Thursday, 27 October 2011

Letters: Why does Toronto protest lack Canadian content?

Walkom: It’s polite, but Toronto protest lacks Canadian content!

By Thomas Walkom,  Toronto Star, National Affairs Columnist,
October 18, 2011, 

In style, the Occupy Toronto protest is almost stereotypically Canadian. Those camping out in a downtown city park are polite and respectful to all, including police. The campsite itself is meticulously tidy, with protest placards lined up for inspection along the pathways.

So far, the protesters have shown no tolerance for thugs or vandals. In content, though, the Toronto demonstration seems curiously divorced from both the city and country in which it is taking place.

Maybe I missed it. But after a day at St. James Park, I didn’t find many talking about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to aid corporate interests by banning Air Canada strikes.

Nor did I find any talk about the radical moves coming from Toronto City Hall — such as contracting out city garbage collection in order to break the public sector unions, or selling off assets, or slashing library hours or cutting back transit services.

On the Ontario government’s ongoing moves to hand over public electrical generating capacity to big private corporations there was radio silence.

Ditto on the Bank of Canada’s decision to keep the dollar high at the expense of manufacturing jobs in Ontario.

For a movement focusing on distribution of income between the wealthiest one per cent and the rest of us, there was little mention of such basics as the minimum wage and income tax rates.

Nor was there discussion of how Canadian employers have used both globalization and high unemployment to ratchet down wages.

The Alberta tarsands? That’s a tough topic for a movement claiming to speak for 99 per cent of the population, since cutting back heavy oil production to protect the environment would lead to more joblessness.

But you would think the topic might be addressed.

And maybe in some places, it was. But not in the discussions I listened to. Instead, the criticisms were vague and derivative.

During a session with one small group that graciously allowed me to listen in, the most coherent complaint had little to do with Canada. Rather, it was levelled against the U.S. Federal Reserve, that country’s central bank.

Indeed, most of the language of the Toronto protest appears to have been imported verbatim from the far more famous demonstration on New York’s Wall St.

Thus bailouts were condemned. But which ones? Unlike, the U.S., Canada didn’t bail out its banks. It did, however, help bail out auto giants GM and Chrysler.

Do the protesters object to that? If so, they are probably offside with 99 per cent of Ontario’s autoworkers, who were happy to see their jobs saved.

Occupy Toronto opposes corporate greed. But what does that mean? Do those in the 99 per cent whose pensions are invested in corporate equities think it greedy when stock prices rise?

All of this is not to disparage the protest. There is a real energy at St. James Park among people who think something is wrong with the world the way it works now.

Security guard Jarret Maxwell, for instance, says that while his life is good he finds it intolerable that so many across the globe are so poor.

He also freely admits he doesn’t know much about how government works but figures he has to find out — since, he says, that’s the way to change things.

With luck, he will. With luck, the Occupy Toronto protesters will eventually coalesce around a series of concrete aims.

But first they have to address reality as it is — in this city, in this province, in this country. We are much affected by the U.S. But its situation is not ours.

Thomas Walkom

October 27, 2011,

After reading the above by Thomas, I am moved to write this post, one i've been thinking about for the last couple of weeks since Occupy Toronto set-up camp in St. James Park.

So here is my take on things. There are some people that simply hate! They hate our banks. They hate our Provincial and Municipal governments. I get that. I am not thrilled with all banks or all Provincial and Municipal government decisions either. And let’s face it, if I were this would be a rather mundane blog. But the Occupy folks seem to think our banks and recently elected Provincial and Municipal governments are good for nothing. I read things like 'bankers are greedy' or 'there is nothing the Provincial and Municipal governments do that is good'. I hear statements such as “I didn’t vote in the last two recent Provincial and Municipal elections or the ballot is a "worthless piece of paper and doesn’t give either government the right to do anything for me or to me”.

But wouldn't these folks be further ahead to Occupy Congress...that's where the 1991 decision was made by President Clinton to abolish their Glass-Steagall Act from 1934 that had placed controls on bankers for causing the Great Depression. It was Congress that voted to provide taxpayer dollars to finance the purchase of homes folks could not afford and then, forced to rescue the same banks when folks didn't repay their mortgages. So, I was a little confused about why these folks saw fit to camp in our park in inclement weather!

When I looked for suggestions for the heading of this post, I got cliche answers that try to trivialize my point such as “oh, so if someone steals my TV, I should abandon my house?” All of these things baffle me because I am not saying these things at all.

Many times, I have made the point to different folks that being in Canada is a choice and a responsibility. The response is usually hostile and often taken as I am telling folks to leave the country. I am not trying to kick someone out of the country. But I do believe that in a world like this one, it is a shame that folks have horrible things to say about a country that offers the best opportunity to live free. So I wanted to take a moment to discuss this rationally, without any emotion and without directing it at anyone so that no one gets their feelings hurt thinking I don’t like them.

Is our country ideal? Unfortunately, that is not always possible....but is there a better alternative? Not that i'm aware of. I understand that the Provincial government has let it's spending get out of control. I understand that during the G20 riots, there were examples of individual rights being taken away or trampled on by folks who refused to leave the scene of the crime. I understand that Canada doesn’t offer the complete individual freedom that some folks crave.

But I believe we are closer to ideal than any other country out there. Let’s start with this blog. In many other countries, I would not be able to be as critical of any government as I am here. In many other countries, I would be locked up or even killed for simply speaking out against the government. I have more freedom in Canada than most people in the world have. Freedom to practice the religion that I choose, regardless of what it may be. Freedom to demonstrate peacefully. Freedom to leave the country should I choose to, which some countries don’t offer.

I didn’t commit to voting either. But I recognize our freedom as a great attempt to create the best order out of mass confusion possible. I find it amazing that the right to vote was created so that citizens could provide guidance to our government, creating a charter in 1867 that is largely still relevant today.

So whenever I read of folks who seem to absolutely hate our banks and government and would prefer both didn’t exist at all, I am always baffled. Because I don’t believe that a country without financial structure and guidance would work. I simply don’t believe that a Canada without financial structure and an elected government can provide the opportunities that we enjoy.

So I make the statement to folks that it is a choice and a responsibility to live here. Because ultimately it is just that, a choice and a responsibility.

One of the beautiful things about living in Canada is we are free to leave if we want to. If we believe that the Canadian government is the worst on the planet, we can move to France or Costa Rica or Ghana or China or wherever we choose. We even have the free will to choose to live in Somalia under shariah law if that more fits what we think is right and fair.

