CSC Response to Ashley Smith Inquest Recommendations

in cellSo, the Federal cons and CSC have rejected key recommendations from the Ashley Smith inquest jury….. anyone surprised? Anyone?

I thought not.

It was clear throughout the Inquest that there was little motivation on their part to change anything – and, in fact, very little belief that they could change anything even if they wanted to. One of the problematic features of a corporate culture is that new people who wander into it quickly become part of it. When we heard from CSC manager types, they consistently told us that they couldn’t…didn’t have the resources… no other options… and so on and so on….

Anyway, the headline around the ‘rejection of key recommendations’ are, as one might expect, somewhat an over-simplification by the media. CSC has made – and are making – changes around this area and many others as well. Some of the issues that led to Ashley’s death are in fact being addressed…sort of.  Creative counting to avoid reviews is no longer allowed. The Institutional Head is no longer permitted to delegate/avoid responsibilities re: inmates in administrative segregation – presumably the next time they kill someone for being mentally ill, the warden & other senior managers won’t be able to claim ignorance.

Of course, many of the supposed changes re: administrative segregation are couched in what seems to me, at least, to be a thinly veiled mechanism for avoidance. They apply only to those inmates in administrative segregation “who have been designated as acute or high need intermediate care cases” – so, if we don’t feel the need to be bothered, we can just not pin that particular label on them, right?  As far as I’m concerned – and I would bet that every member of the inquest jury would agree – any inmate who is in administrative segregation should be so designated – else, what the hell are they doing in administrative segregation (since we’ve already said we’re not going to use it for punishment but only as a last resort blah blah blah…) ?

The fact that they felt the need to repeat that phrase in every single point of their approach to me says yeah, we’re not going to follow through with any of this stuff unless it suits us (and we’re pretty sure it won’t suit us). But hey, maybe I’m just a little wee bit cynical.

I could go on and on about the official response to the recommendations – but in the interests of keeping this post to a somewhat reasonable length, I won’t.

Waste of time anyway. Really, the whole exercise was a waste of time, in my opinion. The inquest jury were awesome, and their recommendations are excellent and should be followed in the spirit they were intended – but still a waste of time, energy & resources.

It began too late in the process. Years & years too late. Ashley threw apples at a mailman when she was 15 years old. She was a youth with behavioural &/or mental health issues.

Ashley Smith had a family who was highly motivated to get her help, who did everything ‘right’ given the available supports and resources and still she ended up criminalized, incarcerated for years and years beyond her initial sentence, tortured, and dead.

This is Canada, for crying out loud! Things like this are not supposed to happen here.

We have health care that is supposed to include treatment and support for mental health as well as physical. If she’d had cancer or a broken leg, we’d have been all over that.

The only way to actually get at actually using Ashley Smith’s tragic death to make sure it never happens again, to develop real recommendations that would make a difference that would not be a total waste of time, energy & resources would be to start at the beginning, not the end. An inquiry that examined  entire cases of women like Ashley Smith & Kinew James might well result in productive changes, and that is what should have happened here – but such a thing will never happen while we have governments that care ever so much more about money than about people.

It is ridiculous, actually – we spend ever so much more, in the long run – and people suffer ever so much more as well – when we do things this way. Do we actually save any money? I doubt it. How much was spent on incarcerating Ashley Smith? Add in the cost of the Inquest, and the settlement to her family.

I wonder how many young people could receive real early intervention & mental health & family support for that kind of money – a whole lot more than one seems like a pretty safe guess.

But what would be the fun in that?  The cons clearly much prefer to focus on punishing ~bad~ people – and for that to work, you have to have ~bad~ people …even if you have to go to the trouble of creating them yourself. It’s sick. It is just sick. But it is what we do when we as a society decide not to provide basic needs, not to ensure that there are opportunities for our young people, not to treat mental illness early, not to support those with special needs, not to care.

Neoliberalism at its finest.









