"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Tuesday 29 September 2015


Whoever wants to quarrel with Christopher  Watts  about his spelling and illustrations  on his blog must do so on his terms. This blog is not available for anonymous comments to a post on Watt's Trending.

watched Ghandi night before last.... a classic movie decades old. I grew to adulthood during Ghandi's epic journey. I was never inclined to watch the film before. I knew the narrative and how it ended.

The entire world was shaped to benefit the few with little concern for the many.  The governing elite was all powerful. 

As a consequence the French had a successful revolution accompanied by horrible consequences. 

The Russians later  did much  the same thing under a political banner.  

The Americans had already broken free from the British and down the road massacred each other in a civil war the effects of which are still being felt. 

I was young but old enough when  Ghandi struck a chord with the masses world over. His resolve was to free his country from British Colonial Masters. His life was a triumph of logic, courage and uncompromising commitment to principle and endurance.

The story ended with qualified success .The British partitioned the country between Muslim and Hindu
They divided the people along religious lines and created Pakistan 

Ghandi was shot by a fanatic

Last night I was flipping channels and heard an opening line of dialogue.Ghandi was being welcomed home from South Africa where he published a journal. 

"We needed you to come back to India because of the power of your writing" 

I was hooked. I didn't know that early part of the story.

The British government was busy building an empire and re-arranging the world. 

The British Protectorate of Palestine  was partitioned to create the State of Israel.

Where before Jews and Palestinians lived compatibly side by side for centuries, non Jewish Palestinians became refugees over-night, living in camps ,with schools where  young males  were taught to hate and prepare. Sixty-six years later, that hasn't changed. Except that young Palestinians males and females turn themselves into human detonators that kill Jews indiscriminately and  Israelis have nuclear weapons and heat-seeking missiles that have a specific target and also kill women and children indiscriminately. 

The French finally extricated themselves from French Indo-China after decades of terrorism at home and abroad.  Vietnam emerged. The Americans used flame throwers,Agent Orange and  hundreds of thousands of young American lives to impose their influence. And failed. 

They did the same thing earlier in Korea .

In 1956 ,the French and British invaded  Egypt to protect the private interest of the Suez Canal. American President Dwight Eisenhower ordered them out and Canadian  Prime Minister Lester  B Pearson intervened and Canada became the peacemaker.

Currently, millions of people are pouring out of Iraq and Syria and according to last night's news, Afghanistan . They desperately seek a safe place to raise their children.

In the late fifties hundred of thousands of Europeans flooded out of Europe for the same reason. 

Hundreds of thousands of Russians living in Ukraine are looking to Russia for protection from consequences of  the separation that occurred during the break-up of the former Soviet Republic. 

History continues to march on  with death, destruction, propaganda and the same mistakes 
repeated over and over. 

Billion dollar fortunes are made from weapons of mass destruction, including poison gas manufactured in  Western Canada.If we don't use it to kill people including small babies, I suppose  it doesn't count that it was made in our country and sold to whoever wanted to buy. 

And Canada's Prime Minister is ready to send young Canadians to fight and die while young Ukrainains high -tail it to Poland because they do not want to kill their cousins. And the government gives them sticks to fight with. 

That's reminiscent of the outset of the Second World War when the Polish Cavalry rode out to meet German tanks and howitzers. 

So I watched the movie, was inspired, then returned to terrible and stark reality.

Saturday 26 September 2015


I went to sleep  last night thinking about the logic of the decision to strike down federal law requiring faces to be uncovered during citizenship oath -taking. 

My last thought was the Ontario Health card. The holder's photo has to be on the card for I.D. 

The Ontario Government requires it because of millions of dollars of fraud against Ontario Health.  Previous cards were easily forged,sold, stolen or transferred to people not entitled to service.. Since all Ontario residents are entitled,it meant people who came from elsewhere were obtaining health care at the expense of Ontario taxpayers. Costs grew out of control. 