I have that choice and responsibility and I have chosen to stay and do my part. I do so because I think I have a better opportunity for a good life here than I would somewhere else. I have chosen to stay and do my part because I think I am more free in Canada than I would be in other places (and I have thus far visited 14 other countries).

By choosing to stay and do my part, I am making the statement that I think daily life is better here than other country. I am choosing to stay and do my best to change what I don’t like as a citizen by exercising my freedom that serves as a blueprint for our government. By staying, I am choosing to be a part of what Canada is, the good and the almost good enough.

So when I say that you are free to leave, it isn’t a threat. It is simply a reality. If folks hate it here as much as some folks seem to, they have the individual freedom to choose to leave. However, if folks choose to stay, then they are choosing to join a cast of over 30 million, and that means that they are choosing to vote and pay taxes to our government for what they provide and they are choosing to abide by the will of the majority of the people. That is what being in Canada means. We are free to work and to vote in order to make it a better situation than it currently is, and we are also free to find a better situation elsewhere.

I am not mad at any of the Occupiers who hate our banks or our government, I merely don’t understand why they choose to stay, if what they feel is they're in the worst country on earth. Nobody has to stay. Anyone can move to Sweden if they think it is better there.

You can go anywhere.......but you are not. And you aren’t going to. And you know why? Because deep down, you know that there isn’t a better gig for you. You know that despite all of its flaws, Canada is still the only place where you have the opportunity to do what you do. The freedom to write in your blogs, to demonstrate on our streets and congregate in our parks was won on the backs of many of our grandfather's and great-grandfather's who fought; and some died for the freedom you now enjoy! And you aren’t going to leave because in the end, you know that many of the ideals that Occupy leaders, like that graphic artist and founding editor of Adbusters, Kalle Lasn espouse so fervently, even you know they cannot work.

And in that way I think that many of the Occupy leaders who espouse such hatred for our banks and government are hypocrites. They hate the very thing that on this planet gives you the right to protest...Freedom. I understand the ideal of personal freedom and that you want to reach for as much of it as possible. I also understand that despite contrived rantings to the contrary, you know that you have it better here than you would elsewhere. Because if that weren’t true, you would have left already.

So please allow me to be clear. I don’t want to kick any of you Occupiers out. You are more than welcome to stay. My statement that you are free to leave isn’t meant as a threat or an easy way out of any argument. I am not trying to insult you in some way. I am merely stating the obvious fact. And regardless of what cliche you throw at me next, that fact will remain and other readers will understand that it is merely a smokescreen meant to hide the reality that no matter how much the Occupiers complain about the our banks or government or complain that individual freedom doesn’t exist here, it rings hollow. Because the rest of us can see through that smokescreen and we understand one fact that cannot be ignored… you are still here.

You don’t have a better option. If you did, you would have taken it.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Letter: Hands up, Toronto,

Hands up, Toronto,

by: Jayme Poisson, Toronto Star, Staff Reporter,

October 23, 1022,

They have been trying to convince everyone for the last couple of weeks that they are the majority but one can only wonder about folks who would camp in a park in inclement weather to draw attention to Marxists and assorted characters. Hasn't the thought occurred that in order to effect change, you need to part of the process? We just went though an election where the majority voted for None of the Above, by not bothering to fulfill their civic duty!

The St. James Park gang certainly can't be judged as apathetic but they continue to marginalize themselves as they spin their stories among themselves with a sea of twinkling fingers and quirky hand signals; like, 1st guy hears his delusion spoken by a close friend who just heard from another friend who heard it first from the 1st guy...Well, THAT makes it true. Must be! How long must they camp until they realize their message and their method doesn't resonate?


The Great Ontario Energy Rip-Off! Enough is Enough!!

October 24, 2011,

It's no secret that our 'Green Energy Act' could easily turn into another boondoggle should Obama's Solyndra $527 Million solar energy bankruptcy be a harbinger to Ontario's 'Green Energy' agreement with Samsung!

Our 'Green Energy Act' appeared to operate under the radar until it was reported that our wind generators were not turned off last Christmas and the Taxpayer had to pay $1.5 million when Quebec and New York took our surplus wind generated power and then to make matters worse, we again exported surplus power to New York and Quebec this summer and the Taxpayer had to pay $6.6 million!

And now, we are being told that Energy to thousands of similar businesses in York Region, perhaps 100's of thousands of similar businesses province wide will increase...substantially!

To bring the light of day to The Great Ontario Energy Rip-Off, a PC candidate organized a media event on Thursday, September 22nd at a Richmond Hill factory to assist similar small and medium-sized Ontario employers, who as a group comprise the largest single block of employers in Ontario with the intentions of attracting interested media to shine their light into what small and medium-sized business perceive as a very dark hole.

To provide some background information, on Thursday, September 15th, a York Region employer received a letter from Power Stream advising of a switch to Time Of Use billing with a substantial Energy cost increase that was supposed to take effect on May 1st. and called Power Stream to get the facts.

When calling their customer service, the employer was told that Power Stream does not set rates. Rates are set by Ontario Power Authority and consumers would not see this increase until receiving the November bill as the increased rates will apply as of October 1st., making this two weeks notice to adjust cost structures!

It is interesting to note that Ontario small and medium-sized employers were never asked for their opinion, but simply told that the new rate schedule was mandatory.

The first suspicion was that the announcement had been put off until just before the election to minimize consumer pushback! This information was immediately sent to the PC and Liberal candidate for their comment. By bringing the issue of a massive and surreptitious Energy cost increase forward, the employer simply wanted to give the candidates the opportunity to save jobs. Only Vic Gupta, PC replied!

Upon further review of the Power Stream letter, the employer was able to confirm that all Ontario small and medium-sized businesses are scheduled for a whopping 57% increase for Energy used on On-Peak hours (from 11 am until 5 pm) based upon the Summer schedule.

According to this new rate sheet, the current daytime rate of .068 kWh is to increase to .107 kWh, and understand that this new rate schedule will affect similar Ontario businesses who can't or won't switch to a midnight shift! Further, the future Winter scheduled Energy cost increase (with TBA for values noted) would be determined by the Ontario Power Authority after the election.

The second suspicion is that this massive Energy cost increase is a direct result of poor planning and poor decision-making and Energy consumers are once again expected to make it right.

The York Region-based employer has been making consumer-packaging; the kind that you see on thousands of retail products across Canada for 25 years and all plant machinery uses energy. As Energy consumption is directly related to the volume of orders received from clients, the only method available to avoid this onerous cost increase in a meaningful way is to change to 'off peak' hours, meaning the midnight shift, according the Power Stream rate sheet!