Posted in Ashley Smith, Canada, Health Care, Inquiry, Kinew James, Prison, Violence against women | Leave a comment

My thoughts about #OttawaShooting

First things first – I feel nothing but grief and sadness for the family of Nathan Cirillo. I am so very sorry for their loss.

And for the family of Patrice Vincent. I am so very sorry for their loss.

And yes, for the family of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, even. I am so very sorry for the horrific powerlessness and sorrow and guilt and loss that must accompany events of this past week.

I worried all day Wednesday for parents separated from their kids – I’m sure that they must have been frantic (and then some).


it strikes me that

1. this was not a case of terrorism. This is a case in which a young man with serious issues asked for help, and our system(s) told him clearly that in order to get help, he would have to up the ante. So he did. Sure, it is possible that he did have some contact with ISIL – or someone else that was able to wind him up and use him to do harm – but HE ASKED FOR HELP and was rejected. More than once.

I used to work in mental health. I quit when I could no longer be part of a system that so seriously went against my own values and beliefs. See, I believe that people who have a mental illness are every bit as deserving of early intervention, treatment, & support as are those who have cancer.

I was a member of the Board of Directors of a Canadian Mental Health Association chapter – and shortly after Mr. Harris won the election in Ontario, there was a discussion about how the only funding available any more was for the “seriously mentally ill.”  No money in early intervention & support any more. That was my last meeting. I couldn’t do it.

If you don’t provide treatment early, some mentally ill people will get better all on their own. The rest won’t. If the only way to get help is to become seriously mentally ill, many will. They will lose their family supports, their livelihoods, their connections to the community – and in far too many cases, the support that can be offered by that point is pretty much useless.

It’s a hell of a lot easier to help someone get better when they are still connected – once they’ve lost everything, it’s too damn late.

It doesn’t seem all that difficult a concept to grasp to me. But hey, I’m a socialist. I believe that people are more important than money. Ridiculous, huh?

Anyway …. another part of the problem of forcing people to become seriously mentally ill and lose everything before you bother to offer any help or treatment is that sometimes, we mess up and people die.

Nathan Cirillo should not have died. Nor should Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

MY Canada – my leftist put people first Canada – in MY Canada, we would have jumped in to offer services and support waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when Michael first showed signs of problems. You know, while he still had his family support. While he could have benefitted.

And if that didn’t work, in MY Canada, when he begged to be locked up before he could do something bad? Maybe I would have locked him up – but knowing the serious lack of mental health supports in prisons, I probably would have tried my damnedest to find a space for him in a mental health facility instead.

In MY Canada, when people are in so much distress that they are begging for help, we would HELP THEM!!!!

Kicking them to the curb and hoping they don’t take others out with them when they go completely off the deep end is a bad plan.

It is a BAD PLAN.

This is not an isolated case.

Remember Zachary Antidormi? I do – it was days after his death that I quit.  He was stabbed to death while riding in a wagon pulled by an 11 yo girl – by a woman who had asked for help; whose family had begged for help for her; who was turned away. And I walked away from mental health, from social work…. I could not be part of any of it any more.  It broke my heart.

Remember Richard Kachkar? Killed a Toronto police officer with a snow plow? He asked for help too.  Kicked to the curb, and 35 year old Toronto Police Sergeant Ryan Russell is lost forever.

There are way, way, WAY too many cases like this… where families have begged for help for their loved ones, where people have begged for help for themselves …. and been told no, sent home …and eventually, they’ve gone on to kill someone. Or themselves.

It is just not right.

It makes me SICK – physically ill – to hear the RCMP and the cons go on about the need for increased resources for security, for spying on Canadians, for ….


Take your blessed resources and put them toward providing effective services so that people don’t wind up homeless, family-less, jobless, in prison…. wandering the streets with no hope, no support, no reason to go on…and totally vulnerable to those who would use them to strike terror.