We all  know how costly health care is. We keep being reminded. As we speak,doctors are organising on social media to protest a cut in fees by the Ontario government. They will likely forecast a mass exodus of doctors to the States....again. Because of how much more they can make in the buccaneer system of care down there. 

The purpose of the photograph on the health card is obviously so the person presenting can be identified by the receiver. It can't happen with a veil covered face.

At least one young  doctor at Extendicare clinic covers her head but not her face. Whether it's in accordance with religion I don't know. 

Orthodox Jewish women cut their hair and wear a wig at the time of marriage. Girl Children are covered  in sleeves to their wrists and dresses to their ankles. They do not cover heads and faces with a veil. Few  would notice their custom except other Orthodox Jews. 

This morning, my thoughts had just kept turning  as if sleep had not intervened . 

Do children have health cards or does mother present hers to obtain health care for the child. 

A driver's license has to have a photo......passport photos are the stuff of comedy.

How is it no legal appeal has been filed against having to be identified in a doctor's office or not being allowed into the country without a passport complete with photograph.

How many charges are laid  by police for not carrying a driver's license with identifying photograph? 
What use is it if the officer can't match the face to the photo? 

How easy should it  be to obtain  health services ....move in and out of the country ....drive a car 
.....or any other services that requires photo identification? 

Was the fight to take the Oath of Citizenship with a covered face less about religion and more about 

How was it logical to decide a Muslim woman is entitled to keep her face hidden at all times for religious reason....even when seeking the privilege of becoming a Canadian citizen?

Citizenship  is not a right . A Greek friend failed the test three times. He could not memorize names of former Prime MInisters. Everyone in his family managed but every time he failed it made the next time harder. 

The main obligation of  the oath is to abide by Canada's laws. An appeal against one law could reasonably signal disagreement with a Canadian law. 

Press stories indicate the Judge hastened his decision so the appellant could vote in the upcoming  federal election. 

The woman can't vote without photo I.D.

Imagine what Donald Trump would do with a story like that. 

Why did the Judge bring the election into his decision? 

Anyone who reads this blog knows I am not a Stephen Harper fan. But I've never felt the slightest  
inclination to argue against common sense as plain as the nose on one's  face.

The decision is being appealed.

Since I started the post Jason Kenny, Minister of Immigration has said  80% of Canadians support the law. He has launched  a petition on Facebook. 


A post on Facebook  today laments "hatred " of Muslims observed in recent Facebook comments. Current discussion is the court decision to strike down government law that requires the face to be uncovered while taking the Oath of Citizenship.  

Pictures of women swathed from head to toe in black have been shared. I shared one without comment.

What most of us know about Muslims is what we  hear, see and read on media. 

Penalties for crimes in Muslim countries make us shudder. Women, little more than children stoned to death for adultery after having been raped. A detailed description of the barbaric execution of a gay man was a side story to the main plot in a recent episode of Madame Secretary, a TV series. The  main story has faded already but the horrible details of execution Muslim style haunt me still. 

The  Facebook post makes the point everyone in this country came from somewhere else, including native Canadians. It notes redundantly that everyone did not arrive with the same set of values, beliefs and religion. 

Obviously immigrants  hope for something better when they leave  behind family and friends and everything familiar, for the unknown. 

In the past some came for freedom to practice a different religion.Others like  victims of the 
Highland Clearances in Scotland were loaded on to leaky boats and shipped to Canada because people of power and privilege could make more money from sheep than allowing crofters to live on the land of their ancestors. 

The British government shipped thousands of children to be used as unpaid labour by whoever chose to pick them up at the train station. UK Government solution to poverty was to ship them out. 

The fact everyone came from somewhere else is only part of the story. The rest is why we came. 

Are Muslims different?  

We read face covering has nothing to do with religion. Many Muslim women do not so choose. 

So what  compelling argument is there to be allowed to hide behind a veil while taking an Oath to abide by Canadian law. 

Maybe the choice between living behind a shroud and applying for citizenship is the decision that needs to be made. What is it worth to be a Canadian Citizen ? 