Assuming that employers could entice their employees to switch to the midnight shift, Time Of Use could have created an incentive to operate at off-peak offset by an increased cost for on-peak by making it revenue neutral but this new rate schedule is clearly a cash grab and a dangerous precedent.

When the full effects of outrageous Time Of Use Energy rates; as noted in the Power Stream letter are felt by similar Ontario businesses, the sound may be deafening, especially if it results in more existing jobs lost to every 'green' job gained.

Despite confusion and denials, now we hear of a 'hidden agenda'...Carbon Tax or Cap and Trade Tax or perhaps both are reportedly on the table!

Will it be left for the Occupiers to state that...Enough is Enough?


Saturday, 22 October 2011

What will it take for union elites and their poverty pimps to prove they were not responsible for the election of Ford?

October 22, 2011

That question was on many lips when the Municipal campaign was over! G20 violence, coupled with the Toronto garbage strike; when the union turned on former Mayor Miller; their trusted benefactor no less, was the beginning of the end for CUPE and OCAP influence in Toronto.

So the question is.....will the union elites and their poverty pimps finally show the peaceful St. James Park crowd who's really in charge today outside new City Hall? Regardless of their feeble attempts to profess to be socialists,  union elites and their poverty pimps both are as close to the stereotype, evil, greedy capitalist malignant power brokers they espouse such hatred for.

Saying they will be "protesting cuts proposed by the Ford administration" simply proves once again that when union leaders and their poverty pimps find a source of income, regardless of how despicable or corrupt the process, they are without conscience. Their penchant for resembling a parasite by binding to their victim in a 'death 'til us part' spiral that is merciless towards anything that might impede that source of income is exposed again for all to see.

Should the unions elites and their poverty pimps co-opt the St. James Park crowd today where they are most vulnerable; the narrative, can we expect the ubiquitous propaganda to change? Canadians can always recognize a phony!


Friday, 21 October 2011

Is this really the Rally Cry?

"We, the 99%, will not accept cuts to our social services while our public funds are spent on corporate bailouts only to disappear into corporate tax holes."

Wait just a minute.....

Canadian banks were NOT bailed out. However, GM and Chrysler were bailed out. Who benefited from the Auto bailout? The Canadian Auto Workers UNION!!! Who ganged up on our meek premier, The Canadian Auto Workers UNION!!!

This means that under duress, tax dollars from hardworking Canadians were used to bailout union workers and not banks!

So, would the rally organizers please clarify your position on bailouts? If we're protesting the use of taxpayer funds to bail out extortionist unions....then yes, we're in, just tell us where and when and we can all protest together!

Could a confrontation be in the works?

October 21, 2011,

As a few prepare to rally outside Toronto's New City Hall tomorrow, some are concerned that undesirable elements, like OCAP and Union leaders may bring unwanted chaos to what is intended as a peaceful albeit loosely-organized event calling for more attention and support from citizens in their quest to denounce banks and corporations A worst case scenario is a good first couple of days and then have the police come in like they did at the G20.

We are told they have a peaceful message that's non-violent, but despite the organizers' best intentions, some are concerned anarchists, like the Black Bloc and other thugs could co-opt the rally and turn it into yet another G20-style standoff between police and whomever they can attract.

Unfortunately, it has been reported that the organizers have stopped communicating with some in the media, but it is important to continue to get the word out, particularly given concerns that some individuals; undesirable to the rally appear to be inserting themselves into the dialogue as evidenced by a few Facebook pages, in which some posters are concerned that the rally could quickly deteriorate into violence should agents provocateurs be allowed the run of the protest. Some Facebook devotees make comments that would seem to indicate confrontation could be in the works.

I'm certain rally organizers do not wish to incite or invite problems with the police or the citizens of Toronto. Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot showed the world the power of social media when everyday citizens turned their cellphones to the rioters, taking over 5,000 images. Vancouver Police are still pouring over these!

While organizers have resisted the urge to name one specific leader; i'm certain a conscious choice on their part but some have started forming committees. Will some of the messages on the minds of individuals be lost?

It's been reported that a lot of voices have been silenced or being ignored. The rally needs to be led by everyday people and not activists, because when it's everyday people leading it, more everyday people will get involved.


Get a Protest Permit for You and Your 24 Friends?

October 21, 2011,

If you're planning a protest rally with a bunch of your friends, Many Toronto Parks can make for a fun and memorable base. But you better wait before you start sending invitations through the twittersphere. Did you know that for groups of 25 or more, you need to get a permit from the Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division to use a city park? There is a daytime fee ($82.90 for the 2011 season) and there may be restrictions on barbecuing in certain parks. Permits are given out on a first-come, first-served basis and they are good from 10 am to 8:30 pm on the day noted. You may not get your first choice, but there are a lot of parks in Toronto to enjoy. If you'd like to inquire about booking a spot for your protest, call the parks permit office at 416-392-8188 before 4 pm, Monday to Friday.


Thursday, 20 October 2011

Letter - WWJD? Join hands with the Occupiers,

By ,QMI Agency

Monday, October 17, 2011

Warren's blasphemous attempt at achieving his 15 minutes of fame has fallen short. It is accepted that Jesus led each of us, as individuals, to reach out and help the poor but there is no evidence that he would ever have joined a mob that would reject our values of working hard to create a good life, unlike the occupiers.

If the occupiers would instead choose to stop spewing hatred and envy, reject charismatic yet deluded facilitators, serve others instead of demanding more for themselves and respect Canada for the many advantages they enjoy, then perhaps they wouldn't be on the tour bus operators list of things to see.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Letter: Pampered Protesters

Pampered protesters,

by: Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun,

It certainly is not fair that non-violent, albeit leaderless Occupiers; who present themselves with little more than disdain for corporate greed and political indifference, get to do what 99% of us can not do! Could this be another Caledonia in the making?
It's already been reported that intimidation within has folks in the crowd concerned about violent confrontation should they be ordered to change course! What will happen if a former G20 leader emerges and prepares to sabotage the ‘occupation movement of the people’ by imposing their will and forcing a showdown with Police?
Governing statute notes that while the board may give the chief of police orders and directions, the Toronto Police Services Board is ultimately responsible for the health and safety of all staff. In the case of G20, so far there has been precious little evidence of meaningful orders and directions and even less regard for the health and safety of staff. Should a violent confrontation result, will the re-elected head of the police services board, Alok Mukherjee insist that the new board neglect it's health and safety duty again, like the Miller-led board did with G20 when 93 of our combined forces were injured?
As the G20 riot unfolded, Toronto residents watched helplessly at thugs throwing rocks and other projectiles, smashing their bats and hammers, beating innocent bystanders and setting fire to taxpayer property! Even though Mayor Ford has since rid the board of some dead wood, we need to hear the new board's plan for dealing with violent confrontation against their staff, lest it be accused of ignoring history and repeating the same mistakes!


