Discrimination By The Canadian Museum For Human Rights


Yes, you did read the title correctly.

Located in Winnipeg, this monstrosity is meant to be a celebration of how far humanity has come in terms of the subject of human rights. This explaination direct from the museums website will better explain the museum.



While I am not a big fan of the LOOKS of the place, and I am not a big fan pf the HUGE financial footprint of the place (from construction to operation), I have no real problems with its purpose. Though ascetics do hold much weight for me. To quote my sister, “Apparently Winnipeg likes penis shaped structures” (a reference to the previously constructed Esplanade Riel bridge pictured below).


The bridge was another questionable decision by city planners, as it incorporated a restaurant right in the middle of the separate walking bridge parallel to the vehicle bridge. A good idea on paper, but not so much when things like parking, trash removal and deliveries are factored in. Something that keeps coming up as the place has repeated vacancies by restaurants that do give the location a try.

But that is, a whole other story of fiscal mismanagement.

The thing that inspired this piece, was an article I read recently in a small community newspaper published in my area.
Penned by a fellow named Colin Craig (prairie director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation), it explored the seemingly inegalitarian policies of the museum which allowed First Nations, Inuit and Metis people in free (with ID). Everyone else is charged a $15 entrance fee.

The museum claims that its reasoning is to help ensure that indigenous people have access to expressions of their culture. I can understand that logic. They don’t want to discriminate based on economic status.

But the problem is, this is still a discriminatory policy!

I have no doubt that many indigenous people would have problems with meeting the entrance fee. The problem is, people of all backgrounds may run into this problem as well. But not even a second thought is given to their exclusion.

As a Metis individual myself, I could technically benefit from this policy. I could benefit from a few different reparations if I went out and got my Metis identification card.

But it is something I have not done, because I fail to see how it “betters” my people, which is humanity as a whole.
Oh yes, there are benefits to the individual and the groups themselves. These are benefits honoured whether they are fiscally necessary or not. But I fail to see how such benefits do anything but create further divisions in humanity.

For example, I know plenty of intelligent individuals who have had to either pay their way (or be helped by parents or others) though post secondary education. And I also know some indigenous people who are not NEARLY as intellectually equal, yet they can still take the same sorts of courses. The bigger issue is the whole overwhelming financial situations in which they lived in. They are not and did not grow up impoverished. They could have been put though school by parents, or other means. But why would they pay, when the government will?

Its this logic that baffles people around me whom encourage me to use my ancestry to further my education, get myself fast tracked exposure in seeking employment an other benefits. Sure, I could give in. But I prefer to stick to my principals. If I am to get selective treatment despite having NOT suffered any mistreatment or otherwise earning said reparations, then so to should everyone else born into the same relatively neutral situations.

Which is why I will be paying the $15 whenever I get around to visiting the MFHR. And why I will be paying my own way though school, whenever I get around to it.

Patriotism In Todays World



In the last couple of weeks or so, the topic of “patriotism” has been popping up in my cities 2 main web forums. A week or so ago, it was started as a complaint post about people not removing headgear (hats and such) during the national anthem. And most recently, the topic came up again, with a poster complaining about the tattered and torn state of a “Canadian” stores Canadian Flag.

I skirted the topic on both sites for awhile (I love to speak my mind, but its not always welcome). In particular  in one forum, with an admin that takes any excuse as a good one for censorship and/or banning. But I eventually said my piece in the “Hats” threads on both sites.
I (in a round about way of course) made light  of how “patriotic” many in this city are, despite the massive amounts of money that are spent in multinational corporations. People around here can not get enough of the spoils of  the big corporations, and even have inquiry  threads going almost weekly on the very same site, as to the status of when the next big box will come in (North Americas biggest whole sale outlet).
The “link” may not be apparent, or may seem irrelevant. But we seem to dump a WHOLE lot of money into (primarily) American companies, on products that primarily originate in Asia. As far as I can see, the only good that these companies do around here, is the “investment” in the locals, and the wages paid out to workers (which equals to jack shit).
Our other return on investment for allowing these companies to do business in the community, is accepting the local ecological footprints of these entities. The most notable is the trash generated (all has to be disposed of in landfills or in other ways, on the public dime).

Either way, my entry in the hats thread on both sites was basically “Who cares! With the amount that Canadians spend on multinationals, I hardly think that many of us have any reason to call ourselves “patriotic” “. On the heavily censored site, the post remained. But it was the last one in the thread (apparently I shut everyone up lol).
As for the other site, there was more or less, agreement. Most of the users are on the right of me (patriotic to various degrees), but even they agreed to the silliness.