Should  Canadians be free to speak to the issue ? When a  law is challenged and struck down  is that our business ? 

Canadian women paid a heavy price for equality within the law.The fight for respect is not yet won. It may never happen. The cause is not helped by a fight for womens' right to be invisible.

Certainly the right to argue is theirs. Bu lack of sympathy for something that makes no sense in a modern world full of trouble, complexity and horrendous human tragedy is not hatred. 

BTW women refugees with covered faces are not prominent in the horrendous tragic exodus from death and destruction in Syria. 

Demonstrations of support across Canada for those desperate families we see on television hardly indicate hostility towards Muslims.

Thursday 24 September 2015


I miss  the blog beat more than I can say,

As the song goes:

You don't know what you've got till  it's  gone.
Pave paradise, put up a parking lot. 

There's  a song, poem or line from Shakespeare drama or Winston Churchill  to suit  every situation 

"Nothing is new under the sun"

True as far as it goes but If new to the person impacted, it's certainly new. 

Eight  years ago this blog wa new. I had owned a computer for a while and picked up a smattering of knowledge. Not enough to stop me from spending a ridiculous sum for a web site domaine which turned out to be a total waste because what I contemplated could be done without it.

Early Council meetings were not on T.V.  Social  media wasn't even a dot on the horizon. 

It took a while to get used to the potential. My mind functioned as always thinking ..." people need to know that aspect of this or that"  

Then I would think . "Hey....wait a minute.....I can tell them " 

Letters  to the editor had been a practice. Politics seemed a natural evolution.

In the beginning  Heather Sisman was the guiding hand All kinds of silly-billy stuff was thrown in for fun. Eventually I had to manage alone and blog came down to basics.

Rival politicians became conscious of the advantage but not enough to partake. Though It cost nothing but time and energy , the potential risk of revealing too much of themselves might have been the problem. 

The Aurora Citizen emerged ,Chris Watts and Anna's photographic journal evolved. Now Anna 
occasionally dips toes into politics particularly on environmental matters 

The Aurora Citizen Blog was effectively silenced when legal action using  town resources was initiated against three blog moderators because of an anonymous comment  harshly critical of the Mayor.

The defence was successful but with a huge price to be paid both in stress and finances. 

The Aurora Citizen had a far more professional format than my own. Had it kept going,  It would have undoubtedly have become  a force and an opportunity for citizen participation and involvement.

An election was held. The parties responsible for the litigation were removed from office.

But the Voice of the Aurora Citizen was heard no more. 

The community is not better for it.  

Monday 21 September 2015


The blog occupies several hours of my day or sometimes night seven days a week. 

It's not a chore. Nor does it weigh me down. There's no financial compensation. Only the satisfaction 
of knowing , despite the narrow focus , a goodly number log in to read every day.

If  I understand Chris Watts correctly, I have more readers than the Town's communication device 
and that costs half a million dollars a year. 

The Mayor is using Facebook more often these days. It must mean he  believes it to be an effective 
means of communication. 

Tom Mrakas has been using Facebook to reach out to people since he was first elected. 

If all members of Council did the same, it seems to me there could be no better form of communication. Different insights given in good faith can only  help to stimulate discussion.

 No reason in the world for everyone to have the same way of looking at things. 

Blogging  makes more  demands on time. Not everyone has the inclination.

Facebook, on the other hand  is a whole lot more convenient. 

I have an immediate monumental task to undertake. It will  take all of my time and initiative for a while. 

So I will be absent for a while.
I will miss you.
I've grown accustomed to this space, 
Like breathing out and breathing in. 

Adieu, Adieu, kind friends, Adieu.
I can no longer stay with you 
I must hang my harp on a weeping willow tree 
And may the world go well with thee

And no, I am not trying to be artistic, or creative or impress you in any way
Lines of much loved familiar lyrics that fit the circumstances have  popped into my head unbidden for as long as I can remember. 