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Letters: Diverse frustrations preoccupy Toronto protesters,

Inside view: Diverse frustrations preoccupy Toronto protesters,

by: Niamh Scallan, Toronto Star, Staff Reporter,

Monday, October 17, 2011,
While it maybe a low blow when one demonstrator called the movement a “war on apathy”; considering that McGuinty's Liberals only needed 18% of the eligible vote to claim victory, does it really surprise anyone that OccupyTO presents itself as more than disdain for corporate greed and political indifference by a few ready to sabotage the ‘movement of the people’ as 45 Police lay injured in 3 other cities?  
But if marching down Bay Street every morning to interrupt business folk on their way to work is the plan, then it will prove that the 'hot-heads' are really the organizers and forcing a showdown with Police is their goal.
So regardless of budget cuts or new hires, should we see riots in the streets again, will the re-elected head of the police services board, Alok Mukherjee insist on military security so the new board won’t neglect it's health and safety duty, like the Miller-led board did with G20 when 93 of our combined forces were injured?
Governing statute notes that while the board may give the chief of police orders and directions, the Toronto Police Services Board is ultimately responsible for the health and safety of all staff. In the case of G20, so far there has been precious little evidence of meaningful orders and directions and even less regard for the health and safety of staff.
As the G20 riot unfolded, Toronto residents watched helplessly as thugs on TV were throwing rocks and other projectiles, smashing their bats and hammers and burning taxpayer property! Even though Mayor Ford has since rid the board of some dead wood, we need to hear the new board's plan for the future, lest it be accused of ignoring the warning and repeating the same mistakes!


Letter to the Editor, Toronto Star, October 16, 2011,

Occupy Toronto protesters settle in at St. James Park,

by: Josh Tapper, Toronto Star, Staff Reporter,

Saturday, October 15, 2011,

“It's going to be civilized,” says Toronto Const. Johnny Moutar. “Everyone has a right to protest. I don't have a problem with it.” “I don’t think anything’s going to happen at all, Toronto police are very nice,” says occupier, Nico Salassidis. “No one's breaking windows,” says Toronto Sgt. Steve Lorriman, comparing Occupy Toronto to the 2010 G20 protests in Toronto but with 31 Police already injured in London and another 26 in Rome with 3 injured in New York City, is it only a matter of time until Occupy Central Command executes a day (or week or month) of violence in Toronto?

Predictably encouraged on opening day by the usual suspects who brought us the G20 riots, it will be up to saner heads on the Occupy Toronto committee to identify thugs and hooligans for the Police and to distance themselves from those inside and outside the Occupy movement who would harm the cause or the message, and the moment will be lost!

Letter to the Editor - NY Times October 16, 2011

Buoyed by Wall St. Protests, Rallies Sweep the Globe,


October 16, 2011

Three police injured already at the scene of the crime; trying to maintain peace in front of the occupiers only makes the Customs and Border Protection's attempt to impose  'fencing and other barriers to movement' along the 5,000 mile northern frontier; from Maine to the Pacific Ocean all the more ludicrous.

Advocates such as Arizona State Senator Stephen Smith has sought to justify the $49 million expenditure by creating a website, Build the Border Fence, inviting citizens to donate to the cause of building 'tactical security infrastructure' at strategic points.

So, as the Wall Street occupation; with no end in sight turns more violent, doesn't it seem unfair to prevent Americans from escaping to more peaceful grounds?


Friday, 14 October 2011

G20 memories loom on eve of Occupy Toronto protests,

Response to an article by: Brendan Kennedy Staff Reporter, Toronto Star,
Thursday, October 13, 2011,

If this occupation turns violent, will Torontonians mimic the fine work done by Vancouverites who took more than one million photos and 1,000 hours of video of their Stanley Cup rioters? Thankfully, Police were able to regain control of both riots before someone was seriously injured or killed but it was a disgusting scene that unfolded for all to see in Vancouver, and for Toronto, too. But what made Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot unique was citizen response! Did West Coast social media evolve to create community in response to Toronto's G20 riot? Regardless, the future is here!

While civil libertarians may wail, 'there’s nothing illegal about being in the streets', it's just not the same when you are trying to set a Police cruiser on fire! Seeing what Vancouver witnessed, should it really surprise when it reminds taxpayers of 'alleged' peaceful G20 protesters with various weapons our combined Police forces confiscated.

G20 violence left riot organizers with a black eye as taxpayers clamored to make themselves heard; to provide a visible reminder to hooligans that they will be held accountable for their actions after a post-riot Angus Reid poll told us that 3 of 4 Torontonians and 2 of 3 Canadians believed police treatment of protesters during the summit was justified. The Stanley Cup riots touched a raw nerve in Vancouver, too when 19 of every 20 residents wanted the troublemakers prosecuted to the full extent of the law, according to another poll by Angus Reid.
For Vancouver Police; armed with this volume of information, it is clear that social media; including Twitter and Facebook have been instrumental in identifying many rioters with pages such as Facebook riot pics having posted photos of people smashing windows, tipping over urinals and brawling with police. Photographs and video footage have been posted by the public, ranging from senior citizens to high school students leaving messages on these pages; some by the perpetrators themselves. While there may be some who think an oppressive Big Brother eye is watching us, the fact remains that social media users give out the minutiae of their lives for free on Twitter and Facebook.

Is the trend of people on Twitter and Facebook calling on the public to identify criminals in the Vancouver riot simply an attempt by the community of West Coast social media enthusiasts to embrace a new role in citizen journalism, with the explicit intention of identifying people to create a sense of public safety? Some Vancouver rioters are receiving punishment far worse than anything the courts might dole out for their crimes. Outed by their own postings, their friends and even their parents, some of the young men involved in Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riot found it necessary to turn themselves in to police.

Given how social media is integrated into people's lives, many of the individuals identified during the Vancouver riots will not have the option of simply erasing their Facebook and Twitter accounts in order to avoid public disclosure. These tools are so much a part of daily life now that some can no longer separate their private lives from their public lives online. Increasingly, for the younger generation, not having a life online is akin to not having a social life. Over the last decade, notions of privacy have been eroded through social media, and the Vancouver riots show the effects of living in a social media world.

