. Visit Raelian (August 26, 2011) at the foot of this post.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sarah Palin to be honoured

Former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, will soon be honoured by an airport bearin' her name -- the Palindrome. Her linguistic contortions and leaps in logic leave us wondrin' if she's comin' or goin'.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Vulgarity of Charlie Hebdo

We mourn the tragic event of January 7, 2015 at the Paris editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo. Sympathy should not be interpreted as approval for the publication's innate vulgarity.  See my post of January 15, 2015.

The most recent effusion of these Parisian adolescents involves the famous photograph of a dead Syrian boy whose body washed onto the Mediterranean shore of Turkey.

The drawing in question implies good riddance at the little boy's death as he likely would have become a molester. This reference is to sexual attacks on women in Cologne, Germany, by recent immigrants to to that city.

The denizens of Charlie Hebdo need never fear anyone accusing them of good taste.