As for the torn flag issue, that was another matter. Most of the members showed their disagreement in their silence, but one member (a vet) did a lot of talk about how he had showed his patriotism by serving his country. But he voiced his disagreement in what I found to be a slightly passive aggressive manor (“The wolf does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep”).


Certainly an interesting analogy. Though I would argue that his analogy of who the “Wolf” in the situation is, is off. Its not people like me. Its the governments starting the wars (and of course  the corporations that benefit from said wars).

In the last while, I have been reevaluating many of my previous stances on issues. And one of them is patriotism.

Patriotism always has been a tool of manipulation though out the ages. Its easy to keep your troops fighting to the death on the front lines (and signing up in droves to do so), if they are under the impression that that they doing so for their (and everyone they know’s) “freedoms”. The partnership of patriotism and religion is responsible for many dead soldiers, martyr’s of their nations.
The Nazi army of Germany back in the day, was filled with proudly patriotic citizens fighting for their nation. The soldiers of the United States (and other nations) today, fight with the same patriotism for the nations they represent.

Most will be quick to say “There is a HUGE difference between the Nazi’s and the American Military!”. But back in the day, the average German would have likely said the same thing.
That is the power of propaganda. And if there is one tool of propaganda that works wonders, its patriotism.

We know that patriotism is a dangerous tool. At its worst, it can be a tool of propaganda. And at best, it introduces unnecessary friction and roadblocks  to situations that would not otherwise be so complicated. Particularly notable in todays globalist world.

Today the world is more connected then it has ever been before. The internet has erased international boarders in terms of global communications. And global trade partnerships, combined with the ease of movement between even the furthest reaches of the globe for most countries citizens,  have rendered the world more connected then ever.

In this day and age, patriotism is not just risky, but unpractical. An obsolete concept in a globally dependent world.

I consider myself a “World Citizen” before I consider myself a Canadian citizen. As such, I do not really “observe” days like Canada day, though I do make note of them.. This year I posted a picture of a Canadian flag for Canada day, but also a picture of an American flag for  independence day (a nod to all my friends on the South side of the Boarder).

I choose to have a more nationally ambiguous view, for a number of reasons. The first, is the mess of emotions that is often tied into “patriotism” (Canadian or otherwise). Its not helping anyone. Especially when it could almost be said that many are FALSE patriots (if being “patriotic” is boiled down into doing good for your country, how is flooding companies that pipe that money OUT OF THE COUNTRY, accomplishing that?).

Another reason, is that what happens in the rest of the world, matters for everyone (so its important that everyone is involved).

For example, the Internet is international in nature. We have learned fairly recently that such entities as the NSA do not only break the laws of its own nation, but also those of many around the world. For example, you may live in Britain and think your protected by your nations privacy laws. But they do not matter to the NSA.
The policing of the internet has to be international in nature.

Then there is Fukushima Daiichi, and incidents like it. Japan has done a great job of closing off the information flow (in terms of the status of the situation) to the rest of the world. And a good part of the world has forgotten. And yet, the situation (and others like it) could potentially have international ramifications.

Then there is the mother of all ecological catastrophes, climate change.

This is a problem that will come to affect EVERYONE on earth, I have no doubt about that. The severity may depend on the locations in which you reside, but I have no doubt that the fingers of climate change will be touching, everywhere.

As such, there needs to be an international plan of action.

Many individuals, cities and countries  world wide are currently doing quite a bit towards fighting this threat. But the problem is, they are offset by everyone else, that ISN’T doing anything. All that matters, is what is going in the air. So long as carbon is being burned, the risk potential continues to go up.

Patriotism is not just a propaganda tool, it is also a dangerous opiate. And like with a real opiate, if we all continue to cling to the divisions of patriotism, were all going to overdose.

Vince Li – A Rant

Time for a rant on events close to home.

Back in 2008 here in my home province of Manitoba, 22 year old Tim Maclean was stabbed to death, among other horrific acts to has post mortem body (check THIS ) . While the circumstances as to WHY the incident occurred (AKA whether or not the perpetrators claim of mental illness is true) is never really going to be known (you can not know what goes on in in ones brain), the affects are still the same.

Tim Maclean is gone, and is not coming back. No matter what punishment that was (or could have been) handed down to Vince Li, would not be good enough for many.
My way of saying to the rest of the public (in particular, local residents of Manitoba) to just let it go, and leave the family in peace.

But as is the case in many of these situations, that was not to happen.

The story did gradually fade from the public eye (as everything eventually does) after the trial was done, and justice was served (or not served, depending on who you ask). And it stayed out of the public eye for awhile.