Even if the new video the RCMP so conveniently claim to have discovered does show that he was radicalized by ISIL (which I doubt, as it’s just WAY TOO CONVENIENT), Zehaf-Bibeau, had he received help when he should have, or – here’s a thought – when he begged for it, likely would not have been so vulnerable to whatever sickos decided to use him to do their dirty work.  If he was radicalized, yeah well…. you reap what you sow, eh?

And while on the subject of terror, another thought.

2. Who was it, actually, that held the city of Ottawa in lockdown; parents separated from their children; fearing for their very lives? Zehaf-Bibeau was long dead – he died shortly after shooting Cirillo. He wasn’t causing …feeding … prolonging… the terror. That was the RCMP and other assorted police forces, with more than a little help from the media.

Ask me, the only possible reason for keeping everyone so tense for so long was either that there were more bad guys, or that somewhere along the way, it was decided that this whole freaking mess could be used for political gain.

Did it REALLY take 8 – 10 hours to figure out that there was only one now-dead “terrorist”? I don’t think so. I really don’t.

Either there were more and the story that there was only one is to cover the fact that they lost them, or there was only the one, and they prolonged the whole thing to cause terror because hey, Harper and his fellow cons like terror right now – it helps to justify the whole war game they are so determined we must play.

Surely they don’t expect us to believe that they were SO incompetent as to require 8 – 10 hours to sort that out? Terrorists, indeed.

3. And the MPs that are feeling traumatized and being offered support and counselling? No, no, no…sorry! But we have it on good authority that there’s an app for that.

If it’s good enough for our vets, it’s good enough for you.

I’m sorry, truly – in fact, as I’ve indicated above, I actually think that early intervention and ongoing support for mental health issues should be a priority – but  if we can’t be bothered to support our vets, who have been through a hell of a lot more trauma than being held hostage by our own police forces (bad guy was DEAD, remember?)

The only one I think should qualify for support & counselling after that whole mess is Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers, if he wants it…. the rest of you, download the app.

4. And on a closely related note, what is this shit with fundraising? The campaigns to raise funds for Cirillo’s son and so on? In MY Canada, there would be, should be, could be NO NEED for that. He died in uniform, in the service of Canada. Is it possible that our support for those who die in service of our country’s families could be so pitiful as to require a fund-raising drive?

Yeah – that too makes me sick.

This is not my Canada.

I am not proud.

I am – again – ashamed.

I love Canada. I want to be proud of it again. I want to be able to celebrate Canada Day again.

We need to do better. Ever so much better.








Posted in Canada | 1 Comment

I am a (disgusted) Witness

witness2I’ve been following the proceedings at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which is examining the way that services for First Nations children are (under)funded. This is the last week; closing arguments. I’ve also spent some time reading some, although far from all, of the documents which have been posted.

Right now, I have the Federal Government of Canada’s closing arguments open on my screen while I wait for today’s proceedings  to start.  The cons have tried repeatedly to derail the hearings – one can see that just by having a look at the list of available documents on the site, never mind the media coverage. Anyway, their closing arguments are pretty much as one might expect – focused on the same sort of technicalities and BS that they’ve argued all the way through. I can sum it up for you though: we shouldn’t have to do the right thing and provide First Nations kids with the same levels of support and funding as other kids in Canada because we don’t wanna and you can’t make us.

This government SO does not represent me. It sickens me. Regularly.

This whole thing reminds me of my experience after a car accident years ago – decades now, I guess. Another driver spun out of control and slammed into me in my lane, sending me a very long way into a field. Totalled my car, and my back – at one point, my doctor very nonchalantly told me “Oh, you’ll probably never work again” (like it was no big deal). Anyway …. at first the insurance company was oh so supportive – but of course, that didn’t last, and soon I was spending so much time and energy fighting them and trying to survive and keep a roof over my kids’ heads that there was little energy left for anything else. So much time & energy that I could have been spending on finding new ways to do things, getting better, and getting back to work all lost – and in the end, they lost, so saved not one red cent. In fact, it cost them a heck of a lot more than supporting me in my efforts would have.