Saturday 19 September 2015


The weather has not improved. Skies are gloomier than before but I feel better.

The lead weight in my chest has lifted. 

Comments can stil be made but discretion being the better part of valor, t'were  better for me not to publish. I still need  to hear from people other than the predictables.

I have conferred lawyerly a couple of times.  The decision can be appealed to the Supreme Court

The bar is high for an appeal to be successful.  Certain circumstances must prevail. 

1.Error in law
 2. Incorrect facts.
3. A mix of both. 

Original  purpose in pursuing the litigation remains the same. It was not done for myself alone. 

To be effective, an elected official must be free to represent. 

Democracy means the majority rules and the minority must be heard. 

A lawyer retained  at public expense, to examine utterances, super-impose interpretation and put all  in writing over a signature bearing legal credentials, is not conducive to frank and free expression in discussion of town business. 

Lawyerly oversight definitely throws a spanner in the works. 

In such circumstance, no Councillor or resident could  ever feel safe to speak his/her mind, save and except, for echoing the majority. 

In Aurora, I enjoyed support and encouragement over a  long period of fifty years

As writer of letters to the editor, elected Councillor then Mayor and County Councillor, writing a weeklycolumn in local media for eleven years.  Mayor and Regional Councillor the Councillor again and after an absence of fourteen years, Councillor again for a further eleven years and with social media a blogger on town affairs for seven of those years. 

Competence well beyond apprentice level . Standards and principles firmly engrained. Confidence grown from opportunity to exercise judgement was the advantage No university course
provides the  breadth of  experience  of service on a municipal Council. 

I always actively encouraged citizens to contemplate a bid for office. The task is worthwhile. 

The chance  to make a difference is  for anyone  to compete. A campaign itself is a broadening experience.  

To be at risk for taking a  principled  stand on town issues is unthinkable. 

It never happened in the half-century before Phyllis Morris' term as Mayor. 

It has not happened since. 

Policy re- established in the nineteen -nineties established no elected member has authority to retain or instruct a lawyer at town expense for any purpose. the policy was re-affirmed in the last term of Council. 

As long as Councils are elected with intention to do no harm to others, the situation is unlikely to be repeated.

Potential for the opposite is not a good thing. 

Thursday 17 September 2015


I try not to get hooked on American Presidential candidate races. It's hard.  We don't have anything like it in Canada.

On Tuesday, fifteen Republicans participated in a three hour uninterrupted debate hosted by CNN in the Reagan library.  Each candidate was clearly invested. Each was different. 

The audience was serious,attentive and respectful. The drama was the better for being real...so far as 
could be seen.

I don't pretend  familiarity with American political structure. I don't know why someone is the Junior Senator from Vermont or Omaha  Is it  because he is younger, won less votes or arrived after the senior  Senator. Come to think of it, I've  only ever heard reference to Junior never Senior Senator.

I  don't know how Congress fits into the picture. Or how a vote in Congress impacts on the Senate vote.

I  don't understand why Benjamin Netenyahu was invited to participate in the  American  debate on the Iran deal. 

Netenyahu leads a coalition government in Israel. His ally is an extreme right-wing fanatical religious 
Party. Israel is a social democracy. Netenyahu did not win a majority in the last Israeli election. 

So I don't understand why Republican candidates for the American Presidency see Netenyahu and Israel as one and the same. 

They  display so much hostility for President Obama and everything he represents for all the world to see ,while aligning themselves slavishly with the Israeli President. Whose interest is served.? 

The debate did not enlighten .

Still ... I like to watch the performance....the media analysis, the fact-checking that follows, the body language expert and finally, next day, the polls that test community reaction. 

It seems  the polls have little to do with the functionality of the final vote so I'm not sure how debates make a difference.

I will keep watching them anyway. 

If nothing else they distract me. 


I watched three hours of debate with fifteen Republican candidates for USA President on CNN last night.

Thankfully, the wind was finally and effectively taken out of Donald Trump's blustering sails. 