But then a while ago (a year or 2? not sure) there were big media headlines about Li being granted escorted day trips to (I believe) Selkirk. I believe the reason for this is good behavior.
Of course, this set off a slew of public outcry. Everyone had something to say. It was seen as an insult to Tim Maclean, that his killer be allowed some form of “freedom”. And then there were those with the thoughtlessly provocative attitudes (“This is all because of those bleeding heart liberals, Bring back the death penalty!”, “Hang him high!” , “Lock him up and throw away the key!”).

Whether or not the privileges were ever granted, I am unaware. I am guessing that they were. But either way, the story once again faded into the nether of the media and peoples minds. Where it should have stayed.

But as it happened, that was not to be the case.

This week, it was reported that Vince Li may be granted unsupervised group excursions into not only Selkirk, but also Winnipeg. As you can imagine, this did not bid well to the public at large.

And of course out came the outrage, primarily on places like social media. It seemed like every facebook status with this story mentioned went the same way. First comes the OP, the statement of the headline and the outrage. Then somewhere along the line someone would mention some variation “they should hang em high!”, and this person would get the equivalent written pats on the back.

First things first, I will say that I agree with the public, to a degree.

I have no problem with Vince Li being allowed to wonder the grounds of the facility he is in. He is still under close supervision. As for being allowed to leave the facility (escorted or NOT), I do not really agree with that. It seems to fly in the face of the whole “punishment” of the crime committed.
It can be said that he was not medicated during the crime spree that landed him in jail (if I remember correctly, this was the case). From this, one can see where the insanity defense would seem to warrant a bit less harsh of a treatment.

But the hole that I see in this, is despite the mental problems he had been diagnosed with, a choice was made at some point by him  to forgo the medication. Since many who knew LI in life described him as not really being in any way malevolent, and otherwise being seemingly “sane”, one can assume that it was during this time that the decision to abandon the meds was  made.

Since this decision was made in a seemingly “clear” frame of mind, the fault of the crimes committed afterward lies solely on his head. In the same way that a drunk driver can not get out of their crime by blaming the drug, Li should not be able to blame the crimes he committed on LACK of a drug.

The drinker made a conscious choice while sober, to drink. VInce Li made a conscious choice while medicated, to NOT medicate.

Keep in mind, some (or all) of the above could be wrong. I am going by memory, for this post. And as such, I am using what I have heard in the past, in stitching together my own personal hypothesis.

The point of this entry is not so much to educate about the crime (I have a google link above that you can use), as it is to condemn (to a degree) the public reaction to this crime.

Do not get me wrong, I do not blame people for expressing anger. People have the right to their own opinions, they have as much right to publish them as I do to publish this piece.

But do not kid yourself, by telling yourself that you are doing it for the Maclean family. I can not speak for them, and I will not try to speak for them.

But if I lost a close friend or family member in this (or any other) way, the last thing I would want to see (or hear about) everywhere I looked was angry and reactionary rhetoric. Especially when I know that the rhetoric is just the latest cause that the public has latched onto, and will eventually change the way it always does.

I understand that we are all susceptible to this. I have probably added to the rhetoric in the past.

Were allowed to have an opinion. But causing the perpetrators of these crimes to go viral and become infamous does nothing. It does not bring back the deceased. It only serves as a reminder.

Justin Trudeau To Remove Liberal Party Sentaors From Party Caucus

Justin Trudeau To Remove Liberal Party Sentaors From Party Caucus

In a move that came out of seemingly nowhere, Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau has pledged to remove all of his parties senators from the party caucus, and force them to sit as independents. Trudeau’s explanation for the bold proposal, being that the senate is broken, and this is as far as his party can go (its its current position) to attempt to fix the problem.

“These proposals, while bold and concrete, are not the final word. They represent our judgment of how far we can go without guidance from the Supreme Court,” he said.

“If the Supreme Court says more can be done, we are open to doing more.”

This move came as a surprise to all the parties, including his own party members, as he made the media  announcement before he even told his own party. He gave further explanation during a news conference just after breaking the news to his party and senators:

“The Senate is broken and needs to be fixed,” he said.

“The Senate was once referred to as a place of sober, second thought. A place that allows for reflective deliberation on legislation, in-depth studies into issues of import to the country, and, to a certain extent, provide a check and balance on the politically-driven House of Commons.

“It has become obvious that the party structure within the Senate interferes with these responsibilities.”

Trudeau made a proposition that the senate become more non-partisan , in order to better serve the interests of Canadians. He sees the prime ministers ability to appoint senators, as a big part of the problem.

“Instead of being separate from political, or electoral concerns, Senators now must consider not just what’s best for their country, or their regions, but what’s best for their party,” Trudeau said.

“At best, this renders the Senate redundant. At worst — and under Mr Harper we have seen it at its worst — it amplifies the prime minister’s power.” 

