Who are the Terrorists?

terror1

terror2The people on the left or the people on the right?

 

Now that the Federal Government has declared ‘super-war’ on the terrorists with the introduction of Bill C51 it is obvious that they have done everything from establishing a Secret Police (posited by Globe and mail editorial) to just tweaking the rules of engagement (talking points from the PMO delivered by all  of the trained seals of the CPC).

Now the PMO has thrown sand in its own gears. The PMO (we call the Government the PMO because it appears that that is the only department running the Government) has done a couple of things. Firstly to bolster the ‘fear-factor’ there were a couple of alleged terrorists arrested in Ottawa. Unfortunately for the advancement of C51 these guys were arrested using the old law – kinda makes the new laws redundant! And now yesterday there was a cell of bad guys arrested – again under the old law, for allegedly wanting to create mayhem and murder in Halifax. Globe & Mail story here.

So far so good. But as usual the dimwitted Justice Minister: Peter MacKay, has screwed the agenda. In the newser after the Halifax arrests he denied the existence of terrorism, in this case, and called the bad guys “murderous misfits” not terrorists.

So we at the BR are rolling our eyes and wondering if the term terrorist is going to be applied only to Brown people (where a religious link can be attributed – usually by the arresting authority) as opposed to White maniacs. Just remember Timothy McVeigh was labelled a domestic terrorist, howcum these guys escape the label? Here is a great article from Global news about the problems encountered when trying to define a terrorist. The author has done a great job and really illustrates the problems of the new law.

But with the MacKay definition we can all rest easy now. But some say using the vague definition in C51 of a terrorist there is speculation that the law was written with the idea of capturing normal dissent and peaceful protest as ‘eco-terrorism’, and punishable. Now Peter has classified terrorism as being ‘culturally based’ we can now rest easy when we protest pipelines, salmon farms and the Tarsands – unless of course you are a Brown skinned religious person!

A month’s worth of reflection

Being out of the Country doesn’t mean that you don’t know what is going on. We have CBC and CNN and of course the interwebthingy to keep us up to date, if we want to stay up to date.

This part of the BR has tried to stay out of the commenting business, it was getting a little stale and repetitive. But in the past month it has been very busy for pundits.

Nationally we have the furor over the security bills proposed by the Government in response to the recently published acts of barbarity by ISIS/ISIL. Mr Harper has proposed a new Bill that would, as the Globe and Mail calls it – “create a “Secret Police”. In that vein it appeared that the politicisation of the CBC has really taken place with the “National” reversing its policy about displaying graphic images just in time to screen the burning in the cage of the Jordanian Pilot. Cynics would say it was done to bolster the “Fear Factor” as he – King Stephen, pushes his Security Bill, whilst the RCMP proudly announces the arrest of a “Terror Cell” in Ottawa. Funny nobody mentions that these guys were arrested using the Old Law, so why do we need a new one?

In addition the economy has taken a hit with the drop in oil prices and all seemed to be well until the Governor of the Bank of Canada decided, out of the blue to reduce an interest rate that had held fast for three years. That was the signal to the World to dump CDN dollars. It cost us $20 on $300 at the bank machine. And the stunner – the quintessential “never had a real job politician” – John Baird decides to jump.

However the only way we can sum up this month of political shenanigans is to post the latest rant from Rick Mercer. It highlights the attitude of the Government towards Veterans. Oh I forgot Fantino got tossed under the Tory bus and was replaced by a VINO (Veteran in name only) aptly called O’Toole. the Irish name soon to be Americanised to Tool. This guys creds are dubious – served 12 years as a peacetime Navigator (no campaign medals and proudly wears his 12 year Service Medal), how he can relate to the grunt in the trench is beyond comprehension.  But anyway back to the total callousness and ineptitude of Veterans’ Affairs. Mercer talks about his friend who has to check every year to see if his legs have grown back in; because if they have he loses his disability pension and the VA would want its money back.

