Friday, 31 January 2014

There's nowhere to run to. Or, is there?

Someone please tell me what is wrong with all the people that run this country!  
The Government say's "We're "broke" and can't help our own seniors, Veterans, orphans, homeless and other needy persons.                 

"You'll have to tighten your belts", they say.
"We must balance the budget", they say.

In the last few years we have provided direct cash aid to:
                               Hamas - 351 M,
                               Pakistan - 2 B,
                               Libya   1.45 B,
                               Egypt - 397 M,
                               Mexico - 622 M,
                               Russia - 380 M,
                               Haiti - 1.4 B,
                               Jordan - 463 M,
                               Kenya - 816 M,
                               Sudan - 870 M,
                               Nigeria - 456 M,
                               Uganda - 451 M,
                               Congo - 359 M,
                               Ethiopia - 981 M,
                               South Afrika- 566 M,
                               Senegal - 698 M,
                               Mozambique - 404 M,
                               Zambia - 331 M,
                               Kazakhstan - 304 M,
                               Iraq - 1.08 B,
                               Tanzania - 554 M,
And now...., Israel too.
In total, Canada spends over 5 Billion dollars each year on direct cash support of foreign aid, and 20 Billion on Immigration & Refugee programs
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Our retired seniors are living on a 'fixed income'.
Do they get any breaks while our government and religious organizations pour hundreds of billions and tons of food to foreign countries!

We have hundreds of adoptable children who are shoved aside to make room for the adoption of foreign orphans.
YET-  We still allow illegals & other free loaders onto our shores,
while we
're lining up with food, clothes, bedding, doctors and medical supplies for them.

Imagine if the "GOVERNMENT" gave 'US' the same support they give to other countries, or even half as much.
We sit on our hands while our government turns a blind eye to the economic development needs of the people of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by allowing CN Rail to abandon a main line that runs into and through the Maritimes.  VIA Rail Canada is being squeezed into near extinction by government policies, or lack of policies while Canadians are being mislead by government releases, VIA announcements and CN pleadings to the effect that the only way to save public rail transit is to levy heavy taxation on the public to support "a dying and un-supportable mode of transportation in all but the southern corridor of Ontario and Quebec".  Ironically, isn't this where the majority of the support for the three large federal political parties lies?  Did I say lies? I'm sure there's connection there somewhere, but that'll be left for another post.

Sad isn't it?  Well, yes it is.  But even more so, it's maddening!

Is this the truth? Are we so blind that we can't see what's going on around us in our own country, the country that was built for all Canadians by the blood, sweat and tears of generations past and present?

Or, is this the truth? That we are so timid that we refuse to admit that we have allowed this heinous injustice to grow on us like a malignant tumor. 
We hide behind what's left of our comfort zone, which gets smaller and smaller every year.  We tug on it, pulling it over our eyes like a child afraid of the dark, and we hope that we won't live so long as to have to face the truths that we have allowed to creep over our society during our lifetimes.

With countless millions of your dollars...., my dollars going to far off parts of the world, why is it that Canada is so far down the ladder that we'll soon have to beg to be annexed by that failing giant empire called the United States of America?

Why do we sit idly by as the dictatorial PM Steve Harper closes down the support centers that our deserving military veterans require to re-enter their communities as well and healthy citizens.

I was sickened to see Harper and his storm troopers sitting in MY House of Parliament, wearing Poppies!!! They swore that they were doing everything possible to assist and support our returning soldiers. They showed us their commitment to that by wearing poppies on the floor of the House of Commons, didn't they?