The world is a little less scary than it was before.

My litigation  before the court was dismissed on Tuesday.

There's a lead weight in my chest and a steel band wrapped around my head 

Discussion with lawyers is pending.

To my unlawyerly mind some things need explanation. 

I could collapse in a quivering heap of self-pity but I don't know how. I may try it another day. At this point I am not sure it would help. 

Mostly I sit quietly and consciously on my hands, resolved to hold it to-gether. 

I have children,friends and supporters to think about. 

One more thing. I am recently aware of a relatively new condition of the heart. 

Before cataract surgery,a physical check was required. The friendly medic discovered a beat was missing. Not happening.  Here and there, zilch and nada but thankfully not, amen my friend. 

Tests were undertaken after the first surgery which was amazing and highly successful 
by the way, thank you for asking. We live in wondrous times. 

The need for cataract surgery was discovered during the trial. 

Usually,if I hear nothing  after tests, indices are...there's nothing to hear. 

Second eye operated. Also immediately  successful and extremely efficient. 

About the time of final check, a call  was received from the medic's office. Urgency indicated. A five month old report from tests had "slipped through the cracks"  

Blood test required. Doctor going on three weeks vacation.,Cardiologist received results directly. Prescription forwarded by fax ..twice, thrice ..message sent from one office not received at second.  Fax machines incompatible. 

Phone messaging machine not useful in emergency or any other time either for that matter.

A skipping heart beat apparently requires medication to avoid a fate worse than death. 

Blood pools in heart chambers.... risk is of clots thrown out like from a Mixmaster to another critical location. 

Ten days after the first, five months after the original detection of skipped beat,the remedy is to hand. 

Cause of the trouble less obvious. Neither smoker nor imbiber,(in a regular sense) am I. What else can the matter be? 

The lead weight in my chest has been a constant since the jury was dismissed after four weeks of trial 
in November and December of 2014.

CITATION: Buck v Morris  et al., 2015 ONSC 5632
Court  File No: CV-09-0969-00.
Date :20150915

There are 138 clauses in 37 pages.

Reading is easy. Comprehension less so. 

Monday 14 September 2015


BI don't have up-to-date details but they will be  in town records somewhere . All open and above board. 

Last time I saw the accounts the fee paid to the town by Rib Fest people was $12,000. maybe not exact but certainly the first two figures are accurate. 

The bands were paid by the town . No admission was charged and the event cost $11,000 in the end.

Last year the town received a provincial grant to pay for the bands. Admission may not have been charged.

This year we read iadmission was charged.  

I am not up to date on financing this year. But one thing is consistent. The venue has never been free to the Rib Fest operation. And... It would seem the concert audience was .at least in part, helping to pay the bands. 

I don't have a problem with that. 


When houses on Glass Drive were built ,three or four at the bottom of my street experienced sewer back-ups during summers storms. The basement of Bull's house at the  corner of Holman and Glass 
was  completely empty. It filled with water in a storm.  

I was elected in 1967  as was  the late Peter Miller who owned one of the Glass Drive homes.it will always be Millers' house. 

The last flood was the worst. Water flowed out over the sill of the front door of Bull's house . I saw it. 

In one attempt to resolve the problem, valves had been installed on the sewer pipes to stop back-flow
Into the basements. 

Pete had installed a raised floor in his basement and created bedrooms.  Sewage got trapped under the floor and,wallboard,floor,furniture and a chest freezer had to be ripped out and thrown out. His neighbors suffered similar losses and contamination. 

The Town's insurance company refused to cover the claims. The storm was an Act of God they said.
They had argued the same previously without being challenged.

Now,with a Councillor directly impacted and another completely involved, the situation changed. Discussion took place in an open Council meeting. No fears of litigation,privacy issues or conflict of interest. 

None of the things that hamstring modern councils and serve everyone except taxpayers.

More questions were asked and  answers were less readily accepted.

It was true. The storm was an Act of God. It was also true, town services had failed repeatedly and God had nothing to do with that. 