It seems to me that this is exactly what the cons are doing: spending millions of dollars fighting Aboriginal communities. Land claims, environmental issues, funding for education, programs, etc etc – everything is a court case, and the only people who are benefitting are the lawyers. Mr. Harper stood up and made The Apology for Residential Schools – and apparently, in his mind, that was to be the end of Canada’s responsibilities to Aboriginal people in Canada. We’re off the hook now, and nothing further is required.

Which is, of course, complete and utter BS. We have obligations under treaties, under the Indian Act, and under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Oh, and under International Declarations as well: Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Canada signed on to that one, but doesn’t like it), Rights of the Child, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and so on….

But instead of meeting its obligations, and hey, here’s a thought, supporting First Nations communities to overcome the serious challenges that remain as a result of our long-standing nonsense (The Indian Act, residential schools, under-funding, assimilation efforts, etc etc etc) and actually following through on

“its commitment to build on a positive and productive relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to improve the well-being of Aboriginal Canadians, based on our shared history, respect, and a desire to move forward together” (Canada’s Statement of Support on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; November 12, 2010)

all they’re doing is chopping funding right, left and centre, and dragging every last possible issue into one court, tribunal or another, so that all the lawyers can make money. It seems to be their job creation plan.

This government SO does not represent me. It sickens me. Regularly.

We’ve got scads of money to send all over the world, and to fight against providing First Nations children who are in need of protection and care with equitable funding. We have scads of money to spend on war, on advertising programs that don’t exist, on hiring trolls to comment on social media, on stalking Cindy Blackstock and countless others….

What we do not have is any money to meet even our most basic obligations – and that is because the truth is that the current Canadian cons do not have even the most basic

“commitment to build on a positive and productive relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples to improve the well-being of Aboriginal Canadians, based on our shared history, respect, and a desire to move forward together”

This government SO does not represent me. It sickens me. Regularly.





Posted in Aboriginal Issues, Canada | 1 Comment

Things I wish we – as in the NDP – did better

soapboxSo… the Ontario election is over, and we’re heading into a federal election…

Our results in Ontario were disappointing …. and honestly, I’m not all that hopeful about the upcoming federal election, either.

I like Thomas Mulcair, and I continue to support the NDP, as it is still, I believe, the only party that begins from the POV that all people are worthy of respect; the only party that puts people before things, and the only party that shares my values.


there are a whole lot of things that we need to do better.

Our messaging, on the whole, sucks.

We are supposed to be the party that cares

….and yet, until I unsubscribed from the NDP email list, the ONLY emails I received from them were fundraising emails. Nothing about issues, nothing about what the NDP wants to do about any of those issues, nothing about policy, nothing asking for my suggestions, ideas, issues, concerns…. just demands for money. That sends a message. It says we value your money, not you. And that is a problem. A big problem.

….and yet, when I email the NDP MPs or MPPs about issues I care about, in many cases I don’t even get an automatic we got your message, we’ll get back to you response, never mind an actual response. One time, I actually did get an actual “we’ll get back to you” response – that was 17 months ago and I’m still waiting. Well, not really – I’d be beyond shocked to actually get one now.  By not bothering to respond to people’s queries/comments/whatever… we’re giving a pretty clear message – and it is not a good one.

….and yet, when people comment on our leaders’ social media profiles, on article, posts, tweets, whatever….  all too many times, no one responds. That’s messaging – that is clearly saying we want you to listen to us, but we aren’t listening to you. Is that the message the NDP is trying to send? There are exceptions, of course – Charlie Angus, for one, actually engages regularly with his connections … but the fact that he stands out as an exception is a problem. A big problem.

We can claim resource issues all we want, and I acknowledge that we do have less financial resources than the other parties – but guess what? That doesn’t change the message.