Torontonians mimic Vancouverites with large volume image taking of a gang of hooligans using social media should Occupy Toronto turn violent, the likes of which invaded sleepy Toronto during G20?


Friday, 7 October 2011

Oak Ridges-Markham Candidate Mid-Term Twitter Progress Report Card.

Brian Weller

BY Brian Weller | BLOGGER

Oak Ridges-Markham
I wanted to review the Twitter accounts of each candidate and below is what I see:

Grade: A - Green - Trifon Haitas, great balance of information, personality and conversation with digital natives. knows the twitter culture
Grade: B - Liberal -Helena Jaczek, mostly sharing, some engagement. very personable tone. understands digital culture. decent engagement and personality. mostly broadcasting campaign messages. focused on mainstream news. a little more engagement and she is an A.
Grade : B - Conservative - Farid Wassef, injects personality into announcements. he is engaging with the public. he is all over twitter though likely has a lot of help. has potential
Grade: C - NDP - Joe Whitfeld, understands digital conversation. responding to and engaging with people. I would like to see more political insight to balance the personality
Grade: F - Family Coalition - Patrick Redmond, no twitter presence listed or not easily found
Grade: F - Libertarian - Karl Boelling, no twitter presence listed or not easily found

For those who use Twitter as a communication tool, I intend to put a simple question to them: what does social media mean to YOU? I will do that partly as a test to see who is monitoring the online conversation, and partly to see what social media really means to the candidates. Of the 6 Oak Ridges-Markham candidates I will attempt to reach out to, I will be curious to see how many insightful responses I will receive but whatever, I will incorporate them into additional posts on my blog.

Before October 6th, I will also proudly declare which candidates has won the title of Most Engaged Candidate. Besides being A tweeters, they are tweeting each other with sign down announcements when they spot defaced or downed campaign signs. Competitive and supportive.

In the course of my local election research as your community correspondent on the Speak Your Mind election team (you may even see the odd hashtag in some of my tweets), I will be watching and tweeting our candidates during the campaign, especially during debate panels and on election night with your questions so keep them coming...they have been insightful!

Voters in Oak Ridges-Markham are in a quandary!

So who will be the big winner in Ontario tomorrow? Remember, you heard it here first!

Brian Weller

BY Brian Weller | BLOGGER

Oak Ridges-Markham
Each of the Provincial elections have created their own drama as Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger's NDP took 37 of the legislature's 57 seats compared with 19 for the Progressive Conservatives who took a big bite out of their popular vote butt wasn't enough for Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen, who told supporters he takes personal responsibility for failing to dent the NDP's seat count and one for the Liberals as party leader Jon Gerrard retained his Winnipeg riding of River Heights, but his party fell to 7.5 per cent voter support from 12 per cent in 2007. The popular vote was almost a dead heat. The NDP was running at close to 46 per cent, less than two percentage points ahead of the Tories. In 2007, the New Democrats beat the Tories by 10 points.

Despite a hard-fought campaign by the Olive Crane-led Progressive Conservatives, the final outcome in PEI was hardly in doubt with a majority Liberal government under Robert Ghiz garnering 22 of the province’s 27 ridings. Just one day before the election writ was dropped, a public opinion survey placed the Liberals almost 30 points ahead of the Opposition PCs. Even on tiny P.E.I., that was an insurmountable lead for the Liberals, and too high an electoral mountain for the other political parties to climb.

So who will be the big winner in Ontario? First I consulted the official prognosticators....the Pollsters. Unfortunately, their purported scientific methods looked more like an art form so I was forced to rely upon the old tried and tested pre-election predictor....I put the leaders images on my dart board, closed my eyes and gave it my best shot! So, after measuring the distance of each image from my dart, down to the little lines on my slide rule, my dart predicts - PC-54, Lib-40, NDP-12 and Green - 1.

Remember, you heard it here first!

What Tax relief means to voters in Oak Ridges-Markham!

Brian Weller

BY Brian Weller | BLOGGER

Oak Ridges-Markham

Recently a set of questions related to Energy and Education were presented to your candidates for their response to and this weeks set of questions relates to Tax relief. Ontarian's are shocked by the unprecedented increase in cost of living, especially taxation to pay for dubious expenditures and the following are comments from those candidates who cared to respond about these issues swirling around this campaign.

The candidates were asked the same questions and this is what your candidates had to say about Tax relief....

question #1- it has been reported that a political leader wants to refund GO Transit fares under certain conditions. Why? Is this affordable? Will this drive up taxes?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says, “GO Transit already has a 94% on-time performance, but we are committed to always doing better. Ontario is the first place in all of North America to institute money-back guarantees for things such as; online birth, death and marriage certificates. This guarantee has translated into a 99% on-time service record. We are always trying to serve Ontarians better so now we’re applying the same guarantee to our GO train service. We will provide a money back guarantee (full refund on your one-way fare) if your GO Train is 15mins late or more.”