The elderly, the homeless, the hungry and the abused among us deserve to be treated better by the politicians who we so foolishly elected..., and re-elected. These people are screwing you and me, and they're doing it with our blessings and with our money.
C'mon!!! You're Canadians! You've been at the forefront of brilliant ideas, inventions, cures and succesful ventures for generations. You can find a cure for the disease that is our 'political system' that will result in Canada being the example that every other progressive thinking nation will look to for their example to follow.  And don't think for one minute that you're going to find that cure by changing your vote to the other party.  The definition of "Idiocy", is doing the same thing you've always done, while expecting a different outcome.
Get off your arses! Canada is only a few short steps away from becoming a serf, a slave to international conglomerates, here to take our resources leaving only oil soaked land that once supported agriculture, de-nuded forests that once sustained wild life and cleaned our ground-water, and oceans and waterways that no longer support life of nearly any kind.
There is only one "Canada", and there's only one planet that supports life that we can call home. 
There's nowhere to run to.
Bruce Harvey
January 30, 2014.






Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Power of Commitment

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Author:  Unknown at this time

Saturday, 26 October 2013

On Being "Canadian"

Growing up in a small, post World War II railroad and mining town in Northern Ontario, I knew a different Canada than the one I see today. 

Perhaps, I was idealistic because of my youth, or perhaps I was idealistic because of the work ethic and family values of the day.  It was the 1950's, after all, and there were jobs for everyone who needed to work.  There was only one police officer to keep the peace in the whole town. Towns and cities were thriving and there was peace in the land. 

It wasn't utopian; there were hurdles to jump and rivers to ford.  The Residential Schools had yet to be exposed, putting an end to the enforced slavery, abuse and near-emasculation of the indigenous First Nation. Railroads were being built; oil and mineral resources were being discovered and made available to a growing economy.  Brand new airlines were opening up vast, undeveloped regions in the north and west.  Mines, mills, smelters and fish processing plants were running two and three shifts each day.  Canadian factories were building locomotives and rail cars for Canadian railroads.  Canadian aircraft plants were building new aircraft that were among the best in the world.  Shipyards on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts were busy building ships to move Canada's raw and finished materials to ports and markets around the world.

Canada was taking her place among the top few major industrial nations of the world, and all of this was fostered and supported by our British-based political system which, while not completely bereft of graft and corruption, was at least seen to be behaving within boundaries that were acceptible to the voters of the land.   (who among us hasn't taken a cookie from the kitchen after being told to leave them alone, or bribed a sibling to keep quiet about it?)

What has changed, you ask?  A lot has changed. 

I don't feel like a Canadian anymore, because I can no longer identify exactly what it means to be Canadian. 

On receiving the Order of Canada, Bonnie Klein stated "I am beginning not to recognize this country".  Read her story at the link below.


Among the many political scandals that have shocked Canadians from the time of Conservative Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, are the Quebec "Adscam" sponsorship affair under then Liberal PM Jean Chretien and the killing of Canada's pride and joy, the Avro Arrow CF-104/105  by then Conservative PM John Diefenbaker.  There have been many others sprinkled throughout the life of Canada's political existence, not the least of which are the scandalous behaviour associated with our current Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper

Among the most notorious can be found the Contempt of Parliament scandal, (the only time a member of the 54 member of the Commonwealth of Nations has been cited for Contempt of Parliament. 

The 'robo-call' scandal, election overspending, top secret files left at the home of a Minister's (Maxime Bernier) girlfriend, the use of a call-girl to hide a water contract and Bev Oda's attrocious expenses are just a small sample of serious breaches of trust that have been defended by Harper.

Then there's the matter of the former Conservative MP, Helena Geurgis who was unceremoniousl dumped from Harper's cabinet and the Conservative Party of Canada.  In my humble opinion, she was treated horribly by Harper and the Canadian Justice Establishment that he clearly controls.  She has been noticibly silent about the current state of affairs in the matter of the expense claims of some of Canada's Senators, most notably..., Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau.  When this story first broke, most Canadians, and I include myself in this group, believed that "where there's smoke, there's fire." 

The Harper Government (not the Government of Canada) broke for the summer vacation with Harper hoping that the long break would allow the furor to cool down. 