And besides that, if we really want to form the government, we need to show that we can do more with less.  We could be doing that now, by using our many talented volunteers more effectively to make sure that people are getting responses when they contact us, for example. But we’re not, and that is a problem.

We have issues with other messaging as well. The cons are very good at getting out their key message – that they are good for our economy. They don’t worry about truth, and there is no validity to the claim – but they get it out there and suckers uh… Canadians believe it. What is OUR key message?

Well, come on….. what IS it?

I’m waiting….!

That’s what I thought.

The others are bad for Canadians is not an effective message to rest on, no matter how true it is.

My suggestion would be putting people first is good business …. but as I’ve already noted, no one at the NDP actually seems much inclined to listen to me, so… yeah….  need to do better. And we need to get there in a hurry, or the federal campaign is likely to be every bit as distressing as Ontario’s was.

And that just makes me sad.

layton love isI miss Jack. I like Thomas Mulcair as leader – far more than I expected to… but I’m worried. We need to do better. Much, much better.







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More on welfare reform – the kids

soapboxMore things I would do in my quest to overhaul the welfare system….

Focus on breaking the cycle. We’ve all heard of, an in many cases seen, families in which the kids grew up on welfare, hit adulthood, and ended up on welfare. That’s not okay. It is really not okay!

So much wasted potential there. For me, it’s less about the cost, more about the potential.

But as much as people bitch and moan about the cost and about the lazy ingrates blah blah blah …. we – our society – contribute to the whole thing.

We worry that if we give people on welfare enough to actually live on, they’ll be content on welfare and will never want to go to work – so we make sure that families on welfare don’t ever have enough. Enough food, enough shelter, enough resources to do things…

and then to make things worse, we under-fund our public schools, and that means that kids whose families don’t have enough resources are even more stigmatized, ostracized, left out….. and then we’re surprised that they don’t tend to aspire to higher things for themselves? Duh! How freaking stupid are we?

The adults who have been on welfare for years and years, especially those who are themselves the products of such upbringing … there’s probably nothing much we can do about those beyond treating them with respect and encouraging and supporting those who are motivated to break free to do that…

but damn it all to hell and back, we have got to be putting resources and attention towards their kids. It’s a no-brainer!!!

Provide schools with funding for their field trips, school supplies, music & art opportunities, etc etc

Make sure teachers are trained and capable of encouraging the children they work with – all of them, especially those coming from families with limited resources – to imagine and to expect to become productive adults. This does not happen across the board right now; in fact, in some schools, the poor kids are basically regarded as a waste of time & energy. SO not okay.

Find some people with skills among those groups we’re going to run and give them the opportunity to provide enrichment activities and classroom support and yes, here I go again – PAY them for doing it.

Oh, and all those corporations that want to worm their way into schools on one pretence or another so that they can sell things? Let them in – but only in ways that promote the development of the expectation that all the kids – those with learning disabilities, those from impoverished homes, those with physical challenges, etc etc…ALL the kids … are going to grow up to become productive contributing respected members of society.

Mentoring, job-shadowing, entrepreneurial  programs – definitely….. and no kid should EVER be left out of these things or disadvantaged because their family can’t afford fees, transportation, proper clothing, etc….

Oh, and a change of attitude re: secondary school students that work, too… schools should be supporting and encouraging those kids, not making it harder for them or punishing them. Again, duh.

Sure, to really have such programs available across the board, and to make sure that every child was able to participate on an equal footing would cost money. But if investing in their education and mentoring ensured that a much higher percentage of them would grow up to not follow in their parents’ footsteps we would be saving in the long run, in breaking the cycle? One last time. DUH!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


How would my government handle welfare if we began with the belief that all people – yes, ~gasp~ even those who need financial help – were valued and treated with respect?

Not regarded as lazy liars & cheats, but as people with potential, with the right to respect & dignity, a voice….