“We are all poorly served by the way in which senators are appointed. Canadians especially, yes, but also members of the House of Commons, even senators themselves are discredited by the antiquated convention that sees senators appointed by one person, and one person only,” he said.

Trudeau also suggested that Prime Minister Harper has abused the system, by appointing 59 different senators during his tenure in the prime ministers office.

“All of these people share one characteristic,” he said. “The prime minister, and the prime minister alone, judged them to be useful to himself, and to his party. Mike Duffy, Pam Wallin, Patrick Brazeau, Irving Gerstein are particularly egregious examples of where that leads.” 

Scandals surrounding the senate have been making news since early last year, when the investigation started getting public attention. While the investigation into the affected senators (Duffy, Wallin, Brazeau and Gerstein) begun back between November 21st and December 6th 2012, it only “blew up” in November 2013 after senators Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau were suspended. The affair got much media attention, after being (seemingly) traced all the way up to the prime ministers office, despite its previous claims of ignorance to the affair.

The scandal even crosses the aisle, involving Liberal Senator Mike Harb. He was ordered by the senate investigation committee to repay $230,000 in ineligible expenses, and retired shortly after.
Some speculate the move to distance the Liberal Party from the senate might be a way of distancing the party from future scandals involving its caucus members. However, Trudeau denies such an agenda.

While the motivation for this bold move remains unclear, its certainly  a good way to bring attention to senate reform. And it is sure to make the Liberals a good contender for the up and coming 2015 federal election.        

The above is written in bold and italic (to easier separate the quotes) , in order to keep it separate from this part of the piece. Some have suggested that journalism might be an optimal career path for me, so I decided to take a stab at writing an article, from as unbiased a viewpoint as possible.
The above (whether good, bad, or somewhere in the middle), is the result of my very first “article”.

My sources for the article are both the link attached to this piece and the senate scandal Wikipedia page.




I understand that some will raise an eyebrow on the sourcing of a Wikipedia article on this topic. I understand your criticism.
However, I had learned a great amount about the senate scandal from a legitamite national TV news source (the 11pm CTV national news) late last year, when the whole affair was making many headlines. Since one can not source a television broadcast from the past, I had to find one online.

I knew the information. I just needed a place to back it up.

No Heat In Winter – What Would You Do?

A Winter Without Heat – What Would You Do?


When it comes to emergency preparedness, I had come up with a fairly good game plan last year. And it was good, the only problem being that I didn’t stick to it, and as such am down to the bare minimum (what is in the fridge and the cupboards). I used up (rotated) all my cans and water bottles, but I never replenished them. So that will be one thing that I will work on slowly over the next while (a little a payday will eventually build up).

But my old game plan, being written in the summer, did not factor in another commonality of prairie life, the bitter cold winter. Though electricity loss is not much more then just an inconvenience during the summer months, it can be dangerous in the winter months, especially in the frigid cold.

Take this pipeline explosion, that knocked out the natural gas supply to a few thousand residents in a handful of towns south of Winnipeg. Though in a way they are lucky (the electricity is still on in most areas), those with gas heat are having to now find other sources, or seek warmth at a shelter.

When it comes to outages, natural gas loss is fairly rare, which makes sense being that the infrastructure is buried and not subject to the stresses of the elements. But electrical infrastructure is not so lucky.

Electrical outages are not only more common, but also a bit more dangerous in these situations, being the way many modern appliances are manufactured to behave today. Though its relatively simple to adapt to no gas, its not always that easy with no electricity. Though many appliances may RUN on natural gas, you run into problems when electric ignition enters the picture.

When it comes to this situation, my apartment house is fairly lucky to be protected either way. If the gas goes, then one can make due with the electricity. If the electricity goes, then the furnace kicks in anyway, just not fan forced (I found out when a fire a couple blocks away knocked out the power to my area for 4 hours in the middle of January one year. A hydro pole was on fire).

One consideration that I didn’t really think about though, is the loss of both. But there is not a whole lot that one can do to prep for that.

But for you, I have to ask, do you think that you are prepared for such an event?

If your home loses its gas source, do you have sources of electric heat? And if your hydro goes, will your gas appliances still be operable?

Though you likely will never have to face either situation, its always best to know beforehand.

Brandon/Souris By-Election

Its the 14th of November, meaning that the bi-election to replace my areas acting MP is but a little over 2 weeks away, on the 25th (exactly a month before Christmas! Great timing). In filling the position, we will have the same 4 main options as we usually have, along with possibly more lesser known options (such as Christian heritage).




Green party logo

These elections almost always sneak up on me, but I am happy to admit that I have not missed one yet since turning the voting age of 18. But ever since then, my political affiliations have changed a bit, from as far back as I can remember, to now.