answer.......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “I believe I know what your asking about here. I forget which party it is but one of the parties is proposing to provide re funds for fares when service is delayed...I believe this is due to a lot of the delays we hear about say in the winter when switches freeze....I have only had the opportunity to take the GO train once or twice in the past however I do hear about these delays as I drive in to work some mornings.....In order to keep it’s customers happy a service provider should provide something in order to keep it’s customers. Unfortunately If the government is controlling a service then it is possible for a government to provide such a chit by taking from the general tax pool. Unfortunately then there is less available for some other service that this government is also providing. Now I for one would like to know why the government is running a service like the GO. I think that services like that should be an actual business.....and run like one. A business like the GO is meant to grow with the territories it covers because it provides transportation for people through these territories. It order for a business to grow it must be successful..the measure of a companies success is through its profits which enable it to pay for its own growth. In order to make profits it needs to have customers. The way I see it there should be Go service to a lot more places as people are living everywhere and would just love it if they could have a reliable service that gets them to where they need to go in good time. Yes this coupon will eventually drive up taxes and the service will probably never change because the government is controlling it and unlike other service providers the government can just increase the amount of money it collects for its pool. In the real world it doesn’t work like that...the owners actually sweat figuring out how to make their business better because they have to, if they don’t someone else will put them out of business by providing a better service at a better price.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #2- it has been reported that a political leader has promised to keep all-day kindergarten. How would you respond to this? Is this affordable? Will this drive up taxes?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says, “the Ontario Liberals have a clear plan to have full day kindergarten in all elementary schools by September 2014. Full-day learning kindergarten will have a positive impact on a child’s academic, social and emotional development, while also giving parents more opportunities to work towards a better future for their families. Research has also shown that investing in early learning is one of the best investments a government can make – with returns on public investment of as much as 7:1.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “I had half day kindergarten and I can’t recall ever wondering if it would be better if I could be there all day so I could be wrong in my thinking for all day kindergarten. I see all day kindergarten as requiring an extra classroom and an extra teacher, of course this costs more and since its paid for by our taxes then our taxes will go up.....Under a libertarian government there will be a lot less taxes therefore there will be much more money in parent's pockets allowing them to choose what is best for their own child including being able to spend the time at home with their child as there won’t be the requirement to work twice as hard to keep up with a close to 50% taxation.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #3- it has been reported that a political leader wants to defer student loans under certain conditions. How would you respond to this? Is this affordable? Will this drive up taxes?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says, “since 2003, the Ontario Liberals have done a lot to help reduce debt load. We have capped OSAP student debt at $7300/year, meaning that anything borrowed above that will be forgiven and will bring back upfront grants. These are some of the reasons why Ontario’s student loan default rate is its’ lowest in history at 8% compared to its’ highest, under the Tories in 1997 at 23%. For students struggling after they graduate, we brought in the repayment assistance loan plan as well as a 6-month grace period for all students and a 1-year grace period for students who go to work in the non-profit sector.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “I’m am unsure about this one so am unaware what these conditions could be. No, it’s not affordable and it will drive up taxes. I do understand the need for student loans. College or university education is necessary in order to compete in today's world. However that loan should be viewed as an investment. One gets an education in a subject because one enjoys that subject and one can see how to use it in order to fill a need that’s out there in the world. While I am all for higher education a loan is still a loan.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #4- it has been reported that a cut funding to grandparents forced to raise their grandchildren is in place. How would you respond to this?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says that, “Ontario Liberals understand and appreciate the commitment that people make when they choose to care for their extended family members. This is why we continue to invest in the Temporary Care Assistance (TCA) program, to help people care for other people's children when the parents are temporarily unable to. There has not been a cut to this program. In fact, the number of families we are helping continues to grow - 37% more children are getting our help through TCA than in power in 2003.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “To be honest I would need to understand the use of the word ‘force’ in that sentence.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #5- it has been reported that a political leader has promised to cut taxes and balance the books by 2017. How would you respond to this? Is this affordable? Will this drive up taxes?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says “our deficit is now 43% below its projected peak in fall 2009. So far, we’ve saved money by doing things – like harmonizing our tax system, reforming our generic drug system, and shrinking the size of the public service. There’s more work to do, but rather than making deep, across-the-board cuts, we’ll build on reforms in the 2011 Budget and on the recommendations of the Drummond Commission, continue to reduce the size of the public service, and seek new partnerships with the public, not-for-profit, and private sectors.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “2017?....That's six years.......I can see a libertarian government achieving this but only because it believes in less government control of our services....The other parties, well its possible but I’m sure that by then I will be paying more taxes unless they at least consider adopting some libertarian ways for how they decide to run things.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #6- there has been a suggestion by a taxpayer to replace the HST with a 'tax' that would encourage the revival of our traditional manufacturing industry that makes things that Ontarians need that has been lost overseas! Do you think the idea has merit? If no, kindly explain why? If yes, kindly explain what you would do to initiate legislation to revive Ontario's manufacturing sector to makes things that Ontarian's need!

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says “our Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth, including the HST, has helped stabilize our economy and our finances. This plan reduces taxes for a typical manufacturer, saving the manufacturing sector over $1.2 billion per year. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters have called our Tax Plan “a very positive step for Ontario manufacturers.” Since the HST was introduced, Ontario has created over 89,000 new jobs and the Financial Times of London ranked Ontario second only to California in North America as a recipient of foreign investment.”

answer.......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “We lost it to overseas because we can’t afford to make it ourselves at the price other places can...people will always look for a better price. I suppose some kind of tariff could replace the HST but would it be any different really?”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #7- it has been reported that a political leader would remove 'smart meters' from taxpayers homes. would you support this initiative? If not, why?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says, “Smart Meters are about modernizing our outdated, inefficient energy infrastructure. For example, Hydro One has meters in their service territory that are 40-60 years old – that is unacceptable in Ontario. To date, over 4.6 million smart meters have been installed across Ontario. These meters have been installed on time and on budget. Smart meters will ultimately result in savings of $1.6 billion to ratepayers as they conserve energy and avoid the cost of both expensive electricity imports and building new peak generation. In addition, with the new Ontario Clean Energy Benefit, Ontario Liberals are taking 10% off hydro bills – saving the average household $150 per year.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “That sounds expensive....For myself I don’t really care(yet) but so many people seem to not like them, I actually don’t know of anyone who can show me they save money as claimed. I would like to have one to examine to see whats really inside it though.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #8- it has been reported that a political leader would drop the HST from taxpayers home heating, gasoline and hydro bills. would you support this initiative? If not, why?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says, “both the NDP and the PCs are making promises they cannot afford – while putting at risk the progress Ontario has made over the past eight years. In contrast, Ontario Liberals will continue reduce electricity bills by 10% through the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit. We will reduce the cost of college and university tuition by 30% for middles class families. We will reduce child poverty by increasing the Ontario Child Benefit from $1,100 to $1,310. We will double the Children’s Activity Tax Credit, providing up to $100 per year to help with the cost of soccer, music lessons, art classes, and other activities. We’ll provide seniors with an annual tax credit of up to $1,500 to offset the cost of accessibility renovations to their home as well as property tax deferrals, to help seniors stay in their homes longer.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “Absolutely I would support it.....I might be a candidate, but I use electricity and gas just like everyone else so I would appreciate saving a bit of money....I am also aware that to compensate somehow, somewhere the price of something will increase in order to match this.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #9- it has been reported that a political leader would end the annoying debt retirement charge on hydro bills. would you support this initiative? If not, why?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says, “the previous PC government’s failed attempt to privatize Ontario’s electricity system saddled Ontarians with more than $19.4 billion in debt due to the breakup of the old Ontario Hydro. Even though the PC government was collecting a Debt Retirement Charge (DRC), they still managed to balloon this debt load to about $20.6 billion by the time they left office in 2003. Since 2003, through strong management, the stranded debt and the associated interest payments have been steadily reduced. The most recent review by the Auditor General confirms that the remaining debt sits at $13.4 billion -- and the DRC is on track to be eliminated by between 2015 and 2018.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “ I remember when that charge first showed up. I couldn’t understand why it was suddenly there and I still don’t....if my memory serves me correctly. I also remember some sort of scandal involving the pay for some of the head operators for whatever the electric company used to be called...I’m just upset I am paying for a debt and I don’t know exactly what its for.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

question #10- it has been reported that a political leader would roll back tolls on hwy #407. would you support this initiative? If not, why?