Thanks to the local papers being on line and reading local blog pages – thank you Cobourg News and the MSM no local subject has gone unnoticed. We know that there is a raging debate about killing cats – those with long memories should recall the debate that caused the Humane Society to lose the Animal Control contract in the first place, that the Mayor and Council of Port Hope has decided to reduce the number of Council Meetings and seize control whilst suspending all committee action for a few months. Well I guess that’s what you get when you vote in taxfighters and business people as opposed to those who want to act collaboratively.

Cobourg is not immune from bad vibes, after a good start (well it seemed a good idea the time) of asking Citizens to step up and tell Council what they would like to see Council discuss in the “Visioning” sessions the only people who stepped up were the “usual suspects”. And then a debate ensued when Debra McCarthy bravely stuck her head over the ramparts only to see it trampled on and then dumped in a muddy shell hole (how else would one describe a 6-1 defeat of a resolution) when she had the nerve to suggest that the public should be allowed to watch Council deliberate during their “Visioning” session. We just hope that Ms McCarthy gets back on her horse and doesn’t let this municipal mauling put her off from being ambitious in her resolutions.

Anyway back to the pool!

What has changed since 2010 – nothing

-241299_ORIGINALAnd they want to add to the original problem without fixing it, despite promises. We refer to the recent advertisement that proclaims that the Town of Cobourg has received an application to develop a strip pf land that is now zoned “Open Space and Environmental Constraint”. Located on the South side of Nickerson Woods in the D’Arcy Elgin area.

Bit of background on this development: a long established piece of land developed by local builders Bob Haynes and Al LeBlanc in the early 90s, Bob is now living in the Kingston area after selling his last successful development to VanDyck after splitting with Al many years ago, Al is still developing what land he has left in the Densmore Rd area but has always tried to develop this patch. He was successful years ago in getting planning permission for the houses he did build but it was a struggle because the land sits in a flood plain and has been identified as “Environmental constraint” in the OP for decades. Previous Councils defined the boundaries years ago and the question to be asked now as he wants to build is “What has changed to redefine the boundary?”

Nothing has changed for the good, in fact flooding conditions have become worse. Subsequent building in the Elgin St. area below the St Mary’s School necessitated the construction of a spillway and retention ponds to slow down the rate of flooding in that area. Severe flooding in the MidTown Creek is a regular occurrence every twenty years or so because of the combination of rainfall and frozen ground (read the GRCA comments about the flood here). Spillways don’t work well when iced over and especially this one, the one that flows around the LeBlanc Corporate HQ at Elgin and Birchwood, because of the two right angles in the design.

Read about the most recent flood in 2010 in this NorthumberlandToday article here A most distressing time for those unlucky people caught in the three foot high water. An earlier flood occurred in 1986. So these freaks of nature are frequent and deadly. In the aftermath of these happenings the Council of the day received remedial plans and these plans have yet to be implemented.

But these plans assumed that the boundaries of the Flood Plain would not be tampered with. The new application proposes that 24 condominiums be built up to the backyards for the existing dwellings to be accessed by a laneway, all encroaching into the Open-Space. Obviously building on this land will reduce the amount  of land that could hold water. But if the water in a flash flood is contained in a smaller area the velocity of the water as it travels toward the Elgin Division St intersection will  increase therefore the anticipated future flooding, in the same weather conditions as 2010, could be worse. In that case why should any more dwellings be built if the conditions have not been improved?

So what happens now? The notice has been published, the Planning Department will produce a report, complete with bureaucratic language that approves it, after all Mr LeBlanc has contributed the maximum amount to many selected Council members in Municipal Elections in the past. So we see that Mr LeBlanc is a valued member of Cobourg’s development industry and has friends on Council so why wouldn’t his applications get a smooth ride? But on this one he will have to pull all the political strings he can to get approval because of entrenched boundaries and the risk of greater flooding due to subsequent building downstream. But after the application notice the application and the Staff report go to the Planning and Advisory Committee. This committee has few experienced members who would challenge the report as well as a neophyte coordinator. We wish them luck and courage but advise them all to ask for the flooding reports of the past and ask the simple question – what happens in the case of a flood and more importantly why must the boundaries be moved – other than for commercial gain.