I grew up with a parent that was a fairly strict NDP supporter (as was his father), so as with most people, I took the political stances of my parents (at least initially in my participation in the political process). I know that the first vote that I ever cast, was for the NDP (big surprise 🙂 ). But my 2ed and 3ed votes consecutively,  went to the green party. The first time, I will admit, was mostly because I know the candidate (but I also agree with his platform). The 2ed time, was because I felt that despite what people say about the 2 underdog parties, they will ALWAYS remain that way if people vote with that assumption (especially the Green Party).

To my surprise, many must have also come to the same conclusion, as  both the NDP and the Green party made historical gains. The NDP became the official opposition party, and the Greens got one seat in parliament. And on top of that, the Brandon municipal election ended up booting the previously longstanding  mayor out, and voting in a city first (first Women AND Jewish mayor of the city).

When it comes to my personal politics, it seems to me that I have 3 possible choices this time around(yet another personal metamorphosis).

One thing that has not changed about me, is my dislike for the Conservative Party. I admit that I always had these feelings (being somewhat of a mirror to my parent), but recent events and policies have given me a reason of my own, to not like nor trust them.

Not the least of  which is the environmental and energy policies being mandated by the party. Canada could be a leader in the path to cleaner energy sources, we don’t have to be the Arabia of the North. Ripping up, fracking and otherwise polluting large swaths of land all over the place, in the search of short term profits (not to mention the disregard for the biggest  long term cost of the plan, rapidly erratic climate change for our kids to live with.

Then there are those “Canada’s Action Plan” advertisements that are everywhere I look. Like cigarette ads of the past, and the packaging for a certain “Canadian” cigarette brand, they have utilized clean, pretty, natural imagery to sell something that is dirty, disgusting and horribly UNNATURAL. The big selling point for Canadians being  jobs, jobs, jobs. Were helping Canadians get jobs.
Combined with the ads of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (were creating jobs, coast to coast!), its enough to make a person vomit.

A green-based economy, would create SO many more job opportunities. People point a finger at the flaws of green energy technology of today. Yeah, that is why we need more and more minds studying it then ever before. Technical advances are possible, but not if the best minds to possibly tweek them, are hard at work for an oil co with a self interest (profit above ALL).

And this distaste has a bit of a personal bias to it as well.

Over a year ago (I don’t remember absolutely when), I hand-wrote a letter to our then member of Parliament Merv Tweed. It was regarding a despicable experience that my father had with The Workman’s Compensation Board Of Manitoba.  A hard worker all his life, my dad ended up permanently injuring himself IN the process of being a hard worker, and found himself basically thrown out with the trash by his employer, his union and the board.
His employer basically refused to acknowledge the existence of the condition (even cleverly defying a doctors note), his union looked the other way (it was known that the local was much closer to the employer then the employees it was supposed to represent), and the WCB found a way to weasel their way out of paying the claim.

That is not to say that the story did not initially have a rosy beginning. My father HAD received a letter from the WCB, informing him that his claim was approved (and I guess pending). However, a representative from the WCB came to our home one night, and took the paper with him, telling my father that he needed a photo-copy but that he would get it back. We now know that he was a liar (oh, if hindsight were foresight!). And only when my father got the run around upon calling the guy back, did he realize what had just happened.

It may sound like I am telling a story of a man dropping by, but I still have the event in my memory. The nice guy with the combination locking brief case. A wolf in sheep’s clouting.

I had written this letter to Mr.Tweed, mainly for the purposes of informing. I didn’t know if there was anything that he could even do about it, but one can never know if they don’t try. And the reason why I hand-wrote the letter, was for the purpose of authenticity. I could have just as easily typed up an email, but like this blog entry, its not as personal as the physically written word (and harder to disregard, when the delete button is not available).

I was not expecting much in return, when it came to a reply. Even just a form letter, to tell me that it was received, would have been good enough. But no answer at all, the reply that I got, was a bit disheartening and insulting. Its understandable if your powerless to do anything about it. But to not say anything at all, sent me an unspoken message that said, I don’t care.

If that was the message, it has been received loud and clear.

The fact that Mr.Tweed could not wait until 2015 to leave his post and go to the private sector (costing taxpayers more then would otherwise have been necessary), confirms my suspicion of his uncaring attitude towards the residents of his riding (and the province as a whole, since we all foot the bill).

Then there is the new conservative candidate Larry Maguire, leaving his previous post  as MLA for Arthur-Virden, to run in Brandon-Souris.

Both men are paid out hefty severances, even though both are basically quiting their jobs. Then there are the costs of the 2 by-elections, required to fill both the newly empty MLA positions.

Already, were getting a lesson from 2 conservatives in terms of  personal accountability, when it comes to public funds.