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says, “the Ontario Liberals have committed that we will keep our section- the 407 East Extension, publicly owned and controlled. This is in stark contrast to the PCs who sold the 407 ETR to private interest groups, which has now resulted in increased fees. Last year, an estimate valued the tolls collected on the 407 ETR at about $9 Billion – 3 times what the Tories sold it for. We will set the toll rates and retain 100% of the revenues generated for reinvestment in Ontario’s roads, transit and other important infrastructure. We have committed to completing the 407 East to Highway 35/115 in 2020 with an interim opening at Taunton Road in 2017.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “this is something I’m unaware of far as I know, and I may be wrong but I think the 407 is privately owned.....I do a lot of driving everywhere and the 407 is the only reliable stretch of highway out will get you where you need to go quickly and the times that there is a problem are quite rare, in fact I do remember a problem but I can’t remember when it was that’s how rare problems are..The 407 costs a bit of money but you get what you pay for.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

......question from taxpayer -

Pols missing real issues!
Reading the paper I can’t help thinking how these clowns running for office are missing the mark. The average person needs more money in his or her pocket. The cost of groceries and everyday expenses are rising rapidly, but the amount of money in people’s pockets is not. All these tax breaks Dalton McGuinty and Tim Hudak are talking about do little or nothing to help day to day lives. The cost of car insurance is skyrocketing and no one has said anything about that in their campaign. C’mon, people. Do something that will really help. None of the promises I’ve heard will help the day to day lives of seniors. I really don’t know
who to vote for.
Martin Allison
(Voice of the people Dalton, Tim, Andrea — what say you?)

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says that, “since 2003, we’ve worked to make life more affordable for Ontarians. As part of our Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth, we introduced a Clean Energy Benefit that takes 10 percent off electricity bills, a Sales Tax Credit worth up to $260 per person, an Energy and Property Tax Credit offering seniors up to $1,025 per year, a Sales Tax Transition Benefit of up to $300 for individuals and $1,000 for families, and lower income taxes for 93 per cent of Ontario taxpayers. Overall, after factoring in the impact of the HST, 86 per cent of senior households will have more money in their pockets as a result of our Tax Plan. We have made home ownership for seniors more affordable by introducing a Senior Homeowner’s Property Tax Grant of up to $500 per year and introduced pension income splitting for seniors. Our platform builds on our commitment to make life more affordable for seniors. We’ll provide seniors with an annual tax credit of up to $1,500 to offset the cost of accessibility renovations to their home. We’ll also work with Ontario’s municipalities to give seniors the option to defer property tax increases for as long as they choose to stay in their home and ensure that any increase in property tax would be deferred, interest-free, until the house is sold.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “Mr Allison....I understand exactly what you are saying, I feel the same way as you. More than that I also see the direction the current system is moving is not going to make things any better in 20 years when I am a senior if I survive that long...that’s why I’m with the libertarian party now. I wanted to just vote for them but in order to have a candidate to vote for I had to be that candidate. By doing this I don’t know if I will change anything but I will at least at the end know that I did what I could by trying to turn things in a direction that will leave me feeling better when I go knowing that because of what I did there’s a chance that someone like me will not have to struggle with the same issues I have had to. I can’t understand a system that will not allow you to work unless you are willing to give up close to half your earnings to that system....I would like to ask you to visit the libertarian website at Http:// and see what you think of what they have to say. At the least if more people become aware that there are more ways to examine this government problem we have in our lives then maybe whichever party actually does come into power will realize that they have a LOT of unhappy customers (not just the few percent that will always be there)....That said I too would like to know about the auto insurance pricing as well...I don’t understand how that works, in fact we have no vehicle at the home mainly because insurance is just too expensive. Right now I’m lucky because work provides me with a van as I do service work but for everyone else here it’s the bike. As for the seniors I wish that I had something to say that would help as it kills me that seniors have been putting in all their lives and now at the end when they just can’t anymore they are having problems getting through their days. The best I can do is to listen to what they have to say and learn from it so I might not find myself in such a position.”

......question from taxpayer -

Whose job is it to boost voter turnout?

Bob Hepburn provides a list of reasons for dismal voter turnout, including a hatred for all politicians. I wouldn’t go that far, but do sense a great deal of anger that politics has been allowed to morph into nothing more than a con game — promise something and then do otherwise. One party is as bad as the next. Mr. Hepburn might be astonished at the turnout had we a “none of the above” option at the polls. That could force some form of caretaker government, but I would rather foot the bill for a new election every two months or so until they come to the realization that they work for us and not the other way around. If we’re not there now, we are perilously close to the point where the average Ontarian can no longer afford to make ends meet.
Ian Brownlee,

answer......Dr. Helena Jaczek, Liberal says, “in today’s world, everything moves at such a speed that it can be difficult to stay in touch with all that is going on. It is important that elected officials are visible and accessible to their constituents. I have worked hard over the past four years to be available to hear the needs and concerns of my constituents, whether it means meeting in person, a quick phone call or responding to a tweet. That being said, voter turn out is all of our responsibilities. It is up to the voter as well as the candidate to be familiar and engaged with the concerns of your respective riding. We are committed to engaging Ontarians in the decisions the government makes.”

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says, “MR Brownlee, The libertarian party considers itself a ‘none of the above’ party I would suggest you go to and judge for yourself. Rather than more of the same promises we are all bored of hearing they actually want to make it possible for people to change the way things are done by giving them the means to do so. In fact the reason I am a candidate in this election is mainly for the reason that I could actually vote for something that gives me hope rather than just another vote to see that the worst doesn’t accidentally get into power.”

Responses from the other candidates to this question will be posted, as received.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

How will Oak Ridges-Markham candidates wrestle our accumulated debt to ground?

Brian Weller

BY Brian Weller | BLOGGER

Oak Ridges-Markham

Despite prognostications to the contrary from a variety of pundits and party hacks, I have found an interested electorate out there and predict that we will have more voters going to the polls in Oak Ridges-Markham than in previous elections. And judging by the quality and number of questions asked, voters want to know who has a plan to wrestle our accumulated debt to ground! Certainly, each has made themselves available to the media and their teams have been busy erecting signs and meeting with as many voters as possible but each have been staying very close to the party line in their presentation of jobs, education, health and transportation issues. 