For starters, we could stop spending so much time, energy & resources on policing welfare recipients, and start moving towards helping them reach their potential. If I ran the system, I would start running groups for all new recipients (and any existing ones who were so inclined). There would be groups for those who needed to develop social skills, or job-search skills, or vocational skills, or coping skills, or …well, you get the idea.

In the beginning I’d have the welfare workers and whatever other social worker types we needed run them… but part of the process of these groups would be to develop accountability among group members, and most importantly, to identify group members with skills, who with some training and support could become group leaders, support people, etc …and yes, because I am starting from a place of respect, I would pay them. Not like as in workfare – like as in hey, you’re contributing, here is your pay cheque.

I would much rather pay people to do something they are good at that benefits society than to pay them to sit on their butts at home because we aren’t giving them enough money to really live on, to do laundry or have their hair cut, to buy clothes, to take the bus, to…. whatever.

I would identify recipients with child care skills and provide them with training and support and supervision to develop those and again, I would pay them. A living wage. Not welfare.

I would identify recipients that could do stuff we need done …. personal support workers come to mind …we need a lot of those in Ontario already, and that’s a field that is only going to grow. Even if we had to pay them to go out in pairs, we’d be ahead – because we would be encouraging people to develop job skills, providing services to those in need of personal support work, and treating people with respect.

The idea of workfare – of forcing people to work for welfare – does not sit well with me. It’s right up there with what we used to do with people with developmental challenges…do we still? God, I hope not… but I’ve been out of that field a long time. In any case…. back pre-Harris, even…I used to work with developmentally challenged adults…and it made me SICK that we would send them to work 8 hour days in sheltered workshops and pay them .17c or .35c/hour. But hey, then we would give them ODSP too, so it was okay. Why would we not pay them minimum wage for the work that they actually did, and then, only if necessary, top that up with ODSP?

If you expect me or my kids or my students or… whoever… to sit in a workshop and put screws in baggies or what the hell ever for 8 hours a day, you’d pay minimum wage. Who decided that Gerard’s work was worth any less? BS! It was BS. It’s BS to think that prisoners should work for those sorts of non-wages also. Work is work is work.

Minimum wage is minimum wage and it should be paid for whatever work is done by whoever.

It’s ridiculous, and disrespectful, to do otherwise.

More on my welfare reforms next time… I am SO not done 🙂





Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Went to a meeting in Toronto today – which only matters because the drive – plus the fact that Saturday evening on CBC Radio is all music which I do not care for (if I wanted music, I could listen to almost ANY OTHER STATION on the radio; I do not want music, that’s why I like the CBC … usually) …Anyway… lots of time for thinking about how things – in Ontario, and in Canada, would be vastly different if I had anything to say about it.

SO many things would be done differently if I were in charge.

For starters, every decision my government made would begin with one simple concept. Not money. Not history….I don’t give a carp about how we’ve always done it. The vast majority of our systems were imported and pre-computers. Now we are supposedly a growed up independent country – it’s past time we started thinking for ourselves. And it is long past time we stopped building on top of old technology and started making the most of new. Just because we have always …doesn’t mean that it is the best option to serve us now.

ANYWAY…. the simple concept? R E S P E C T. That’s right – I know… foreign concept to our current governments. But too bad. If I were in charge, that would be the place to start. No ifs, ands, or buts. If what you want to do is not based on respect for every single person it impacts, then go do it somewhere else, not in MY country.

What would that mean? It would mean starting from a place where all people – no matter their colour, income, ability, gender, etc. etc. are deserving of respect and dignity. All are valued, recognized to have potential, and every last one of us should have a right to participate in our society. Some may choose not to, and that is up to them – but if we were to start with the notion that each & every human life has value – and a voice – we’d already be a heck of a lot healthier as a society than we are.

We wouldn’t have children growing up in poverty believing that their lot in life is to collect welfare just like their parents.

We wouldn’t have disabled people languishing in totally inappropriate placements for them.