And then I got the first piece of mail, from the conservatives on behalf of the new candidate (Larry). A piece that was obviously tailored to the hardcore old conservatives of the city, being it focused more on smearing Justin Trudeau’s pro-marijuana stance (with one part that could be considered a bold faced lie), then on the Conservative party’s post election platform.

Though the conservative brand certainly did not represent honesty before, it most certainly does not now.

Though I used to think the same way of the Liberal party (again, mostly remnants of my parent coming out), Justin Trudeau is striking me as having some interesting, and likable, views.

However, it seems that the views of the party leaders  should be more of a priority  during a federal election then a municipal one. Knowing this, it seems that the conservatives are grasping at straws in their attempts to  downplay their liberal opposition.

This election may end up with Brandon-Souris keeping the blue stripes that it has always had (this is known to be one of the “safest” conservative ridings in the whole country). But the scandals of recent, may present a threat to this previously safe riding. And it seems that the party knows this, considering that almost every single web address I visit has an advertisement for conservative candidate Larry Maguire, and I have yet to see online ads from any other candidates (who is paying for all of those ad placements?).

At the moment, I am undecided. It would be nice to have the riding go orange, or even Green. But that seems like a wishful pipe dream. In which case, even having a liberal candidate, would be a change of pace (that vote, if I end up casting it, will certainly be a step out of my comfort zone).

We will see.

Lest We Forget


Today is November 11th, which is Veterans Day for those in the US, and Remembrance Day for those here in Canada. A day that, we are supposed to put aside an hour or 2, to respect the past and present members of the military, as well as those that lost their lives, in getting us the freedoms that we enjoy today. Leading up to this day (in Canada anyway, not sure about US customs and traditions), one is supposed to wear a poppy on the left side, as for it to be over your heart.

Like many other traditions that our society holds dear, this is one that I have stopped following

Going back to when I was a kid of 10 or 12 (I really do not recall), I remember dropping a lonnie or 2 into the little plastic bucket, and wearing my poppy proudly for a week or so (until I lost it lol), and to the remembrance day ceremony that always preceded the day itself (if I remember right, their was no school). And of course I wore the poppy throughout the day itself (assuming I still had it).

It was afterwards, that I found a bit of a conundrum. What is the time frame of which one must keep wearing the poppy? Some have told my father that it is disrespectful to wear it  after the 11th is over. But this seems silly (how is showing you care, disrespectful?).
Most of the time I had lost it long before anyway,  but I never could get a real answer to the question.

Today, I no longer  wear a poppy in the lead up to, nor on Remembrance Day  itself. Not out of disrespect for veterans and what they fought for, moreso on a basis of, not wanting to participate in an activity that is in modern times, half assed at best.

In my opinion, if there is one day that should be a holiday (as in businesses are closed), then remembrance day should be it. But though the businesses are only open for a limited amount of hours on the 11th, this still strikes me as, not right. And I am not really pointing my finger totally at the businesses either. More so, at the consumer who could not wait one day, to make that unnecessary purchase.

I am not talking about milk, bread, gasoline or any sort of staple. But snacks, or pretty much anything else that flies under the banner of “unnecessary”.

There are other holidays of less important reasonings (religious primarily) that get the full on treatment, of stores (and most businesses) closed, and we have figured our way around that obstacle. So why not the 11th of November also?

Breaking News – Sometimes Waiting Is Best

Ever since being in high school, I have been very focused on the world around me. When most people look at the news around the world in kind of a secondary sort of way (their lives and therefore local news (if they seek any news at all) comes first, and the rest of the world news comes 2ed), I am reversed. I like to stay informed on news and information from around the world (mainly US news, for obvious reasons. They are the superpower), on top of local, provincial and even national news.
In fact, this has more then once caused me to be bitten in  the ass by such local, provincial and national  events as elections, as I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to them. To me, they seem unimpotant (with the exception of national elections), in comparison to whats going on in other areas of the planet.

Don’t get me wrong, I vote, and have voted in every single election that was held since I reached voting age at 18. And I make as informed a decision as I can. But local and regional issues, just aren’t as important. Healthcare has its problems here, but its still better then even Obamacare. Oh, I know that Obamacare IS a  step in the right direction, but its still not all inclusive , and still enriches the broken system around it.
Our state of healthcare (and any number of other local and regional systems) is still better then many of our friends south of the boarder, even if people here think otherwise. I would rather have a heart attack or break a leg here in Brandon MB, and anywhere else in Canada, then anywhere in the US.

But I have gone a bit off topic to my original subject. If you have a problem with my Obamacare stance, take it up in the comment section.