To be sure, it has been a knuckle-busting fight to this it should be! But taxpayer debt has received little recognition, even though many voters have clearly developed DAD, 'deficit attention disorder'! Which of course begs the question...where is the money coming from to reduce our onerous accumulated debt of around $235,000,000,000; the largest in Ontario's history? Local voters are clearly not pleased with debt that has left them behind and know that our $15 or 16 Billion provincial deficit cannot continue. 

Local voters know that whomever forms the next government, they will have difficult choices to make so I asked each candidate to respond to the #1 question in our riding......please explain what steps you would take to wrestle our accumulated debt to ground, either through raising revenue or cutting expenditures or a combination of both? The following are their replies.....

answer......Ruida Lu, Independent says "Ontarians are already paying higher taxes in comparison to people in other parts of the world. We deserve better! I won't increase taxes. I will create more sources of revenue which include leasing province-owned idle assets to the private sector, and creating advertising spaces on and in public buildings. I will focus on improving efficiency of the public sector, to make it more on par with the efficiency of the private sector. I want to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy without cutting necessary services, close loopholes, and fully utilize existing resources (which represent “sunk cost”). I will bring transparency and accountability to Queen’s Park. I want to ensure that public officials do not abuse their power or misspend funds."

answer......Karl Boelling, Libertarian says "I'd eliminate the debt the same way anyone would, in the real world...stop spending and start paying it off. Get rid of anything that's a waste, and if there are any white elephants hiding then find a way to actually make them pay for themselves. Sell off assets that aren't doing anything to someone who will actually make use of it. There should be no need to raise taxes. And the government employees? Like employees anywhere (in the real world) they are sort of expected to make their companies money or those companies go out of business. All this is not rocket science...if it was, the last few years would have been much worse all around but everyone dug in and now we've all found more ways to work smarter, and more efficiently. I see no reason why our government can't do the same.............Apologies for the rant, but almost everyone knows the answer for eliminating focus on paying it off before you take on anything else. Life doesn't always work that way but with of bit of effort you can keep to a course like that pretty well......What else can I say, except for my mortgage I have no debt...and my income is less than average......... It can be done....and once it's done, you really don't do it again.....People are smart and tend to's about time we had a government that could (learn) as well."

answer......Trifon Haitas, Green Party says, "I will focus on creating sustainable, long-term jobs, and stop burdening our children with today’s debts. We can only achieve this future by unleashing and nurturing the creativity and innovation of our entrepreneurs and workers to build strong local economies. The Green Party is committed to responsible stewardship of our natural and financial resources and will promote policies that ensure we live within our means. As your Green MPP, I will fight for good jobs and a fiscally responsible government with lower income taxes on families and local businesses to stimulate job creation, reward efficient use of resources and responsibly balance our finances with a revenue neutral tax on waste, pollution and carbon emissions, reward efficient use of resources and responsibly balance our finances with a revenue neutral tax on waste, pollution and carbon emissions and balance the budget by 2015, saving billions in debt and ensuring our tax dollars are spent on public services instead of interest payments."

Responses from the other candidates were not received by the deadline but will be posted, as received.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Debt will affect us all,

Letter to the Editor, Toronto Sun,

by: Anne Robinson, 
October 2, 2011,

Anne questions, "why are we such economic illiterates that we can't see what is happening in Ontario?" Rest assured Anne, it's been well reported that Queen's Park annual budget deficit is $16.3 billion dollars," as in $16,300,000,000.00 and the "accumulated debt exceeds $235 billion dollars," as in $235,000,000,000.00 which has doubled in the last 8 years, so voters are well aware. And they're doing something about it!

As the recent municipal campaign shows, many voters have finally developed DAD, 'deficit attention disorder'. Could this mean that it won't be up to our grandkids and their friends to deal with a Tax and Spend mentality? We'll know on October 6th!

Brian Weller,

Air Museum article caught my eye!

Hey Mike,

I enjoyed reading your article about the Air Museum in the Toronto Sun, October 2, 2011 and hope by shining your light, this little piece of our history will remain! Looking at the image supplied by Ken Greenbury brought to mind the hundreds of 'Rosie the Riveters' on the Lancaster line at Victory Aircraft and the dedicated work that they did in those dark days and thought that your readers might be interested in a little look back, again!

In the later years of WW2, my parents were both in their late teens and like most of their peers, decided to join the war effort. My father signed on to the RCAF, receiving his Flight Officer's commission when only 19
; in fact, I still have his commission and his Flight Officer's uniform. My mother becoming one of the many 'Rosie the Riveters', at Victory Aircraft Limited, Malton, Ontario, building the Lancasters that my Dad would fly!
The work force at Victory escalated from 3,300 in 1942 to 9,521 in 1944, most of them initially unskilled and about a quarter of them women. To facilitate the manufacture, an RAF Lancaster from England (R-5727) was flown across the Atlantic in August, 1942 to act as a 'pattern' and the Canadian prototype, with serial number KB-700, rolled off the assembly line on August 1, 1943.

Living on the family farm on Yonge Street, near Finch, public transit to Malton would often take her 90 minutes each way and the work was loud and hot but she told me she worked with a great crew who had a job to do! I've attached some images to give you some idea of what they did.

Eventually, production reached the level of one aircraft per day with a total of 430 Lancaster Mk. X's being built. Of the Canadian-built Lancs, some one hundred were lost in wartime service, approximately seventy missing in action and about thirty others crashing upon their return to England or in training. KB-732 flew the most operations of any Canadian-built Lancaster, completing 83 during its tour of duty with 419 squadron.

ollowing victory in Europe, three of the Canadian Squadrons began ferrying ex-Prisoners of War, many of whom were Canadian aircrew, back to England. But the war in the Pacific was still raging and the rest of Canadian Lancasters were flown home to be prepared for service against the Japanese. This bomber group was to be known as 'Tiger Force', training out of CFB Comox, on Vancouver Island where my father was stationed but plans were cancelled after the dropping of the atomic bombs and the surrender of Japan in August, 1945........the roar of squadrons of Lancasters was heard for the last time.

For those who are interested, they can still see the 'Andy' Mynarski Memorial Lancaster at the Hamilton Warplane Heritage Museum that just flew in the CNE Air Show.

Keep up the good work,

Brian Weller,

ps.......if we forget about the past, will we be doomed to repeat it?