We wouldn’t have nearly as many people in prisons, nursing homes, and in our streets, as we do.

No doctors driving cabs.

No refugees becoming critically ill for want of basic health care.

No Aboriginal communities without potable water, decent shelter, schools, health care & social services that the rest of Canada take for granted.

A little respect, with a side order of real common sense (not of the Harris variety) would go a very long way.

It would take time, and a whole lot of re-education – but in a province/country/world based on respect for all, we could even do away with discrimination, racism, exploitation, violence…

sounds unrealistic, huh? So what….? We like our current state of affairs? It’s all hunky dory fine to have discrimination, racism, exploitation, violence…. and to continue to grow more of the same because that’s the way we’ve always done it?

I think not.

As long as we believe that we can’t change it, we can’t.

I’m beyond tired of self-defeating prophecies. We could do better… if only we believed….imagined…and got to work.



Posted in Canada | 1 Comment

People Matter

Wrote it on Facebook…but then thought maybe I should post it here. So….

crankyColored2Just so freaking sad. How the hell is it possible that so many people’s lives seem to be regarded as disposable?


So many people without even their basic needs met.

So many people who don’t care…. or who do, but who feel powerless to make a difference. They’re not really – but as long as they believe they are, they’re right.

In Ukraine, so many people who worked so hard for so many years to learn so much that could have helped others wiped out in an instant.

In ….hell…I don’t even know what to call it any more – Palestine? Gaza? Is there enough land left there to still consider anything Palestine’s? So many lives lost so pointlessly. It absolutely sickens me that we – Canada – are in any way supporting that whole freaking disgusting pitiful mess… never mind that we are clearly on the side of the bullies, not the victims.

Syria. The missing girls. And we’re no better here at home …missing & murdered Aboriginal women; communities without potable water, schools for their kids; prisons full of people who shouldn’t be there – Aboriginal men & women; people with mental illnesses; people with developmental challenges.

Because we’ve got it all backwards. All around the world, we have it backwards. PEOPLE need to come first. Before ~economies~ (a freaking stupid term that means nothing); before land (you can’t have it, you can only use it – and if you destroy it, then not even that); before stuff (especially useless stuff, or stuff that is meant only to harm others).

It is all so freaking depressing….and yes, that makes it tempting to feel powerless to make a difference…. but we have to believe that we can. I have to believe that we can. We must. I must.

I don’t know how much good protests actually do – the Harper cons’ only reaction seems to be to simply add attendees & organizers names to their enemies list and move on – but if nothing else it is good to see that I am not alone in my distress. Going to try to make it to one of these protests against Canadian support of Israel.

Posted in Aboriginal Issues, Canada, Politics, Violence against women | Leave a comment

Ontario Liberals win a majority

So discouraging.

I would much rather have had another minority government – at least then, there would be some need for accountability …but seriously…a majority? What the heck!!!!!

Because of Ontario Liberal’s mismanagement over the last 10 years

low income/disabled tenants can’t get housing because landlords are being screwed for hundreds & thousands of dollars

hydro & gas costs are through the freaking ROOF …and mostly we’re paying for NOTHING – not for hydro & gas, but rather for severance packages and bonuses and cancellation penalties…

health care is a freaking MESS …and again, we’re paying through the nose for eHealth and ORNGE but many Ontarians can’t get even their most basic health care needs met….

and rather than slapping the Ontario Liberals for behaving badly, we chose to reward them with a majority government? Seriously?!


What is it that I’m missing? I have got to be missing something!

How is it possible that we have voted for yet another government that has proven it totally lacks respect for us?  Do we not consider ourselves worthy of respect?

Apparently not.

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Reading the Plan: 5 – Keep schools open and foster healthy communities

SOAPBOXSo… some good ideas about schools – focus on keeping them open, vibrant, health-promoting & important parts of communities… oh, and hire about 1000 teachers to get health and physical education back to where it should have been all along.