In any case, twitter has become an important tool in my quest for news. I still use  TV, newsletters and facebook (amongst other web sources), but twitter is great because its a steady stream of information (in fact sometimes the stream is a torrent, depending on if its a fast news day). I just follow as many news organizations as I can find  (from all over the world), and let the information come.  Info from sources of all colors, stripes, and backgrounds, I like to sort though it all, and to even comment on some VIA a reply if I have an opinion. I love it.

And one of the great things about twitter, is when breaking news occurs, it can be transmitted in almost real time. And unlike conventional journalism, anyone with a smart phone and a  social media account on, or near the scene can add to the flow of information. Which on one hand, is great.

BUT this also comes with its limitations, because not all information coming out of a situation that is in its infancy, is CORRECT information. People in the situation are paniced, fearful, and otherwise disturbed. They may not even realize that their information is wrong, or flawed, which is why its up to the media to sort out the trash, from the good stuff.  A task that takes time.

Unfortunately, today with everyone scanning social media and wanting steady information, no news organization wants to be the last to report something. So as such, many will grab on anything that they can get their digital hands on and facebook, tweet and otherwise spread it far and wide. And the people repost, retweet and otherwise spread it even further and wider. Which is a great way to inform the public, without much cost or effort. So long as the information is GOOD information.

The problem is, there have been more then a few cases in which a big, seemingly “credible” news organization, has run with a tidbit, only to have to retract it later. But meanwhile, the info is already out their, and with attention spans the way they are today, the false info might not reach everyone.

This is why, when it comes to breaking news situations, I will no longer retweet or otherwise spread “up to the minute” information. Though having access to information from an event early in the game is great, its still better to wait a bit for a clearer image to appear, later on.

Lots of information is great. But not if its inaccurate.

Also see Memes and Misinformation

Child Welfare Agencies – Why Are They Often NOT Looking Out For The Chldren?

Something that seems pretty much universal no matter where you look in the country, on the continent, or even in the world, is the state of the child welfare agencies. Though they have names like “Child And Family Services of *insert place*”, they seem often, unaware or blind to there objective, the protection of children they are looking out for.

There is no shortage of big cases that make the national news, such as the Phoenix Sinclair (  http://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=cr#bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&fp=5b02d6e7fbf95d8c&q=phoenix+sinclair ) case out of Winnipeg. The ones that end nastily, always get the most media attention.

But what about the rest of the children?

I will be honest up front, this is a full on rant, that may or may not be mainly about a certain child welfare agency in my local area.

In any case, when it comes to the foster care system, and being in such a home, the picture that pops into my mind, is of a nice family home situation. Maybe a single parent or a couple, with adequate means to support a child, who has done all they can to show that they can be a good parent(s). And after adoption, my idea is that the agency can drop by for surprise visits, just to ensure that all is well.

But it seems that, possibly more often then not, such a common and sensible situation, just, isn’t the case in reality.

Take one person whom I know. They were put into the foster system, because there biological single parent was having trouble when it came to discipline of the person at the time.
Though the parent tried to lay down the law of the house, the daughter would flat out refuse to follow, and pretty much made there own rules. So the parent reached out to the child welfare agency, both for help with the disciplinary situation,  and because they had some other issues of there own at the time, that was affecting life in the home.

And so the daughter was sent away, and placed into a foster home (a family of 3, one son), which at the time looked to be an ideal and nice place.

But as time moved on, cracks appeared in the facade.

The family also had in there care, at least 2 other girls, and they all shared the same room. At least one of them turned out to be a thief, so nothing of value could be left anywhere in sight or where it could be found. The parents were apparently lazy a lot, choosing to opt for fast food as opposed to cooking at home (im not against a treat every so often. But most of the time? No.). And one of the parents was a chain smoker, and insisted on smoking in the house.

It culminated one day, when  the kid had an entire paychecks worth of cash on them, and the parents refused to take them to the bank to deposit it securely. As a result, one of the other foster girls got a hold of it. And by the time they found out, it was  spent. The kid never got that money back.

Looking back, it becomes obvious that the parents interest  was more about getting the regular check for each kid  then it was about looking out for there well being.

Had there been surprise visits, that may have weeded these bad apples out.

But the problems of the child care system, do not just stem from inadequate supervision of foster homes and parents. Even the homes run by the personnel of the organization itself, can be a nightmare.

I know one person who grew up in such a group home, but turned out alright, but it seems he is a minority of sorts. I do not know his whole story, but I have a few of my own, having lived in the vicinity of one such place for much of my life.

A decade or so ago, a family bought a home on a quiet street in a nice neighborhood for a fairly good price, considering the size of the home and the land. The area was all around nice, but the home was situated next to a big 2 story place, which turned out to be a group home for troubled youth.

