By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 23, 2012 - 0 Comments
This past week we also learned of the elimination of the Police Officers Recruitment Fund which was a major federal program designed to help municipalities and provinces recruit police officers. In a backgrounder on the program, Public Safety Canada and Emergency Preparedness Canada offers the following rationale; “The purpose of the Fund is to support the efforts of provinces and territories in recruiting additional front-line police officers nationwide who can target local crimes and make communities safer.” Taking this information into account then, the cancellation of this important fund must therefore mean that the Harper Conservatives have made a conscious decision to eliminate their “support the efforts of front-line police officers nationwide in their work to target local crimes and make our communities safer.“ Seems like a strange decision for a Conservative Party that claims to be the most committed to upholding ‘law and order’ wouldn’t you say?
There were similar concerns raised in Sudbury earlier this year. Alberta Premier Alison Redford called for the fund to be extended when she ran for the Progressive Conservative leadership last year. During the last federal campaign, the NDP proposed doubling the fund and making it permanent.
By Mark Richardson - Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 7:36 AM - 0 Comments
Dryden, Ontario – Day 34
Trans-Canada distance: 4,461km
Actual distance driven: 10,840 km
Dryden, Ontario – Day 34
Trans-Canada distance: 4,461km
Actual distance driven: 10,840 km
NOW: (Dryden) There are two Trans-Canada Highways in this region: the traditional, more direct route 17 that passes through Dryden, and the southern route 11 that stays close to the U.S. border and passes through Fort Frances. I drove Hwy. 11 last year in an RV with the family and it was the most boring 400 km of highway I can recall – and I’ve driven some remote roads. It’s promoted as the “MOM” route, for Manitoba, Ontario, Minnesota, but there are no towns or lakes to break the monotony of flat trees. Too bad, because the road down to it from Kenora through Sioux Narrows, past Lake of the Woods, almost makes up for it. Almost.
This year, I stayed with tradition and we took Hwy. 17 with all the trucks. I think it’s the second most boring 350 km I can recall. It didn’t help that it was pouring rain most of the day, making the few small communities along the way look especially drab.
At least on this route, there was a large sign to remind us that we’re changing time zones. There was no such sign on the other road last year. Nothing. Nada. Nowt. Just trees.
THEN: In 1912, Wilby and Haney put their car onto a train to travel from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg. In 1925, Perry Doolittle put his car back onto the railway tracks to drive the same journey, for there still was no road. But in 1946, on their way to claim the Todd Medal as the first motorists to drive completely across Canada by road, Alex Macfarlane and his friend Ken MacGillivray (the former city editor of the Toronto Globe and Mail) were barreling along the highway in their borrowed Chevy Stylemaster.
They came in from Geraldton to the north – the last stretch of road to be completed to link the two Canadian coasts. “I would count it a good road easily travelled and free from dangers, except the possibility of dying of lonesomeness,” Macfarlane wrote later.
Just last week, the Canadian Automobile Association, who are my sponsors for this road trip, found Macfarlane’s log book of his “Trans-Canada Motor Trip” buried in their archives and shipped it out to me in Thunder Bay. I’ve been reading his account of the 10-day journey, lost until now.
“From Port Arthur [now Thunder Bay] to Winnipeg, the road is more interesting, but not quite as good,” he reported. “That is understandable because it is much older, and in places heavily travelled. The somewhat mountainous nature of the country too necessitates a multitude of curves, and curves don’t add to the pleasure or safety of driving.”
The “much older” road was built during the Depression mostly as a make-work project. And those mountains and curves no longer exist – they’ve been flattened and smoothed over the years. I’m sure Macfarlane wouldn’t recognize it now.
SOMETHING DIFFERENT … (Thunder Bay) I got chatting with Brett Clibbery at the Starbucks in the Chapters, and he kind of set me straight on a few things.
Tristan had just found a book he wanted to buy that listed all the possible cheats for online games, and Brett offered a sympathetic look when my son went off to pay for it. “Well, at least he’s reading,” I suggested. He agreed, looked at my iPhone and waved his own iPhone. “We’re not much better when you think about it,” he said.
It turns out that Brett is 60, originally from Kenora, but now lives on a sailboat and travels the world. Right now, he’s working for a Thunder Bay company operating charter sail trips in the area, but he’s looking forward to sailing south this winter. “I stay in touch with people with this,” he said, waving the iPhone again. “But it doesn’t replace writing a letter. When was the last time you wrote somebody a letter, with a pencil and paper?”