Also as a word of warning to Council expect homeowners to appear before you on this one. They have objected every time this application is broached – a classic NIMBY situation and a worthy one as we see it. For the last public comment on this from the homeowners and Mr LeBlanc read this.

2015

A new year time for progress and a little reflection on last year before setting out in the new year. Given that we at the BR appreciate the chance that the interwebthingy has given us and as the masthead says this the place for alternate opinion.

Suggestions accepted

suggestionsFor the first four Council meetings the Mayor and Council in Cobourg will be listening to the Citizens. Starting on January 12th anybody who wants can speak to Council for five minutes. So folks take them up on it. We will not be there because of our winter sabbatical but the suggestions that would have made are already submitted. If anybody is interested in what the BR had to say look here.

Four more years

brocanierFirst of all let us say four years is too long for any Municipal term of office. Secondly let us say we have a few things to say as we enter the start of this interminable term, and we say this to any Council not just this one.

These people talk a good tune!

Four of the seven new Councils have been inaugurated and in each one of the ceremonies the new leaders have told us what they would like to achieve. The leaders of the smallest municipalities have made a lot of noise about having to cut the cloths of their budgets and what they personally would like to do at the County level. This is where the action gets interesting

A Few Words About Flying Monkeys

droneThe recent dumping of lake-effect snow in Buffalo, upwards of 5 feet, brought with it a major dumping of media coverage as well. CNN alone dispatched at least three of its big names to take shifts standing on the same street corner where plowed piles of snow were particularly impressive.

Another Post from our Fearless Port Hope Correspondent

Fear Itself

 “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933.

 Rick Norlock is about to leave the building. He won’t be running in the next federal election to represent what is now Northumberland-Peterborough South. A combination of relief and nostalgia has descended upon the riding. As I sort through my stack of Rick Norlock constituency updates,

Went to a political meeting last night

And came away very depressed. Because it was just that – a political meeting designed to show off the talents of the two people wishing to be a candidate in the next federal Election. Both people demonstrated a wealth of knowledge about the policies they expect to defend. Both showed that they will be a credible candidate and will do the party proud. But what was depressing was the realisation that this next election is going to be like no other and consequently different tactics must be considered.

A Guest Post from our Port Hope correspondent

Death Of A Salesman 2.0

There’s an old salesman’s adage that says you can’t sell anything unless you sell yourself. Millions have taken to something called Linkedin to do just that -sell themselves.

I’ve never been a fan of Linkedin, partly because I have nothing to sell. I’m retired. I’m not looking for a job and I have no credentials to exaggerate or misrepresent. But a look at Linkedin this morning has me thinking I’m in the minority. There’s a lot of desperate people out there that will say almost anything -or worse- nothing, about their background and qualifications just to get a job.

If you don’t find this out of line you should be on Cobourg Council

coiAt a special meeting  of the outgoing Council it was supposed to be clean-up time – you know finish off the the business of the year before the the new guys come in. One of the items was the approval of the Town assuming the cost of building Home Hardware’s new driveway a.k.a Kerr St. This stub of a road is intended to allow the customers of the new store to drive safely from Division St into the new store without creating a traffic hazard at the old driveway.

Two days to go, if you count today

election snipAn interesting post on FB this morning. So where are the other 73% of eligible voters and will they vote this weekend. Unfortunately Voting Day is now a farce and for all purposes it does not exist any more. The ritual of leaving work early, going to the local polling station and putting an X on a paper ballot has been consigned to the rubbish of history.

I do not know who I will be voting for

electionBut I do know who I will not be voting for. If we hear any body else intone “wasteful spending”, “taxes are too high” (without the explanation of a solution), “I am for the people” and other useless election phrases we hear every four years from candidates without imagination or the brains to offer solutions, we will, as a commenter once put here “puke”.