In the first few years, there was much friction between the kids of the home and the neighbors. Partly fueled by the words of one of the members of the organization, who stated that once the kids are off the property, they are not responsible for there actions.  Which is frankly, FUCKING retarded.
Considering that if I committed a crime off my home property, my parent would be still responsible for me.

In any case, for the neighbors, after years of playing tag with higher ups in the organization, and eventually getting the home phone number of one of them, suddenly a fence was erected around the property.

This did a lot to solve the problem, since it gave more privacy then the tiny picket fence of old.

In recent years however, the problem changed.

Instead of the kids being the biggest problem, it went to the councilors. Just in there dealings with the neighbors alone, many of them are fucking MORONS.

I know someone who has been in an almost constant battle with them, and there assholery.

Mainly with there inconsiderate nature, of taking a shoveled parking spot in the front of the home next door, because they don’t bother to shovel out there parking areas, front or back. Its actually quite amusing to watch, because though the councilors try and use the same assholery on this guy as they do on there kids, the guy can be just as much of a prick, right back.

Its the most hilarious thing, and I bet the kids LOVE it.

And I have heard some interesting things, just from overhearing conversations within the yard of the place, all late in the evening.

I have heard the kids confronting there councilors for there immaturity, and rightfully.

I have heard the kids knock on the door of the place, sometimes for 30 or more minutes STRAIGHT, asking to be let in.

I have heard the kids begging to be let in to use the bathroom (a girl), then after awhile, overheard them say “thanks a lot, I pissed in the garden!”. Something tells me that this would fall under child abuse, for any other parent.

If the majority of the councilors are fucking jerk offs like this, its really no wonder that many of these kids turn out on the wrong side of the law.

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, I can not contain my disdain for the useless fucking organization that is supposed to be looking out for kids around here. Seriously, FUCK YOU you bunch of ignorant unintelligent fucking PRICKS!!!!!!!!!!!

Now that thats out of my system, we can talk solutions.

Though each area of the world has different specifics, what I will go though below, should be interchangeable.

First of all, foster parents need to be checked a LOT more then they are being checked now (if they are at all). And there should also be communication with the kids, so that the parents don’t just present a facade. A minimum number of foster children one can care for at a time, may also be helpful (weed out those just out for the extra money).

And when it comes to the group homes and other such settings, once again, get the fucktards the hell OUT of there. Its no wonder many kids  grow up fucked up, if thats the bullshit they put up with.

And after that clean up is done, revamp the whole way the system works. If the kids are calling the place a home and living there, then why are the councilors there, running on shift work? Its no wonder they don’t give a fuck much of the time, they see it as a 8 or 12 hour job.

Get rid of the shifts, and start having them working in say, 1, 2, 3 day intervals. Have more then one, so that they can spell each other off and sleep. During that time, they will actually “live” in the place. This should do 3 things:

1.) Give them a better attitude, because if they start something, they are stuck with the consequences for more then a short time.

2.) Help them grow more appreciative of the neighborhood and its inhabitants.

3.) Weed out the people only working for the check, or out for the power trip.

Is this doable? I don’t know.

What I do know however, is we can sure as hell do better then we are now.

The Robo Calls Scandle – Why You Should Be Concerned

When it comes to political news, I like to be plugged in, in the know. But I am often focused internationally (mainly the US), so I admit that I don’t pay as much attention to Canadian politics as I should. Many a time, elections on a municipal, provincial AND federal level have snuck up on me.

But despite this, there is one story that has grabbed my attention. A story that has not been getting ENOUGH attention.

The Robo Calls scandal of the last election cycle (2011).

I remember that election cycle.

Stephan Harper was re-elected with a majority government. 2 of our “Underdog” parties, the NDP (New Democratic Party) and the Green Party, made history. The NDP for the first time EVER got to be the official opposition party, and the Greens got 1 seat (my vote was NOT wasted after all).

After the election was over and tallied, news came out that voters in some riding’s in the country received phone calls, falsely telling them that there polling place had changed. Which meant that they would show up at the wrong place, to cast there vote. The obvious goal being, an attempt to stifle there votes from being cast. Coincidentally, most of the voters affected were identified as non-conservative voters (no obvious fishiness here!).

Though the evidence at hand seems to send an obvious message as to who the guilty “party” is, proving that in reality (and in court), is another matter all together. We may not ever know definitively, who gave the go ahead for this to happen. And we may not be able to fully understand how much of a difference this discrepancy had on the election results.

But even if no one gets “officially” charged, or penalized, the story should not be forgotten. Unlike the 2 term maximum of US presidents, Canadian prime ministers do not have a limit on the amount of time they can be in command. The only limits, are set by us, the voters.

So come the next federal election, lets not forget this.