So… that’s all to the good…. although I would like to see a response to the question I have been asked more than once, i.e. how does Andrea Horwath’s NDP government intend to approach the next round of bargaining with Ontario’s teachers?

That has been a rather ugly mess for far too many years – it doesn’t seem at all unreasonable to provide teachers with a clear statement of intent.  I think that the NDP has a great deal more respect for teachers…labour… unions…and Ontario kids, too…. than the other parties do (in fact, it boggles my mind how the other parties even get in given their lack of concern for workers – who the hell is voting for these people?)  but that is what I think …. would be nice to have a clear statement to that effect sooner rather than later, wouldn’t it?

Nutritional and dental care for kids – who could argue that that is a bad thing? Well okay, the Hammer could, but most people have hearts – and are smart enough to know that young adults with teeth are more liable to get jobs and do well in life than those without – so, yeah, that one is good too.

And then the plan falls down and goes boom – the instant it mentions tenants without a second’s concern for landlords, who, actually, are the people being royally screwed by the current system in Ontario. Read my landlording blog(s). Stop by any Ontario landlording forum. Read a few articles/blogs/advice columns, why don’t you? As I keep trying to tell people – including the ONDP’s housing critic, whose constituency assistant sent me an “We will have to get back to you in response to your request for NDP positions on the specific area you mentioned” way back on 31-May-2013 and still has not – the people most harmed, in the long run,  by royally screwing landlords are not landlords but tenants. And most aggravatingly to me, there are low/no cost solutions to some of the biggest issues which are causing landlords to refuse to rent to low income and/or anyone who might be seen as having or likely to develop any sort of disability.

The current ~system~ in Ontario demands that landlords discriminate against tenants even though yes, that is illegal – that’s why we sold our house, actually …couldn’t live with discriminating against the very sorts of people I once was, or the very sorts of people I once devoted my time and energy to working for and with…. but the fact that I’m no longer in that position (we are still landlords, but only as long as the existing tenants stay unless something changes – the day they give notice the sign will be up on the lawn).

I’m not saying tenants should not have rights; they should. But by refusing to move beyond tenants =poor picked on powerless babies who need protection; landlords big bad greedy evil meanies all three of the parties totally miss any possibility of solving the actual problems (did I mention no/low cost?)

… in fact, right now we have anything that could be reasonably put forth as support for landlords coming only from the mean-spirited hammer-time approach … under a PC government, we can expect the balance between landlords and tenants to shift again – but, I would bet money on it shifting waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too far in the other direction. And sucking.

The NDPs plans to “protect” and “enforce” tenants against landlord lacks understanding of landlords as small business owners (and taxpayers, eh? how DID we get to be shit on everyone’s shoe, I’d like to know!) and of the issues that are actually causing us to be mean nasty bastards … oh crap… and here I was doing so well at censoring my urges to swear; my bad!

Anyway …. since the NDP are “my” party, this is very disappointing to me … they can’t claim to not know about the problems – I’ve explained it to them!

tools4When I made the toolbox image, my thought was to try to show that Andrea has more tools …. that the NDP is, at this point in Ontario’s history, the best party to actually fix problems using a more nuanced approach than Hudak’s hammer, or the flush-all-your money-so there’s-nothing-left-but-empty-promises approach Wynne seems bent on …

I’m very disappointed that there seems to be little or nothing in her toolbox that is going to fix the problems I’m concerned about – and the landlording one is definitely one of those (even though I’m pretty much out of it now – I still care about people and it hurts to see so many discriminated against and mistreated and to know how to solve it but be powerless to convince anyone to listen).

Still … given the other choices, even this is not enough to cause me to withdraw my support for the NDP. Because as far as I can see, there just aren’t any other reasonable options.

crankyColored2It does, however, make me more than a little cranky…and sad, too.

Posted in Landlording, NDP, Ontario, Ontario election, Politics | Leave a comment