It didn't, so he prorogued Parliament...., again.  This move prevented debate in the House that would have proven damaging to the Harper government and his followers and supporters.  The Tory base was facing a dilemma.  Their ship was leaking badly and beginning to "list to port, or the left", (the NDP, or The Official Opposition.)

What to do???  He couldn't realistically prorogue Parliament again..., not after just having resumed sitting the House following his most recent arbitrary shutdown of the Nation's business.  He must create a diversion! 

He ordered the Conservative dominated Senate..., the one he promised to 'reform'..., commanded the Senate to initiate action against three of his personally appointed Senators, Wallin, Duffy and Brazeau for their alleged overspending on the taxpayers dime.  The Senate expenses affair pales in comparison with Harper's overspending on the F-35 fighter jet scandal, the excessive military spending scandal, the further gutting of VIA Rail funding and loss of passenger service to Atlantic Canada, the Afgan detainee affair,  and much more. 

Well, that's turning into a very contentious matter.  The three stigmatized Senators aren't going quietly, like Nigel Wright has.  They're fighting back, as they should.  Why has Nigel Wright fallen on Harper's sword?  Conservative Senator Hugh Segal issued a statement to the effect that (Harper) will run out of buses to toss people under, and soon will run out of people to do it to. (sic)

Mr. Harper has changed his story several times on a number of matters.  When a person gives one version of an event or events, then changes the story once additional facts come out...., does that mean the original version was a lie?  I leave the answer to you, but I'm feeling a bit cynical, so I'm leaning toward calling it a lie.  Yes, a lie.  It becomes a case for Contempt of Parliament.

Conservative MP has spoken on CBC television Friday, October 25 that he has spoken with a large number of Harper's caucus members and found that more than 80% of them are ill-at-ease with the Senate purge instigated by Harper.  He states that the purge is unconstitutional. 

Harper has stated openly that he will change Canada so dramatically that we won't recognize it when he's finished.

 Pierre Elliot Trudeau, once a controversial Prime Minister of Canada, promised to bring a
"Just Society" to Canadians, all Canadians.   How did he do?  How will Stephen Harper's term in office be judged?  He might be able to survive the next few months of gathering storm.  After all, he is throwing his closest supporters from his burning plane, hoping that he will make it to the next safe landing field intact.

Have I become so cynical that I will not vote in the next Federal elction?  I think not.  I live with faith in my heart that one of the political parties will be different, will exercise prudence in spending, fairness in business, service to communities, respect for citizens, care for the environment and active concern for the need to address Canada's role in reducing global warning. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Lac Megantic, could it have been prevented?

Photo credit:  Unknown
Location: Unknown
This locomotive fire is not related to the Lac Megantic disaster, but is included to illustrate the ferocity of a locomotive fire.

There are so many un-answered questions that it’s hard to know where to start. 
What gets me, is that AFTER something like this happens, everyone comes running out with one opinion or another, only to crawl back inside after venting their indignation and expressing their opinions.   I’m not criticizing anyone for feeling indignant, fearful or angry.  When it’s obvious that an incident was preventable, then it’s only reasonable to expect that it should never have happened.  In the case of Lac Megantic, you and I (and many others too) have a pretty good idea why the train escaped.  It’s pretty simple, really.  If the engineer, who should never have been working alone on the train, had actually tied on the eleven handbrakes that he says he did, the train shouldn’t have moved, right?  Well, perhaps 11 handbrakes wasn’t enough (obviously).  When a handbrake was applied to one of the cars on the train in question, did the brake apply on both trucks?  Or, just the one on the ‘B’ end?  Were the air brakes set when the handbrakes were applied?  Or was each car bled off before the handbrake was applied?  Did the engr perform a ‘push-pull’ test before shutting down the power? 