The homeowners were eventually compensated for discounted value of their losses.

The insurance company made the stipulation they would not pay again. The town had better fix the problem. 

And the town  did. A drain was installed in the central manhole that took storm overflow to the creek. The problem did not re-occur. 

The point of this story is, the insurance company was persuaded by the town. The homeowners were entitled to compensation under the insurance coverage purchased for the purpose  by the town.

The fight was right. The outcome was fair. 

A new insurance company has made a decision to pay $850,000  to cover legal fees for litigation having  no connection to town business, benefitting none  but rogue members of council

An increase of 41% in  premiums in the year following the expenditure supports that coverage was not in place. Nor should it have been. 

What municipality can afford  insurance to cover politicians intent on doing harm. 

So the question that needs to be asked is ....why did they ?

The second question is... why has the question never been asked? Why  so little curiosity?

It's understood the first decision was to deny liability. It was logical and in keeping with what happens elsewhere. 

That decision was reversed. Legal counsel was assigned. 

The V.P. who attended Council by invitation stated normal policy is to advise settlement.

After several weeks .the counsel assigned was replaced. The defendants were not happy. If the V.P. Information given in a public meeting was accurate, the advice given and refused, was to settle.

The  insurance company allowed them to choose new counsel. 

Anyone who owns a home or a vehicle knows no- limit liability is not what  one expects from an insurance company. 

More to-morrow. 


 Arguments to respond to: 

I referred  to a fellow blogger as a communication guru. I understand the word to mean a person of  knowledge. I meant it in that context. Opinion is not the same as expertise. Opinion varies; subject to vagaries of personal experience and perspective. 

The second argument is that rules in politics are meant to be exploited for advantage.The reference was to a  call for a re-count after the 2003 election.

The Elections Officer is in charge of elections with legal authority and responsibility to conduct it according to the rules. Municipal politicians do not make nor are they allowed to influence the rules. Nor should they. 

One clause  I the Act rules a division of less than twenty-one votes automatically requires a re-count. 

If the difference is less a re-count may be requested, usually by a runner-up in the election. 

In 2003 , an outgoing Councillor  requested a re-count. She argued she had not agreed the election machines recommended were efficient. Councillors and candidates were invited to a demonstration. The machines had been used successfully in other jurisdictions. Council debated the motion  and a majority approved a re-count.,

The re-count was estimated to take three days and cost $22,000. It took longer and cost more. I was there throughout. It was a grueling and stressful undertaking. Results  were the same. 

Two things were proven :The machines were perfectly efficient.The Elections Officer's recommendation was sound. More than twenty-two- thousand dollars we're needlessly added to cost of the election. 

An apology was  certainly due to the Clerk /Election Officer and to taxpayers. 

It was not forthcoming. 

Second I had  indeed won the right to take a seat at the table. 

A Councillor-elect, in seconding the motion for re-count ,said he did not want to spend  the next three years at the table opposite a person who had no right to be there.   

I did have the right to be there. I won a sufficient number of votes,

The comment was egregious. It was an angry rejection of the result of the election that elected him. 

By any rule of order, civility or grace the result of the re-count called for withdrawal and an apology. 

The comment to the blog suggests politics is about denying and exploiting any and all rules whatever the intent. 

Many would agree.The  idea dominated Aurora  politics since the mid-nineties.A fragment still remains.

My understanding of the function of elected office is not the same. I want to see the dignity of 
elected office return to what it once was and what I believe the community  has a right to expect. 

It's why I came back in 2003.  

When I record past events in the blog, my intent is to move things away from what was, to something better.

It can't change unless the need to change is recognized  

It's not digging into the past so much as cultivating the future. 

garden flourishes only if it's tended regularly. 

It takes digging and delving,
Planting  seeds and pulling out weeds  
That greedily absorb nutrition. 
And adding fertilizer. 
Ya gotta love it. 

It was the reason I came back in 2003. I think I made a difference.