A long time ago. These days, my hand cramps up after a hundred words or so with a pen because I’m used to keyboards. But e-mails are no replacement for written words put on paper; Brett told me of an e-mail he’d sent not long ago to an old friend he hadn’t seen in years, not since they met as actors playing in Hair in London. “She’s fairly famous now and she gets a lot of e-mail, and she missed it when I sent it,” he said. “So I sat down and wrote her a letter, just a page, telling her what I’ve been doing, and I sent it to her parents’ address. It took a while for her to get it, but then she wrote right back. She was thrilled.”
The friend was Sarah Brightman, well-known for her singing performances in the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber, her former husband.
I think I’ll stop blogging for tonight. I have a letter to write.
SOMETHING FROM TRISTAN, 12: (Dryden) Today was by far the worst day so far because all morning it was pouring with rain so we couldn’t put the top down and I got a bit car sick.
When we finally got to the hotel, the pool was packed full of people so we couldn’t go swimming until right before dinner so we were only in there for like 20 minutes. It’s too bad because it was a great pool.
Tomorrow we arrive in Kenora, our last stop in Ontario. It’s taking forever to leave Ontario.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Volpe’s lawyer wrote to Elections Canada on April 15, 2011, to complain that for the previous 10 days constituents in the riding were receiving calls “from persons falsely identifying themselves as calling from the Joe Volpe campaign.” The email from Elections Canada suggests such calls are not forbidden by the act. ”The act does not prohibit or regulate the use of telephone solicitations for a particular candidate or party, or the content of a call unless actual intimidation or false pretence can be shown,” the email said.
The harassing calls in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence had a call display showing a North Dakota number often blamed for credit card scams. Calls from the same number have been reported in a number of other ridings across the country. But the elections agency said the use of “spoofed” call display numbers “is not regulated by the Act. ”Consequently in most cases compliance or enforcement issues do not arise under the Act from political calls soliciting support for a candidate or party,” Elections Canada said. “This simply recognizes the role played by free speech and communication in the democratic process, including speech that is annoying, repetitive or of a partisan nature.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 27, 2012 at 8:53 AM - 0 Comments
Tonda MacCharles finds a call centre in Thunder Bay that was employed by the Conservative party.
Annette Desgagné, 46, said it became clear to her — after so many people complained that the “new” voting locations made no sense or were “way the hell across town” — that the live operators were, in fact, misdirecting voters. “We’re sending people to the wrong place,” Desgagné recalled telling her supervisor.
She said she has no way of knowing whether in fact the poll station locations she gave listeners were wrong addresses or phony locations. But she said the “feedback” elicited by the script was so negative, “we started getting antsy.” She said she and a few other workers at the call centre were perplexed enough that they began telling the voters they should double-check their poll location with their local Elections Canada office, which was not part of the script. Desgagné, alone, said some workers shortened their script — although they weren’t supposed to — and said “… I’m calling from Elections Canada …”
Susan Delacourt focuses on the script.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 5:37 PM - 22 Comments
One person—the lone identifiable protester, though his exact cause seemed a bit obscure—wore a bear suit. Some ladies arrived in dresses. One young man wore a suit. Another young man wore a Wendel Clark jersey. Many clutched flowers. Several adults carried children. Someone had brought along a corgi, hoping maybe to have the canine autographed or blessed or formally adopted.
All here, lining the metal barricades on either side of the Museum of Nature’s ornate entrance, waited happily on this unseasonably cold and windy June day to see Elizabeth II, daughter of King George VI, Her Royal Highness and Queen of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Canada.
Shortly after noon, a band of bagpipers came down McLeod Street. Then, as if from thin air, appeared a group of dancers, young women in red skirts who proceeded to high step for the amusement of the assembled subjects. Her Majesty was due at precisely 12:25pm, but that came and passed without sight of her. Indeed, not until 12:30pm did the first of her 13-car motorcade, flanked by a couple dozen officers on motorcycles, appear from the west.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 1:55 PM - 208 Comments
With 51 precincts reporting specific estimates—restricting the count to media-reported figures and, where available, police counts—it’s possible to account for approximately 21,000 anti-prorogation protestors at yesterday’s rallies. Continue…