CN track maintenance Crew backing their hi-rail vehicle into the siding at Kalamalka on the CN Okanagan sub, ca, the late 1990's.  Can you see the siding? 
Lack of  funding for ongoing maintenance is demonstrated by the growth of weeds along the right of way.  An ongoing program of deferred maintenance led to numerous safety hazards that CN's local management refused to address.
Photo by the author.
Current and former ‘experienced outsiders’ are well positioned to understand the cause and effect of this, and other railway incidents; even better positioned than the politicians who write the legislation (but fail to act on it), the railway owners/investors (whose concern places the ‘bottom line’ before safe operating practices), and the press, which merely seeks out the sensational and the speculative to generate the reactions of the ignorant public.

Why do we, the ‘experienced outsiders’ sit idly by, letting the politicians, the RTC and the media do what they’ve always done.  What we appear to do, is run out to the ends of our chains and bark like dogs.

Former CPR Okanagan sub branch line (main track) near Armstrong, BC
Photo credit: RBH

 Since the time of John A. Macdonald, we’ve relied on our elected representatives to protect us, our nation and our economy, but it seems that no matter which party or candidate we voted for, or elected…, we always got the same damned government.  That will never change by its own will. 

 The real power in the land is in the hands of the people, aka the Court of Public Opinion.  The conservative government, under Steven Harper has finally announced that they’ll introduce new legislation governing the movement of trains.  They even sent a member of their caucus to Lac Megantic to speak in sympathetic terms to the media.  But will rail safety in Canada really improve?  Will the loopholes be closed?  Will the railway companies, their owners and investors be forced to comply with the restrictive regulations that must be invoked in order to bring the railways to a safe level of operation?   Not without a determined and weighty push from a dedicated public interest group such as might be assembled from the members of the current and former railroad employees.  After all, where could one possibly find members who are more experienced, more highly trained and more highly qualified than from within the group that we are members of?

Will we put our money where our mouths are?  Or will we slink back into our dog-houses, dragging our chains behind us, as we always have, waiting for the next election to show our indignation by voting for a party we feel might not be lying to us...., again. 

Saturday, 17 November 2012


In the past, I've written a bit in this blog about "Buying Canadian".  I've railed about the benefits of spending a little more to buy a product that's made in Canada, or in the very least, made in North America. I suppose it's easier to write about the moral, ethical and economical benefits to buying Canadian made goods, as opposed to those made in third world countries.  There are just so many very good reasons to "keep it local." 

Then, we're faced with the reality of our personal financial back yard.  When you need a box of EX Wy Zee and you go to the store, you find the Canadian version is more expensive than something almost similar that made in XXXXX.  What to do????  If you're rich, you might satisfy your urge to look good to the kid who picks up your 'recycle' bin at the curb.  He sees that you bought a product that was made in Canada and paid more for it than someone else who lives on his route.  Bully for you!

It's a huge struggle, right?  Well, not any more.

My friend, Nora sent me a great idea and I want to share it with you.  It's easy to do, very self-satisfying, and good for the soul as well as the economy.

Take a look at the following and see if there's something there that you might be able to get on board with this year..., and next.

Thanks for dropping in....


Christmas 2012 -- Birth of a New Tradition........ 
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Canadians with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of Canadian labor. This year will be different. This year Canadians will give the gift of genuine concern for other Canadians. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, that nothing can be found that is produced by Canadians hands. Yes there is!
It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local Canadian hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, Canadian owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Canadian with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the Canadian working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining Canadian pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about us, encouraging Canadian small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Canadians, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new, "Canadian Christmas tradition".






Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Service to Remember


  Remembrance Day

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And tho' sometimes to his neighbours
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew whereof he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For old Bob has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
Tho' a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state.
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young.
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Someone who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension - though small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier -
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end?

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part,
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:

Author: A. Lawrence Vaincourt

Courtesy Marlene Becker - Facebook


And in case you really believe that the men and women that you have sent to Ottawa to represent Canadians like you, are doing what you would really want them to do....., click on the link to hear what Rick Mercer has to say about that!